Before immersing yourself in the Angkor National Park maybe is interesting to know what the city that holds it has to offer. Many people would come to Siem Reap just for the temples but I found important to get to know also the city itself. I reserved the first day to check the city while the other days after being the whole day exploring the temples we would go to the center find a place to eat and have some drinks (not forgetting massages!)
Enough said, here is what to see and do when you decide to give some rest of the Angkor park.
1. ANGKOR NATIONAL MUSEUM
The museum is a great option to do before going to visit the Angkor complex for those who have no idea what to expect and where to start. It gives you an enormous summary of what to see, what is the significance of each temple and the whole Cambodian religious history around the temples. We particularly loved to visit this museum as is nicely divided by king/religious periods and has a great display of some of the temple’s elements making it visually super interesting.
2. EAT AT HAVEN RESTAURANT
Haven is a restaurant founded to help orphan children who after they leave the institution might feel lost giving them a purpose, that is why the slogan – where helping tastes good; And it really does! The food is great and affordable and at the same time you are making something good which is helping this ONG to exist and helping those young adults build a better life for themselves keeping them off the streets.
3. THE NIGHT MARKET
The night market is the paradise of the tourists – You can find everything there, from clothes to little souvenirs, home decor and even fresh food. Even better, the prices are always good, Cambodians like to bargain so get your bargain skills on because you can get, for example, souvenir shirts for $4 dollars if you do it well!
4. VISIT THE WAT THMEI TEMPLE
Wat Thmei has a small memorial stupa which displays the skulls and bones found of the victims of the Khmer Rouge. For those who don’t know, Cambodia suffered this huge crime against humanity in the 70s around 2 million of people were killed, most were first tortured then executed for reasons like using glasses or for being religious.
5. PUB STREET
The busiest street of Siem Reap! Here you will encounter many restaurant options as night entertainment. The music is loud everywhere you go so if you aren’t a big fan, better don’t seat anywhere here. I found the vibe very contagious and vibrant! If you do stay here have a typical Cambodian barbecue or enjoy one of the unusual (for us western) bugs spits like spider, snake or scorpion if you dare!
After a long day exploring the temples, enjoy the night life of Siem Reap, you will be spoiled with tasty food and massages!