Siem Reap is a dream destination for many travelers, made famous by the iconic Angkor Archaeological Park. Spend your days wandering through the ancient temples, take a cultural tour to a floating village, and enjoy a drink and a traditional Khmer meal at Pub Street.
This 3 day Siem Reap itinerary will help you to make the most of your time in this lovely village in Cambodia! With so many things to do in Siem Reap, following a travel guide will simplify your trip planning and make sure you include the most important Siem Reap activities into your schedule.
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3 day Siem Reap itinerary
This post was written by Delilah Hart, a Kiwi making her way across the world, one country at a time. She’s the founder of Our Travel Mix and an avid writer and adventurer.
Siem Reap 3 day itinerary
Siem Reap travel itinerary
- Day 1: Stroll around Siem Reap Town, the Old Market, Artisans Angkor, visit the Angkor National Museum, watch the sunset from Phnom Bakheng, and walk around the Siem Reap night market.
- Day 2: Explore Angkor Archaeological Park, have a massage, walk around Pub Street.
- Day 3: Visit a floating village, take a cooking class, watch an Apsara dance performance.
Important things to know when planning a trip to Siem Reap
Cambodia boasts a tropical climate, like many other Southeast Asian countries. There are two monsoon seasons; the northeast monsoon season from December to April, and the southwest monsoon season from May to November. The latter is the one to avoid, with high humidity and abundant rain.
December and January are the drier months, but also the busiest for tourism. To avoid the crowds, travel from February to April.
Although Riel is the official currency for Cambodia, US dollars are widely used. US dollars are dispensed at ATM’s and you can pay for purchases in either currency, change that is less than $1 USD will be given in Riel.
Click here for the current Riel exchange rates, which are around 4.400 KHR to 1 EUR.
Just remember that Riel is a non-convertible currency outside of the country so be sure to use all your Riel before leaving Cambodia.
The chances are, you will need a visa for Cambodia. The following countries are exempt from requiring a visa in Cambodia: Brunei, Seychelles, and Thailand for up to 14 days; Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam for up to 30 days.
For a 30-day Visa On Arrival (VOA), make sure to carry $30 USD and a passport photo when arriving at the airport. The process is very straight-forward, but waiting times can be long depending on the number of arrivals at the airport.
You may also be eligible to complete an eVisa instead. If you are eligible, a 30-day eVisa will cost $37 USD. Read more information at the official Cambodia Government Website.
How do I get around Siem Reap?
Siem Reap Town itself is walkable, which makes it easy to get around on foot.
Ride-sharing apps have become increasingly popular in recent years. They’re super convenient, just download the app, type in your destination, and a driver will meet you where you are. Grab and Gojek are amongst the most popular apps in Southeast Asia and are very useful for short trips.
For day tours, such as Angkor Archaeological Park and the floating villages, travelers tend to hire a tuk-tuk to get from Siem Reap to Angkor Wat.
For confident riders, cycling to the top tourist destinations is also a viable option. Many cycling tours are also available if you prefer to travel as part of a group.
What to do in Siem Reap in 3 days
Siem Reap itinerary: day 1
Explore Siem Reap Town
Siem Reap Town has much to offer! It’s a town rich in culture and you’ll find no shortage of authentic Khmer cuisine, arts and crafts, and traditional markets.
Spend at least half a day exploring the town. Head to the Old Market in the morning to experience local life in Siem Reap. Vendors sell fresh produce, and you’ll be greeted by the aromas of fresh herbs and spices.
Artisans Angkor is another great place to check out when exploring the town. The handicraft workshop displays locally-made works of art including textiles, jewellery, and silkwear.
If you’re looking for authentic and delectable Cambodian dishes, Chae Ngek, located in the heart of the town is a good choice for lunch. I loved the food so much that dining there became almost a daily occurrence! Be sure to try one of their curries.
Visit Angkor National Museum
Angkor National Museum is a great place to visit prior to going to Angkor Wat and the rest of the park. The museum explores the Khmer Kingdom era and you’ll learn a lot about the Khmer culture.
The museum is located around two kilometers from the city center, so to beat the afternoon heat, take a short tuk-tuk ride to the museum.
Tickets are $12 USD, with an additional $3 USD charge for the audio guide (which I highly recommend). Alternatively, book your ticket online, this includes a hotel pick-up.
Watch the sunset from Phnom Bakheng
What many people don’t know is that Angkor Archaeological Park is free after 5:30 pm. Head to the Angkor Pass Ticket Counters after 5 pm and buy your one-day pass for the next day. This should cost you $37 USD.
You’ll need to show your ticket to the staff member at the entrance to the park, but they won’t clip your ticket after 5:30 pm.
Phnom Bakheng is one of the best spots to watch the sunset. It’s a 20-minute walk to the top, but the path is shaded and the temperature is cooler in the evening.
Dine and shop at one of the Siem Reap Night Markets
As the sun goes down, Siem Reap comes to life with their night markets. Even though the town is small, there are actually quite a few night markets located within walking distance. Simply stroll from one to the next as you sample food and shop for souvenirs.
Markets open from around 4 pm or 5 pm. My favorite market is the Siem Reap Art Centre Night Market. The canvas paintings are vibrant and unique, if only I could have fitted some in my suitcase!
If you’re a foodie, consider joining one of the popular food tours where a local guide will introduce you to Cambodian delicacies and snacks.
Then head home for an early night as the next day will be an early one if you’re planning to watch the sunrise at Angkor Archaeological Park.
