Siem Reap Activities

What to Do in Siem Reap

Situated near the famous temples of Angkor, Siem Reap has become a prosperous tourist town. But other than visiting the amazing Angkor temples, what else is there to do? Fortunately there are a myriad of activities you can enjoy in Siem Reap. From sports such as golf and cycling, to learning activities such as cooking and ceramics classes, to off-roading with dirt bikes and quads, to horseback riding, to bird watching, to enjoying a relaxing massage, the list goes on.

You can also visit floating villages, and help the local community by volunteering. There are activities suitable for all ages, and all interests. We have reviewed for you here just a few of the many interesting, educational, and fun activities available in Siem Reap.


Balloon Rides Above Angkor Wat

Balloon Rides above Angkor Wat

This is a tethered helium balloon near the world famous Angkor Wat. The big yellow balloon goes straight up for about 180m, and you get an altogether different and fantastic perspective of the magnificent temple ruins below. In addition to Angkor Wat, you can also see the Phnom Bakheng Temple, Bayon Temple, the West Baray, Siem Reap town, and the airport. The balloon operates from sunrise to sunset, but for obvious reasons it does not operate in the rain, or high winds.

Even people who don’t like heights, say it is an exciting and memorable ride. The sunrise and sunset flights are especially popular. The duration of the ride is about 10 mins. Do not forget to bring your camera!

Location: West of Angkor Wat on road to airport, 1Km west of Angkor Wat.
Tel: + 855 (0)12 520 810.
Tour Available: Angkor Balloon Tour

 

Golf in Siem Reap

With golf being available year round, Cambodia as a golfing destination is becoming more popular. Unlike other Southeast Asian countries, courses here are not crowded, and play can be more leisurely. While Cambodia is still not a top golfing destination in Asia, there are three international standard golf courses in Siem Reap alone. Golf tour packages combined with Angkor temple tours are very popular, and golf tour packages in Cambodia are offered by several tour agencies. Reviews of the three international golf courses in Siem Reap are provided below.

Angkor Golf Resort

Angkor Golf Resort

The 18 Holes golf course designed by Sir Nick Faldo is the first of its kind in Cambodia offering unparalleled standard of golf course and golf facilities. Constructed on a former paddy field; the 18 Holes course is a challenging 7279 yards, par 72 that is built to challenge all levels of golfers and has been rated by the US PGA. In 2008, Angkor Golf Resort voted as top three new courses in Asia by Asian Golf Monthly. Facilities include: pro shop, 300 yards grass range, practice putting green, halfway huts and restaurants.

Opening Hours: 06.30 hrs – 19.00 hrs.
Location: Kasekam Village, Sra Nga Commune, Siem Reap, Cambodia
5 Minutes drive from Siem Reap International Airport
10 Minutes drive Angkor Wat and Siem Reap city center.
Tel: +855(0) 637 67 688; +855(0) 637 67 689

Phokeethra Country Club

Phokeethra Country Club

Opened in early 2007, this was the first international 18-hole golf course in Siem Reap. It is a par 72 course managed by the five-star Sofitel Royal Angkor Golf & Spa Resort, and hosts the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open as part of the Asian Tour.

It is a challenging 7145 yard course designed by V Golf Design, and an interesting feature is the 11th Century Roluh Bridge between the 9th green and 10th tee. Facilities include a putting green, pitching area, driving range, pro-shop and restaurant. Clubhouse open from 06:00 to 19:00. Course open from 06:30 to 19:00.

Location: National Route 6, Pouk District, 23 km from Siem Reap.
Tel: +855 (0)63 964 600, +855 (0)12 882 882, +855 (0)97 655 4411.

Siem Reap Lake Resort Golf Club

Established in 2009, this 18-hole, par 72 golf course, is the newest addition to the Cambodian golfing scene. It was designed by Kentaro Sato, and developed by the Korean KTC Leisure Company. Facilities at the course include restaurants, a resort, Jacuzzi, and a Private Dining Room. The hazards make it a very challenging course, but the fairways are wide and flat and the greens are large, which makes it playable by both beginners and pros alike. Planned expansion includes luxury villas, a hotel, a water park, and a horse racing track.

Location: About 25 min. drive from Siem Reap on road to Phnom Penh, in Tronpaingrun Village.
Tel: +855 (0)63 967 114.

