๐Ÿšฒ Siem Reap Countryside Cycling: Firsthand Review & Tips

Two people riding bikes down a red dirt path surrounded by trees and bushes.
๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Overall Rating6.4
๐Ÿฆ„ UniquenessLow
๐Ÿ˜Š EnjoymentHigh
๐Ÿ’ฐ ValueAffordable
๐ŸŽ’ PreparationMinimal
โญ๏ธ Book a Tour View Price
Overall Rating is based on a weighted average of factors (learn more).

An off-the-beaten-path and underrated activity in Siem Reap is biking through the city’s countryside. Hereโ€™s my honest review and firsthand tips.

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๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Overall Rating

I recommend cycling through Siem Reap’s countryside โ€“ do it if you’re interested.

My overall rating is based on a weighted average of four factors travelers consider important when assessing an experience.


In addition to seeing Angkor Wat, I recommend biking through the countryside of Siem Reap to explore the quieter side of the city. Cycling past rice fields and traditional villages was one of the most surprisingly enjoyable activities I did in Southeast Asia.

The experience, which includes paying for a local guide and a rental bike, is affordable.

Minimal preparation is required, as you need to book in advance and pack accordingly.

A woman standing next to a bike with rice paddy fields in the background.
Siem Reap countryside cycling

๐Ÿ† Where Does It Rank?

Biking through the countryside ranks as my #3 thing to do in Siem Reap. Here’s how it compares to other experiences on my trip:

#ExperienceLocationOverall Rating
1๐Ÿ›• Angkor WatSiem Reap8.9
2๐ŸŽช PhareSiem Reap6.6
3๐Ÿšฒ Siem Reap Countryside CyclingSiem Reap6.4
4๐Ÿป Pub StreetSiem Reap5.5
Overall Rating is calculated using Lukiihโ€™s rating system.

My Siem Reap itinerary features the above experiences.

โœˆ๏ธ About My Trip

For context on my review, here’s what to know about my trip:

  • ๐Ÿ€ย Self-fundedย โ€“ I finance my trips and don’t receive sponsorship, so this review reflects my honest opinions.
  • ๐Ÿ—“๏ธ 2022 โ€“ This post has updated 2024 information, but I visited Siem Reap in 2022.
  • โ˜€๏ธ High season โ€“ My Cambodia trip was in November when it was more crowded and expensive.

๐Ÿฆ„ Uniqueness: Low

The Uniqueness Score is based on how rare and memorable an experience is.

Rarity: Common

Cycling the countryside of Siem Reap is a common experience, as about 500 comparable bike tours exist worldwide.

๐Ÿ’Ž What Makes It Rare?

  • Biking tours pass through traditional Cambodian villages where visitors can observe and interact with local life to better understand Khmer history.
  • Siem Reap is one of Cambodia’s poorest areas, and biking tours with local guides are a sustainable way to support the community.

๐ŸŒ What Makes It Less Rare?

  • Another comparable place to bike through rural Cambodia is Battambang.
  • Many destinations, including Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, and more, offer visitors the chance to bike through villages and rice farms.

Memorability: Moderate

Biking through Siem Reap is one of my many memorable experiences in Cambodia.

๐Ÿ“ธ What Makes It Memorable?

  • The expansive rice farm paddies and red-colored dirt roads made for captivating and serene landscapes.
  • My local guide is well-connected to the community, which enabled me to interact with locals at a deeper level than on most other tours I’ve taken.
Three people posing for a selfie with rice fields in the background.
Local guide, Samnang

๐Ÿ’ค What Makes It Forgettable?

  • Although Siem Reap is known for its incredible temples, you won’t find any epic ones in the countryside. Everything will be very humble, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it will be less memorable.

๐Ÿ˜Š Enjoyment: High

The Enjoyment Score is based on how much happiness and reward an experience provides.

Happiness: High

I found biking through Siem Reap’s countryside very enjoyable.

๐Ÿ˜ƒ What Makes It Enjoyable?

  • The roads aren’t paved, so as someone who bikes mainly in the city, I found it very fun to go over bumpy and uneven dirt terrain.
  • I learned how to harvest rice and interact with a few locals through my guide.
Multiple farmers and two tourists leaning down and harvesting rice from a paddy field.
Harvesting rice in Siem Reap

๐Ÿ˜ฅ What Makes It Less Enjoyable?

  • Some attractions on some countryside biking tours are touristy, like Tonle Sap. Like many tourist attractions in the area, this can be unpleasant because of the common practice of using children to beg tourists for money.

Reward: High

Biking through Siem Ream’s countryside is a rewarding experience as it combines cultural enrichment with physical accomplishment.

๐ŸŒŸ What Makes It Rewarding?

  • Biking enables you to cover a lot of ground; I biked for 12 miles during my experience.
  • Biking past traditional villages, which included local homes, schools, and markets, gave me an enriching perspective and understanding of Siem Reap’s daily life.
  • Given the city’s economic challenges, supporting local guides through tourism is satisfying. This is especially true after the pandemic devasted the area.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Value: Affordable

The Value Score is determined by the price divided by the duration of an experience. All prices mentioned here are in USD.

Price: $40 PP

Biking through Siem Reap’s countryside requires bike rentals and knowledge of the area, both of which are provided by local guides. They typically charge $35 to $40 for a half-day tour and $60-$70 for a full-day tour. At about $8 per hour, I consider this experience affordable.

Tipping is appreciated but optional in Cambodia, so you can add another $5 to $10 to the total if you like.

I paid $40 for this Siem Reap countryside cycling tour and highly recommend the guide, Samnang. Half-day tours like mine cover eight to ten miles, and full-day tours that cover over 20 miles are also available.

