Siem Reap, Cambodia has been growing as a popular south east Asia destination among visitors and this list of 8 things to do in Siem Reap (besides the Angkor Wat temples) is a prime example of why that is. From world-class hotels to romantic cafes overlooking the local architecture, there's more to this destination than just Angkor Wat.
8 things to do in Siem Reap (besides Angkor Wat)
Khmer Tonics Spa
This small oasis of relaxation luxury is hidden within the Shinta Mani Angkor hotel and stands out for its exceptional service, use of local ingredients for massage oils and beauty products as well as the beautiful environment you experience when visiting. The Shinta Mani signature treatment (60 min massage) was one of the best I've experienced all over the world! The experience is made by a combination of all the small details. The gorgeous private bath & shower room, the pre-massage flower petal foot bath and the exceptional Khmer massage techniques used make this a must thing to do in Siem Reap to relax and unwind.
Reservations in advance are recommended, which you can do via email or calling the spa directly. More on the spa & available treatments on their website.
Cambodian cooking class out in the village
Perfect for when it gets just that bit too hot, this cooking class is a great way to learn more about the Cambodian people and their culture. You'll be picked up from your hotel and driven out to a local home about 10 minutes outside of Siem Reap. When you get there you can choose 4 local dishes to cook and take a tour of all the local goodies growing in the families garden. After your cooking session, sit down and enjoy your meal with new friends made during the class.
Depending on the time of day you choose for the class, you'll also stop by a local market to find out more about how the locals purchase ingredients for their homes and see it all first hand.
The Khmer Cooking Class at a Local's Home with Market Tour can be booked through our favourite platform for cooking classes called cookly.me.
Stay at the Shinta Mani Angkor
This property is located in the French Quarter of Siem Reap, putting you close to many of the attractions on this list. Designed by legendary hotel designer Bill Bensley, this quiet oasis is just perfect for anyone looking to come home to quality service, a relaxing atmosphere and recharge after taking on all the things to do in Siem Reap.
The main hotel is made up of 2 buildings across from each other and has a variety of beautifully designed rooms to choose from. Guests can use both incredible pools within the property and enjoy breakfast at either of the buildings' restaurants, so it's nice to get to change it up during your stay.
If you want to treat yourself (and I highly recommend you do!) you can choose to stay in one of their premium 2-storey villas complete with private pool, outdoor shower & butler service.
Shinta Mani also has a unique property up in the jungle of northern Cambodia called Shinta Mani Wild which you can add onto your stay to explore more of this unique country.
The Shinta Mani experience in Cambodia, featuring 3 nights in Siem Reap followed by 4 nights in the jungle.
Siem Reap certainly surprised us with how many stylish cafes there are to choose from and Footprint Cafe was one of our faves. The great food, coffee and a relaxing library style seating makes for a great escape from the hot city outside when you're looking for something to do in Siem Reap. In addition to that, this cafe brand has established quite the reputation for its significant work in the local community, giving 100% of their net profits back to the local community and setting the bar for social enterprises in SE Asia.
The Sugar Palm
Exploring the local cuisine is another thing to do in Siem Reap that you can't miss! The Sugar Palm restaurant and cocktail bar is known for their unique Cambodian architecture as you'll be having dinner in an old house, surrounded by beautifully finished dark wood and shutters. The food here is wonderful and the experience is made even better by the perfectly crafted cocktails the bar serves!
The Lotus Farm
A true hidden gem of Siem Reap, the Lotus Farm by Samatoa makes SUCH a great 1/2 day trip/activity. Grab a taxi about 15 minutes out of town and you'll quickly find yourself surrounded by growing lotus and beautiful scenery. The Lotus Farm is free to enter and provides a quick tour of how the local community grows, harvests and transforms every part of the lotus flower into food, tea, clothing and home textiles. The top floor of the building has a gorgeous wrap around outdoor space & cafe that boasts views over the surrounding area and a seating space to sit and take in the views of untouched Cambodia.
One of the newest parts of Siem Reap, Kandal Village is located in the French Quarter part of Siem Reap. The few quaint streets here have been developed with cute boutiques that sell locally made clothing, home goods and artwork. You'll also find cafes here with greenery filled outdoor seating that give a Bali yet somehow European feel.
The Little Red Fox Espresso
Lastly, but certainly a must activity to do in Siem Reap is visiting this Espresso cafe. Once you're done walking around & shopping in Kandal Village, grab your caffeine fix on the second floor balcony of this coffee shop. In addition to coffee favourites, they serve their own unique take on beverages that are inspired by local Cambodian ingredients like their lemongrass & ginger latte and have great food options too!