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7 Other Amazing Things to do in Siem Reap

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Activities | Siem Reap

7 Other Amazing Things to Do in Siem Reap

Siem Reap is best known as the gateway to Angkor Wat and the rest of the Angkor Ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The UNESCO site includes not just the temples but also hydraulic structures, canals, and reservoirs that together make up close to 400 square kilometers in what is arguably one the most important archeological sites in Southeast Asia.

Given the extent and breadth of the Angkor ruins and their importance to the former Khmer Kingdom, Siem Reap has become a tourist wonderland, packed with hostels and boutique hotels, day and night tours, and plenty of thumping beats from nighttime bars. Beyond those magnificent ruins, travellers often get in and out of Siem Reap without exploring a bit more of what the tiny town has to offer. Here are my suggestions for rounding out your temple visits in the region:

1. Take a Food Tour

Cambodia's dishes are not as well known as those of Thailand or Vietnam, but it has a culinary tradition and history of its own. What better way to experience them than with a morning or evening tour, tasting dishes for three or four hours at a time.

2. Visit the Landmine Museum

The Cambodian Landmine Museum and Relief Facility was established in the late 1990s by ex-child soldier Aki Ra, who, after years of fighting, returned to the villages where he had planted landmines and began diffusing them by hand. From this beginning, an official NGO was established to clear landmines in villages throughout Cambodia. The museum raises money both for the landmine clearing, and to fund its newer school and dormitory for amputee children.

3. Visit honeybees

Bees Unlimited highlights the dying tradition of rafter beekeeping of the Giant Honeybee, Apis dorsata, still practiced by few near Siem Reap, and the efforts of some of these beekeepers to turn their harvesting into a sustainable business. They offer rafter beekeeping tours an hour away from Siem Reap, as well as bee tours within the city itself. While completely different than a day of temple-hopping, the tours are an interesting option to learn and see the surrounding area something new.

4. Spend a full day on an eco tour to a floating village and Tonle Sap with Osmose.

Covering 2,500 square kilometers during the dry season but ballooning up to 12,000 square kilometers during the seasonal floods, Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. The eco tour will showcase this unique area, Osmose's own eco-conservation project, and the lake's flooded forests, as well as a floating village.

5. Take a cooking class

Full from your tour of Cambodia's dishes? In a city with so much tourist turnover, many cooking schools have proliferated.

6. Attend a Beatocello concert

On Saturdays at 7:15 pm, Dr. Beat Richner, a Swiss expat affectionately known as "Beatocello", performs a solo cello performance at Jayavarman VII Hospital. These concerts raise funds for charity hospitals in the city, and support his Kantha Bopha Foundation and its affiliated childcare projects. While there is quite a bit of talking in between songs, the concert is a good way to learn and support a good cause about the attempts to improve childcare in Cambodia.

7. Take a yoga class

One of the longest running yoga classes in town is held at Peace Café, where ashtanga yoga classes are offered daily along with meditation, monk chats, and vegetarian cooking classes. While yoga is not limited to Cambodia, of course, the café is a fun space to meet other travellers and expats, and get some exercise in the process.
Getting There

Given the extent and breadth of the Angkor ruins and their importance to the former Khmer Kingdom, Siem Reap has become a tourist wonderland, packed with hostels and boutique hotels, day and night tours, and plenty of thumping beats from nighttime bars. Beyond those magnificent ruins, travellers often get in and out of Siem Reap without exploring a bit more of what the tiny town has to offer. Bees Unlimited highlights the dying tradition of rafter beekeeping of the Giant Honeybee, Apis dorsata, still practiced by few near Siem Reap, and the efforts of some of these beekeepers to turn their harvesting into a sustainable business. They offer rafter beekeeping tours an hour away from Siem Reap, as well as bee tours within the city itself. Full from your tour of Cambodia's dishes?

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Discover the Kingdom of Wonder where Cambodia’s unique Indian-influenced Khmer culture has remained very much intact. Discover legacy left behind by the once mighty Khmer Empire in the Temples of Angkor.

Explore the streets of Siem Reap Old Market area with a mixture of boutique shops, restaurants, bars and spa's. Visit the Art & Night Markets. 

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