Where to stay
- Banyan Leaf Hotel, Taphul Village, Svaydangkum Commune; +855 63 967 968; banyanleafhotel.com. A pleasant three-star hotel located a mere ten-minute drive away from Angkor Wat.
- Bou Savy Guesthouse, Route 6 (Airport Rd) No. 261, Group 17, Khum Svay Dangkum; +855 63 964 967; www.bousavyguesthouse.com. A pleasant, comfortable bed and breakfast with top-notch service.
- Green Leaf Boutique Hotel, #24, Group 4, Vihear Chin Village, Svay Dangkum; +855 17 677 598; thegreenleafboutique.com. By booking a room here, you can help fund an orphanage and education programs for a local community. Although it’s near the Night Market and Pub Street, this Zen-like oasis is tucked in a quiet spot.
- Heritage Suites Hotel, Wat Polanka, Phum Slok Kram, Siem Reap, +855 63 969 100; heritagesuiteshotel.com. Located off a tiny side street and set in a colonial-style villa that’s surrounded by tropical walled gardens, this lush boutique retreat feels a world away from the crowds. Book a stay in a Bungalow Suite, which comes with floor-to-ceiling windows and perks such as a steam room, a free-standing bathtub and even an outdoor showers in a private garden.
- Khmer Cuisine Bed & Breakfast, River Rd; +855 63 963 728. A small and clean B&B which also rents out bikes to its guests.
- Saem Siemreap Hotel, Krom 6, Phoum Sala Kanseng, Sangkat Svay Dangkum; +855 63 763 711, www.saemsiemreaphotel.com. An elegant, four-star hotel decked out in classic Khmer furnishings. Amenities include an outdoor pool, a fitness center and a spa.
- Tasom Guesthouse, No. 268, National Rd No. 6; +855 63 964 970; www.tasom-guesthouse.com. A charming budget hotel that also offers tour services to attractions like Angkor Wat and Tonle Sap.
- The Aviary, 9, Street 168 Sivatha Rd; +855 63 767 876; theaviaryhotel.com. A modern 25-room boutique hotel in central Siem Reap with an avian theme — think a feather mural above the bed, and traditional birdcages sourced from Cambodia’s many craft villages. Rooms with balconies look out on to a turquoise, ground-floor pool.
Where to eat
- Amazon Angkor Restaurant, National Rd No. 6; +855 81 671 858. This restaurant, which serves Cambodian and international fare, holds traditional Apsara dance performances every evening.
- Armand’s the Bistro, 586 Tep Vong, Sangkat Svay Dangkum; +855 92 305 401; armandsbistro.com. This smart bistro serves up signature French dishes like bruschetta with anchovies, duck confit and tenderloin Rossini.
- Blue Pumpkin, Sivatha Rd; +855 63 968 898. Besides pastries and salads, this bakery also churns its own ice cream, in flavors like cinnamon and ginger.
- Chanrey Tree, Pokombo Ave; +855 63 767 997; www.chanreytree.com. Serves up authentic Khmer fare, like amok (fish curry steamed in a banana leaf) and beef lok lak (sliced beef tenderloin in garlic and pepper lime sauce), in a contemporary setting.
- Cuisine Wat Damnak, Wat Damnak village, Sala Kamreuk Commune; +855 77 347 762; www.cuisinewatdamnak.com. Head to Cambodia’s best restaurant (#43 on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016 list) for a taste of Khmer fine dining. A 6-course tasting menu will only set you back US$28. Reservations are essential.
- Genevieve’s Restaurant, Sok San Rd, +855 81 410 783. Offers both traditional Khmer and Western cuisine. Another plus — the restaurant offers a job-training program for at-risk locals. It’s usually packed during both lunch and dinner, so be sure to make reservations.
- Koulen Restaurant, Sivatha St; +855 92 630 090; www.koulenrestaurant.com. Watch various traditional Cambodian dances while enjoying an international dinner buffet.
- Le Malraux, Sivatha Rd; +855 63 966 041; www.le-malraux-siem-reap.com. Enjoy a taste of French-Khmer cuisine at this refined restaurant. The wok-sauteed beef lok lak is especially delicious!