Classes & Instruction

Khmer Ceramics & Fine Arts Center

They offer 2-hour classes where you can learn the ancient art of Khmer pottery. You are guided by Khmer potters, and no experience is necessary to create your own ceramic work of art. They will deliver your fired and glazed masterpiece to your place in Siem Reap within 24 hours. Free pick up from your hotel. Read More...

Opening Hours: 08:00 – 19:30.
Location: Charles de Gaulle Rd. (on the road to Angkor Wat).
Tel: +855 (0)63 210 004, +855 (0)17 843 014.

Silk Painting

This class is also offered by Artisans d’Angkor. Students learn how to mix colors, and how to paint a modern, or traditional Cambodian scene. The artisan also teaches painting techniques so students can make their own designs for craft projects.

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 08:00, 10:30, and 14:00. Each class lasts 2 hours.
Location: Artisans d’Angkor Silk Farm, Hwy. No, 6, Puok District.
Remarks: Lessons are by reservation only. Contact for availability.
Tel: +855 (0)63 767 018, +855 (0)12 222 404.
Price Range: US$20 per person.

Silk Weaving

Offered by Artisans d’Angkor, the lesson teaches how to weave silk cloth using silk produced at their own silk farm. The class features pre-warped looms, ready for weaving, and individual instruction by a master weaver. Student’s woven Pieces can be taken as a souvenir.

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 08:00, 10:30, and 14:00. Each class lasts 2 hours.
Location: Artisans d’Angkor Silk Farm, Hwy. No, 6, Puok District.
Remarks: Lessons are by reservation only. Contact for availability.
Tel: +855 (0)63 767 018, +855 (0)12 222 404.
Price Range: US$20 per person.

Stone Carving

Learn the ancient art of stone carving from expert carvers. This half-day learning experience takes you to a stone and wood carving workshop about 2km out of Siem Reap. You have a personal stone carving lesson, and then you can take your stone carving work of art with you. Tour and lesson starts at 09:00, and lasts about 3 hours.

Location: The River Garden.
Tel: +855 (0)63 963 400.

 

Khmer Cooking Classes

Many non-Khmer, visitors and expats alike, enjoy Khmer food. It is generally not spicy like other Southeast Asian cuisine, and home cooked Khmer food is quite delicious.

Therefore, taking cooking lessons to learn how to prepare authentic Khmer dishes are popular here. Several hotels and restaurants offer such cooking classes, and we have reviewed a few of them here.

Alliance Art Cafe

Alliance Art Cafe

The lesson starts with a trip to a local market to learn about locally grown herbs, spices, exotic fruit and vegetables. You prepare dishes such as banana blossom salad, chicken with sugar palm and pineapple, and ripe banana with coconut milk and sesame. The Khmer chef teaches tried and tested recipes that you can share friends and family. Group sizes are between two and six people, and lessons last three hours.

Location: Alliance Cafe kitchen, Wat Damnak, 7 Makara Street.
Tel: +855 (0)63 964 940.

Le Tigre de Papier

Classes start at 10am, 1pm, and 5pm, and each class lasts for 4 hours. It starts with a shopping trip to a local market for local ingredients. Students can choose from dishes on the restaurant’s Khmer menu. At the end of the class, participants eat what they have made. They also offer vegetarian cooking.

Location: 2nd floor of the restaurant, Pub Street.
Tel: +855 (0)63 760 930.

Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa

Duration of the class is 4 hours, and there are three different set menus to choose from. The class starts with a trip to a local market with the chef to buy ingredients. After the class, students sample what they have prepared with glass of wine. Lessons can start at any time, but reservations need to be made 1 day in advance. The minimum number of students is 2, to a maximum of 10.

Location: Hotel kitchen.
Tel: +855 (0)63 760 428.

Yoga & Meditation

This type of exercise and relaxation has become popular in Siem Reap in the last few years. Classes are attended not only by visitors, and expats, but also by Khmer students. Two places that offer yoga and meditation classes are described here.

Peace Cafe

Hatha Yoga classes are offered on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday. The times for the Mon. and Wed. class are 17:30 to 19:00, the Sun. Class is from 09:0 to 10:30. There is a fee for the class, and students must bring their own mat.

Location: Upstairs room at Peace Cafe, off of Wat Bo Rd.
Tel: +855 (0)92 177 127, +855 (0)77 894 656.

Villa Shanti

A guesthouse and yoga and meditation centre, they offer Kundalini Yoga & meditation classes, morning Yoga and breakfast, and temple meditation. They also have astrology reading and fortune telling. Regular classes offered during high season only (Sept. to April). Classes on request during low season. There is a fee for all classes.

