1. Visit the temples No visit to Siem Reap can be complete without a visit to the temple complex. You can get a 3-day pass to the Temples for 40USD and a day pass for 20USD. If you will get a day pass, I suggest you plan ahead on what temples to visit. Touring the temples can be exhausting so don’t forget to wear comfortable (but respectful) clothes and a bottle of water.The Angkor temples are real testaments to tenacity. That feeling you get when you are among the walls of these 9th and 13th century old architectures as they unveil history is lasting. The rise and fall of empires, the intricacy of the Khmer art, and the harmonious adaptation of the ruins to nature as it stand the test of time, these sums up my temple hopping experience.
  2. Bargain Shopping The bustling Old and New markets are heaven for shopaholics. You can find almost everything here. From stunning artworks to bags and everything in between. I’d say Cambodians are hardcore sellers and a pro-level haggling and bargaining skills could save you serious money. Be wise in giving your preferred offer but don’t forget to be reasonable too even if the conversion is in your favor.Remember to look around before buying – many of the stalls offer the same or similar items. Buying from the first stall you come upon is a good way to overpay.
  3. Phare, The Cambodian Circus After visiting the temples soaking in the energy from the circus is a great way to end the day. A circus for a cause founded in 1994 to support its performers who came from poverty stricken backgrounds. The festive mood reminds me of my childhood memories in a “Perya”, a filipino style carnival. The hotel where I checked-in sold the circus ticket for 18USD. You can buy tickets at the circus venue too for the same price. The show starts at 8:00pm and it’s free seating so make sure to be there a bit earlier to secure better seats. Preferred seating is also available for 35USD (Adult).They have a few different shows however the screenplay I saw was about discrimination with a little bit of humor lighten a very sensitive social issue. The group performs in a very solid stance and you could see that they love what they’re doing. The group is world renowned and has traveled across end the world visiting the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.
  4. Afternoon Drinks on a Roof Deck What could be a better day ender than lazing at a roof deck on a large bean bag while watching the sun as it sets over the downtown river? You can find cheap rooftop bars close to the old market area. I went to a place called “Temples Bar” somewhere in the heart of Pub street. Having a glass of cocktail and snacks with Cambodian acoustic songs in the background while catching the afternoon rays on a roof deck is a travel experience I will always remember.
  5. Bicycle Touring What’s the best way to explore the Siem Reap? Well, rent a bike for a dollar and get lost in it. I didn’t mind battling for space on the road against tuk-tuks, motors, and pedestrians and all I remembered from that journey was I was biking around Siem Reap that morning. I passed by the majestic Ankor Wat and in that fleeting moment time stood still.You can rent a bike for 1USD. Bike rentals are everywhere so you don’t have to worry. If you’re lucky you can borrow one from your hotel for free. Just ask the hotel staff politely.
  6. Spend some quite time in a do-good coffee shop While your hotel check out is scheduled at around noon, flights back to MNL are scheduled at night and if you wish to stay in your hotel until evening you have to pay for a hotel day’s rate.Spending some quite time in a do-good coffee shop is a nice thing to do while waiting for a red eye flight. My friends and I spent our last few hours in Cambodia last year in a coffee shop called New Leaf Book Cafe. If you identify yourself as a book lover then this place is your paradise. It’s a quite place in the heart of bustling Siem Reap. Enjoy a glass of iced Cambodian coffee while reading books donated to the coffee shop. And their profit goes to community projects in the province. They serve light meals and the service is excellent. They also have wifi and power outlets where you can charge your smartphones and power banks while waiting for your flight.
  7. Marvel at the Ankor Wat Sunrise It was 5:15am and Mr. Chour, our tuk-tuk driver, was waiting patiently at the hotel entrance. We would be heading to Angkor Wat to watch the sunrise. At first I thought it’s impossible to capture a good picture of Angkor Wat during sunrise because the light was not sufficient to showcase the beauty of the temple and its entirety and it was hazy. The sky started to display its amazing spectrum as it unveils the outline of the temple from across the moat. The photographers started the capture every single moment of it. It was breathtaking. I know waking up early is a pain but at that moment all I ever thought was, I just had one of the greatest adventures of my life.
  1. Do your research so you are familiar with the basic history of Angkor Wat. This will help you appreciate it more when you see it in person and free up more time to learn about it in-depth.

 

  1. Be prepared to walk–A LOT. The complex is very vast and a lot of the temples and sights are relatively far apart from each other (and may require a little bit of climbing), so don’t forget to wear your sneakers!
  1. Bring a lot of water.It can get very hot and humid, especially from April through May, and you’ll want to stay hydrated during all of the walking and trekking.

 

  1. The best time to visit is before sunrise, which means you should aim to be there around 5 a.m. Many travelers have said that this is the most opportune time to explore the temples, as watching the sunrise is an indescribable experience–it’s also an ideal time for picture taking. Also, you’ll be avoiding the tourist rush and will therefore get the chance to fully enjoy the serenity of the temples.

 

  1. If you’re going during the hottest months, definitely visit the temples before 11 a.m.Temperatures can reach a staggering 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the middle of the day.

 

  1. Don’t miss the reflection of the main temple from the water at sunset–the color of the sky is one you won’t be able to rid your mind of for years to come.
  1. Plan which temples you want to see ahead of time and buy a pass for at least three days to save you a lot of time and stress. Many travelers have noted that three days is enough time to explore the complex, and tickets for entry into the temple are valid for a full week and can be used on any of that week’s three consecutive days.

 

  1. Bring an umbrella when you’re walking around the complex to help block some of the harsh sunrays.

 

  1. Book a hotel that has a pool. You won’t regret if after a full–and oftentimes hot–day of sight seeing!

 

  1. January brings some of the best weather. If it’s possible, try to book your trip for this month.