Affordable Day Trips from Siem Reap, Cambodia
Siem Reap, a resort town in northwestern Cambodia, is the gateway to the ruins of Angkor
, the seat of the Khmer kingdom from the 9th-15th centuries. Angkor's vast complex of intricate stone buildings includes preserved Angkor Wat, the main temple, which is pictured on Cambodia's flag. Giant, mysterious faces are carved into the Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom. Siem Reap was always destined for great things. Visitors come here to see the temples, of course, but there is plenty to do in and around the city beyond the famous temples. Siem Reap has reinvented itself as the epicenter of chic Cambodia, with everything from backpacker party pads to hip hotels, world-class wining and dining across a range of cuisines, sumptuous spas, great shopping, local tours to suit both foodies and adventurers, and a creative cultural scene that includes Cambodia's leading contemporary circus.
Siem Reap is a place to be savored, not rushed, and this is the base from which to plan your adventures. And if you think a brief stop to view the temples is enough, think again, because the temples are only the beginning. With so much to see, do, and taste, Siem Reap is a great place to experience or use as a base for exploring nearby locations, and there are several exciting options for day trips from the city to help you make the most of your time here.
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Venture off-the-beaten-track on this full day bike and kayak tour from Siem Reap and get a taste of rural life in the Cambodian countryside. Meet your guide and small-group in central Siem Reap early to start your tour in the cool of the morning. Your guide provides a safety briefing and outlines the day's itinerary, then gets you fitted with mountain bikes and helmets. When you're ready, pedal north into the countryside, following the West Baray, one of two large irrigation reservoirs built in the Angkor period sometime around the 11th century. You might see people swimming or boating as you ride along the wall of the large lake. Swing south along the canals to see more of the region. By late morning, arrive in a typical village where daily life revolves around the agricultural season. A local resident takes you through the village and shares details about NGO-supported community projects. Afterward, sit down for a tasty lunch and have time to relax in a hammock in the shade. As the afternoon cools down, your guide takes you to a nearby river where a boat shuttle brings you to the launching point for your 1-hour kayak trip. Receive a paddle lesson and safety briefing, then follow your guide out on the waters of Tonle Sap, the great lake at the heart of Cambodia. Kayak through a floating village on Tonle Sap and learn about the way of life there. Then glide through mangrove forest and set out for the open lake. After kayaking, return to Siem Reap by car, arriving in the early evening. Expect to bike about 19 miles on flat tracks and small roads suitable for most bicyclists, but not beginners. You'll have plenty of stops for photo ops, water breaks and refreshments. An air-conditioned minivan is available should you need a break from bicycling. No prior experience is needed for kayaking.
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Get a unique experience while in Siem Reap as you head for the Tonle Sap Lake to explore the famous floating villages. Immerse yourself in an intriguing atmosphere and watch the locals go about their daily life in their extraordinary aquatic environment. Visit one of the largest of the floating villages located on the Tonle Sap Lake, traveling by boat with a private guide. Home to Khmer and ethnic Vietnamese and Cham communities, let your guide explain how life evolved around the lake, how life continues to this day and what threats the communities and their dwellings face. Visit the floating crocodile and fish farm (depending on current water levels) and then onto the famous Queen Tara in the heart of the floating village for lunch and a couple of free drinks. Look out for the local bird life. The reserve is home to a bird sanctuary and attracts a rich array of birds, from painted stork to a large colony of spot billed pelicans. Each tour lasts approximately 4 hours door-to-door, taking you from your Siem Reap accommodation to the heart of the "Great Lake" as it is popularly called.
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Experience the beauty and tranquility of rural Cambodia during this flooded forest day trip from Siem Reap. Your guide will meet you at your hotel or guesthouse in Siem Reap, then head to the boat docking area in an air-conditioned minivan. You will cruise along the river and into the floating villages that hold a population of about 6000 residents. Then you will cross the great Tonle Sap lake, and see traditional fishing methods that have been unchanged for centuries. Then, enter the Flooded Forest, where you will experience a 10 degree drop in temperature. A local boating guide will row you through the flooded forest (or walk through the elevated canopy walkway dependent on water levels) and depending on the time of year will row into the main street of Kompong Phluk (or walk through if the water has receded). There will also be a visit to the large Pagoda and the monks school where light afternoon snacks and drinks are served. You will then go back onto the great lake to head north west, where you dock at the Queen Tara, in the heart of the floating village. Enjoy a full buffet dinner and drinks including alcoholic beverages. After the sunset, transfer back into the mini Tara for the cruise back to the dock area, and finally back into town where you will be dropped off at your hotel.
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Get back to the basics with this incredible, authentic look at daily life in Siem Reap. From gathering firewood to pumping water, the traditional ways of life are still very much alive in these vibrant and bustling communities, and today you can experience this simplicity with an informative and culturally sensitive chance to experience this life for yourself. As you step into the village, you'll be greeted with friendly villagers happy to help you learn the ways of their world. You'll see families weaving, making baskets, digging wells, and making rice wine. As you walk through the village, you'll be treated to a local's perspective. You will also visit the school and village Pergola, the town's local Buddhist temple. It will be a day for you to remember, and hopefully you'll understand a bit more about this delicate and flourishing community deep in the countryside near Siem Reap.
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