Location: North of Hwy. No. 6, and west of the Angkor National Museum.
Tel: +855 (0)63 969 060.

Helicopter Flights above Siem Reap

There are currently two helicopter companies operating in Cambodia. They both offer a wide range of services, including scenic flights over the Angkor Temples.

For those who like flying, this is a unique and exciting way to see the famous temples of Angkor, the more remote temples, and sweeping countryside vistas.

Helicopters Cambodia

Helicopters Cambodia

Services: scenic flights, multiple landing temple trips, charter flights, aerial photography, aerial survey, medical evacuation, and corporate air service. Bases and offices in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

Location: 658 Hup Guan Street.
Tel: +855 (0)12 814 500, +855 (0)63 963 316.

Helistar Cambodia

Scenic flights, multiple landing temple trips, charter flights, VIP flights, Mineral Exploration and Mining Support, VIP and Hotel Transfers, Medevac Flights, Aerial Filming and Photography, Agricultural Concession Surveys and Support. Bases and offices in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

Location: Borey Angkor Shopping Arcade, National Hwy. 6
Tel: +855 (0)12 449 555, +855 (0)63 966 072.

Horseback Riding

Happy Ranch Horse Farm

The Happy Ranch Horse Farm is an international-standard horse riding stable that offers one-to-four-hour countryside rides through villages, rice fields and to Buddhist pagodas on Cambodian horses and ponies. It’s a good way of getting an inside look at Cambodian life, quietly exploring remote areas on well-trained horses. The western-style saddles are imported from England and safety helmets are provided. You can also book a cart ride through local villages. Open from sunrise to sunset.

Opening Hours: Sunrise to sunset.
Location: Approx. 2km west of Siem Reap center.
Tel: +855 (0)12 920 002, +855 (0)16 920 002, +855 (0)11 920 002.

Cycling

Cycling, both off-road cycling and on-road bicycling, has become very popular in Siem Reap. There are many places, including guesthouses and travel agencies, that now have regular bicycles and mountain bikes, or trail bikes for rent. It is of course, not only good exercise, but also a great way to see the countryside and to get to know the people living here. Many visitors bicycle around town, and cycling tours to the Angkor temples are very popular. However, where ever and whenever you cycle, always be sure to wear a helmet.

Tour Available: Angkor Active Cycling Tour

Off Road Adventures

In the past several years, all types of off-roading has become very popular in Siem Reap. This is mainly because of the nice countryside around Siem Reap, and also because of the many remote ancient Angkor temples in the area. Of course the remote temples can be reached by van, but for some people, its much more exciting and adventurous to go off-road. There are companies that offer dirt bike, quad bike, and buggy tours.

Quad Adventure Cambodia

Quad discovery tours brings you to places where time seems to have passed without changing the people’s traditional way of living. The quad bikes are specially designed off-road vehicles that cope with all kinds of terrain. After clear instructions and practice, you will go for an unforgettable experience amongst rice fields and traditional villages led by experienced guides. Free pick up and drop off at hotel.

Location: South of Wat Damnak.
Tel: +855 (0)17 784 727, +855 (0)92 787 216.

Flomo Adventure Tours

Flomo Adventure Tours

They offer buggy tours (a kind of dune buggy) to off-road and dirt road locations around Siem Reap. They have four different types of tours, and some of the places they go to include: The Baray, a silk farm, Tonle Sap Lake and Floating Village, Kulen Mountian, Beng Mealea Temple, Kbal Spean, and a sunset tour. Trips are from half day to all day. They speak English and French.

Location: South of Tep Vong St., near ANZ Bank.
Tel: +855 (0)63 964 586, +855 (0)85 584 154.

 

Spa & Massage

As in most tourist destinations in southeast Asia, spa and massage is big business in Siem Reap. Establishments range from the large and luxurious, to the small and not so luxurious. All large hotels, and most medium sized hotels, offer some form of in-house spa and massage service. There are a great many of the small massage places almost everywhere you go in town. We have reviewed some of the more upscale spas for you.

