Welcome to Siem Reap!
Siem Reap (Khmer: ក្រុងសៀមរាប, pronounced [siəm riəp]) is the capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia.
Siem Reap has colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter and around the Old Market. In the city, there are museums, traditional Apsara dance performances, a Cambodian cultural village, souvenir and handicraft shops, silk farms, rice paddies in the countryside, fishing villages, and a bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap Lake, and a vibrant, cosmopolitan drinking and dining scene.
Siem Reap today—being a popular tourist destination—has many hotels, resorts, restaurants, and businesses closely related to tourism. This is much owed to its proximity to the Angkor temples, the most popular tourist attraction.
Angkor Wat Temple: (Wat temple) is the central feature of the Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site containing the magnificent remains of the Khmer civilization. Angkor Wat’s rising series of five towers culminates in an impressive central tower that symbolizes mythical Mount Meru. Thousands of feet of wall space are covered with intricate carving depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. The most important is the Carved Bas reliefs of the Hindu narratives. They tell a story about gods fighting demons in order to reclaim order which can only be achieved by recovering the elixir of life known as amrita. The gods and demons must work together to release it and then battle to attain it.
Angkor Thom Ctiy: is an inner royal city built by Jayavarman VII, the Empire’s famed ‘Warrior King’, at the end of the 12th century and is renowned for its temples, in particular the Bayon. Other notable sites are Baphuon, Phimeanakas, the Terrace of the Elephants, and the Terrace of the Leper King. The city can be accessed through five city gates, one at each cardinal point and the Victory Gate on the eastern wall.
Banteay Srei Temple: is a 10th-century temple about 30 km northeast of Siem Reap. It is notable for its fine intricate decorative carvings on rose pink sandstone.
A number of significant temples are dotted around Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom within the Angkor Archaeological Park, including Ta Prohm, Preah Khan, Banteay Kdei, Phnom Bakheng, Ta Keo, Ta Som, East Mebon, Drukhsh, Pre Rup. and Neak Pean. These temples may be visited along the grand circuit or the small circuit routes. Other sites are the Roluos group of temples located to the east of Siem Reap.
War Museum Cambodia: covers the last three decades of the 20th century when the Khmer Rouge was active in Cambodia. There is a vast array of vehicles, artillery, weaponry, landmines, and equipment on display. The museum is making use of guides who are war veterans who fought for the Cambodian army, the Khmer Rouge, or the Vietnamese army.
Angkor National Museum: Opened on 12 November 2007, the Angkor National Museum offers visitors a better understanding of the area’s archaeological treasures. The Golden Era of the Khmer Kingdom is presented, including the use of state-of-the-art multimedia technology. The museum covers Khmer history, civilization, and cultural heritage in eight galleries.
Artisans Angkor: is a semi-public company founded in 1992 which aims to revive traditional Khmer craftsmanship and provide employment for rural artisans. It is also associated with a silk farm where visitors may learn about sericulture and weaving. It also participates in the restoration of historical Angkor sites by repairing and replacing damaged sculptures.
Cambodian Cultural Village: Opened on 24 September 2003, the Cambodian Cultural Village assembles all the miniatures of famous historical buildings and structures of Cambodia. There are 11 unique villages, which represent different cultural heritages, local customs, and characteristics of 21 multi races.
Phnom Kulen National Park: is about 48 km from Siem Reap and contains a number of attractions such as its two waterfalls and the Kbal Spean’s ‘river of 1000 Lingas’. It is also home to Preah Ang Thom, an active, 16th-century pagoda that is home to the largest reclining Buddha in Cambodia.
Floating villages: There are four floating villages around Siem Reap: Kompong Khleang, Kompong Phluk, Chong Kneas, and Meychrey, home to a bird sanctuary. Kompong Khleang is considered the largest and most authentic and Chong Kneas the least authentic but most visited due to its proximity to the city.
Tonlé Sap: Khmer for ‘vast body of freshwater’ and more commonly translated as ‘great lake’, is a combined lake and river system of major importance to Cambodia. It is in the heart of Cambodia and is home to many floating villages. Tonle Sap is 30 minutes south of downtown Siem Reap at the port of Chong Kneas. The lake and its villages have many unique features and attractions, making Tonle Sap tours popular with tourists. The area around the Tonle Sap including the province of Siem Reap is part of the greater Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve.
The Old Market or Psah Chas is between Pub Street and the Siem Reap River and offers a mixture of souvenirs for tourists and a variety of food products and other items meant for the locals.
Other markets in Siem Reap include the Angkor Night Market which is off Sivutha Street, Phsar Kandal (the Central Market) on Sivutha Street which mainly caters to tourists, and Phsar Leu (the Upper Market) which is further away along National Road 6 but is the biggest market of Siem Reap used by the locals. The Made in Cambodia Market (initially called “Well Made in Cambodia”) is a night market for tourists in Siem Reap where all the products sold are made in Cambodia. The market hosts daily shows and other events in King’s Road.
According to the Köppen climate classification, Siem Reap features a tropical wet and dry climate. The city is generally hot throughout the course of the year, with average high temperatures never falling below 30 C in any month. Siem Reap has a relatively lengthy wet season which starts in May and ends in October. The dry season covers the remaining six months. The city averages approximately 1406 mm of rainfall per year.