One bonus about booking a small tour is that my guide invited us to his home at the end to meet his family

Three people standing near each other under a tree with pink flowers.
Local guide’s home

See my Siem Reap trip expenses.

๐ŸŽ’ Preparation: Minimal

The Preparation Score is based on the required skills & fitness, transportation, and bookings & packing. The higher the score, the less preparation is needed.

Skills & Fitness: Basic

You need basic skills and fitness to cycle through Siem Reap’s countryside.

  • ๐Ÿšฒ Skill โ€“ The only skill you need is knowing how to ride a standard bike. A typical route involves some unpaved roads.
  • ๐Ÿ’ช Fitness โ€“ You’ll need minor endurance to cover several miles to see different attractions, but experienced guides should adjust the pace and distance according to your comfort level.

Before riding a bike in Siem Reap, be aware of road safety and Cambodian driving norms, as they can seem chaotic to Western visitors. This is one of the reasons why I chose to go with a local guide who could lead me safely.

Transportation: Very Easy & Short

The biking tour will start at a nearby meetup spot or your accommodation. My tour guide delivered the rental bike directly to my accommodation, and we left there at 7:30 am.

Booking & Packing: Minimal

To do a Siem Reap biking tour, you’ll need to book and pack accordingly:

How To Guide & Tips

Interested in exploring Siem Reap’s countryside by bike after reading my review? Below is a practical how-to guide and firsthand tips.

Can You Bike Around Angkor Wat

In addition to the countryside, you can visit Angkor Wat by bike. The massive Angkor Archaeological Park contains 72 temples.

A woman standing in front of a large ancient temple with three acorn shape domes.
Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is only 0.6 miles long, so you can explore it on foot. Other temples in the park are too far apart, so biking is a great and unique way to visit them.

You’ll also need to buy an Angkor Pass to enter Angkor Archaeological Park. Tourists are not allowed to rent motorbikes to explore the park.

  • Option 2: Guided tour โ€“ย You can also go on aย guided biking tour of the Angkor temples, which is more convenient. A local guide knowledgeable about theย fascinating history behind each templeย can also enhance your experience.

By hiring a guide, youโ€™re also supporting local tourist workers. Despite Siem Reap receiving over 2 million visitors annually, 45% of the population lives below the poverty line.

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Where To Rent

If youโ€™re biking around Siem Reap without a local guide who provides the rental, you’ll need to rent a bike yourself.

Youโ€™ll find several bike rental shops in Siem Reap, especially near Old Market and Pub Street. Regular bikes are as cheap as $1 a day, and mountain bikes can cost $5 a day. Here are a few highly-rated bike shops (I last checked prices in June 2024):

If youโ€™re biking around the countryside, a mountain or hybrid bike is best for the dirt pathsE-bikes are also available, but youโ€™re unlikely to find a charging station in rural areas.

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Where To Cycle

There are many biking paths to explore in Siem Reap, but there are generally three directions to choose from:

  • ๐Ÿ“ Option 1: Around Angkor โ€“ This cycling path focuses on Angkor Wat and nearby temples. The main road, Preah Sihanouk Avenue, connects the city center with Angkor Archaeological Park.
    • Two other famous temples are Bayon Temple, located inside Angkor Thom, and Ta Prohm, featured in Tomb Raider (the locals love Angelina Jolie). Both temples are roughly a mile north of Angkor Wat.
    • Banteay Srei is also popular and well-loved. Itโ€™s the furthest away, located ten miles north of Angkor Wat.
    • Banteay Kdei, near Ta Prohm, is known to be one of the more tranquil temples.
  • ๐Ÿ“ Option 2: Northwest โ€“ A general direction you can head towards is the village of Preah Dak. The cycling path there is tranquil and mostly on dirt roads. I passed rice paddies, residential homes, scenic landscapes, and small, empty temples.
Two people riding bikes down a red dirt path surrounded by trees and bushes.
Cycling towards Preah Dak
  • ๐Ÿ“ Option 3: South โ€“ A popular cycling path is to head south towards Tonle Sap Lake, where visitors can also take a boat ride. This is a slightly longer path with more city streets.

Tonle Sap is known for the floating villages, where communities are built on stilts. Itโ€™s also extremely touristy, where begging children are to be expected.

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What To Pack

Hereโ€™s a comprehensive packing list for cycling around the countryside in Siem Reap:

  • Sunscreen โ€“ Youโ€™ll be in the sun with little to no cover for a couple of hours. I use and recommend this highly-rated sports sunscreen, which applies effortlessly.
  • Mosquito repellent โ€“ Siem Reap has disease-carrying mosquitos, and mosquito activity is high. I find this insect-repellent lotion works better than the spray alternatives.
  • Accessible small bag โ€“ Youโ€™ll want your phone to be accessible for photos or protected from the rain if it pours. I carried this waterproof, crossbody phone pouch.
  • Rain jacket (optional) โ€“ Bring a light rain jacket if you travel during the rainy season. I traveled with this rain jacket.
  • Closed-toe shoes โ€“ Your shoes will get dusty, sandy, and potentially muddy. I wore my Asics running shoes.
  • Shorts โ€“ Siem Reap is humid, especially during the wet season. To be more protected from mosquitoes, consider wearing leggings or athletic pants.
  • Athletic top โ€“ Same advice as above.
  • Water (optional) โ€“ The guide will provide water, and there will be beverage stops along the way, but itโ€™s a good idea to bring extra cold water.
  • Cash โ€“ Bring some cash to tip and buy snacks along the way. Many places do not take credit cards.

Top of guide โ†‘

Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below.

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