Bodia Spa

A large and luxurious spa, they offer a variety treatments for individuals and couples. Prices match the luxuriousness. Reservations are advised. 
Services: Beauty treatments, waxing, floral bath, jacuzzi, steam bath, private harmony room.
Traditional Massage: reflexology, head-back & shoulder massage, acupressure, slimming massage.
Aromatherapy: eucalyptus, rosemary, ginger, ylang-ylang. 
Body Treatments: body wraps, jasmine rice scrub, aromatic salt scrub, grape seed scrub.
Facial Treatments: firming & whitening, vitamin facial, facial for men.
Packages: relaxation treatment, silk & cocoon, natural exotic wrap, tropical moisturizing, etc.

Opening Hours: 10:00 to 12 midnight.
Location: On side street around the corner from U-Care Pharmacy.
Tel: +855 (0)63 761 593.

Body Tune

A large, 2-storey spa near the Old Market, it was one of the first luxury spas in Siem Reap. Even though it is a deluxe spa, prices are quite reasonable.
Services Offered: pedicure, manicure.
Massage: hand massage, reflexology, Thai massage, oil massage, aromatic oil massage
Facial & Body: detox facial scrub, detox body scrub, after-sun facial.

Opening Hours: 10:00 to 22:30.
Location: Pokambor Street, north of the Old Market.
Tel: +855 (0)63 764 141.

Fish Massage

Just in the last year or so, these so-called “Fish Massage” stands have proliferated in Siem Reap, and there are now many such large fish tanks out on the sidewalk. They are also variously called “Dr. Fish”, “Fish Pedicure” and so on. Customers sit on the edge of the fish tank, and dangle their legs in the water, and the small fish eat the dead skin on their feet. It is not expensive (maybe $1), and some places offer the first treatment free. It doesn’t hurt, but there have been questions raised as to the sanitary conditions of such a treatment.

Frangipani

This is an unpretentious and aesthetically appointed spa with a calm and relaxing atmosphere. Reservations are recommended. 
Massage Therapy: tropical massage, Aromatherapy massage, sports massage, stone massage, anti-cellulite massage, four hands massage, foot reflexology
Facial Treatments: tropical facial, aromatic facial, purifying facial, etc.
Body Treatments: aromatic salt scrub, coffee scrub, pepper scrub, jasmine rice scrub, herbal scrub, seaweed scrub, cocoa & coffee slimming, etc.
Waxing, Herbal bath, Manicure, Pedicure, Package treatments

Opening Hours: 10:00 to 22:00.
Location: 615/617 Hup Guan St.
Tel: +855 (0)63 964 391, +855 (0)12 982 062.

Lemongrass Garden

A small but tastefully decorated spa offering a range of beauty and massage services. 
Beauty: waxing, facial, body scrub, herbal compress, manicure, pedicure
Massage: Khmer massage, oil massage, healing touch, Cosmic connection, spiritual journey.

Opening Hours: 11:00 to 12 midnight.
Location: Sivatha Blvd., south of Siem Reap Night Market.
Tel: +855 (0)12 387 385.

Volunteer Activities

In the past several years, volunteer tourism has become increasingly popular among old and young alike. It can make a holiday or vacation worthwhile and rewarding, knowing that you are helping the people in the community you are visiting. It is also a great way to get to know local people and local culture.

There are some 3,000 NGOs (international and local) operating in Cambodia, and many travel companies offer different types of volunteer tours. Most of these tours involve volunteer language teaching, but volunteers can also build classrooms and kitchens for orphanages, dig wells, teach art, provide health care, etc. Volunteer tours can be quite expensive, and unfortunately, not all volunteer tours or activities are well organized, and in some cases, volunteers can be frustrated, and not well utilized.

A few NGOs in Siem Reap that accept volunteers are listed below. However this listing does not imply endorsement, and those considering a volunteer tour are advised to investigate the tour operator and the NGO they will be working with.

Children and Development Organization (CDO)

This is a small NGO with a big heart. They are an orphanage, and currently provide full-time care for 27 children. While some of the children there are actual orphans, most of the children have been abandoned, or abused. The long-range goal of CDO is to buy land in the village where many of the children come from, and build a community center to provide education and health care to the village. Visitors are always welcome, but please call first to arrange your visit (08:00 to 18:00).

Donations needed: Food, medical supplies, toys, funding.
Volunteer skills needed: Teachers (English), Web Design, Administration, Childcare, Education, Health & Nutrition, Construction.
Volunteer Length: One day to three months.

Location: Road to Tonle Sap Lake.
Tel: +855(0)12 622 548 (English), +855(0)92 373 767 (Khmer).

