Personally, there are only so many temples I can visit without them all looking the same. In Siem Reap, you could spend days if not weeks touring different temples. While I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the rich history of Angkor Wat and Bayon, we were in search for other activities, preferably those that aren’t costly.
So, here’s a couple things to do in Siem Reap beyond the obvious–temples–on a somewhat budget. All are worth trying, but some are a one and done type of activity.
1. Fishy Massage & Pedicure. Cost $1
Let me begin by saying that I have incredibly ticklish feet, and was not looking forward to the fish pedicure in the first place, but thought we had to try it. You’ve probably seen pictures on instagram of people soaking their feet in small tubs with little fish nibbling at their feet. Honestly, I hated it. They suck at the dead skin on your feet essentially ‘cleaning’ them. It is the most ticklish experience. I think I got a maximum of 2 minutes with my feet in the tank. A nice perk is that you get a ‘free’ beer though!
2. Floating Villages. Cost $35
To be specific, the Kompong Khleang floating village. The other two options are riddled with tourist scams, as I mentioned in a former blog post. This has to be one of the most eye opening experiences I’ve ever had. I won’t repeat myself, but if you want to learn more, check out my post here. 🙂
3. Night Market. Cost $0 – as much as you want
The night market beside Pub Street comes alive around 6pm. This is another activity that is interesting, but a bit repetitive. All the vendors sell basically the same thing. You can get fake anything, from Nike apparel to Beats By Dre. I myself snagged a pair of Birkenstocks for a mere $12, compared to the $100 + in the US. Purchase of the trip! Definitely worth a visit, but know that you will be approached and asked to buy from every angle.
4. Ladyboy Shows + Foot Massage. Cost $2
Speaking of the night market… If you wander to the back of the market there is a nightly drag show full of ladyboys twirling and prancing. You can cozy up in a comfy lounge chair and receive a 30 minute massage for 2 bucks while enjoying the show.
5. Massages, Foot Rubs, Manicures, Pedicures. Cost $5-15
An obvious must do. You can find a variety of oil massages, from the relaxing pass-out-during-your-massage type, or more pressure to relieve the stress of not working and traveling the world. There isn’t one place that is the best. The spas and hole in the walls are all great. Note, the manis and pedis don’t include the typical massage, its just cut and paint.
6. Smash $0.50 Beers. Cost $0.50 – as much as you can drink
Draft beers are an unbelievable $0.50 each. The Angkor beer. It’s great, refreshing, and tastes a lot like Bud Light. Chase and I found this is the cheapest activity we can do. It’s fun to go on horseback rides and motor bike tours, but who can afford that on a regular basis… Beware though, many places say they have 50 cent beer, but in small print say “from noon – 2pm.”
7. Horseback Riding. Cost $38 minimum
While didn’t go horseback riding here, we really wanted to, but cost forced us to nix this plan. From what I’ve heard, Happy Ranch offers an amazing experience, with horses for riders of all experiences. You get to ride through the villages, or through the countryside, depending on how much you want to spend of course.
8. Cooking Class at Le Tigere. Cost $15
I saved the best for last! The cooking class at Le Tigere is absolutely amazing. Our instructor was interactive, hilarious, and understood the background of Khmer cuisine. We were able to choose our own appetizer and meal from a large variety of options, and then we went off to the market to see the exact ingredients for our meals. We prepared each in the traditional manner, from chopping the ginger root and lemon grass to creating the paste for my Amok Chicken (SO GOOD), and chowing down afterward. I made spicy mango salad, amok Chicken, and mango sticky rice. Chase made fresh spring rolls with chicken, fried noodles with beef, and mango sticky rice. A must try.
While there is a lot more to do here, the landmine museum for instance, these are my top activities that won’t break the bank.