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May 17 2018

Siem Reap – Lonely Planet

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Siem Reap

$105 Cultural Theme Tours

Angkor Temples Small-Group Tour

On this full-day tour from Siem Reap, you’ll be awestruck by the grandeur of the temples of the Angkor region. You’ll visit Angkor Wat, the masterpiece of the Khmer empire with a vast moat and reflection pools. Wander through the galleries and admire the large bas-reliefs (carvings) depicting scenes of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. At the Bayon, be captivated by the temple’s smiling stone faces, radiating in all directions from the towers above. Discover the ancient history of the war between the Khmer and Cham from the detailed bas-reliefs that are interspersed with everyday life scenes like cockfighting, shopping at the market and childbirth.Travel through the South Gate of Angkor Thom, where 54 gods and demons line the road in a cosmic tug of war, then enjoy a local lunch near Sras Srang. Finish the day with a stop at the picturesque Ta Prohm, where Apsaras peek out from doorways and tree roots are laced around the ruins, creating a magical atmosphere.

$88.74 Private Custom Tours

Private Tour: Angkor Wat and The Royal Temples Full-Day Tour from Siem Reap

After hotel pickup by air-conditioned vehicle, your private tour of the Angkor temple complex starts at the South Gate of Angkor Thom City, where 54 demons line the road. Not far from Siem Reap, the UNESCO-listed archeological park includes countless remains from the 9th to the 15th centuries built by the former Khmer Empire. Just let your private guide know your specific interests so he or she can include them in your flexible itinerary.First, explore the Bayon, the centerpiece of the ancient walled city, known for its decorative Khmer temple. Your guide points out distinctive features such as the more than 200 serene and massive stone faces that tower around the central peak. Your informative tour continues at the Baphuon, a three-tiered temple built in the mid-11th century and fully restored in 2011. Originally dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, it was converted to a Buddhist temple in the late 15th century. You’ll spend approximately two hours in Angkor Thom, including the Royal Enclosure and Phimeanakas as well as the Terrace of Elephants and Terrace of Leper Kings. Then enjoy lunch in front of the majestic Angkor Wat before entering this magnificent temple, easily the most famous and best-preserved of all structures within the complex. Spend most of the afternoon meandering with your guide through this architectural masterpiece, unrivaled in its beauty. Built in the 12th century, the Khmer ceremonial structure is believed to have functioned as a funerary temple for King Suryavarman II. Take a look at the enormous moat and reflection pools, and wander through the galleries to find an astounding array of ornate bas-reliefs (carvings) that depict scenes from the Hindu epic, the Ramayana.Afterward, you’ll be transported by private vehicle back to your hotel in Siem Reap.

$45 Cruises, Sailing Water Tours

Tonle Sap Cruise Small-Group Tour

Travel by remork (tuk-tuk) through the outskirts of Siem Reap to the Tonle Sap Lake. Board your boat and cruise through Tonle Sap, observing life on the lake as you travel past floating fishing villages that have their own schools, shops, hospitals and even crocodile farms!The lake is home to rare and endangered water birds and is unique for its flow of water, which changes direction twice a year. With the change in seasons, the lake has the ability to expand and shrink dramatically. At the height of the wet season, the lake can be more than 7,400 square miles (12,000 square kilometers) and provides half of the fish supply for Cambodia. On the return journey to Siem Reap, take the back roads into town and get a glimpse of daily rural activities, such as rice planting and harvesting, duck farming, and making the popular but smelly fish paste. Stop at a local Buddhist temple, chat with the villagers and try the local snacks.

