By Craig Dodge
Siem Reap, Cambodia has been at or near the top of TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Destinations in the world for several years. UNESCO World Heritage Site and ‘Wonder of the World’ Angkor Wat is the main attraction, and rightly so. Visitors can spend days marveling at the many ancient temples in Angkor Archeological Park. What an amazing place that should be on every traveler’s ‘bucket list’!
But then what? What else is there to experience in Siem Reap? The most common answer you’ll get is “Pub Street” or “spa”, but is that it? Is that what you traveled so far for?
I bet not. Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re probably eager to find ways to get the most out of your travel experience. You’ll want to see and do more than what is on the basic tour schedule. Here are some tips on how to find the best and most interesting sights, activities, and experiences that most visitors miss.
On the Web
Good places to learn about interesting attractions and activities are websites like TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, Rusty Compass or other online travel guides. These are great places to read objective reviews on recommended tourist sights and activities that shouldn’t be missed.
Now, if you’re looking to dive into a more local, rustic and authentically Khmer experience, you will have to do a bit more research to scratch beneath the surface and get beyond the tourist sights. But it’s well worth it.
Go where the locals Go
There is an amazingly vibrant, active community in Siem Reap with something going on pretty much every day: art exhibits, stand-up comedy, movie nights (like movies about Cambodian 60’s Rock & Roll or Cambodian wildlife), live jazz and other concerts, yoga or Zumba classes, costume parties, trivia nights for charity, and get a traditional Khmer tattoo. The list is endless. There are annual events like the Giant Puppet Parade, Water Festival and the ChubMet Music Festival too.
So where does one find out about all these interesting things to do in Siem Reap that aren’t in the tourist guide books?
A couple web sites worth checking out are SiemReap.net and Move to Cambodia. These web sites are managed by expats living in Siem Reap who have their finger on the pulse of the city. These are great resources.
Most Cambodians and Expats go to Facebook to find out what’s happening around town. There are several useful Facebook groups with posts about events around the city: Wat’s Up! – Siem Reap and Expats and Locals Living in Siem Reap are two of the most useful with new events being posted every day.
One of the best places in town to go and find out what’s happening is The Little Red Fox Espresso in ‘Kandal Village’, a favorite spot for many expats living in Siem Reap. The proprietors themselves are engaged in many of the local events. There are lots of flyers and posters about activities around town. If it’s happening in Siem Reap, they’ll know about it!
As you can see, there’s a lot to experience in Siem Reap beyond Angkor Wat and Pub Street; so, Make the most out of your holiday and check out some of these useful resources. You’ll find some awesome stuff to do while you’re here!
Be sure to leave one night open for Phare, The Cambodian Circus! Book online for best seat selection.