-This post is written by Alex Schnee of The Wayfaring Voyager–
The first thing that usually comes to mind when you think of Cambodia is the towering and magnificent Angkor Wat. As the largest religious structure in the world, it’s no wonder it’s the main attraction for tourists headed to the small country of Cambodia. However, the tiny town of Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor Wat, has a few other sights to see and enjoy before you take your tuk tuk to the temple.
Here are five reasons you should consider an extra day or two in Siem Reap.
1. It’s incredibly cheap
Most cities or towns outside tourist attractions tend to cost a lot of money in order to stay at. Jacked up prices make it difficult in order to enjoy the time you are spending while traveling. Siem Reap is an exception to the rule. Expect $12 a night for a hostel and $5 massages. A full-blown dinner with drinks costs less than $8.
2. Les Artisans d’ Angkor
A recent enterprise for workers in the area, Les Artisans d’Angkor encourages jobs for the local people and also offers fair trade items to buy. You also have a chance to tour the open workshop and see how each of the items are made—all relate to the rapidly-disappearing Angkor culture.
3. The food
As well as being cheap, the food also some of the best you will find in Southeast Asia. Whether you choose to stick with a favorite like curry or pad thai, or you want to try something new like alligator, snake, or kangaroo, you have the option. There’s even a chance to try some fried spider from the street carts if you’re in the mood.
4. The people
I can honestly say that I haven’t met kinder, more hospitable people on my travels. Everyone is happy to lend a helping hand, despite the fact that their small city has millions of visitors every year. It isn’t long before you feel at home walking the streets or you will run into someone you met the day before. All will greet you with a large smile.
5. The night market
After seeing Angkor Wat, you’ll want to find the perfect souvenir for friends and family back home. You can shop at the night market, which is open well into the evening and offers any kind of item you’d want to take home including fans, t-shirts, and ceramics. Feel free to haggle and see if you can find a price that works for you.
There’s a lot to do in this small town, so make sure to put in some extra time on your itinerary in order to see it. For more things to do, here is a responsible travel guide to Siem Reap.
For tips about visiting Cambodia see this helpful guide to Cambodia.
Alex is an explorer in the old-fashioned sense of the word, and first and foremost a writer.
Alex has worked as a freelance writer for years and has been published in publications such as the Huffington Post, Elite Daily, the Price of Travel, Pink Pangea, and many others. She was also formerly the Generation-Y blogger at Wanderlust and Lipstick and she is currently USA Today’s 10Best Local Expert on Florence, Italy.
Her passion is sharing a love of travel with Generation-Y and helping to create new, unforgettable adventures.