Angkor related attractions
If browsing among the towering and crawling temples of Angkor is not enough, visit the mordern Angkor National Museum (6am–6pm, USD12) which helps you understand the Khmer culture and also the history of the Angkor period. Impressive galleries give you a feel for Angkor over the course of centuries. We found the museum very information rich and reckon it can be a good way to learn and contextualise the other sights nearby, most obviously Angkor Wat.
Miniature replicas of Angkor by Dy Proeung (USD1.50) is a quirky and charming place to visit. Produced by a local sculpture, small dioramas represent Angkor Wat as well as other sights such as the Bayon and Banteay Srei. We think it’s be a fun and good way to get your bearings away from the overwhelming size of the real life Angkor Wat.
Temples and pagodas outside Angkor Historical Park
Angkor has a lot of temples and they do not lack in Siem Reap either. It can be interesting to contrast Angkor pagodas with the more modern pagodas scattered across the town (open all day, free to see).
Wat Athvea (6am–6pm) is a modern temple but rests on the site of an ancient one, some of whose remains can be seen.
A temple which we’d recommend in a heartbeat is Wat Preah Prom Rath (free, 8.30am–6pm), a lovely oasis of calm in the bustle of the town. It’s over five hundred years old and has a special feel to it. Its riverside location lends it a reflective tranquility we appreciated.
The Khmer Rouge era sights
Wat Thmei (donation if desired, 6am–6pm) is a haunting, thought provoking place to visit as part of understanding the Khmer Rouge era Cambodia. It has a small stupa containing skulls and bones from some of the victims of the regime. It is off the road connecting Siem Reap to Angkor Wat.
Land Mine Museum (USD1, 7am–6pm) has a very informative display of information about landmines, as well as examples and other weapons which may both horrify and fascinate you. As well as its exhibits from the Cambodian war era, there’s a simulated minefield where you can get to grips with demining. It’s about fifteen miles out of Siem Reap centre.
Ever bustling and colourful, Siem Reap markets are an attraction in themselves. The famous Psar Chaa, or the Old Market (free, 7am–8pm) is exactly what it sounds. There is a maze of stalls and it’s not just for the tourists – it’s swarmed with locals every morning shopping for their everyday necessities. It’s a great place to see how locals live as well as pick up tasty food and drinks and some souvenirs. We recommend you try a delicious soup.
For even more authentic experience head to Psar Leu. Sprawling, not wearing a weekend touristy dress, it gives you a great taste of local daily life. While shoes, bags or clothes are unlikely to catch your eye, fruit and food stalls are a great source for exploration. There are jewellery stalls, too, some offering rather creative designs of silver pendants, rings and the like but do not expect the high quality as silver refers mostly to their colour, not the metal.