CAMBODIA – A 9 day Siem Reap itinerary including Angkor Wat

Cambodia - Angkor Area Temples

I have been wanting to visit Cambodia for a long time and finally I was able to visit before a business trip to Singapore. As I don’t mind driving to a place of interest and back again the same day I decided to base myself in Siem Reap. There were 6-day trips which I wanted to do which would cover most places of interest near Siem Reap. Except Preah Vihear I didn’t include any off the beaten track temples this time. I was sure I would return one day to do a Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap itinerary including a Mekong Cruise. Join me on my efficient day trips but keep in mind they are packed. If you want more time to relax; just split some of them up over two days. It’s easy!

Siem Reap Itinerary Day 1 & 2 – Arrival & Planning

The first two days were nothing but flights. Luckily I was able to buy cheap business class flights from the Netherlands to Siem Reap. This makes an longhaul flight much more pleasant. As I arrived in the late afternoon at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Siem Reap I just relaxed there and called it a night early evening.

Hyatt Pool Siem Reap

Planning this Siem Reap itinerary is very straightforward. There are just three points I recommend keeping in mind:

  • Make sure to buy an Angkor 3-day pass directly when you arrive. You must go personally as they take a photo of you which is printed on the pass. It’s valid for 3 days which can be any day after the first day you activate the pass. It’s an expensive pass but gives access to all the temples around Siem Reap.
  • Do you need a Cambodia visum? If you do like me then get one easily online with e-Visums. Hassle free and it makes sure you enter Cambodia smoothly.
  • As driving in Cambodia requires a local driving permit it’s better to hire a car with driver. Traffic is chaotic, so this is probably better anyway. A sedan with driver should cost not more as 75 USD a day if you negotiate it correctly.

I booked all the cars up front which probably caused me to pay a bit too much but doing it on the spot when you arrive isn’t a problem too. There are cars and drivers enough. For the day trips close to Siem Reap you can also opt to hire a tuk tuk which is much cheaper of course. I preferred air conditioning over the heat though.

Siem Reap Itinerary Day 3 – City Center & Helicopter Flight

The first day of my Siem Reap itinerary started with a delicious breakfast at the Park Hyatt hotel in Siem Reap. It’s located in the city center and I walked from there to the major sights in town. Around 3PM I took a taxi (air conditioning!) to the airport for my helicopter flight over the Angkor Wat area. This gives a great impression how large the former Khmer Empire actually was. In the evening I went to Pub Street, as I would all future evenings and nights. It’s crazy there!

EXTEND YOUR TRIP: Want more time to relax at your hotels pool or just wander around Siem Reap? Just add days and visit just one of the places of interest in Siem Reap a day.

For detailed background information please read my day itinerary:
CAMBODIA – A day in Siem Reap and a helicopter flight over Angkor Wat

Siem Reap Itinerary Day 4 – Angkor Wat day tour

Angkor Wat is a huge complex including all the surrounding temples. Actually, a day isn’t enough to really enjoy it all. I highly recommend visiting East Mebon on a day trip in combination with Kulen Mountain and Banteay Srei. It will otherwise ruin your day. The route I followed is possible in a day, but you’ll have to take a car or tuk tuk from one place to another. When I look back on my visit two days on my Siem Reap itinerary for all these temples would have been much better.

The temples I visited are in chronological order: Angkor Thom, Bayon, Baphoun, Elephant and Leper king terraces, Preah Khan, Glimpse of East Mebon (which I visited another day) and Ta Prohm (jungle temple where they shot the movie Tomb Raider) and last Angkor Wat (the biggest Hindu temple in the world). It was a long day, but every single temple was magnificent.

EXTEND YOUR TRIP: If you have the time plan two days instead of one for all these temples. The Angkor Wat 3-day pass allows this as you only need it one other day at the Rolous Group.

For detailed background information please read my day itinerary:

Cambodia - Angkor Area Temples

Siem Reap Itinerary Day 5 – Koh Ker & Ben Mealea Temple and the Garbage dump

The Angkor Wat complex just outside of Siem Reap is not the only place of interest. The old Koh Ker city complex and the Beng Mealea temple are both well worth a day trip. Both are in the north and form a beautiful combined day trip from Siem Reap. I recommend to take a private car which is the most efficient way to get there. On the way back I made a stop at the Anlong Pi garbage dump just outside of Siem Reap. It’s a day full of old Khmer Empire history and also an eye opener if you see the poverty at the garbage dump.