$45 Cultural Theme Tours

Angkor Temples Bike Tour from Siem Reap

Begin your full-day tour at a bike shop in Siem Reap, where you’ll meet your small group and get fitted with your quality mountain bike and helmet. Then, follow your experienced guide on a small road alongside the river until you reach Angkor Archaeological Park. At the gate, you can purchase an Angkor Pass for admission to the UNESCO World Heritage site.Your first stop is the amazing Angkor Wat, a monumental temple among myriad ruins built by the former Khmer Empire during the 9th to the 15th centuries. Admire the reflection pools and galleries showcasing elements of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. After stopping for refreshments, cycle the main circuit road to Angkor Thom, riding past 54 sculptured gods and demons, and then spend the rest of the day on charming, quiet trails around more majestic structures in the ancient walled city. Take time to visit Bayon Temple, famous for its 200 or so stone faces, and explore the Terrace of the Elephants while lunch is prepared.After you devour tasty Khmer dishes, ride with your guide to Ta Prohm, commonly known as the jungle temple, with tree roots attempting to reclaim the ruins. Stand in awe of the otherworldly atmosphere as you take advantage of numerous photo ops.Departing the Angkor complex, hop back on your bike to follow a red dirt road and several small paths back to Siem Reap, pedaling through local villages in the countryside until you arrive at your starting point by late afternoon.Please note: This bike tour covers a distance of approximately 15–18 miles (25–30 km). The ride is mostly on flat paths and small roads without hills, with some small dirt trails unsuitable for beginning riders.

$85 Cultural Theme Tours

Angkor Sunrise Discovery Bike Tour

Start your full-day tour with an early morning pickup from your hotel in Siem Reap, and purchase an Angkor Pass upon entry to the archaeological park. You’ll meet the rest of your small group at the iconic Angkor Wat, where your guide will pick out the perfect spot to watch the dawn break. If the weather cooperates, watch the sun rise behind the monumental temple to provide the most stunning of silhouettes. Even in the wet season, this is a magical time to see Angkor.As the early crowds thin, take an unforgettable walk through the temple, where the morning light and cool temperatures present Angkor Wat at its best. After your guide provides an overview of Angkor, get fitted with your quality mountain bike and helmet for a short ride to breakfast, provided just outside the temple area in peaceful surroundings.After a delicious breakfast spread, the rest of your day is spent riding around hidden back trails past ruins in the Angkor complex. With your guide, visit some of the best kept secrets and premier sites including the Bayon, Ta Prom and the Elephant Terrace. As the day heats up, stop for lunch by a small reservoir called Sra Srang, enjoying delectable dishes of Khmer cuisine. Then return to Siem Reap by minivan, with drop-off at your hotel in the afternoon.Note: This bike tour covers a distance of approximately 15–18 miles (25–30 km). The ride is mostly on flat paths and small roads without hills, with some small dirt trails unsuitable for beginning riders.

$48 Food, Wine Nightlife

Siem Reap Street Food Evening Tour

Stemming from a culture at least 3,000 years old, Khmer cuisine is one of the oldest in the world. Siem Reap’s street food is influenced by Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese and French techniques to form a style and flavor profile that is uniquely Cambodian.After hotel pickup, start your evening with a ride on a remork-moto, a common form of transportation in Siem Reap. You’ll zip through the streets, heading off the tourist trail and straight into local street food culture. Your knowledgeable guide will uncover hidden treasures and recommend local snacks, such as yellow bean cake or Khmer rice cake. Enjoy a tasting of unique seasonal fruits grown in and around Siem Reap, like the purple kiwi-like dragon fruit, tiny (but sweet) pineapple and the stinky king of all fruit – the mighty durian! Your guide will point out the spices and other ingredients featured in local food, and explain traditional remedies used for medicine.Continue to a popular picnic spot where food stalls get set up in the early evening and sell a multitude of interesting snacks. As you wander around with your small group, you might see Siem Reap delicacies like fried tarantulas (usually enjoyed with a cold beer) and fried crickets, which taste like potato chips – try them!You’ll have a variety of mouthwatering dishes to choose from, including barbecued meat on skewers, Khmer fried chicken, duck eggs, green mango served with chili and salt, and deliciously sweet purple mangosteen. Be sure to save room to try more local delicacies at a restaurant before your final stop at a dessert stall, where fruit shakes, baked pudding and fruit with sweet condensed milk will awaken your taste buds! (One bottled water, fruit shake or beer is included in your tour.) After dinner, you’ll have the option to be transferred to your hotel or end your Siem Reap food tour at Pub Street – a convenient spot that’s perfect for exploring local bar and café life for a great night out.

Siem Reap photo credits

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