3 Days 2 Nights Trip to Beautiful Siem Reap, Cambodia

3 Days 2 Nights Trip to Beautiful Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap is quickly becoming the getaway spot in Asia. Follow Natalie as she visits the famous ancient monument Angkor Wat, the lively Pub Street and the local floating village.

Cambodia is really one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to and I really wanted to journal that experience before I forget it, as we so often do.

A little bit of background: I’ve been wanting to see Angkor Wat for the longest time but haven’t been able to, because 1) Most of my friends have, y’know, jobs 2) Those who don’t have jobs don’t have money and 3) Even if they could make it, no one was interested in Cambodia (WHY!)

So I decided to go on my own.

But! PLOT TWIST! Unfortunately (or fortunately), Tim took that to mean I was blackmailing him into going with me (which I swear wasn’t my intention). So he decided to give in and accompany me on my trip in the end. So everything worked out great.

It was a really short trip, but I loved every bit of it. We took a Sunday afternoon flight there, and then returned to Singapore on a Tuesday afternoon flight, because you get really cheap air tickets that way and Tim would only have to take two days leave.

And we managed to get a really good hotel at a pretty reasonable price: Royal Crown Hotel. Everything about it was amazing. It’s very conveniently located – like a 5-minute walk away from Pub Street, and a 15-minute Tuk Tuk trip away from Angkor Wat. The service was impeccable – our flight home was something like 5pm, so we asked for a late checkout and they were totally understanding and didn’t even charge us. All their staff members are perfectly cheerful and superbly eager to help, so it really deserves high recommendation – plus it’s really affordable. Feel free to shoot me questions  if you wanna know more about the hotel and I’ll try to help you as much as possible!

So, anyway, if you’re thinking about going to Siem Reap for the weekend and you’re not quite sure what to do there and where to go I hope this helps!

So this is it: My 3 Days in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Day 1 in Siem Reap, Cambodia

The thing that really strikes you about Siem Reap, even before you’ve touched down at the airport, is how beautiful the scenery is. The land is very wet, and looks almost marsh-like, so what you see from the air is this sea of blues and greens. Naturally, the Khmer people took full advantage of the wet and fertile soils by doing a lot of farming so you’ll see plenty of crops in neat lines all over the land as your plane dips towards the ground.

The Siem Reap Airport is not a large one – you literally land right next to a plot of crops, and the plane stops directly in front of the airport’s entrance. So you don’t have to walk through one of those collapsible connectors or take a bus to the main building. You just get off the plane and walk straight into the airport, which was really kind of a surprise for me, y’know being a city girl and all that. But it was cool. And the scenery was so beautiful I really really didn’t mind.

Funny story – the immigration people are crazily friendly, as were most of the people we came across in Siem Reap. But they really really loved seeing yellow people and trying to guess what language we speak. So this is how my conversation with my young, 20-something immigration officer went.

Him: “Konnichiwa!”

Me: *blank face*

Him: “你好?” (How are you)

Me: *decides to be nice* “好!” (I’m good)

Him: *super excited smile at getting it right*


Him: “你睡饱了吗?” (Have you slept full yet?)

Me: “Erm.. Yeah sure!”

Hahahaha he was so cute, trying to show off that he could speak mandarin, I couldn’t help smiling at him and certainly didn’t have the heart to tell him he got some of his words mixed up – not that it mattered anyway.

And he was so very pleased with himself he gave my passport back to me so cheerfully I had to fight the urge to burst out laughing. Kind of a weird and funny experience – but clearly a great start to my trip!

I had arranged for an airport pick up to the hotel, Royal Crown, and expected a car. But, of course, we got a Tuk Tuk instead, and our driver is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. I can’t, for the life of me, pronounce his name, much less spell it, but he was with us for two out of our three days there and was great at recommending places to us, giving us advice on avoiding conmen, and making conversation about the Cambodian way of life. Really cool dude.

