Walking Tour of Siem Reap Town
Take a break from the physical challenges of exploring Angkor's vast stone ruins and explore the colorful frontier town of Siem Reap. There is plenty to see, do and eat around Siem Reap. Do not miss Psar Chas, the French Colonial old market, local crafts workshops, and interesting museums. Little Siem Reap has plenty to keep you busy!
Your guide will collect you after breakfast and help you plan your itinerary for the day. Select from some of the following suggested sights and activities to customize a day-long program with your local guide. We always try to steer our guests away from any obvious tourist traps, although you may enjoy visiting the Crocodile Farm or the Zoo for their funky Barnum and Bailey overtones>
Here's what we suggest...
Angkor Museum. The museum is filled with artifacts that are, well... fake. Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so nothing can be moved, so the museum improvises in order to provide a great orientation an history. They also have a good film that will help you understand what you will see in situ later.
The Angkor Panorama Museum is a mind-blower that displays gigantic tableaus of of life during the time of the Khmer Empire, battles scenes, village life, and the construction of Angkor's major monuments. The museum is the product of a huge art studio in North Korea. Hundreds of artists painted scenery on the museum's walls.
Siem Reap has always been like a wild frontier town with dusty streets, colorful characters and all-night saloons (including several gay nightlife emporiums). The town now has ATMs and three traffic lights, but somehow manages to hold onto its unique personality. To see Angkor but miss Siem Reap itself makes a visit incomplete. This day trip is available only to guests using one of our all-inclusive packages.
The Angkor Conservancy is an expansive storage compound for damaged or threatened artifacts that have been removed for their safety. Basically, outside the National Museum in Phnom Penh, this is the best place to view authentic Khmer carvings. Your guide may be able to arrange for you to enter the private storage building for a small additional fee, but even a walk around the grounds of the Conservancy is a worthwhile experience. Even though many items are in disrepair, they retain the patina of centuries of weathering and nature's colorful palette of moss and lichen.
Artisans D'Angkor is a self-supporting arts and crafts school that also operates a high-end shop in town. Its a chance to watch young men and women learning the carving and decorating skills of their ancestors. In addition, they have perhaps the nicest boutique shop in Siem Reap where you can pick up your own linga among other high quality crafts. Artisans D'Angkor also have a similarly well-done silk school and workshop which is a twenty minute drive outside town.
For slice-of-life shopping, avoid the tourist market and its beggars and opt instead to visit Siem Reap's bustling Old Market. A vast selection of common goods for Cambodian daily life are for sale here. Stalls feature hand-made religious offerings fashioned from gold and silver paper, rainbow hued flags and banners, endless aisles of shoes, clothes, jewelry and ceramics. Fresh-baked breads and savory street food are in abundance.
A Taste of Cambodia. There are a plenty of restaurants in Siem Reap. Although most have a one-meal-town mentality, some are truly great. You can find everything from awesome pizza, to outstanding Indian food and the creations of Michelin-starred chefs.