One week around Siem Reap and Angkor
Most tourists are in Siem Reap for only a few days. They’ll visit Angkor Wat and a few other sights, then head off to Phnom Penh. But we're not most tourists and that's not how we roll.
It only took a dirt cheap fare on Air Asia to inspire us to spent 7 days in Siem Reap. Unfortunately, googling “Siem Reap itinerary” didn't reveal enough to keep us busy for that long, so we asked a highly recommended local tour guide for advice.
In any case, we fit a lot of Cambodia into one week. Take a look at this itinerary, then go ahead and feel sorry for people who only visit for a couple of days.
Or, you can pay it forward by sharing this article with your friends who want to see Angkor Wat or visit Cambodia.
ⓘ TIP: This is an excellent option if you are traveling from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.
Day 1: City highlights + traditional shows
Morning: Learn how silk is made at a local silk farm, see relics from the country’s wars at the Cambodia War Museum, then watch artisans create unique stone, wood and textile crafts at Artisans d’Angkor Khmer handicraft center.
Afternoon: See exhibits on Khmer history, civilization, and cultural heritage at Angkor National Museum, then enjoy some free time at the Old Market (Psar Chaa). Return to hotel for shower and relaxation.
ⓘ TIP: Reserve your dinner table ahead of time. Otherwise, you'll be stuck in the back with a poor view. Book as early as possible and ask for front-row, center seats.
Day 2: Angkor Thom (“smiling faces temple”) + Cambodian Circus
Morning: See the many-faced towers at Angkor Thom. Pass through the South Gate and tour the interior: Bayon, Baphuon, King Palace area, Phimean Akas, Terrace of Leper King, and Elephant Terrace.
Afternoon: Visit Angkor Wat, then watch the sunset at Bakheng mountain or Pre Rup temple.
Evening: Enjoy an after-dinner performance at Phare, Cambodian Circus. (That was super fun!)
ⓘ TIP: The circus was incredible, but open seating views are partially obstructed. We think it's worth paying more for center seats. Get tickets here.
Day 3: Sunrise at Angkor Wat + Ta Prom Temple
Morning: Leave hotel at 4:30 am to see sunrise at the Angkor Wat. After sunrise, visit Ta Prom (“Tomb Raider”) temple before the crowds arrive.
Then continue to Preah Khan, Neak Pan, Ta Som, and East Mebon. Lunch at the Angkor Park.
Afternoon: Continue to Pre Rup, Prasat Kravan and Srah Srang.
Evening: Have dinner at Malis Restaurant, a 5-star dining establishment.
Angkor Archaeological Park visitor information
- Entrance fee: 1-day: $37, 3-day: $62 (valid for 1 week, any 3 days), 7-day: $72 (valid for 1 month). Always carry your ticket. It will be checked upon each park entry and at major temples.
- Visiting hours: 05:00 am – 18:00. Temples open at 5.30 am. All visitors must leave the Park after sunset.
- Note that two temples close early due to their distance from Siem Reap. Banteay Srei closes at 5pm and River of 1000 Lingas closes at 3 pm.
Day 4: Banteay Srei + River of 1000 Lingas + Roluos Group
Morning: Leave early to visit Banteay Srei, “citadel of the women.” Then continue on to see the River of 1000 Lingas and the beautiful waterfall at Phnom Kulen mountain. Lunch at the Angkor Park.
Afternoon: Visit Roluos Group of temples, the first major capital of the Angkorian-era Khmer Empire. Then return to your hotel for some relaxation time. And a shower. You're going to want one of those.
Day 5: Tonle Sap Lake + Beng Mealea temple
Morning: Depart at 8:00 am to see the lifestyle of Cambodians who live along the banks of Tonle Sap Lake, the largest lake in Southeast Asia. Explore Kampong Phluk floating village and/or Kampong Khleang stilt village.
Afternoon: Explore Beng Mealea, an especially beautiful temple that is being reclaimed by the jungle.
Enjoy the evening on your own.
Day 6: Prasat Preah Vihea & Koh Ker Temple
Morning: Depart before breakfast to visit Prasat Preah Vihear. This spectacular Hindu temple is perched atop a 525-metre-high clifftop on the Thai border.
Afternoon: Explore Koh Ker archaeological site. Khmer emperor Jayavarman IV built its 40 temples and reservoir nearly 1100 years ago (928 – 941).
Koh Ker is dominated by Prasat Thom, Prasat Linga, Prasat Pram and Prasat Neang Kamau. Among those, the most beautiful is “Prasat Thom,” which represents the sacred mountain of Hindu mythology. The giant pyramid temple has seven tiers and a 36-meter base.
No evening plans. Chill at the hotel or perhaps enjoy the vibrant nightlife along Pub Street in downtown Siem Reap.
Day 7: Cooking class + quad bike ride through the countryside
Morning: Cooking class! This was fun. Learn how to prepare traditional and delicious Khmer dishes under the guidance of a professional chef.
Begin with a walk through the local market, watch the action, and learn about the produce. Then return to the kitchen and get to work learning to prepare spring rolls, traditional amok fish, and fried bananas before enjoying your creation in the garden.
Afternoon: 4-hour off-road quad bike trip offers an insight into a different side of Cambodia: the countryside surrounding Siem Reap. A local guide will show you how locals live in rural areas and their daily life style. The trip begins with a full briefing on how to drive the quad bike as well as important safety instructions. Then, you'll set off through the streets of Siem Reap to see villages, rice fields, a hidden temple, and Cambodians going about their daily lives, The final stop is at a rice paddy, with a beautiful view of the setting sun as it dips below the rice fields.
Where to stay in Siem Reap
Obviously, no itinerary is complete without a place to sleep. We stayed in a cute private cabin at Palm Village Resort and Spa. It was on a quiet side street between Siem Reap town and Angkor Wat. We enjoyed a couples massage at an incredibly low price. But my favorite memory is the beautiful instrumental music that came from a nearby monastery. It drifted through the air every morning, which just enhanced our whole experience.
Trip planning resources
- Cambodia has many useful trip planning resources on their Siem Reap website.
- Visas – Click here to see if you need a Cambodia visa.
- Transportation –This website shows how to get anywhere by plane, train, bus, ferry and car.
- For more sightseeing, our Cambodia photo gallery has more photos from our trip.
- Scroll around Google’s satellite photo map. It takes you all the way from Angkor Park to Tonle Sap Lake.
- If Sunny and Bunna are busy, you'll do well going with Get Your Guide for activities and tours in Siem Reap. To get more ideas for what you can do in Siem Reap, click here.
- It helps to know what you're looking at. We bought a book called Guide to the Temples of Angkor and read it ahead of time. Very helpful!
- Cambodia: Guide to the Temples of Angkor by Approach Guides (we used this book)
- Temple of a Thousand Faces
- Ancient Angkor (this is the book they hawk at the temples)
- Lonely Planet Cambodia
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