Many Travellers go straight in and out of Angkor Wat when they are visiting Cambodia, eager to explore the ancient temples this country is most famous for. But Cambodia certainly has much more to offer than the spectacular Angkor Wat. You’ll find a whole host of interesting activities to take part in when you visit the fascinating country of Cambodia.
Making your base in Siem Reap you can explore Angkor Wat at your leisure, and then delve a little deeper into the activities this town has to offer. And heading further from Siem Reap, take a trip to Phnom Penh to experience some unique cultural activities. Cambodia is full of exciting things to do – what will you try on your next Cambodia trip?
1) Take an Elephant Ride in Siem Reap
Once you have explored the Angkor Wat complex by foot and by motorbike, take another look at the place from the vantage point of an elephant. It is especially interesting when you take an elephant trip at sunset to watch the spectacle at Phnom Bakheng Hill.
2) Cycle in Siem Reap
Another way to see the majestic temples in the Angkor Wat complex is by bike. You’ll get a completely different view of the complex, get fit, and get a closer look at the side of Cambodia that tourists do not often see. You can go off the beaten track and explore at your own pace. This is a great activity for when you have a few days to spend at Angkor Wat so you don’t have to rush around – be careful when cycling in Cambodia as the temperatures climb high throughout the day.
3) Ride a Horse in Siem Reap
If you haven’t exhausted yourself looking around Angkor Wat, take another look at the rest of the Cambodian countryside from the saddle. A horse ride is a wonderful way to reach the off-the-beaten-track locations in the countryside. You can get involved by taking a riding tour from the Happy Ranch Horse Farm in Siem Reap. You’ll progress through the countryside at a relaxed pace, taking in views of the rice paddies and the local farms.
4) Ride a Quad Bike
Siem Reap is also the location for a quad bike tour. See the countryside from the back of a bike, and access secluded temples, farms, and paddy fields. You can take a quad bike tour with a group, which gives you the benefit of being able to see a side of Cambodia that tourists do not often see.
5) Visit the Khmer Ceramic Fine Art Centre
When you are in Siem Reap, visit one of the most popular tourist destinations which are the Khmer Ceramic & Fine Arts Centre. The center was established in order to revive the ancient art of Cambodian pottery. It’s a lost art that is slowly coming back to life, and it is supremely challenging and technically skilled. At the center, you can admire the vases and ornaments constructed by the pottery masters. Cambodian pottery is popular worldwide and this is a great place to buy your souvenirs to take home. You can also try your hand at this art.
6) Watch the Cambodia Circus
Looking for an activity in the evening? The Cambodia Circus at Siem Reap is a good choice. This is a traditional show, with authentic performances and a story that tells about Cambodian history and culture in a fun way. It is more than a regular circus and uses a variety of dance and musical arts to demonstrate this unique story.
7) Visit Back Street Academy in Phnom Penh
Back Street Academy in the city of Phnom Penh is a good place to visit to see traditional Khmer craft and art. Here you can get in touch with traditional culture in an active way, getting involved by taking a short course in traditional dancing, art, or handicrafts. You can try Cambodian cookery, or make a leather purse or basket. This is the ideal place to really see Cambodia culture from the inside.
8) Visit the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in Phnom Penh
Visiting Phnom Penh is a highlight of a trip to Cambodia, and within Phnom Penh, you’ll find plenty to do. Including the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, which is located around 40km away from the city. The center is within an area of 2,500 hectares and is a protected land, including prime forest and the location for many wildlife species. The Cambodian Administration of Forestry runs the reserve and it is a good place for helping protect the wildlife of Cambodia.
9) Ride the Bamboo Train in Battambang
The Bamboo Train in Battambang, Cambodia is a unique little train that takes tourists and Cambodians through the countryside on a crazy ride, powered by a simple lawnmower engine.
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Photo credits: Mark Rowland and Fred Bigio via Flickr