Siem Reap itinerary: day 2
Explore Angkor Archaeological Park
Walking around Angkor Archaeological Park was on the top of my bucket list for Southeast Asia, and it definitely lived up to its expectations.
Watching the sunrise from Angkor Wat is the most popular thing to do in the park. The bright sunrise with the silhouetted Angkor Wat in the foreground is a sight to behold.
I cannot stress it enough, but getting there early will make a world of difference. Leave at 4:30 am to get to the front row, at the edge of the lake overlooking Angkor Wat.
Make an effort not to sleep in an extra 10 minutes, as you’ll end up standing behind many people. Even though it’s super early, there will be hundreds of people also wanting to watch the sunrise.
It’ll be pitch black when you arrive, so turn on your phone torch and follow the other tourists making the way to the sunrise spot, then patiently wait for the sun to rise.
After that, stroll through Angkor Wat and complete either the short loop or long loop. The short loop is more popular for one-day pass holders as it includes Ta Prohm, also known as the Tomb Raider temple. It’s amazing to see the trees embedded into the walls of the temple.
Another important benefit of starting the day early is the temperature. By midday, the heat is almost too much without the shade of your tuk-tuk in between viewing the temples.
Starting at 4:30 means you’ll have completed either the short or long circuits of Angkor by 1 pm when the sun starts to get quite harsh.
Relax with a massage
Touring the temples for the day at Angkor comes with a lot of walking. You’ll surprise yourself with how many steps you do!
I visited Angkor Archaeological Park on a three-day pass. Each day I had walked over 10 kilometres, needless to say, my feet were sore afterward and a foot massage seemed like the perfect option to relax.
An excellent way to recover is with a traditional foot massage or even a full body massage, to relax your tired muscles after climbing the steep steps of Angkor’s temples. You’ll see many massage parlors in Siem Reap town.
If you opt to stay at the Golden Temple Retreat (more information can be found further on in the post), you can enjoy a massage at your own accommodation.
Have a drink at Pub Street
Pub Street is the happening area in Siem Reap. The street is filled with bars and eateries to suit all travellers. There are more high-end eateries suitable for wine-ing and dining, but there are also street stalls selling anything and everything, hipster bars with live music, and nightclubs for the backpackers or partiers.
My pick for Pub Street is Angkor What? Bar. They have live music in the evening as well as tasty cocktails and a cold beer.
Siem Reap itinerary: day 3
Take a tour to a Floating Village
Floating villages are present all around Southeast Asia, and Siem Reap is a great place to visit one due to its proximity to the massive Tonle Sap Lake.
Floating villages have quickly gained recognition in tourism, meaning the more popular villages tend to have lost sight of their authenticity in an attempt to make money through tourism.
For this reason, I would recommend visiting Kampong Phluk or Kampong Khleang instead of the ever-popular Chong Kneas. Take a half-day tour to one of these villages to experience a different way of life.
Take a cooking class
Before travelling to Cambodia, I’ll admit I had never tried their cuisine, nor did I know much about it.
One of my favorite things to do when I travel to new countries is to learn how to cook their cuisines, so I can experience a little bit of that country when I have returned home. Cooking classes are an excellent way to learn how to cook a country’s signature dishes.
Classes are available all around the city and can easily be booked online as well. The afternoon is a good time to take a course as it’s generally too hot to be outside in the sun anyway.
Watch an Apsara dance performance
End your time in Siem Reap by watching a traditional dance performance. Apsara is the Cambodian ballet dating back hundreds of years. The leader of the dance is the spirit or Apsara who is dressed in white and leads her subordinates dressed in colored skirts.
There are a few places that showcase an Apsara dance performance. They typically occur during the evening and include a gourmet dinner. Read more information here.
Another excellent way to spend your last night in Siem Reap is to watch the Phare Circus, Cambodia’s version of Cirque du Soleil.
Where to stay in Siem Reap
On a budget (less than $20): Overflow Guesthouse
Overflow Guesthouse is a good budget place to stay in Siem Reap. Rooms are spacious with comfortable beds, a small fridge, and free mineral water. The hotel staff is friendly and happy to arrange an Angkor Wat tuk-tuk tour for you.
There is a swimming pool and free bikes available, which make it easy to cycle to town (about 10 minutes by bike).
Check prices on Agoda (not available on Booking)
Medium budget (less than $60 a night): Khmer Mansion Boutique Hotel
One of the benefits of traveling in Southeast Asia is that you can get so much value for money when it comes to accommodation.
The Khmer Mansion Boutique Hotel is no exception, where else in the world can you find a lovely 4-star hotel with a beautiful swimming pool for less than $60 a night?
Besides the nicely decorated rooms and excellent location, what sets this boutique hotel apart is the dedicated staff who go out of their way to accommodate their guests.
Luxury hotel ($100+): Golden Temple Retreat
There is no better place to relax after a busy day of sightseeing in Siem Reap than the Golden Temple Retreat. From the beautiful outdoor swimming pool to the spacious suites with king-size beds, to the exceptional staff and superb breakfast, you will surely enjoy your stay here.
As you can expect from a 5-star hotel, there are many additional services. Some of these are complimentary (such as a two-way airport transfer), others require an additional charge (such as access to the spa and wellness center).
Altogether, the Golden Temple Retreat is a wonderful luxury hotel in Siem Reap that will make your time in Siem Reap even more memorable.
Itinerary for Siem Reap: in conclusion
I hope this 3 days itinerary in Siem Reap will help you plan your trip! Let me know if you have any questions, you can leave a comment below or send me a message.
Read more about Cambodia here:
This post was updated in December 2020.