The Best 5 Day Siem Reap Itinerary

Cambodia has got to be one of my favourite countries, and Siem Reap is a big part of why. I know what you might be thinking right now. Siem Reap is that place that has Angkor Wat. Which, yes, is correct. But Siem Reap is so much more than that.

Looking past the once in a lifetime experience that is visiting the temples of Angkor, there is so much beauty and so much culture. There is good food and cheap drinks.

The people are some of the friendliest you will find. It is truly so much more than just Angkor Wat, and although this might be your main reason for visiting Siem Reap, I’m here to convince you to stay just a little longer to experience more of what this beautiful place has to offer (can I also convince you to visit Cambodia’s secret paradise island of Koh Rong Samleom?).

I like to consider myself a little bit of a Siem Reap pro, if I’m honest. I spent a decent amount of time in Siem Reap, and even made a little appearance at the local hospital (yes, I’m a mess, more on that later!).

My style of travel tends to involve staying just a little longer than the average tourist – to see beyond what everyone sees. Which is why I’ve designed this 5 day Siem Reap itinerary (based on my own time spent in Siem Reap, of course), to delve a little deeper into the culture and everything else that Siem Reap has to offer.

Recommended Travel planning resources for Siem Reap, Cambodia:

  • Skyscanner: The best flight search engine on the internet, Skyscanner scans everywhere to find you the best deals on flights.
  • TourRadar: Are group tours more your kind of thing? Tour Radar features all of the best deals on a huge range of tour companies to find you the right trip.
  • Getyourguide: Best for booking day trips and tickets, get your Guide offers an easy-to-use interface and booking system, and has a huge range of activities.
  • TripAdvisor: Whether you are looking to book hotels at the best prices, or read restaurant reviews, Trip Advisor is the place to do it.
  • An epic website for searching and booking hotels and things like hire cars.

Ok, now that all that fun stuff is out of the way, let’s get in to this Siem Reap itinerary.

How many days in Siem Reap is enough?

Arrive in Siem Reap

Siem Reap Itinerary Day 1: Arrive in Siem Reap

Yay, you have finally arrived in Siem Reap. Getting too central Siem Reap from the airport is easy. A cab will cost $10, and a tuk tuk a little less (depends how much luggage you have – if you have a suitcase, opt for a cab!). Fair warning, they will try to sell you Angkor Wat tours for the next day. If you don’t have anything booked, it can be worth considering as you can normally get this for a good price.

If you arrive early, take it easy as you have a big day tomorrow. Head out for early dinner and drinks for your first taste of Pub Street (spoiler, you will love it!). Wander the street until you find something that takes your fancy. Each establishment will have signs highlighting their drink specials (look out for 0.50cent beer and $2 cocktails) and will have their menus outside for you to look at before deciding. The surrounding streets near Pub Street also offer many great spots for dinner and drinks.

Tip: Looking for something quieter? Head to Alley West, a quiet street located diagonally to Pub street which also features a great range of restaurants.

Angkor Wat

Siem Reap Itinerary Day 2: Visit Angkor Wat

Today is a 4:30am wake up call to be at Angkor Wat for sunrise. No doubt this is one of the main reasons you came to Siem Reap, and you won’t be disappointed. For a full guide on spending the day at Angkor Wat with everything you need to know, I recommend reading my Angkor Wat guide.

You will need to organise a driver for the day, whether it be a tuk tuk or cab, and you can find more info on that here. If you prefer, you can book an Angkor Wat day tour in advance to have a guide for the day.

Start the day off with sunrise at Angkor Wat temple, before exploring the grounds. Head to Bayon temple next, known as the ‘Smiling Buddha’ temple, before exploring the lesser known Bauphon Temple, where you can climb to the top for some incredible views. Finish up at the world-famous Ta Prohm temple of Tomb Raider Fame.

Visiting Angkor Wat can be an exhausting day out, particularly due to the heat and humidity in Cambodia. Head back to your hotel for a dip in the pool before heading out to Pub Street for dinner. Stop by at Paper Tigere Eatery and grab a table at the front so you can take in the vibe and people watch. Enjoy the live music that the Angkor What? Bar has some nights, and enjoy the food. Looking for a sweet dessert? Try the fried ice-cream rolls!

Siem Reap Itinerary Day 3: Self-guided walking tour, shopping and floating village tour.

Siem Reap in itself has so much to offer. In the morning, head out on a little walking tour. Start out at the river a few streets down from Pub Street and follow it along.

The river runs through the centre of the city and along it you will find many wonderful sites. Cross over to shop at the art markets or wander further along to find the Royal Palace and gardens. Along the way, you will find numerous coffee shops, restaurants and market stalls.

You can’t visit Siem Reap without visiting the floating villages. Head out on a floating village tour which includes dinner and drinks, as well as watching the sunset on the river. If you prefer, you can opt for a daytime floating village tour and spend the afternoon by the river instead.

Cambodian Circus

Siem Reap Itinerary Day 4: Cooking class and Cambodian Circus

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local culture is to take a cooking class, so spend the morning cooking up a storm and learning new skills. Many hotels offer cooking classes, but for a more authentic experience I recommend one that takes place in a local’s home, where you will often visit a local market to get ingredients before heading to a village to learn from locals. I recommend this cooking class for the most authentic experience!

