Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia is easily one travel bucket list for many but I tell you, the place is definitely more than just temple run. Often being regarded as a mere stopover point to its neighboring countries, spending some time here is a worthy pursuit.
“Where are you headed after?”, this is the question we usually got from the people we met when we visited Siem Reap – from our hostel administrators to our tuk-tuk drivers/guides. They thought we will only last a day or so as that is what travelers usually do especially those exploring the entire Indochina leg. It may be a bit surprising when we say we prepared some 3 days Siem Reap itinerary. To say that we had fun is an understatement because we had an amazing time with the place that everything passed by so quickly we wished we can stay longer.
- 1 About Siem Reap, Cambodia
- 2 3 Days Siem Reap, Cambodia Itinerary
- 2.1 Day 0: ETA in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- 2.2 Day 1: Angkor Wat Sunrise + Small Circuit Tour + Phare Cambodian Circus
- 2.3 Day 2: Angkor Grand Circuit/Big Circuit + Banteay Srei Tour + Angkor Night Market + Pub Street
- 2.4 Day 3: Kompong Phluk Floating Village + Siem Reap City Tour
- 3 Siem Reap, Cambodia Tour
- 4 Where to Stay in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- 5 Siem Reap 3 Days and 2 Nights Summary of Expense
About Siem Reap, Cambodia
Where is Cambodia? Located in Southeast Asia, it is bordering Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. You may ask, is Cambodia safe? Not only is it safe but the people are wonderful, too. Generally warm all year round, weather in Cambodia consists of dry (October to April) and wet season (May to September). If you want to travel on a cooler climate, best time to visit is between November to February. Khmer Riel (KHR) is the national currency of Cambodia but USD is widely accepted. Khmer is the spoken language. Buddhism is the official religion while a fewer number of the population practices Islam and Christianity.
Siem Reap is sometimes mistaken as the capital of Cambodia, but it’s not (Phnom Penh is the capital). Popular in itself, it serves as the country’s main tourist hub. It houses the most stunning temples of Cambodia, one of which is the ever famous Angkor Wat. But wait, there’s more! If you are looking for Siem Reap attractions and/or things to do, you will not be disappointed. Depending on your interests, you can get a varied set of activities to try.
3 Days Siem Reap, Cambodia Itinerary
Here’s a sample itinerary to explore Siem Reap for 3 days.
Day 0: ETA in Siem Reap, Cambodia
If you already have a booked accommodations or any tour package, you can coordinate with them to pick you up at the airport. Depending on where you are staying, travel time is usually around 20 to 30 minutes.
Day 1: Angkor Wat Sunrise + Small Circuit Tour + Phare Cambodian Circus
If you have very limited time, visiting the temples in Siem Reap is the way to go. And do you know that you can even get a 7-day temple pass? For the temple enthusiasts, this really is temple run. From the famous Angkor Wat tour to the notable Ta Prohm featured in Tomb Raider movie, other temples worth visiting are Banteay Srei and Angkor Thom.
Angkor Pass is needed to explore the temples and sites inside the Angkor Archaeological Park. It can only be purchased at the Angkor Ticket Office. The entrance ticket can be paid in cash or by credit card. Passes are sold in one-day ($37), three-day ($62), and seven-day ($72) pass that must be used on consecutive days.
Angkor Ticket Office – Address: Corner of Apsara Road and Road 60, Opening Hours: 4.30AM – 5PM everyday, Phone: +855 63 965 414
Small Circuit Tour
Whether it’s the sunrise or sunset, the Angkor Wat is surely majestic. For travelers who only have limited time to spend in Siem Reap, like a day or two, the Small Circuit tour is the way to go as it consists of the most legendary monuments in the Angkor Archaeological Park including the must-see Angkor Wat.
