On an activity kick
There’s plenty more to Siem Reap than just the wonders of Angkor and it’s well worth taking time out from trudging round the temples to explore the town and surrounding area.
There’s something in Siem Reap to keep everyone entertained. For example, you can learn all about Cambodian crafts at Artisans Angkor. See how traditional Khmer artwork, such as silk, stone and wood carvings, lacquer ware, silver plating and silk painting are created in their series of workshops.
To get really handicrafty, sign up to a pottery class and have a go at creating and painting your very own pottery. Khmer Ceramics and Fine Arts Centre offers a series of classes aimed at introducing the traditional Cambodian craft to visitors. Students learn to use the potter’s wheel and model clay by hand.
Lotus Farm by Samatoa lets visitors explore one of the spectacular farms that produce the threads used to make the fashion house’s stunning designs. Visitors can discover how the ecological lotus fabric is created.
Brush up on your photography skills by signing up to a Nathan Horton course, where budding snappers can hone their camerawork under a professional eye.
Adventure fans will never be short of adrenaline fixes in this part of Cambodia. Kickstart Dirt Bike Adventures offers half, full and two-day tours around Siem Reap and its remote temples.
You can also tour the Angkor complex the eco-friendly way with electric bikes from Green e-bike. No emissions, no noise, no sweat. Their admirable slogan: travel responsibly for a greener tomorrow.
Meanwhile, a countryside life tour with Cambodia Vespa Adventures will give you the chance to relax and take it all in on your own Vespa, which comes with a driver. Over six hours, you’ll interact with villagers, be introduced to Khmer spiritual life and visit remnants of the Khmer Empire.
Quad biking is another way to see the relaxed, rural way of life. Quad Adventure Tours can help shape your adventure depending on your needs, from relaxing family tours to a more extreme two-day trip to the remote temple of Koh Ker.
Since 1998, Helicopters Cambodia has been chartering flights around the Angkor complex, granting the opportunity to experience the temples from a completely different (and exhilarating) viewpoint, as well as a picturesque visit to the floating villages on the nearby Tonle Sap lake.
Angkor Zipline, formerly Flight of the Gibbon, offers Cambodia’s only zipline canopy tour. Located inside Angkor Archaelogical Park they have four zipline crossings (one of which is a double zipline), three sky bridges, and an abseil descent. The course takes roughly two hours to traverse and there is plenty of information about wildlife, flowers and fauna along the way.
If you fancy exploring the countryside on top of a four-legged friend then Happy Ranch offers countryside trail horse rides ranging from a leisurely one hour to a more strenuous half day, as well as sunrise and sunset trots.
With its mix of traditional and modern theatre, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling, and contortion, Phare, the Cambodian Circus, is a Cambodian treat for the whole family, with shows held every night from 8pm.
Adults, meanwhile, can learn how to give cocktails the perfect twist by using traditional Khmer herbs and spices to infuse Sombai (rice liquor) at Asana Cambodian House. Each session includes a roots and herbs introduction and some testing.
Those interested in Khmer history should delve into the stories of the ancient Angkor Empire at the Angkor National Museum, which uses state-of-the-art multimedia tech to tell the tale of this great empire.
The darker side of the country’s recent history is displayed at the Cambodian Landmine Museum. It also provides education and support to dozens of at-risk youths and landmine affected children. And the War Museum displays an interesting range of equipment from the same era.
Those looking to attend a Sunday mass service can visit ICF Cambodia, a dynamic Christian church located at ICF Road.