For detailed background information please read my day itinerary:
CAMBODIA – A day trip to Koh Ker & Beng Mealea complex from Siem Reap

Cambodia - Beng Mealea Temple Complex
Cambodia – Beng Mealea Temple Complex

Siem Reap Itinerary Day 6 – Preah Vihear Temple, Pol Pot and Lon Nol

The Preah Vihear Temple is an ancient complex in the north of Cambodia close to the Thai border. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site so a place I could not skip when I was in Siem Reap. The drive from Siem Reap takes a few hours but is well worth a day trip. I combined the trip with a visit to the Pol Pot grave and Lon Nol house which are also located in the area. You can also fly there by helicopter if you want, but after my helicopter flight over Angkor Wat my budget didn’t allow that anymore. I went in a private car, which was the most efficient.

For detailed background information please read my day itinerary:
CAMBODIA – The Preah Vihear Temple is a must do day trip from Siem Reap

Cambodia - Preah Vihear Temple
Cambodia – Preah Vihear Temple

Siem Reap Itinerary Day 7 – Kulen Mountain, Banteay Srei & East Mebon

The seventh day of my Siem Reap itinerary involved again a long drive into the country side. It’s a perfect trip if you are tired of Angkor Wat or Siem Reap. The first stop is the farthest away at the Kulen Mountain range. There is a beautiful Buddhist temple complex and various waterfalls in the lush jungle around it. In the river, there are beautiful carvings of various Hindu and Buddhist religious scenes.

After lunch, I continued to Banteay Srei which has the most beautiful carved decorations of all the temples I have seen in Cambodia. From there it’s a short drive to the Cambodian Landmine Museum which is a must-see place to learn about the history and all the landmines that are still found today. The last stop was at East Mebon, a temple most famous for its elephant statues. It’s a day with different places of interest and leaves time in the afternoon to relax at the pool.

For detailed background information please read my day itinerary:
CAMBODIA – Tired of Angkor Wat? Go to Kulen Mountain, Banteay Srei & East Mebon

Cambodia - East Mebom

Siem Reap Itinerary Day 8 – Local life at water village, silk farm and Rolous temple complex

This day of my Siem Reap itinerary was all about local life and food. The first stop was at the Tonlé Sap lake to visit the water villages. Local markets, kids that go to a floating school by boat, crocodile farms and much more local life. The second stop was at a local silk farm where I learned how silk is processed from harvest until the finalized product.

In the afternoon, I stopped by a local orphanage where the children sell their paintings and I finished the day at the Rolous Group. The Rolous Group is just a bit of the beaten track but, especially in the afternoon, you can see much more locals around the complex. I had dinner at a local restaurant outside of Siem Reap where locals go, I had turtle and raw turtle eggs. Delicious!

For detailed background information please read my day itinerary:
CAMBODIA – Must do: Siem Reap local life at water village, silk farm and Rolous temple complex

Cambodia - Siem Reap - Floating Village
Cambodia – Siem Reap – Floating Village

Siem Reap Itinerary Day 9 – Departure

As I had to continue to Singapore for business and from there I flew home so I had to book a single way ticket. These are normally expensive on main flag carriers, but Jetstar was also flying the Siem Reap to Singapore route. Unfortunately, they are a bit picky on carry-on and checked luggage, but I managed with my 22 kilo hand luggage. Tickets were cheap!

This Siem Reap itinerary includes most must-do day trips from Siem Reap for a first timer. There are more day trips more off the beaten track to Banteay Chhmar, Prasat Preah Khan Kampong Svay and Sambor Prei Kuk. I visited those when I returned to Siem Reap 5 years after my first trip. See my Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap itinerary with Mekong Cruise for more information. I’m sure you find it useful too.

If you want to connect another country to this Siem Reap itinerary I recommend reading my 2-weeks Vietnam itinerary, 2-3-weeks Thailand itinerary for inspiration. They are great extensions for a South East Asia trip.

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Did you visit Siem Reap too or do you have questions? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Love to hear from you!

Gallery Siem Reap Itinerary

Click an image for a full screen gallery of more photos taken during this trip. If you like to use any photo for commercial, private or editorial use please contact first for permission and/or pricing.

Please refer to the various day trip articles to see a larger collection of photos. These photos date from before my professional photography carreer and are all made with a digital compact camera and not edited. Contact me with photo requests and I’ll be happy to retouch any of the photos.