Take a step back in time when you visit Angkor Wat and its surrounding temples, the jewel of the Khmer empire and explore the town of Siem Reap with its lively night markets and abundant fruit juices!
Day 1 – Relax and explore!
- Depending on your time of arrival to Siem Reap, you might want to take it easy on the first day and get to know the surrounding areas of the hotel and rest up before more full on days.
- Take a 5-10 minute tuk tuk ride from the main Siem Reap town to the street where several Muslim-owned halal restaurants like Muslim Family Kitchen, Cambodian Muslim Restaurant, Wau Restaurant and Muslim Family Restaurant are located for lunch or dinner. If you’re at Muslim Family Kitchen, try out their Cambodian specialties, especially the Fish in Morning Glory Pond, Amok and Beef Climbing Mountain.
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Muslim Family Kitchen[/caption]
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The Beef Climbing Mountain is prepared right at your table, and comes with two special dipping sauces.[/caption]
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The super yummy Fish in Morning Glory Pond. It's not as spicy as it looks![/caption]
- Visit the An Neakmah Mosque and the small Islamic school located directly behind the mosque and say hello to the adorable children learning to recite the Quran ? The school is run by local teachers for students of the village, and is fully sponsored by the Muslim community of the village.
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An Neakmah Mosque[/caption]
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The Islamic school located right behind the mosque :)[/caption]
- If you’d like to start exploring the night markets, Angkor Orchid Central hotel is located only 10 steps away from Siem Reap Art Centre Night Market and a short 5 minutes walk to Psar Chas (the old market), Pub Street and other night markets.
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The Art Centre Night Market is located right next to Angkor Orchid Central Hotel.[/caption]
- Try the fruit shakes which are available almost anywhere. They’re super refreshing and cost only $1 for a cup. There’s also other street food that you can try like pancakes (which are basically like roti canai with chocolate / banana fillings) and ‘fried’ rolled ice cream. There are also stalls selling fried bugs and snakes that charge you $1 just for taking photos, so I’d suggest that you take a quick glance if you’re curious and move along!
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The fruit shakes are just the thing to quench your thirst![/caption]
If you’re allergic to peanuts, make sure you mention it to the folks at Muslim Family Kitchen as dishes like Fish in Morning Glory Pond and the sauce for their fresh spring rolls have peanuts in them.
Day 2 – Time to pretend you’re on the set of Tomb RaiderCredit: thousandwonders
No visit to Siem Reap is complete without visiting the temples of Angkor – but you don’t need us to tell you that! Angkor Wat is only one of over 50 temple ruins inside the Angkor Archaeological Park that covers 400 square kms of Khmer Empire ruins, dating back to the 9th
century. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1992, the park attracts millions of travellers so don’t be surprised to see throngs of people trying to get the same shots as you are!
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Being able to see the sunrise is nothing short of magical![/caption]
- Visit Angkor Wat during sunrise – You may need to get up super early to be able to be in time to catch the sunrise, but it’s well worth the early wake-up call! Leave right after subuh prayers and grab a good spot to catch dawn. You can either sit along the banks of the moat outside the Angkor Wat complex to get a whole panoramic vie of the sunrise or walk in and catch the sunrise from across the pond.
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Feel like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft when you visit the ruins of Ta Phrom, the site where the movie Tomb Raider was filmed![/caption]
- You could either start your tour of the surrounding temples, namely Ta Phrom, and Bayon right after your visit to Angkor Wat during sunrise or head back to the hotel to catch a wink and have some breakfast before heading out again.
- If you’re not much of an early bird, you always catch the sunset instead, but views will be different.
- Visiting the temples will take up most of your day! If you’re a big history buff, you can even stretch out your exploration of the ruins for up to 7 days, as the entire complex is huge. For most, 1 day would suffice.
- After a full day of temple visiting, treat yourself to some delicious gelato at Gelato Lab. Just be sure to ask them which flavours contain alcohol in them ? I’d suggest the dragon fruit gelato for a unique and refreshing dessert!
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If you love chocolate, try the Gianduia but if you're looking for something a little different, the Frutto del Drago (dragon fruit sorbet) is really really good![/caption]
If you’re traveling in a group of 4 or less, hire a tuk-tuk or get the hotel to help arrange for a tour. Prices range from $10-$20, depending on what temples you’d like to visit and whether or not you’d like to see the temples during sunrise / sunset. Getting to the park via tuk-tuk will take you around 20 minutes or so from the hotel. You can explore the ruins as long as you like, as the driver will be waiting for you til you’re done. They can also be a great source of local advice!
