4 Reasons to Stay Longer in Siem Reap

First in a series about the many reasons to stay longer in Siem Reap. We will regularly share other cool things to do and see in Siem Reap and elsewhere in Cambodia.  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and look for hastags #staylonger , #staylongerangkor , #staylongersiemreap  and #staylongercambodia for posts from Phare and others about sights and activities worth checking out

A question that often comes up chatting with visitors to Siem Reap is “How long are you staying?”.  For most it’s just 2 or 3 days.

First thing that comes to mind is: WOW, they’re going to miss a lot.

Come to Cambodia for Angkor Wat. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, ‘Wonder of the World’ and consistently rated by travelers as one of the top attractions in the world. Spend a few days exploring the other ancient temples of Angkor Archeological Park. Did you know you can even bicycle or hike along a path atop parts of the Angkor Thom wall?  

But, do yourself a favor. Stay longer for some of the other unique experiences Siem Reap offers.

Here are just a few of the local, original, authentic experiences that should convince you to stay longer in Siem Reap. It only scratches the surface and we’ll share more in future posts, but have to start somewhere.

STAY LONGER FOR FOOD

The best part of any trip is enjoying delicious local food. Here are a few restaurant suggestions for Cambodian food, but we encourage you to explore and enjoy:

Pou Kitchen & Café or Pou Restaurant & Bar: Siem Reap’s newest celebrity chef, local Mengly Mork puts his own twist on traditional Cambodian recipes and Cambodian street food. Delicious food and creative cocktails.

Spoons:  A casual eatery serving upscaled Cambodian cuisine. Spoons Café serves as a space for EGBOK students to gain hands-on training, for guests to enjoy authentic Cambodian cuisine and hospitality, and for the community to come together to support and celebrate one another

Chanrey Tree or Sokkhak River Lounge: (same owner, a few doors apart): Authentic Cambodian home-style cooking using Khmer recipes passed down through the generations taken to the next level, using premium produce and ingredients and presenting them creatively.

Malis: Embracing traditional cooking techniques but experimenting with flavors and textures, Malis Restaurant delivers an upscale, tantalizing array of authentic Cambodian dishes. Locations in both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

Embassy Restaurant: An exclusive fine dining experience. Embassy restaurant is headed by local legends, Executive Chefs Pol & Sok, accompanied entirely by a 100% female team. Guests can savor the unique monthly menu of skillfully prepared masterpieces with a seasonal 7 course gastronomy set that can be optionally paired with an exclusive selection of wines

60 Road Street Market: THE place to go for an authentic Cambodian street food experience. The road next to the Angkor Park ticket office transforms every evening into a street market extravaganza. Enormously popular with locals. Ask your tuk tuk driver.

STAY LONGER FOR ARTS

Don’t miss the vibrant emerging Siem Reap scene of the newest generations of Cambodian visual artists. Here are just a few of the art galleries in Siem Reap:

Tribe Cambodia: The Gallery’s mission is to nurture and support local Khmer talent. Inviting international artists to showcase their work, share their experiences and skills, tell their stories enabling Khmer Artists to realize their potential. Specializes in urban art.

Open Studio Cambodia: an arts collective and social enterprise representing several Cambodian contemporary artists, a community art space and informal gallery. We support our artists and fund our charitable activities through offering contemporary art tours throughout the country year-round.

Channy Chhoeun Art Studio: Home work space and gallery of Cambodian artist Channy Chhoeun. Graduate of Phare Ponleu Selpak, Channy has shown work in group and solo exhibits in Cambodia and overseas. Passionate about birds and their relationship with humans and the environment, Channy is keen to share the dangers that befall wildlife in our modern world. Visits by appointment and on Open Studio Art Tours.

Mirage Contemporary Art Space: Re-discovery, presentation and preservation of Khmer art and culture. Mirage promotes artists and performers that reflect the cultural diversity of Cambodia. Often hosts events and talks with local and international artists.

One Eleven Gallery: Showcases both a permanent collection of work as well as a rotation of exhibitions by visiting artists. The gallery’s bar stays open after gallery hours to serve up quality drinks and signature cocktails. The gallery also regularly hosts a variety of events – from private functions to live musical performances by visiting artists.

Theam’s House: A Gallery Walk and artist studio created by the artist designer and Visual artist Lim Muy Theam. From a gallery to another, it’s a journey to the Cambodian lifestyle through traditional Khmer arts & crafts and artifacts, a stroll through fauna and flora of Cambodia, a discovery of Theam’s Art studio and showroom (fine arts&crafts, lacquer paintings, contemporary sculptures, fabrics, colorful home decoration and souvenirs of Cambodia)

STAY LONGER FOR ADVENTURE

You don’t have to travel far from Siem Reap to get a taste of the adventures available in the Cambodian countryside.

Prek Toal Tours & Travel: A little farther from Siem Reap than some other floating villages, which means fewer tourists. Engage with the villagers and hop on another boat to the nearby bird sanctuary. Hoksan An, owner/operator, grew up in Prek Toal and his tours include lunch at his family’s home. Overnight home-stays available, too.

Angkor Zipline: See Angkor differently….from the treetops! The only zipline in Angkor Park.

Grasshopper Adventures: My personal favorite way to experience Cambodia is on a bicycle through the countryside. Grasshopper has well-run single and multi-day rides to a variety of spots around Siem Reap and beyond.

Vespa Adventures Siem Reap: If a bicycle isn’t your thing but you want to get closer to nature and Cambodian locals, consider a countryside or food tour on the back of a Vespa.

Indochine Exploration: A wide variety of hiking, cycling and kayaking adventures custom tailored to your interests and style. Trips run from a few hours to complete holidays. Take in the natural beauty of Cambodia and the remains of the Angkorian civilization hidden in the forest. Charter their boat for sunset cocktails on the Tonle Sap lake.

STAY LONGER FOR ENTERTAINMENT

A week’s worth of quality, evening entertainment. Pub Street, famed Miss Wong Cocktail Bar and other nightlife will still be open when the show is over.

Sacred Dancers of Angkor: Under the Patronage of HRH Princess Buppha Devi, lead figure of the Khmer Ballet, and the Support of UNESCO. The Sacred Dancers of Angkor is the first and only spiritual troupe of dance in Cambodia.

Experience Cambodian Living Arts: With stages in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Experience CLA puts on a variety of traditional and contemporary performances. They also provide visitors hands-on experiences learning these Cambodian arts.

Bambu Stage: A variety of entertaining and informative performances and presentations: Shadow Puppets, Temples Decoded, Snap! – 150 years of Cambodian history in photos

New Cambodian Artists: Three young classically trained women dancers creating their own contemporary style, featuring classical elements. They operate from their own Black Box studio, presenting an extensive, continuously changing and growing repertoire.

Phare, The Cambodian Circus: Telling uniquely Cambodian tales from the artists’ own life experiences using drama, dance, modern circus arts and high energy music. Shows change every 8 to 10 days.