Cambodian Tuk Tuk weaving through buffalo Siem Reap Cambodia

Our friendly Tuk Tuk driver weaving through a herd of buffalo

During our 15 minutes Tuk Tuk ride to the hotel, we rolled past herds of buffalo, stray dogs, and countless hotels and resorts packed along the side of the road. And even though the roads were dusty, and there was dung littered along the streets, the Siem Reap vibe is incredibly chill, relax and just plain happy. Even Tim, who isn’t a fan of third world countries, totally felt at home and happy there – that’s how great a place it is.

Anyway, by the time we got to the hotel, checked in, settled down and all that jazz, it was well past 5pm so there really wasn’t much we could do.

So we decided to tackle the night events for our first day:

Pub Street

Pub Street Le Chua Photography

Image credits: Le Chua Photography

Pub Street is easily one of the most happening places in Siem Reap. Even though it is effectively a single street, there’s a whole bunch of shophouses around the area that house exciting pubs, restaurants, cafes, boutiques and, of course, the all famous “Happy Pizza” joints.

If you’re a booze lover, there’s plenty of that here. Some places sell beers at around USD1 (about SGD1.27) a pop, and you can even get some decent margaritas here if you know where to look!

Food-wise, whether you’re craving western, Khmer, Chinese, or even Japanese cuisine, Pub Street will definitely have something for you. We tried some western and some Khmer cuisine, but we really recommend that you stick to their Khmer options, which taste like something between Thai and Vietnamese food. We loved it.

Tim and I had three of our meals at Pub Street in the span of three days, and bought our souvenirs from the shops there as well so you might want to take some time to shop around the area for souvenirs. We found a great handmade soap shop with some really cool homeware and cosmetics so you never know what you’ll find there, really.

Night Market

Night Market Siem Reap Cambodia Credit: Stray Pusiket

Source: Stray Pusiket

After dinner, we decided to take our chances with one of the unlicensed Tuk Tuk drivers in the area and head to the Night Market. I’m not sure if we were unlucky enough to get a driver who didn’t know where the Night Market was, or that he was intentionally taking us for a ride, but we wound up driving rounds and having him tell us that the most popular Night Market was closed for the… night.

But it was cool because we got to check out the different parts of Siem Reap, like where the museum was, where the really expensive hotels were, etc.

In the end he sent us to a Night Market that was practically a 2-minute walk away our hotel, which meant it was right across the river from Pub Street WHERE WE STARTED. But we weren’t mad. It was what it was.

If you love ethnic sculptures, fabrics, clothes, jewellery and all these rather typical touristy things, then you might enjoy the Night Market. For me, though, I was mostly bored there, because most of the products there were pretty low quality, and none of the items really spoke to me. But to each his own – you might just find something you love there.


Our package for our hotel stay included a free massage so we headed back to get one. But if you’re not willing to pay for a hotel massage, there are plenty of Cambodian massage parlours for you to choose from.

Okay, there are the “dirty” sorts where you can get more than you bargain for (if you know what I mean), but if you ask your hotel, I’m sure they’ll recommend some decent ones for you.

Our friendly Tuk Tuk driver had some to recommend to us on our second day, but we weren’t very interested (because we just had one). So if you get a good driver like we did, you’re pretty much set.

Tuk Tuk Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia

Tim with our friendly Tuk Tuk driver

Day 2 in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Wat

Credit: Timothy Nonis

Image credits: Timothy Nonis

Floating Village

Credit: Timothy Nonis

Image credits: Timothy Nonis

Most people would probably take a full day to visit Angkor, but we moved pretty fast and had time to go on to Kampong Phluk, a floating village about 40 minutes away from the temple sites.

The Tuk Tuk ride was exciting because we got to go through the small dirt roads and see how the Khmer people lived and I really really enjoyed that.

We had to weave in and out of buffalo herds on the road as well, which was fun, and observed how they laid out rice on blue sheets to dry out outside their homes – not something you see every day.

