The ancient city of Siem Reap is the gateway to Cambodia‘s world famous Angkor Temple Complex. The magnificent Angkor Wat is the most famous, and for good reason. Despite dating back to the 12th century, and being in area of great historical conflict, the temple remains remarkably intact – you can feel the history as you stroll it’s imposing corridors. Another ‘must see’ is Ta Phrom, known as the ‘Tomb Raider’ temple following it’s cameo in the film of the same name. The temple has been ‘lost’ to nature, creating a hypnotic myriad of stonework and foliage. It’s easy to see why it was chosen to be a film set.
One of our favourite things to do here is to get off the usual trail and explore some of the lesser-known temples. Find the right one and you can be the only person exploring it Some are so unknown you have to drive off road to get there.
Away from the temples, Siem Reap town has plenty to offer. There’s a reason why this place is a hit with both backpackers and more experienced travellers alike. From tuk-tuks and tourists to a plethora of restaurants, bars and cafes, the town is bustling with life. Despite being known for its party scene, the city retains a lot of its small-town charm, with lively markets and relaxing riverside walks. There’s plenty to see and do here besides the obligatory trip to Angkor Wat.
One of the best places to visit is the Floating Villages on Tonle Sap Lake. Life here hasn’t changed in hundreds of years for the local fishermen, and you can get a unique insight into their everyday life on a canoe tour that also lets you take in the bird sanctuary. It’s worth stopping off at the Cambodian Landmine Museum if you’re interested in this diverse country’s history. It’s a moving day out, but well worth the trip.
As the sun sets, go shopping (and eating!) at the night market. Here you can buy Khmer arts and crafts as well as try street food specialties like frogs stuffed with kroeung (Khmer curry paste) or even deep-fried tarantula! Afterwards, head for Pub Street where you’ll find happy hour drinks and plenty of lively bars and clubs where you can party all night long.
Whether you’re getting a massage, wandering around the city’s temples or taking a quad bike tour to see rural villages, Siem Reap is one of the most exciting area’s in Southeast Asia.
Plan your trip to Siem Reap today.