- Marum, #8A, B Phum Slokram; +855 17 363 284, tree-alliance.org. An NGO-run restaurant that provides street youth with gainful employment. Sample the crisp and creamy silkworms with spicy green mango salad.
- Peace Café, River Rd; +855 63 965 210; www.peacecafeangkor.org. This vegetarian restaurant boasts a pleasant garden setting, making it the perfect place for lounging and lazing about after a long day at the temples. Suffering from a temple overload? The cafe also hosts meditation, yoga and cooking classes.
- Rohatt Café, Achar Sva St, King Rd; +855 93 888 500; rohattcafe.com. This café serves arguably the most authentic Khmer food in the city. Although its décor gives off a touristy vibe, what’s on the plate stays true to tradition. Highlights include green mango salad with smoked fish, grilled pork loin served with pickled papaya and peanut sauce, banana blossom salad with shredded duck, and pan-fried duck eggs with fermented fish.
- Temple Bar, Pub St; +855 12 234 565. Arguably the most popular nightclub in the city, with booming dance and R&B anthems, cheap libations, and free Apsara shows every evening.
- The Little Red Fox Espresso, 593 Hap Guan St; +855 16 669 724; facebook.com/thefoxespresso. This cozy, third-wave coffee spot has all the hallmarks of those famed Melbourne-style cafes — communal tables, a range of specialty coffees (there are even alcoholic infusions like espresso martinis!) and super-sociable staff.
- The Sugar Palm, Taphul Rd; +855 63 964 838. One of the fancier and more popular restaurants in Siem Reap for authentic Khmer fare, such as basil fish.
- The Yellow Sub, 9A The Lane; +855 88 665 5335; www.theyellow-sub.com. Go between 6 and 7pm any day to enjoy all drinks at half price. It also features several floors of Beatles memorabilia from the owner’s personal collection, a ping pong room, and a rooftop overlooking Pub Street.
What to do
- Angkor Archaeological Park. Commonly referred to as Angkor Wat (which is really the name of just one of the temples within the complex), this UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts scores of magnificent temples with incredibly intricate architecture. Opt for the three-day pass to fully take in the sights. Besides Angkor Wat, be sure to visit the stone faces and bas-relief scenes of Bayon temple, admire the centuries-old tree roots at Ta Prohm, and soak up sunset views at Phnom Bakheng.
- Angkor National Museum, 968 Charles De Gaulle Blvd; +855 63 966 601. A museum dedicated to the collection and preservation of artifacts from the Khmer Empire’s Angkor period (circa 9th to 14th centuries). Make a trip here before visiting the temples.
- CTN Angkor Arena, Charles De Gaulle, Road to Angkor Wat; +855 89 777 105. Head here for some thrilling kun khmer (traditional boxing) action.
- Frangipani Spa, 24 Hap Guan St; +855 12 982 062; frangipanisiemreap.com. The sports massage (US$35) at this charming, tranquil spa is sheer bliss, as is the 75-minute Gua Sha facial (US$66), which uses polished, cold jade stones to massage your face. Reservations via the spa’s website are recommended.
- Phare Circus, Lot A, Komay Rd; +855 92 225 320; www.pharecircus.org. Traditional tales are showcased through awe-inspiring stunts and emotive performances. The circus is made up of underprivileged Cambodian youth, so by purchasing a ticket, you’re helping to provide gainful employment to these young artists.
- Psar Chaa (Old Market), Psar Chaa Rd; +855 96 536 2222. Haggle for silks, paintings, wood carvings and other arts and crafts at this bustling market.
- Tonle Sap Lake. Take a boat tour of the lake, which is home a diverse community of people. You’ll see homes, shops and schools built on floating pavilions.
- War Museum Cambodia, Kaksekam Village, Sra Nge Commune; +855 97 457 8666. The only war museum in Cambodia, with an array of vehicles, artillery and weaponry on display. Interestingly, the museum’s guides are all war veterans.
- Wat Kesararam, National Highway 6. Also known as the Pagoda of the Cornflower Petals, this colorful temple houses various exhibits that detail the life of Buddha.