The Small Circuit consists of the following temples:
- Angkor Wat
- Angkor Thom (Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas , the Terrace of the Elephants, and the Terrace of the Leper King)
- Chau Say Tevoda
- Ta Keo
- Ta Prohm
- Banteay Kdei
- Srah Srang
- Prasat Kravan
Phare Cambodian Circus
End the day watching the highly recommended Phare Cambodian Circus. The show is definitely more than just acrobatics. This is one of the best shows I’ve seen – ever. All the raved reviews you can find out there are true to the very last word. The Phare Cambodian Circus is nothing less than spectacular. It is comprised of flawless acrobatics, theater,and unique musicality.
Tip: It’s recommended to pair watching Phare with Small Circuit tour than the Grand Circuit + Banteay Srei tour so you’ll have just enough time to be at the show venue. Note that they are very strict, they don’t allow guests to enter once the show already started for safety purposes.
Day 2: Angkor Grand Circuit/Big Circuit + Banteay Srei Tour + Angkor Night Market + Pub Street
To continue your temple hopping, proceed with the Angkor Grand Circuit tour.
Grand Circuit Tour
The Grand Circuit consists of the following temples:
- Preah Khan
- Neak Pean
- Ta Som
- East Mebon
- Pre Rup
After the Grand Circuit, you may opt to explore Banteay Srei, an impressive 10th century Cambodian temple, that is 20km from the main Angkor complex (travel time is around 30-40 minutes).
Angkor Night Market
If you still got some energy, spend the rest of the night roaming around nearby markets for really affordable goods.
Situated just next to Angkor Night Market, nightlife in Cambodia is very much alive at Pub Street. Aside from the exotic food you can try here, grab a bottle of Anglor beer for just a dollar.
Day 3: Kompong Phluk Floating Village + Siem Reap City Tour
Kompong Phluk Floating Village
For a unique experience, spend the morning exploring the Kompong Phluk Floating Village and see how some of the locals do their day-to-day activities while living on stilts.
After visiting Kompong Phluk Floating Village, discover the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, the Tonle Sap Lake. Here you can try riding a small canoe around the flooded mangrove forest.
Siem Reap City Tour
For your few remaining hours left, go around the city and see some of Siem Reap’s temple and shrines like Wat Preah Prom Rat, Wat Kesararam, and Preah Ang Chek Preah Ang Chom. Quickly visit the Killing Fields as well. You can also get a glimpse of the Royal Palace.
Siem Reap, Cambodia Tour
For convenience, we availed a tour from Jija Sim (for 2.5 days), a tuktuk driver and guide. He’s a very knowledgeable guide and he speaks good English. He even picked and dropped us to and from the airport for free. He also bought us fresh buko juice because he wanted to repay us for sharing lunch with him. And there’s more! He volunteered to bring us to the Phare Cambodian Circus which is around 30 minutes away from our hostel without asking additional charge (he even waited for one hour until the show was finished). And did I mention that he’s an amazing photographer? You can’t definitely ask for more.
P.S. It was really cool touring around with tuktuk.
Siem Reap Tours with Tuktuk c/o Jija Sim
Small Circuit with Sunrise Tour – 20USD
Big Circuit with Banteay Srei- 20USD
Siem Reap Half Day City Tour – 15USD
Note: Maximum of 4 pax for all tours above. Inclusive of unlimited cold water and cold towels.
Where to Stay in Siem Reap, Cambodia
For a modern and cozy yet affordable accommodation, stay at Unity Hostel. There are a lot of inexpensive restaurants and stores around them.Unity Hostel accepts only cash (USD or Khmer riel). Also, Art Night Market is less than a minute away – you just cross the road. You can even walk to Angkor Night and Pub Street for around 15 minutes.
Unity Hostel – Address: 01-13 Phum Wat Damnak, Sangkat Sala Kamroeuk, Siem Reap, Cambodia, Whatsapp: +85512832877
Siem Reap 3 Days and 2 Nights Summary of Expense
Restaurants in the Angkor Archaeological Park are pretty expensive (lunch for 4 pax costed around USD35). Angkor Pass and Phare – Cambodian Circus admission fee are also not that cheap but they are really worth it.
Below is how much you will spend approximately if you follow the itinerary above.