Angkor Wat and Siem Reap have become synonymous with each other. And with good reason – Angkor Wat is a part of the world-famous Angkor Archaeological Park which gets anywhere between 2-3 million visitors each year. That accounts for more than 50% of tourists that visit Cambodia each year!
I too have had Angkor Wat on my must-visit list for years. So when a work trip took me to Singapore, I decided to grab the opportunity and spend the weekend in Siem Reap. Are 48 hours enough to cover the Angkor Archaeological Park and the rest of Siem Reap? Well, that depends on what you want to see and do. But, if like me, a weekend is all you’ve got, you can still make it count!
Our Itinerary Snapshot
Day 1: Take the afternoon flight from Singapore to Siem Reap. Land at about 3:30 pm. Check into the hotel, Metta Residence & Spa by 4:30 pm. Rest until 7 pm. Head to Pub Street in a tuk-tuk. Spend the evening enjoying the iconic nightlife that Pub Street has to offer.
Day 2: Leave the hotel for the Angkor Archaeological Park by 8 am. Kick-start the day with the Angkor Wat temple complex and stay there until noon. Explore Ta Prohm and Bayon in the afternoon up until the evening. Head back to the hotel by 6 pm to enjoy a soothing, full-body massage. Head to the night markets to check out Siem Reap’s shopping scene. Enjoy a cocktail at Miss Wong’s and sample some local cuisine.
Day 3: Spend the morning in the pool and sampling some cocktails by the pool-side. Soak in the sunshine before heading to the airport by 2 pm.
Angkor Archaeological Park – Which Temples To Choose?
While Angkor Wat is the most famous temple in Siem Reap, it is actually part of a complex of temples which together form the Angkor Archaeological Park. The park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, spreads over 400 square kilometers and consists of over a thousand temples, big and small. Some of the other famous temples of the Angkor Archaeological Park include Ta Prohm, Preah Khan, Bayon and Banteay Kdei.
Depending on the time you have on your hands, you can choose among a 1-day, 3-day, and 7-day pass to explore the many temples in the park. Priced at USD 37, the 1-day pass is most suited for a 48-hour visit to Siem Reap. Next, how do you choose which temple(s) to see? I would recommend choosing temples from the ‘Small Circuit’ tour of the Angkor Archaeological Park. The Small Circuit is 17 km long and covers all the must-visit temples in the park like Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, Bayon, Thommanon, Ta Keo, Bantay Kdei and more!
We felt that it would be impractical and super-tiring to visit all of the temples in the Small Circuit. Therefore, we chose the ones we wanted to see the most – Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm & Bayon. I would highly recommend doing some research on the different temples beforehand to make your choice. It will help you not rush through each of the temples and actually enjoy your time there.
So why did we choose Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm & Bayon and what was our experience there like? Click here to know more.
Pub Street & Night Market
The iconic Pub Street is touristy without
- Miss Wong
- Angkor What
- Banana Leaf
- Picasso Bar & Tapas
Just a couple of streets away from Pub Street lies the Angkor Night Market. Started in 2007, it is apparently the first night market of Cambodia. Obviously, it is extremely touristy as well. That being said, I did my visit there as quite a few things did catch my eye in the shops I visited in the Angkor Night Market. I also loved the fact that many of the stores were set in traditional Khmer houses giving the market an authentic look. Some of the stores I would recommend visiting are:
- Sala House (for genuine Cambodian souvenirs and craft products)
- Kroma House (for traditional Khmer aroma scarves and other craft products)
There are plenty of smaller stores selling artwork, clothes, rice paintings and a lot more! I would definitely recommend a visit to the Angkor Night Market to see for yourself.
Luxury in the heart of Siem Reap
Siem Reap is one of those places where you can book yourself a luxurious stay for under USD 100. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? 🙂 While looking for hotels in Siem Reap, I came across the gem that is Metta Residence & Spa. Newly built and centrally located, it looked like the perfect spot to soak in some sun and enjoy the famous Khmer hospitality. Everything from the beautifully appointed rooms to the poolside to the spa looked super inviting and reflective of Khmer culture along with a dash of luxury. I went ahead and booked myself a Suite Villa and I wasn’t disappointed 🙂 Here’s what I loved about my stay at the Metta Residence & Spa:
- Airport roundtrip transfer included in the room rate
- Welcome drink & mini fruit platter on arrival
- Spacious, beautifully decorated villa with direct pool access
- Super courteous and friendly staff!
- Free tuk-tuk transfers between 5 pm – 10 pm to the city center and back
- 50% of on all massages at their super-relaxing Visakha Spa (limited period offer)
- They also gave us a SIM card – all we had to do was top it up!
- Booked a tuk-tuk to take us around the Angkor Archaeological Park directly from the hotel
Priced between USD 88 – 333, there is a range of rooms and villas to choose from – in short, there is something for everyone!
- Siem Reap enjoys sunshine pretty much all year around. However, you want to make sure to avoid the rainy season. The best time to visit is between November – March when the temperature is between 25 – 35°C with little or no rainfall.
- Given that the temples are places of worship and a source of pride for native Cambodians, please ensure that you are dressed appropriately when you visit. I wouldn’t recommend wearing shorts or tank tops. Carrying a scarf is a good idea.
- While you could rent a car to drive you around the Angkor Archaeological Complex, I would highly recommend choosing a tuk-tuk instead. You won’t regret it!