Out & about
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.
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 gives you the chance to relax and take it all in from the back of a Vespa. Over six hours, you’ll interact with villagers, be introduced to Khmer spiritual life and visit remnants of the Khmer Empire.
With Khmer Ways, you can do like the locals do and take a voyage of discovery on a Honda Dream 125cc. Follow the trails through lush rice fields, bamboo groves and remote jungle towards hidden villages and ancient temples.
Four-wheeled 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.
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.
For four legged friends on smaller scale head over to NPA Explosive Detection Dogs. At the visitors centre, you will learn about the effects of the hazards buried beneath Cambodian land and witness incredible live demonstrations of obedience, agility, search and detection by the dogs. You’ll even have the chance to meet these stars afterwards.
Going even smaller with explosive sniffing rats, APOPO Visitor Center gives you the chance to discover the history of conflict in Cambodia, the impact of landmines on local communities, and the opportunity to meet and see the HeroRATs in action. Open from Monday to Saturday, you can join them at their visitor center and experience the realities of humanitarian demining and how they train rats to save lives.
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.
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 mass service on a Sunday can visit ICF Cambodia, an international, non-denominational, independent Christian church. It has played an important role in facilitating the work of the Christian community in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ in Cambodia. there are about 900 people attending the church each weekend, for various services such as Oneighty, taking place on Saturday nights from 6-8pm.