Tour and Ticket Prices:
Sunrise tour - $10
Tour around Angkor Archaeological Park - $20
Angkor Entrance Fees - $20 (1 day pass), $40 (3 days pass – You may visit 3 days/times in a one week period), $60 (7 days pass – You may visit 7 days/times in a one month period)
Hire a guide at the temple entrances if you’d like a more immersive experience. It’s definitely worth it to understand the history of the amazing structures and the stories behind the intricate carvings.
Day 3 – Get cultured and visit museums
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These are actual landmines that were laid in Cambodia, removed by the team behind the Landmine Museum.[/caption]
- After breakfast, take a trip to the Cambodia Landmine Museum and Relief Center, which is located around an hour away from the hotel via tuk tuk. The ride is on the way is pretty interesting itself as you’ll be able to get a glimpse of the Siem Reap countryside. The museum itself is focused on education on the dangers of landmines, who laid them and the efforts that have been taken to remove them. The museum is also home to the Relief Center, which houses and supports at-risk Khmer children. Tickets cost $5 and proceeds go to maintaining the museum as well as for care for the children in the Relief Center. There are also free audio guides in English that you may use to navigate the small but informative museum.
- Next visit the War Museum, that offers insights on the wars that Cambodia faced during the last few decades of the 20th Check out heavy artillery like tanks, guns, rocket launchers and more, used during the war! Ticket prices also cost $5, with free guides available.
- If you’ve worked up an appetite after indulging in Cambodia’s war history, ask your tuk-tuk driver to drop you off at one of the Cambodian Muslim restaurants to refuel.
- After lunch, visit the Angkor National Museum, which will take you back to the beginning of the Angkor civilization, with Khmer art, culture an architecture on display. Although tickets are steeper at $12 per person and an additional $3 for an audio guide, the museum is well worth a visit, with its impressive collection and usage of audio-visual multimedia technology.
- Relax and do some last minute shopping for the rest of the day! There are some halal Indian restaurants in town near Pub Street area if you don’t want to take a tuk-tuk ride to the area of the Cambodian Muslim restaurants.
Day 4 - Other experiences
If you’re more adventurous, have a little bit more time and money to spend or would rather use your legs for things other than walking, you can also explore Siem Reap with a bicycle tour, on a quad bike adventure or by taking a hot air balloon over the Angkor complex. You can also take a trip to Kompong Phluk, a village built on stilts and enjoy a breathtaking sunset over Tonle Sap lake. This also depends on the time of the year that you’re visiting.
This itinerary is based on staying at Angkor Orchid Central Hotel
, which is in close proximity to town and serves halal breakfast which is prepared in-house. Although they have room service, the food is catered from a nearby café which is not halal, but does not use any pork or lard in their food preparations. Halal food for lunch and dinner is available at the hotel however for group bookings. The staff is familiar with halal restaurants in the area and would usually recommend lunch or dinner at Muslim Family Kitchen.
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They also have sausages in the menu that are imported from Malaysia :D[/caption]
I’d definitely recommend a stay at the hotel if you’re looking for fuss-free accommodation with convenient location and friendly staff. You can make your bookings here
, and check out more photos on our Facebook page
- Make sure you change enough USD before your trip, as it is the preffered currency used in Siem Reap. They do accept Cambodian Riel but will quote prices in USD. 1 USD = 4000 Cambodian Riel.
- The best time to visit Siem Reap according to the locals is generally between December – February, when the weather is cooler and water levels are higher for you to be able to enjoy a trip to Kompong Phluk and Tonle Sap lake.
- Wear sunglasses if you get on a tuk tuk! The roads are pretty dusty and some eyewear would serve well as protection against unwanted foreign objects flying into your eyes.
- If you’re visiting during the hotter months, make sure you drink plenty of water and bring a hand fan along with you to help beat the heat (or better yet, use the heat as an excuse to shop for essentials at the night markets ?)
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing and pack a good pair of walking shoes. The temple complexes are huge and there’s a lot of walking and exploring to be done. You’d want to be at your most comfortable!
- Bargaining is welcome (and necessary!) when shopping at the markets. Practice your haggling skills to get a good price.
We hope this itinerary is helpful for you to plan your trip to Siem Reap!
* The hotel stay was sponsored by Angkor Orchid Central Hotel
but our opinions are entirely our own, as always ?