Angkor Wat: Arguably the most famous sight in all of Cambodia (and Siem Reap's crown jewel), the impressive 12th-century Angkor Wat complex is well worth battling crowds to visit. If you want to avoid the crowds that storm the temple during midday, consider a (very) early wake-up call (around 3 a.m. to 4 a.m.) to catch the sunrise, which will also allow you to capture that iconic, world famous photo. The complex is big, so expect to spend at least four to five hours wandering past the intricately carved walls, the historic carvings of Buddha and the labyrinth of tunnels and weaving temples that make up the UNESCO Word Heritage Site. If you're going without a guide, make sure you visit the Central Sanctuary, which boasts the sweeping views of the temple complex and the neighboring countryside; the fortified city of Angkor Thom, which houses the incredible Terrace of Elephants and the Terrace of Leper Kings; and the mysterious Bayon temple, which is home to the smiling Buddha faces (it's also one of the area's most Instagrammed landmarks). (Krong Siem Reap.)
Banteay Srei & Ta Prohm: Not quite as well-known as Angkor Wat, but equally as incredible, are the temples of Banteay Srei and Ta Prohm. Because they’re far more intimate than the sprawling Angkor Wat complex, these two sights are often clumped together into a single four- to five-hour visit. The spectacular Hindu Banteay Srei temple, which dates back to the 10th century, was built and dedicated to the deity Shiva and is ornately decorated with carvings of Vishnu and Shiva. The red sandstone of the temple is riddled with intricate carvings, so make sure you wander around the ruins and take ample photos of the breathtaking artwork. Built as a 12th- and 13th-century monastery, Ta Prohm gained fame and notoriety (for many Western visitors, at least) in the recent years thanks to its feature in the Tomb Raider movies. The site, which is truly as intertwined with nature as you can get, is one of the area's most photographed -- thanks to the giant trees which have grown in (and out) of the ancient site. The trees, which are now holding the crumbling ruins together, have become as big a part of the monastery as the stones and carvings. One of the most imposing sites in Cambodia for beautifully merging with nature and not overcoming it, a visit around Ta Prohm's jungle atmosphere today doesn't differ much from the way the European explorers saw the historic sight when it was discovered in the late 1800s. (Banteay Srei in the area of Angkor; Ta Prohm: Krong Siem Reap)
Cambodian Circus (Phare): One of the most iconic experiences in Siem Reap, the Cambodian Circus uniquely blends theater performances, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and aerial acts in a stunning venue that features wall carvings and 6th-century drawings that only add to the mysterious ambiance. Not only do you get to enjoy the performance, which is inspired by the temples that were constructed in the 11th century, the circus is one of the best entertainment option in all of Cambodia. The shows, which typically take place later in the evening, also offer a traditional meal (think rice noodles, fresh fish and deliciously spicy soups) with a few local spirits. Something to note -- the venue does not have air conditioning so plan to bring a fan to keep yourself cool. (Phare Circus Ring Road, south of the intersection with Sok San Road; +855-92-225 320; open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
Angkor Wat Putt: It may not seem like a logical place to play mini-golf, but as you're putting with a view of Angkor Wat's iconic temple steeples in the background, you'll quickly see why so many flock to the lush, green course. The 14-hole mini-golf course, which was opened by a former temple guide (who is one of the leading experts on Siem Reap in the area, so make sure you pick his brain if he's around), is shaded by banana trees and is decorated with nearly life-size replicas of the area's famed temples. Bonus? A simple ring of a bell will get a cold beer delivered to your hand as you try to putt for a hole-in-one. (Krong Siem Reap; +855-12-302-330; open 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
Kandal Village: For more upscale souvenirs and a peek into Siem Reap's evolving art and boutique scene, hop in a tuk tuk and ride to Kandal Village, which is situated in the city's Old French Quarter. The 15th-century Old French Quarter boasts a quirky collection of cafes, small pubs, bistros, art galleries, boutiques and spas offering more luxurious products for more discerning shoppers and eaters. The architecture is entirely reflective of the French colonial style (right down to the pastel paint colors), but the vibe is entirely Asian. For some fuel before you shop, stop into The Little Red Fox Espresso for a quick coffee (one of the city's best) and then stroll down the palm tree-lined streets and meander into the famed shops, like Louise Loubatieres, home to finely spun silk textiles; Siravan (a high-end clothing boutique); or the eccentric Trunkh, a cool and hipster art gallery and store. If you're worn out from shopping, stop into the Frangipani Spa (Hap Guan Street) for a relaxing deep tissue massage, pedicure or body wrap.