Head out to Pub Street again for an early dinner and drinks before heading to Phare, The Cambodian Circus. The local acrobatic circus tells cultural stories through modern circus acts and dance. The best part is that the circus is locally run and supports a local school which was founded to help give children the chance to hone their skills and have the opportunity to earn a decent wage. I was amazed at the show itself, it’s definitely a must when in Siem Reap.

Tip: The shows are extremely popular and sell out in advance, especially in peak season, so I wouldn’t rely on getting tickets at the door. Instead book your tickets online to make sure you don’t miss out. Find tickets here.

Siem Reap Itinerary Day 5: Village tour and night markets

In my opinion, local village tours are one of the best ways, along with cooking classes, to experience the local culture. I always try to make an effort to do a local village tour during my travels. Visit a local school, and see how locals live.

You might get to try some rice wine or learn how to basket weave. Most of the village tours will include a stop for lunch at a local market, which is an experience to say the least!

It’s you last night in Siem Reap so make the most of it! Head to Café Latino on Pub Street for dinner & drinks. Offering a huge range of cocktails for incredible prices, the food here is great. After dinner head to the famous Night Markets of Siem Reap. The night markets are the perfect place to find all those last-minute souvenirs (and of course, some presents for yourself!).

Open late every night, there’s no rush at the Night Markets, and its walking distance from the Pub Street. Treat yourself to some rolled ice-cream, a popular dessert you will find in many street stalls in and around the pub street area. It’s delicious and kind of addictive, and look, you deserve a treat!

Siem Reap night market
by Tony in WA

Where to stay in Siem Reap

There certainly isn’t a shortage of places to stay in Siem Reap, whether you are looking for a luxury stay or social hostel. The good thing is that the prices are extremely reasonable, you can find fabulous hotels for great prices, so why not enjoy a little luxury? Seeing as the weather in Siem Reap can be extremely hot and humid, I recommend staying somewhere with a pool. Trust me on this one.

I also recommend staying within walking distance of Pub Street, a lot of the big resorts are on the outskirts of Siem Reap, closer to the airport or Angkor Wat, but further away from the places you will visit daily.

  • Hotel Somadevi Resort and Spa– A 4-star hotel for nowhere near the price tag, this hotel features a huge pool (with a swim-up bar!), spacious rooms with balcony’s and a great buffet breakfast. Just a 5-minute walk from Pub Street, you can easily wander between the hotel, Pub Street, the markets and the river.
  • Central Suite Residence– Centrally located, the rooms and suites here are spacious and include a buffet breakfast. Also, featuring a pool, bar and restaurant, it is located just a 2-minute walk from the night markets. 
  • Mad Monkey Hostel – The Mad Monkey Hostel chain is especially popular in Cambodia and are known the be social and party hostels. So, if that’s your thing, Mad Monkey is the place to stay (the one in Siem Reap also has a pool, so bonus!).
  • Onederz Hostel– offering simple dormitory style rooms and private rooms, this hostel has a rooftop pool and café on site. It’s also located close to the Pub Street area, so the location is ideal. 

Siem Reap travel tips.

Siem Reap travel tips.

How to get to Siem Reap

If you are coming from somewhere in Cambodia or nearby in South East Asia, the bus is your cheapest option. Flights are also available, and will save you a lot of time (they are reasonably priced too!).

Coming from somewhere further away? Expect a stopover in a major transport hub in South East Asia such as Ho Chi Minh City. I recommend using Skyscanner to find the best possible deals on flights.

How to get around Siem Reap

Getting around Siem Reap is easy. Like I said before, if you stay somewhere central, having the freedom to be able to walk is great. Otherwise, tuk tuk’s should be your method of choice.

You can hail one from just about anywhere, but most of the time you don’t need too. Simply walk outside your hotel and be greeted with ‘tuk tuk?’ constantly. Drivers are also available for longer trips, such as the airport and to Angkor Wat.

Visas for Cambodia

Most foreigners need a Visa to enter Cambodia. As an Aussie, I was able to organise mine alone before I went, which made the process of arriving in to Siem Reap International Airport incredibly easy. Check with your local embassy for up to date visa information.

Travel Insurance for Cambodia

Never, ever, travel without travel insurance. You never know when it might come in handy, especially in places like South East Asia! Ok back to the point at the start of this blog when I said got to visit the local hospital in Siem Reap.. well yeah, I got bitten by a cat and needed shots, ASAP. Thankfully most of the costs were covered by my travel insurance, all with one easy claim. I recommend Travelex Travel Insurance.

You won’t want to say goodbye to Siem Reap. Sure, the hustle and bustle might get a little bit tiring, but you truly won’t want to leave this magical and lively place. Extend your stay in Cambodia by heading to Phnom Penh, Kampot or the incredible paradise island Koh Rong Samleom. If not, why not head to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to continue your travels through South East Asia?

Interested in reading more about Cambodia? There’s plenty of Cambodia travel information here on Emma Adventures:

Happy travelling,