Siem Reap Five Day Best Itinerary (Travel Guide)
Despite the tumultuous past that the people in Cambodia experienced in the late 1970s, the Khmer people emerged stronger and more determined in being a peaceful country. They have embraced a welcoming spirit and adventurous in their explorations.
The spirit of the people is bound by traditions, religion, and nature while making use of the exotic natural vegetations. They are friendly, and visitors are greeted with warm curiosity everywhere especially in the countryside where the people never fail to make you feel at home in the slow-paced lifestyle.
Cambodia is not only home to Angkor Wat, but the country is known for its vast heritage. This has also made the country into one of the largest tourist attractions in the world. If you are planning a five day trip to Cambodia, this 5-day itinerary will ensure that you experience the best of Cambodia without missing any of the fun.
- Day 1: Pub Street
Dedicate the first day of your tour to experiencing the street life which is known for its bustling activities. And the best way to do that would be to take a direct flight from Singapore to Siem Reap and head over to Pub Street. The location stays true to its name, and the wisest thing would be to check in to a hotel near Pub Street or within the vicinity to get the most out of it.
Pub Street is one of the famous nightlife attraction in the street have many hotels where you can put up for the night. These hotels range from $20 to $70 or more.
Take some time to explore the city and take it as an opportunity to learn the culture of the people. With the freedom to do what one wants, you can let your inner adventurer out and head into a pub that also serves some delicious Cambodian cuisine. A lover of travel connects with a new place through its cuisine and food is the one way to meet and connect with people.
Some recommended dishes are Amok which is fish that is cooked in a yellow coconut curry. For curry lovers, apart from Amok, Red Khmer curry is an exquisite blend of spices that either has fish, beef or chicken. And for those who are looking for a wholesome meal, Lok Lak is a stir-fry meat dish that is served with rice. Drown all of these delicious meals with some beer which comes pretty cheap too. And if you are still feeling up to it, visit the shops and markets to take home some souvenirs.
Pub Street is famous for street food. There are so many varieties of dishes you can try. From skewered scorpions to the famous matcha pudding, the list is endless. You can also relax on the street bars and enjoy a few local or international brews to give you a good night sleep and prepare for the next days' adventures.
- Day 2: Angkor Complex
Yes, everyone knows the Angkor Wat. But what people are hardly aware of is the fact that it is just one of the many temples that are located in that very location. The Angkor Complex consists of some 50 temples sprawled over an impressive 400 square kilometers. If temples are your thing, then you cannot miss the second day of your itinerary!
Visiting the Angkor Complex requires a visitor to obtain a pass, and they come in different categories depending on the number of days that a person is planning to visit the complex. A one day pass costs 37 USD, a three-day pass costs 62 USD, and a seven-day pass costs 72 USD. The prices are pretty reasonable for a willingly priceless experience.
If you are on a tight schedule or you are following this 5-day itinerary, it’s obvious that you will be on a one-day schedule for visiting the Angkor Complex. Therefore, the one-day pass will take a visitor to the most famous temples, and they are the Ta Phrom, Bayon and not to worry, the Angkor Wat itself is included in the pass as well.
If you are planning to visit the Angkor Complex, we suggest that you start the day earlier than usual. You can arrange for a Tuk Tuk to pick you from your hotel at around 4.30 am so that you catch the beautiful sunrise on the way as well. The good thing about visiting the Angkor Complex is that no pre-booking of the passes is necessary. One can practically walk in and get a pass for a day well-spent in the temples.
Starting out early places the visitor at an advantage as the best view of the sunrise can be caught from the Angkor Wat. Its silhouette from the lake which feels like pure bliss. As you know what they say, an early bird catches the worm!
The Bayon Temple is also known as ‘the temple of the many faces’ as it has 216 faces carved out on the exterior of the temple. Still looking for the perfect selfie? How about one with all of those faces?
For fans of Tomb Raider, the Ta Prohm will be the ultimate temple to visit as the temple is featured in the movie. The most distinctive feature of the Ta Prohm is the huge magnificent roots that are tangling out from the ruins. It makes a person genuinely feel appreciative of nature and its beauty.
While you explore, you can also drop by at the Chez Sophie, Angkor Halal Restaurant or the Mie Café for casual lunch or dinner. These places serve cocktails, local cuisine and some typical western cuisine in beautiful traditional and modern settings to keep you occupied for the rest of the evening.
- Day 3: Kampong Phluk Village and Floating Forest
Day 3 will be dedicated to observing the lifestyle of the Cambodians and will offer an opportunity to experience the heart of Cambodian culture. The Kampong Phluk Village is located on the Tonle Sap Lake literally. All the houses are built on stilts and painted in vibrant colors which make it a picturesque view. The Kampong Phluk village is just a short drive away from Siem Reap so you must take a boat to get to the village. These boats are available for hire at $20 for the whole day!
