Siem Reap in 48 Hours: A Journey Through History, Culture, and Mindfulness

June 20, 2024

Siem Reap attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, who line up at all hours of the day to visit the enormous 12th-century temple complex of Angkor Wat. And with good reason.  
Deemed as one of Southeast Asia’s most important archaeological destinations, this 162.6-hectare UNESCO World Heritage site contains the majestic remains of the ancient Khmer Empire from the 9th to 15th century and has been considered as both a Hindu and Buddhist place of worship throughout the duration of its existence. 

Thanks to the massive and time-consuming restoration efforts, the Angkor Archaeological Park, with its countless temples and sculptures, can seem frozen in time to both old and new travellers. However, the vibrant town of Siem Reap and the lush villages located on its outskirts are constantly changing with the seasons and years, making the province an attractive travel destination in its own right!  

If you are spending only 48 hours in Siem Reap, let Discova take you on an immersive journey into its heartland, laying bare centuries of history and culture coinciding with the humdrum of daily life. 

On your first day, after settling in and having a good night’s rest, we take a step away from urban life to uncover the charm of Siem Reap’s untouched outskirts. Our morning excursion takes us to the nondescript village of Trei Nohar, where visitors can engage with friendly villagers living in close-knit communities and witness the ingenuity of locals who recycle plastic by weaving it to make mats and baskets.  

Local woman in Trei Nohar weaves a basket

To further sink your teeth into the local way of life, participate in a Khmer rice cake-making workshop, take a tractor ride across Cambodian farms, and relish a homemade lunch made with fresh local produce. This Discova Signature Experience highlights the resourcefulness of people living in this quiet countryside and supports them in sustainably welcoming tourists to their rich and vibrant community.  On the other hand, this tour also helps travellers forge lasting memories and better understand Cambodia’s rich culture and cuisine miles away from famed temples and other historic attractions. 

After taking in the majestic scenery of rural Cambodia, the second day is devoted to discovering Angkor’s awe-inspiring temples on a unique bicycle tour. This eco-friendly adventure lets you travel sustainably and explore the majestic scenery at your own pace. Pedal down shady paths flanked by lush forests and shimmering lakes, stopping for impromptu photo opportunities and soaking up the serene beauty of the surroundings.  

This full-day tour avoids the crowded tourist routes and uncovers hidden gems along the way before reaching the magnificent Angkor Wat. Your expert guide will bring the rich history of this architectural marvel to life as you traverse its vast complex. This eight-hour adventure also includes a delicious breakfast camp set up at one of the reservoirs, fuelling you for further exploration. With visits to lesser-known temples alongside the iconic Angkor Wat, this bicycle tour promises a perfect morning for any wanderer seeking an unforgettable experience.   

A majestic view of Angkor Wat

On the morning of your departure, if you have a couple of hours to spare, feel free to step away from the popular sightseeing jaunts and join us for an exercise in mindfulness like no other. Designed to awaken your senses and unlock a sense of inner peace, our outdoor yoga and meditation experience is led by seasoned teachers and modified for all fitness levels while unfolding under the watchful gaze of the rising morning sun at a hidden outdoor sanctuary in Siem Reap.  

Whether you are a long-practicing yogi or a complete novice, this experience will help you uncover true mindfulness, while being at one with the serene nature that surrounds you from all sides. In the heart of ancient Siem Reap, this is an unmissable chance to reset, recharge, and rediscover yourself before your Cambodian adventure comes to a close.     

To return to the often-asked question – Is two days enough to see the length and breadth of Siem Reap? It’s most definitely not. But it is possible in such a short time frame to get a teaser, a tasting menu if you will, of the diverse historical, cultural and architectural sights and scenes on offer to open you up to the world of ancient kingdoms, welcoming villagers, delicious food and an undisputed sense of peace and content? 

Then, the answer is a resounding yes!   

Want to know more?

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