This was a spontaneous trip for Anton’s birthday, it was his first time in Cambodia and a second one for me. I’m so glad we went without a plan and a place booked – the trip turned out amazing and we didn’t want to leave!
Here’s a list of our new finds and things to do in Siem Reap.
Things to do in Siem Reap
One day tour around Angkor
We asked for an extended Small Tour that takes around 8 hours and altogether costs $90 for two:
- $20 for the tuk-tuk
- $30 – tour guide
- $20 each for a dy pass to Angkor
This time we started at 7:30am, went straight to Angkor Wat and went clock-wise, since most tourists would take the other direction. It helped avoid huge crowds. A bit.
Everything was arranged by our hotel, but if you really want to make out the most of this tour, book a guide that people you know have recommended. Both tours I took, I now wouldn’t recommend the guides. They were ok, but not great.
After a long tour, go for a massage. We went to the Lemongrass Garden (there are two of them, both on Sivatha Boulevard, one next to KFC, the other across Molly Malones).
The traditional Khmer massage, one hour of pure relaxation, at a very clean, professional place. And the best part is – it’s only $10. So yes. Just go for it.
Things to buy in Siem Reap
Buy local at Handicraft Market
Each year more than 2 million people come to Siem Reap and they spend around $100 million on souvenirs alone. However, the people living in the Siem Reap province continue to rank 3rd poorest in Cambodia. You see, very little of that money goes back to the community because most of the souvenirs are imported.
So buy local-made souvenirs, ok? I shopped at the AHA market, it is open from 10am to 10pm, it’s a very picturesque bicycle ride, so I’d strongly recommend going there by bike.
We found some really great handmade Khmer ceramic pieces (this cup is my favourite!), incense sticks, room spray and watercolor paintings. People there are very friendly and you can ask them how they make their pieces, very often they craft right there.
Oh, and of course the flip-flops! I need a replacement – my most favourite ones, I wore them for an entire year in the office!
Shinta Mani Saturday market
Every first and third Saturday of the month there’s another local market held on the street in front of both the Shinta Mani Club and Shinta Mani Resort from 4pm to 9pm.
- Jivit Thmey jewelry – jewelry made of recycled bullets and bombshells.
- Soieries du Mekong scarves with silver elements – I got one for $30 – it’s a real statement piece!
- Infused rice spirits by Sombai – really great as souvenirs – the bottles are hand-painted by the local young artists.
- Not at the market, but in a store in the city center (at Three Seasons at The Lane) – Tonle clothes and accessories. This one’s amazing, I really love their designs.
Where to stay in Siem Reap
This time, as I said, we had no plan and nothing booked. So from the airport we got a taxi to the city center, sat down in the first café we liked to grab breakfast and looked up places to stay nearby on Instagram.
The second place we checked out was the Golden Banana Hotel and we fell in love with it!
They have three hotels, all next to each other – Golden Banana Boutique Resort, Boutique Hotel and Golden Banana Superior. We chose the latter, it was $42 per night with breakfast and I think it’s totally worth it.
p.s. you can check out my last year posts about the trip to Cambodia here.