When we think of Siem Reap, we think of a gateway-city to the beautiful temples of Angkor. But after a day or three visiting one of the world’s most famous archeological site, what’s left to do? Heaps, I say. Famous for its Pub St and 0.50 cents beers, Siem Reap and its surroundings has a lot more to offer than temples and parties. Here are 4 activities that’ll make your time in SR even better.
Koh Ker and Beng Mealea temples
If you are big fans of temples in ruin, these bad boys will work like a charm for you. Located at approximately two hours from Siem Reap, Koh Ker and Beng Mealea are skipped by the majority of tourists. Therefore, you can expect a really chilled visit almost by yourself with a private guide. The passes for the temples are $15 per person but the cost of the tour with car, guide, water and snacks is $70. To make it cheaper, you can always rent a scooter (between $10 and $15 a day) and do it on your own.
Traditional Khmer cooking class
Learning how to cook traditional Asian food with the right vegetables and spices was on our bucket list for this trip. A rainy morning in Siem Reap felt like the perfect opportunity to take a cooking class at Le Tigre de Papier in the centre of the city. This three-hour workshop for $15 included a visit to the local market, a 3-course meal making and of course the degustation at the restaurant. On the menu: fresh spring rolls and papaya salad for the entrees, Amok fish and Loc Lac Beef for the mains and a fried banana and coconut desert. Plus, you get to take all the leftovers with you for dinner. Such a win!
Yoga class or retreat
Because of its scenery and ambiant spirituality, Siem Reap is the perfect place to work on your yoga and meditation practice. Ahimsa Yoga Academy offers really good one-hour yoga classes on a rooftop three times a day for $8 a session. However, if you have a little more time to spare, I would highly recommend the Hariharalaya Yoga and Meditation Centre for a six-day retreat approximately 40 minutes away from the city. The retreat including accomodation, vegan and organic meals, two classes a day plus many workshops and activities costs between $260 and $350 which is extremely cheap compared to many other places. In this case, lower price doesn’t rhyme with lower quality and this retreat is definitely the highlight of my trip so far. Be prepared for a fire celebration, an ecstatic dance night and silent meditation times. It’s so worth it.
This one is for the party people out there. I personally didn’t attend this cruise organised by the Mad Monkey Hostel as I was being all healthy and stuff at my yoga retreat but, as according to the video below, Josh seemed to have a really good time there!