Chres Village School and Orphanage (SOCPLSDO)

They provide care for 49 orphans living at the facility, and hold classes for some 500 day students who come to study. They have language classes (English, Chinese, Japanese), computer classes, and hotel and restaurant training.

Donations needed: Food, School supplies, funding.
Volunteer skills needed: Teachers (English, Chinese, Japanese, computer), Health & Nutrition, Construction.
Volunteer Length: Minimum 2 weeks.

Location: Chres Village, Kandek Commune, Bakong District (outside of Siem Reap).
Tel: +855(0)12 336 207, +855(0)97 733 6207.

Grace House Community Centre

Grace House Community Centre

The focus of this NGO is mainly on education, and they provide English classes, and basic education for some 250 children, as well as adult literacy classes. Vocational training includes market gardening, weaving, electrical installation, and sustainable energy. Assistance is also provided to villages to install water pumps, and water filters. They can assist volunteers in finding accommodation. Visitors welcome from 08:00 – 11:00 & 13:00 to 16:00.
Volunteer skills needed: Teachers (English), Electricians, Health Care & Nursing professionals.
Volunteer Length: One week to three months.

Location: Road to Tonle Sap Lake, approx. 4kms south of Siem Reap.
Tel: +855(0)63 639 2168, +855(0)92 207 852.

Osmose

This is an NGO that helps support the floating communities of Prek Toal, Peak Kanteil, and other communities of the Tonle Sap Lake. They help protect the environment through ecotourism, community development, and environmental education. They established the Saray water hyacinth weaving project, and they offer trips to the bird sanctuary, and overnight in the Prek Toal floating village. All income is shared by the village for development and education.

Location: Street 27 (between Wat Bo Rd. and Achar Sva St,).
Tel: +855 (0)12 832 812, +855 (0)63 674 5000.

Pure! For Kids

Pure! For Kids

They operate a an educational and training centre about 10km outside of Siem Reap, and they focus on small local projects. The PURE Dream Centre has English classes, hygiene workshops, computer classes, and sports. So children learn a range of skills. They also work with local schools, daycare centers, and medical clinics.

Note: They do not accept walk-in volunteers. All volunteers are thoroughly screened and provided with training. Office hours 09:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday.
Volunteer skills needed: English teachers, medical care, social support.
Volunteer Length: Minimum 4 weeks.

Location: 640 Hup Guan St., near the Angkor Hospital for Children.
Tel: +855(0)89 706 411, +855(0)97 968 6230.

Other Activities

Home Stay

A good way to get to know and experience the local people and the local culture is to stay in a village home with a Khmer family. Village home stays are available for individuals, couples, and families, and can be for one night to a week. There are many different kinds of home stay and tour packages, but most feature some kind of work with the village, cooking Khmer food, playing with the kids, traditional dancing, and weaving & woodcarving workshops.

With an authentic home stay you will be living with a Khmer family, and the accommodation will be very basic. There won’t be any hot showers, air conditioning, or inside bathrooms, and you will sleep on the floor under mosquito netting, A home stay can be a rewarding and eye-opening experience to see how people in another culture live, but it may not be for everyone.

A portion of the profits from village home stays usually go back to the community to help alleviate poverty, providing employment, and to improve community facilities.

Sky Venture

Sky Venture

For real thrill seekers, you can see the ancient temples from the air in a microlight, a small light aircraft, similar to a hang glider but powered by a propeller. They offer four different flights (2 temple flights, Tonle Sap flight, and Roluos Group flight).

Location: National Hwy. No. 6, 5km east of Siem Reap.
Tel: +855 (0)77 602 912, +855 (0)17 678 533.

Tara Boat

This 80 year old riverboat, anchored on the Tonle Sap Lake, used to ply between Vietnam and Cambodia. In the dry season when the water level is low, the floating village of Chong Khneas migrates out to where the Tara Boat is anchored. They offer floating village tours, sunset tours, Kompong Phluk and flooded forest tours, Prek Toal tours, etc. Floating village tours include the Gecko Center, and crocodile/fish farms. All tours include meals and unlimited drinks. You can relax and watch a beautiful sunset from the upper deck while sipping your favorite beverage. They provide English speaking guides, and free pick-up from hotel or guesthouse.

Location: Tonle Sap Lake.
Tel: +855 (0)92 957 765, +855 (0)97 968 9060.

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Siem Reap is the closest city to Angkor Wat and has a lot to offer in a matter of excursions. From an exciting balloon tour above Angkor to a visit to the flooded forest... Read More...

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