This is a village that is far from the urban lifestyle to which most people are accustomed to. It offers a fresh perspective to those who are desperate to get away from the hustle and noise of city life. You can relax in the floating houses and enjoy fresh seafood caught right before your eyes or hideaway in the natural spas.
The villagers earn their livelihood from fishing, and their source of water is drawn from the lake itself. The root of Cambodian life can be experienced here, and one would genuinely walk out of there wiser and refreshed.
Visitors also have the option of opting for a mangrove tour which is a boating tour around the Floating Forest. The Floating Forest is something out of a fairytale book, and one may suspect that there may be little elves around! This tour cannot be missed while you are in Siem Reap!
At the end of the day, you can enjoy some Cambodian BBQ at the docks. The BBQ is unlike what you have ever eaten. Most of the foods are accompanied by exquisite sauces locally prepared from the organic ingredients derived from the surroundings! If you are with a partner, the sunset cannot get more romantic than this, as the view is magnificent when it sets down the horizon of the lake! To wind the day, you can settle in the cafes on stilts and enjoy a few beers overlooking the mesmerizing lake and sunset.
- Day 4: ATV Ride, Zipline, and Phare Circus
By day for, you must be accustomed to the people and the surroundings. After taking in the lush vegetation and days of relaxing, it is time to explore the more exciting and adventurous side of Siem Reap.
Unlike the traditional and ancient places you have seen, dedicate Day4 to experience the modern twist among the familiar place. There are activities such as Zip-lining and ATV to explore the vast beauty of the site.
You can book your Zipline pass from the Angkor complex. The price can be quite hefty, but the experience is worth it. If you have never tried Zipline, don’t be scared. There will be two professionals to assist you throughout the way. There are different packages offered by various agencies, and you can choose among nine platforms.
Exploring the city on foot or public services can be exhausting, but with an ATV, you can ride through the towns and villages at a steady pace. Not only is ATV riding through the lush green paddy fields and forest an exhilarating experience, but you will also get a better view of the areas around you.
After all those activities, you can spend the evening relaxing at the famous Phare Circus. This art school has students who perform 365 days a year. The performance varies from theatrical dance and circus that tells spell-binding stories. By buying tickets, refreshments, and merchandise from here, you will also be contributing towards the free training and education of the students at Battambang.
Since the place is almost always crowded on the weekends, make sure you book your tickets ahead if you want a comfortable seat with a good view. You can end the day by dining in little chic French restaurants or the Phare Café for scrumptious local food.
- Day 5: Koh Ker Temples and Beng Melea
A stay in Siem Reap will not be complete without a trip to the Koh Ker Temples. It is a three hours drive from Siem Reap so you will have to start early. After some heavy breakfast, you can hire a taxi to take you the colossal sculptures and Lingas.
King Jayavarman IV built these temples in 928 to 944 AD, and they hold the pride of the Khmer people. You can take beautiful pictures of the 30meters high pyramid temple. You will be fascinated by the quiet and peaceful environment of such a beautiful sight with so less crowd.
You can spend the day leisurely exploring the numerous temples (there are over 100). You can take your time climbing the temples and enjoy the serene view of the historical site and the lush green forest that surrounds it. The ruins have been de-mined but make sure you are careful not to wander off without assistance.
From there, you can go to Prasat Beng Mealea which is also an extensive ruin of the Angkor Wat. The massive ruins are overgrown with tree roots and moss, but they serve as a memory of the proud history of the Angkor Wat. It gives out an eerie experience, but the walk through these ruins will also enlighten you about the advanced civilization that once existed.
On your way back to Siem Reap, you can check out the local markets and explore the variety of food that these people eat. You can also try some unusual food at the Bugs Café where they serve items such as tarantulas, spiders, scorpions, and grasshoppers.
If that is too much, you can wind the night some of the best restaurants that offer Khmer food such as the Charney Trees, Yellow Mango Café or Cuisine Wat Damnak for authentic local dishes. Sometime choosing the best authentic coffees can be hard to choose but Berm Berm Coffees which is truly a modern Cambodian coffeeshop only serve the best local coffee beans at the very most affordable price, sure to check them out.
Traveling in Cambodia is very comfortable even with a tight budget. The transportation, the food, and the accommodations are all very affordable as are extras like outdoor activities, drinks, and massages, drinks.
Lunch and dinner at an inexpensive restaurant can be covered by $4 to $12. Hiring a Tuk Tuk for the whole day cost about $7 to $14, while they wait for you to stop anywhere without extra charges. If you want to hire an air-conditioned taxi, you can do so at a reasonable $30-$40 for the whole day!
However, since tourists are flooding the place throughout the year, make sure you have a certified guide to help you navigate through the city and learn about the real history of one of the world’s most treasured places.