Siem Reap Travel Guide
Ta Phrom Temple, Siem Reap © Justin Vidamo
Siem Reap is the main access city for the magnificent temples of Angkor, and a popular launching pad for onward travel into Thailand. Although somewhat marred by hastily constructed modern buildings, Siem Reap does have beautiful colonial architecture, particularly in the Old French Quarter. The city offers many attractions for visitors, including Apsara dance performances, museums, craft shops and markets.
Siem Reap's most famous feature is the Temple of Angkor Wat, dating from the 9th century. The temple complex is situated just three miles (5km) from the city centre. This intriguing and powerful site has been luring visitors for decades; it is acknowledged as one of the wonders of the world, and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the city, the Angkor National Museum provides useful historical and cultural background for the Angkor Temples and the ancient Khmer civilization. The Aki Ra Landmine Museum is also worth a visit for an understanding of the ongoing war Cambodia is fighting against these weapons.
Siem Reap is becoming increasingly popular as a holiday destination and has numerous hotels and guesthouses, both luxury and budget, as well as bars and restaurants to enjoy. Many of these venues are located near the Old Market and the nearby popular Pub Street. With so much in the way of amenities and attractions for tourists, the city of Siem Reap is a great base from which to venture into this fascinating country.
In the surrounding countryside there are silk farms, rice-paddies and fishing villages to explore, as well as the bird sanctuary near Tonle Sap Lake, which is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia. The area is home to charming villages on stilts, or floating villages, built to accommodate monsoon flooding.