Unique experiences in Siem Reap

Trust us when we say that Siem Reap is not just about the remarkable temples of Angkor; it truly has much, much more to offer. Having called Siem Reap home for more than eight years we feel well qualified to direct you to a selection of unique experiences that will certainly leave you impressed. If we could give one piece of advice to anyone planning a trip to Siem Reap, it would be to extend your stay and dig a little deeper. This will not only give you more time to explore the incredible Angkor Wat but also many of the other temple complexes that make up Angkor Archeological Park. On top of this you’ll get to enjoy some pretty unique experiences that are definitely not to be missed.

Take to the skies with Cambodia Balloon Adventures

Cambodia Balloon Adventures offer a brand new and unique experience in the countryside surrounding Siem Reap. They are the first fully licensed balloon operator to take to the skies in Cambodia meaning that visitors to Siem Reap can now enjoy a unique perspective of life in the authentic Cambodian countryside. With daily flights from a selection of carefully selected locations and both sunset and sunrise departures, you can take your flight at a time that fits your schedule, ensuring you make the very most of your time in Siem Reap.

Operating from 1st December to 31st March, be sure to book in advance for this ‘hot ticket’ experience in Siem Reap. As you soar above the villages, rice paddies and jungles below, you may even catch a glimpse of one of the remarkable temple complexes that dot the Cambodian countryside. Look out for Pre Rup, built in the 10th century and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The opportunity to be able to view this from above is a real treat and truly unique.

Experiential dining at Park Hyatt Siem Reap

Right in the centre of town, the Park Hyatt Siem Reap offers unique dining experiences that showcase Executive Chef Pisith Theam’s love of working with organic, locally sourced ingredients. Sit back and be mesmerised by the traditional Apsara Dance Show where highly trained dancers take you through a journey of myths and legends, an artistic practice which is central to Cambodian history and culture. You’ll eat course after course of exceptional, elevated and traditional Khmer cuisine created by Chef Pisith, one of Cambodia’s most experienced culinary experts.

For a modern and theatrical twist on dinnertime, Park Hyatt Siem Reap is currently hosting Le Petit Chef. This sees five courses of delicious food presented through a continuous 3D-projected story, complete with themed music, as the world’s smallest chef plays out his adventurous virtual cooking right on your table top. The wonderful inclusion of Chef Pisith’s added Khmer theatrics make this a truly unique and not-to-be-missed culinary experience.

Responsible elephant tourism at Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary

Cambodia is home to a number of wildlife sanctuaries, protected areas designated for the conservation of wildlife and their habitats. Sadly many of these are under threat from illegal logging and wildlife poaching, despite their ‘protected’ status so this visiting and supporting this unique experience in Siem Reap is even more important.  Located in the Cambodian countryside 100km north of Siem Reap you will find Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary, home to many rescued animals including three adult elephants. One of these magnificent creatures is Kaavan, a male elephant who was held in captivity at Islamabad Zoo in Pakistan for over 35 years. Relocated to his new home in 2020, he can now enjoy the rest of his years being looked after and respected by the excellent team at Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary.

Spanning 32,000 acres, there is plenty of space for Kaavan and two female elephants. Sarai-Mia (pictured below) and Di-Ploh also call this protected area home alongside many native and endangered species. You might spot deer, giant ibis, cranes, monkeys, gibbons and several turtle species. Spending time here is a truly unique experience that will go some way to supporting this worthy project and ensuring the environment is protected.


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Authentic farm to table dining at Lum Orng

Take a trip down a dusty red dirt road tucked away in the backstreets of Siem Reap and you’ll find yourself at Lum Orng, Siem Reap’s very own farm to table dining experience. Located across the road from Lum Orng’s cooking school and farm, the restaurant is housed in a converted Khmer wooden house, lit by chandeliers and with draped floor to ceiling glass windows to invite the garden views inside.

Lum Orng Siem Reap

Chef Sothea create crafts what he calls ‘New Mekong Cuisine’ which celebrates Khmer food and aims to preserve the culinary traditions of Cambodia, many of which were lost when the brutal Khmer Rouge regime seized power in the late 1970’s. Ingredients for the multi-course tasting menus are fresh from the farm or sourced from other local or regional suppliers. Chef Sothea’s modern take on traditional Khmer cuisine takes you on a delicious culinary journey where the flavours, culture and produce of this wonderful country are celebrated with every bite.

