What to do in Siem Reap after visiting Angkor Wat
When visiting Siem Reap, Cambodia, Angkor Wat is definitely among the top things to do. Although you can’t travel to Siem Reap without paying a visit to Angkor Wat, this temple is not everything. Siem Reap has a lot to offer, other than just Angkor Wat. To get a full Cambodia experience, you shouldn’t miss out on any of these things, ranging from vibrant culture to great nightlife. Here are the top essential experiences beside visiting Angkor Wat.
Watching a traditional Apsara dance
Watching Apsara show is high on the to-do list of any visitors to Cambodia. This traditional Khmer dance conveys quite dramatic stories but it’s also really beautiful. There are many options for tourists if they want to find some places to enjoy Apsara dance. Temple Bar offers casual free shows in its restaurant every night at 7:30 but you are expected to order dinner or some drinks there. Or instead, you can go to Smile of Angkor to see a much more magnificent show with the highlights include acrobatics and an edge-of-the-seat fire show. However, the Smile of Angkor is a little expensive for backpackers with $38 – $48 per ticket.
Joining a Khmer cooking class
Perhaps the best way to truly experience and understand Cambodia culture is to take a cooking class and to share the taste of Cambodia with your loved ones back home. A cooking class normally starts with going to the market to buy some ingredients, learn more about them and then the chefs will show you how to prepare, cook and decorate Cambodia dishes step by step. Visiting Angkor Wat may be a one-in-a-life-time experience, but joining a cooking class would definitely be great too.
Walking on Pub Street
During the day, Pub Street is an ideal place for eating and when the night falls down, all night clubs and bars are open. This is also the reason that it’s called Siem Reap’s party hub. You can start your night by finding something nice to eat at Red Piano on the corner (341 Mondol 1, Siem Reap). This restaurant offers French cuisine and Angelina Jolie’s favorite cocktail when she filmed “Tomb Raider” here. While walking on Pub Street, you may come across Angkor What. Getting a drink here is also a must for many travelers. Another good bar is Miss Wong (The Lane) which serves classy cocktail and it may bring you back to 1930s of Shanghai.
Getting a fishy foot massage
After a long day of walking, your feet may need a good treat by some massage, especially after a tiring day visiting Angkor Wat. It’s a “feel weird but nice” experience. The rate is about $1 for 15 minutes and $3 for 20 minutes of fishy treatment. The tiny fish will clean off the dead skin from your feet.
Where to go: Frangipani Spa, No. 24 Hup Guan Street, Siem Reap
Travelling on tuk-tuk
Tuk-tuks are called local taxis of Cambodia and they are the quickest way to get around Siem Reap. I’m sure you will find a lot of fun on these things. In Siem Reap, they even have the “VIP Batman” tuk-tuk. A ride in the city center may cost up to $2. To avoid rip-off, don’t forget to negotiate the price before getting in.
Visiting the Old Market and eating bugs
It’s time to evoke your adventurous side to try weird foods of Cambodia. These things can be easily found in the Old Market (Phsar Chas). Apart from snakes, you should try (if you’re brave enough) tarantulas once in your lifetime. Maybe you will love it, who knows!
Old Market: 5 a.m.–6 p.m, between Street 9, Street 11, 2 Thmou St. and Pokombor Avenue, Siem Reap, Cambodia
The activities listed up above are among the best and most authentic experiences one can get when traveling to Siem Reap. Do not forget to put them in your bucket list beside visiting Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the whole world.
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