Without spending a lot of money, it turns out that Siem Reap may be a city that is very representative of Cambodian life, if you know where to go and stay away from the Pub Street tourist district. I took my bike and took off to get to know this city where there are still plenty of things to discover!
Among my favourite activities during my trip to Cambodia: riding bikes, the best local means of transport! You can rent them for less than a pound a day, and this gives you a way to check out the city's outskirts: so I went to the village of Phnom Krom, about 6 miles from Siem Reap, to enjoy its temple on the mountain and the beautiful view it gives of the rice paddies. On the way back, I stopped at a lotus farm and had a nice visit.
Another choice spot, not really frequented by tourists but by many locals, especially on weekends, West Baray, or Siem Reap's natural swimming pool. It's a water reservoir dating from the 11th century, built to retain the water level near the temples. After the rainy season, from September to January, people can swim in it. It is a very social place for the locals and a nice day trip for an experience off the beaten path.
In the evenings, I liked going to the local beer gardens on the famous Pub Street, to enjoy the crazy atmosphere of the bars and karaoke places (much less off the beaten path!).
Among the things to do in Siem Reap, another nice activity for children and parents is a cermaics class at the Khmer Ceramics Centre. You can even take your creations with you and learn more about the different techniques. This is just one of the many nice things to do during a family holiday.
Another fun and original way to visit the town and its surroundings: by vespa, or even an electric bike! These are two companies that have recently opened. One offers to take you around for a day or evening on a chauffeured Vespa, thanks to Cambodia Vespa Adventures. The other company offers you a way to get around the city on your own without polluting: these are called Green E-bikes.