3 days in Siem Reap can keep even the most intrepid traveler astonished with the variety of Siem Reap attractions on hand, but #1 on everyone’s list for what to do in Siem Reap is undeniably unforgettable Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1992. Angkor Wat was originally constructed as a Hindu temple by the Khmer Empire, and then gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century.
The list of superlatives for Angkor Wat is almost as long as the list of choices for what to do in Siem Reap, with about 50 Buddhist and Hindu temples within its grounds displaying Khmer genius that is matched by only a few select spots on the planet. The World Heritage site is vast and seeing most of it would require a bit more than 3 days in Siem Reap, but a few of the top must-see temples definitely includes the namesake Angkor Wat, built by Suryavarman II (r 1112–52). This inspiring monument is surrounded by a massive moat and, stretching around the central temple complex, 800 meters of bas-reliefs. Rising 55 meters above them all is the central tower so majestically depicted in countless photographs.
Other extraordinary temple complexes within the Angkor Wat UNESCO site include Angkor Thom and the mysterious smiling faces of the 12th-century Bayon. Its 54 Gothic towers are decorated with 216 gargantuan and mesmerizing smiling faces of Avalokiteshvara, all embellished with more than 11,000 figurines of extraordinary bas-reliefs. Cloaked in dense jungle, Bayon is still shrouded in mystery – such as its exact function and symbolism – which seems appropriate for its enigmatic smiling faces who seem to be pondering what to do in Siem Reap next!
Ta Prohm, the ‘Tomb Raider Temple’, is comprised of crumbling towers and walls that are locked in place with vast ancient root systems. Unlike the other monuments of Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm has been swallowed by the jungle and looks pretty much the way most of the monuments appeared when European explorers first found them. One of the most famous Siem Reap attractions in Ta Prohm is the so-called ‘Tomb Raider tree’, where Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft picked a jasmine flower before disappearing into the earth.
Angkorian art reached its apex at Banteay Srei, which is cut from pink colored stone and includes some of the finest stone carving anywhere on Earth. Inscriptions found at the site date Banteay Srei to AD 967, and though it is one of the smallest sites at Angkor Wat, the Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva is magnificently well preserved, with many three-dimensional carvings.
Deciding what to do in Siem Reap is never difficult at Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Resort, discover the wonders of these astonishing monuments with one of our private temple tours, tailored to your wishes. With full or half day tours exploring the Angkor complex, our knowledgeable local guides and drivers will keep you informed and refreshed with cold towels, water and box lunches in your vehicle as marvel in these magnificent ancient sites. Your lunch options will include a selection of French, Khmer or Western cuisines showcasing our signature passion for fine food.
After a long day of playing Indiana Jones around Angkor’s iconic temples, pamper yourself with an exclusive Khmer massage at Sofitel Spa, followed by a Lemongrass Martini at the Explorer’s Tales Bar. At Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Resort we excel at showing you what to do in Siem Reap with French sophistication and yesteryear refinement right at the doorstep of Angkor Wat!
DAY 2 –> Disconnect with Kompong Phlouk and Kompong Khheang
Siem Reap attractions aren’t confined to Angkor Wat’s 162 hectares, the Angkor region is rich in culture, so on Day 2 of your 3 Days in Siem Reap, extend your horizons with a visit some Siem Reap attractions of a different sort, the floating villages of Kompong Phlouk and Kompong Khleang.
Kompong Khleang is a traditional Khmer floating village located 30 km from Siem Reap and accessible by private boat. Discover Kompong Khleang’s tall stilted houses, floating hospital, traditional fishery and tranquil lifestyle in Kompong Khleang’s natural landscape of flooded Mangrove forests on the vast Tonle Sap Lake. Kampong Khleang is one of the most popular Siem Reap attractions and is also probably the most authentic floating village. Allow our concierge service to help you plan what to do in Siem Reap and get you there by boat for a pleasant day outing.
Experience another rural side of Cambodia with a tour of Kompong Phlouk floating village, with a scenic drive through small yet beautiful villages and rice paddies. Kompong Phlouk means “Harbor of the Tusks”, and Kompong Phlouk depends mostly on fishing, which the 3,000 people of Kompong Phlouk do during the wet season (May – October).