Lum Orng Farm to Table Chef Sothea

Siem Reap is an incredible destination in an enchanting country and is rightly considered to be one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet. A firm favourite on bucket lists around the globe and commonly written about in travel publications, it’s often only a visit to the temples that is featured and not much else. However Siem Reap has so much more to offer. Our four unique experiences, plus the many wonderful hotels, cool cafes and memorable restaurants in town will ensure that your extended stay will be one that you will remember for a very long time.

Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest. Vegan Food Quest have become luxury vegan travel specialists as they continue to find, eat and write about the best vegan food in the world.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Comments (19)

  1. Terry Wilkinson says:

    I’ve lived in Siem Reap for a few years now and being vegan has never been easier. From budget restaurants to fine dinning the choices are getting wider all the time. On top of that it is an amazing city with the Temples and more oh and let’s not forget the locals with their welcoming smiles.

    • eileen says:

      You’re so right about the people. Always with a welcoming smile and ready to help.

    • Paul Eyers says:

      thank you for your comments Terry and Eileen, the people are also unique and full of pride for their country which they love to share with visitors…

  2. Ian says:

    I was fortunate to visit the elephant sanctuary and was really impressed with their ethos and work. Really admirable team with strong principles that are making a difference.

    • Paul Eyers says:

      thanks Ian, good to hear that you enjoyed Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary, they are doing the ‘right thing’ for sure, unlike many other elephant tourism locations in Cambodia and the wider region sadly

  3. Barry says:

    I enjoyed my visit to Siem Reap and if I ever return I’ll be sure to check out these new experiences. Especially the air balloon flight, that looks amazing.

  4. Suzy Willis says:

    It’s good to hear that Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary provides responsible wildlife tourism. I’ve not always been convinced that some of the wildlife projects that I’ve visited are really about the animals’ welfare.

    • Paul Eyers says:

      thanks you for commenting Suzy. sadly you are most likely correct about other wildlife projects as the good ones are few and far between and certainly in the minority

  5. Jim says:

    I hold my hands up. Guilty as charged. I made a beeline for Angkor Wat and then carried on my merry way.

    Now I know that I got it wrong and should have stayed longer in Siem Reap.

    Next time, I’ll do better. I promise.

    • Paul Eyers says:

      haha, thanks Jim, you won’t be the first or the last that misses out on much of what Siem Reap (and Cambodia) has to offer. saying that, Angkor Wat and the temples are truly remarkable and should be at the top of everyones list!

  6. Charli says:

    A hot air balloon ride is at the top of my travel bucket list. Cambodia would be a fantastic place to do it.

    • Paul Eyers says:

      an air balloon flight is certainly on many travel bucket lists, as is Cambodia so combining the two if you get the chance seems like a great idea!

  7. Stephen Nicholson says:

    When you see elephant pictures like those, they seem such innocent creatures. Then you come across them in the wild, bulldozing a tree, and you realise how powerful and destructive they can be.

    • Paul Eyers says:

      indeed they are supremely powerful and therefore need to be treated with respect and caution, especially in the wild. sadly, most of the trees in the region are being bulldozed to make way for development or to sell the timber which is why we always support organisations such as CWS as they not only give the elephants a home, but they protect the surrounding environment

  8. eileen says:

    Fabulous pictures and reviews, Paul. Makes me want to book a return trip to Siem Reap and benefit from your experience. I would love to visit the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary and Lum Orng looks amazing.
    Although most famous for its temples, as you rightly highlight, Siem Reap has so much more to offer.

    • Paul Eyers says:

      so much more to offer indeed and that’s why we’ve called Siem Reap home for nearly nine years. Lum Orng is remarkable and Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary is superb project that needs all of our support

  9. Paul Johnson says:

    Was Kaavan born in captivity? A quick Google search tells me that Asian elephants live until around 47 years old, so I’m guessing he’s quite an old boy now…

    • Paul Eyers says:

      Kaavan was born in Sri Lanka. He lived at Pinawela Elephant Orphanage, which in the eighties was considered to be an ethical centre. This is certainly not the case now with many stories of unethical practices meaning we would never recommend or support them. Not sure how he got from Sri Lanka to Islamabad Zoo in Pakistan, but the fact that an ‘orphanage’ was happy to sell an elephant to a zoo says underlines that PEO is not the sort of place we should be supporting! His new home at Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary is certainly giving him the chance to live out the rest of his life in what is as close to the wild as is possible. From memory, i think he is not yet 40, i will check next time i visit!

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