As home to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap is considered Cambodia’s cultural hub, with plenty for visitors to do. Try some of the 10 best cultural activities in Temple Town.
The expansive Tonle Sap Lake is home to a series of floating villages that can be visited by tourists. Kampong Phluk is one of the more popular and is even home to a handful of homestays. Various tour companies organise day trips to the site from Siem Reap centre, where visitors can explore the flooded forests, sail past floating shops (depending on the time of the year), community halls and houses and meet the people who call Kampong Phluk home.
Situated close to Siem Reap’s Old Market, or Phsar Chas, Wat Damnak is a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city. The colourful manicured gardens boast a bounty of shrines, statues and carvings, with the collection of intricate buildings that sit inside the pagoda all well maintained. The temple itself can be visited and the site is also home to a library crammed full of more books than any of the country’s public libraries.
Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB) provides a place for rescued wildlife to rehabilitate before being released back into their natural habitat. Their spacious outdoor centre in Banteay Srei offers daily tours to guests, who can learn about their work and the species they have rescued, often from the clutches of the illegal wildlife trade. Animals include pleated gibbons, slow loris, silvered langur and pangolins.
Enjoy dinner while watching a traditional a show that takes in the graceful classical Cambodian dance of apsara at Apsara Theatre Restaurant. Set in a grand wooden pavilion styled to resemble a temple, dancers, singers and musicians bring to life ancient Cambodian tales while guests feast on a Khmer banquet. This tends to be a popular option with larger tour groups and can get full.
Situated on the way to Angkor Wat, Angkor National Museum is home to a swathe of artefacts that pay testament to Khmer civilisation and the Angkor Empire. Exhibits include the Funan and Chenla eras – which pre-dated Angkor – Angkor Wat, Khmer kings and Angkor Thom. Displays are also categorised by era, religion and royalty.