But the floating village itself was a marvel to look at and such a unique experience. It was raining at one point, so we stopped by a coffee house – yes, on stilts – and had a beer while waiting for the rain to subside. Apparently you can take private tours into the mangrove swamps from there, but we didn’t want to because we were honestly quite exhausted from our Angkor trip.


Even after the floating village, we still had a bit of time until nightfall, so our driver suggested visiting their local shopping centres!

Which was, quite frankly, a flop. They’ve got some malls that sell jewellery, local fabrics, some basic clothes, souvenirs and other touristy things, all of which seemed to be targeted at the Chinese market for some reason. But they were totally not our thing at all.

We did see some cool boutiques and art gallery a little way down the river from Pub Street, but they seemed to target a more upmarket crowd, which we are definitely not a part of.

They have this mall that had Swensens though, so we got ourselves an ice cream cone and I annoyed Tim by being a typical girl and saying I didn’t want an ice cream cone, so he got one for himself but ended up having to share it with me.

But like I said before, all our shopping was done at Pub Street – some of their clothing items and bags and stuff may have some ants on them, but they’re decent quality for the price you pay. And the ambience at Pub Street is so much better for shopping!

And with that, our second, and only full day, at Siem Reap came to a close.

Day 3 in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Landmine Museum

Landmine Museum, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Image credits: Timothy Nonis

We took a long time deciding where to spend our last day and finally settled on the Landmine Museum.

It was quite a long drive away from our hotel, maybe around 45 minutes away, and we realised there were quite a few temples in the area that we didn’t know about, which was something we might’ve considered if we had more time.

There was something weird about that whole area though – all the cars and Tuk Tuks were stopped by some guards when turning into the road that led to the temples and museum. Our driver had to announce where we were going, though I’m not sure why that was, and I didn’t fully understand our driver’s explanation, but it seemed kind of serious.

Anyhoo. The Landmine Museum, to be perfectly honest, isn’t very pretty. It’s not very well maintained and the insides of the buildings looked really old and worn down.

BUT it turned out that it’s a social enterprise, with a very touching and meaningful message behind it. Plus there was a children’s home behind the museum that takes care of and educates kids who have been affected by the land mines that are still scattered across the country.

Yes, that means that people still get blown up by land mines today, decades after the Khmer Rouge rule, and that’s what the Land mine Museum is all about – raising awareness about the situation and helping these people as best as they can.

Tim was really intrigued by the old war items exhibited in the museum, but I was more taken in by the stories – of the museum’s founder, who was once a child soldier who had set tens of thousands of land mines during the Pol Pot’s rule; of his wife, who worked with him to disarm and remove land mines for most of her life until her passing a few years ago; and of the children whose lives have been wrecked not just by the land mines but by poverty, poor healthcare etc.

One particular story that stood out was of this girl whose father’s legs were blown off by a land mine. She had two sisters and a brother. One sister died, and the other was raped at the age of six. Desperate to keep his third daughter safe, his father begged the Landmine Museum to take her in and help her live a good and happy life – and as you read the story, written in her words, you can’t help but feel for these kids who are just a stone’s throw away from the museum. And this is just one of the many many stories plastered across the museum’s walls.

Enjoy the last of the hotel

After we were done at the Landmine Museum, we asked our driver to take us back to Pub Street, where we had a Mexican lunch and went souvenir shopping.

Then we trooped back to the hotel for a swim and a shower. And then it was home sweet home.

Three days were way too short but it was just enough to cover the spots that we wanted to see. I think we’d love to go back again some day, though. Perhaps for a longer trip – not to sightsee, but more to just sit back, relax and enjoy the ambience.

One of the most beautiful places I’ve been to, Siem Reap is right up there on my favourite cities visited list.


Contributed by Natalie Kay-es-el.


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About Author

Natalie Koh

After starting a career in journalism at a pretty young age, Natalie now spends her time writing for passion and for a living. When not cooking up sensational copy for clients, she’s planning her next travel adventure or laughing too hard at the latest viral listicle or animal video. She loves coffees in the sunlight as much as beers under the night sky.


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