Today, you’ll mix temple touring with countryside and museum visits, starting with a rural cultural tour. Meander around a village market in the morning, then explore the grounds of historic Wat Svay Romeat pagoda, which dates back to the 11th century. Meet with locals, including a traditional medicine practitioner and artisans making handicrafts, before enjoying a home-cooked lunch with a family. This experience gives you the opportunity to engage meaningfully with a rural community. In return, you’ll have your eyes opened to enduring cultural traditions and the way of life in the Cambodian countryside.
Next, it’s a visit to Banteay Srei, one of the region’s most beautiful temples. Famed for its pink sandstone and intricate carvings, this ancient temple was built in the 10th century, which means it predates its more well-known neighbors, Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, by around 200 years.
Later, swap ancient mystery for modern history with a trip to the Cambodia Landmine Museum. The founder of the museum was previously a conscripted child soldier of the Khmer Rouge, but has dedicated his adult life to de-mining the countryside, as well as providing education and support for children affected by landmines.
Finally, end your day watching the sun descend over Banteay Samre, a fortified temple dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. The 12th-century structure is surrounded by a moat and located well away from the crowds of Angkor, making this serene spot a true hidden gem.
In the evening, we recommend walking around one of Siem Reap’s busy night markets for a spot of street food and some souvenir shopping (optional). For unique and high-quality products, head to the Made in Cambodia Market, which showcases locally-made fashion, design, upcycled products, traditional crafts and other artworks.