Learn how Kompong Phlouk and Kompong Khleang work and what the people’s daily routines are like, as well as discover how they’ve built Kompong Phlouk and Kompong Khleang to adapt to the changing seasons. In Siem Reap what to do is always adventurous and educational!
DAY 3 –> Time for Shopping in Siem Reap
Shopping in Siem Reap is an absolute delight, so with your 3 days in Siem Reap coming to a close,spend the last one exploring and shopping in Siem Reap! Check out the Siem Reap Night Markets and countless other colorful venues by some of the world’s most talented artisans to experience some of the best shopping in Siem Reap. Here are just a few of the exceptional artisans working in the Angkor Wat region.
In Siem Reap what to do on a shopping day can start with a quick stop at Artisans D’Angkor for some souvenirs like silk accessories and stone carvings. Artisans D’Angkor operates on the belief that it is possible to revive ancient Cambodian arts & crafts while improving the lives of people in rural areas by being committed to the preservation of Cambodia’s cultural legacy.
Soieries du Mékong has proven that what to do in Siem Reap for local women is to draw on their talents as Cambodian weavers. Their exceptional technical skills, combined with French elegance, the scarves are designed in Paris, make Soieries du Mékong scarves fashion pieces of rare finesse and beauty, each one entirely hand woven. Soieries du Mékong aims to develop skills in rural areas and offer women sustainable employment so that their families can remain in their home areas. They focus on developing and passing on the skilful, time-honored craft of weaving silk by hand on traditional looms. You are invited to discover them at our Sofitel boutique or at their shop at Kandal Village.
Eric Stocker is a French lacquer master who settled in Siem Reap with his brother Thierry and decided that, for them, what to do in Siem Reap was to make the finest items with natural lacquer. The Stocker Studio employs deaf Cambodians to create outstanding decorative items. Their workshop exudes exclusive art de vivre with its Cambodian natural lacquers and textures.
As day turns into evening, the workshops and boutiques close for the day and the focus for what to do in Siem Reap changes to the bustling Siem Reap night markets. On this stage just keep in mind there is not just one Siem Reap night market. Siem Reap has several souvenir and Siem Reap night markets to stroll around in and hunt for cheap souvenirs to take home. Each Siem Reap night market has its own specialty, the Made in Cambodia Market is an artisan’s market selling a wide range of locally produced products, such as clothes, bags and accessories. The Siem Reap Art Center Market is a Siem Reap night market for local arts and crafts such as silk, handicrafts and crocodile leather. The Angkor Night Market is the biggest Siem Reap night market, with a wide variety of things to see, do, eat and enjoy.
If you’re ready for a mid-day break from shopping in Siem Reap, don’t fret over what to do in Siem Reap, just indulge in our signature High Tea at the Explorer’s Tales Bar before heading back out for the Siem Reap night markets. Our chef and his team serve freshly prepared finger sandwiches, a delectable selection of mini cakes and macaroons to accompany our fine selection of teas. We also offer a Khmer High Tea, with tasty local delicacies such as fried fishcakes, cucumber & mango rolls, and poached rice dumplings. Enjoy our afternoon High Tea, daily from 3pm to 5pm, and relax after shopping in Siem Reap or before the bustling Siem Reap night markets in a peaceful, refined setting.
At the conclusion of your stay, indulge yourself with a body wrap or facial at Sofitel Spa, then enjoy a majestic performance with traditional Cambodian dance while delighting in the wonderful world of Khmer cuisine. Savor moonlit Khmer cuisine at our Royal Court while watching a passionate traditional dance performance, the exclusive Apsara Dance Show at our Royal Court restaurant is the perfect way to end 3 days in Siem Reap.
At Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa we can make shopping in Siem Reap easy for you with our very own and very chic on-site boutique, but for those who want to step out and take in some Siem Reap attractions while doing their shopping in Siem Reap, our concierge team is at your disposal to help you organize your day. From the best Siem Reap night markets and must-see Angkor Wat sites to the hippest night spots and our unparalleled Sofitel Spa, our caring concierge has the best tips in town for what to do in Siem Reap and the most interesting Siem Reap attractions to help you make the most of your stay at Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa.