Siem Reap is Cambodia's number one tourism destination with its monumental temples of the Angkorian era sitting right on its doorstep. Due to the town’s burgeoning popularity a whole host of other attractions and activities is opening up. It has a lively café and restaurant scene as well as some of the best souvenir shopping you'll find in the country with both market stalls for great bargains and a whole host of plush boutiques for special gifts.
TOP 8 PLACES TO SEE
Angkor Wat is the main temple complex and was built between the 9th and the 15th centuries by a succession of kings. The temple has stunning bas-reliefs carved with scenes from traditional Hindu epics such as the Churning of the Ocean Milk bas-relief.
2.PHARE PONLEU SELPAK
The circus is a dazzling spectacle combining acrobatics, music, dance, circus slapstick, and a variety of other performance arts. This is a contemporary circus, similar in style to Canada's famed Cirque du Soleil, with a story weaved through the performance, combining drama and comedy all into one show. It is a colorful and lively spectacular show with elements of traditional Khmer cultural dance and music which will enchant both adults and children.
Many scars was left in the late 20th century during the war by landmines. The museum was set up by Aki Ra and does an excellent and highly informative job of highlighting the ongoing scourge of landmines in Cambodia and the work being done to de-mine the country.
4.LES CHANTIERS ESCOLES
This school teaches traditional Khmer crafts of stone-carving, wood lacquer-work, and silk painting to disadvantaged local youths. At the beautiful shop ‘Artisans d'Angkor’ you can pick up stunning souvenirs of statues and lovely local silks for all your friends and family back home. If you want to learn more about the revival of Cambodia’s craft daily tours of the workshops is available.
5.FLIGHT OF THE GIBBON
The zip line tours offers 10 zip lines crossing over a jungle canopy on a two hour course. Along the way are four hanging sky-bridges, a 50-meter abseil that will please those seeking an adrenaline rush, and 21 platform stations. It also offers you the opportunities to learn more about the jungle environment and flora and fauna, including edible plants, medicinal plants, wild orchids, and a tarantula house.
6.AHA’S FAIR TRADE VILLAGE
Want to buy some authentic souvenirs to take home – the village is the perfect place to go. All the money goes directly to the makers and the entire organisation is not-for-profit, supporting the local community and ensuring their trades are sustainable. On sale is beautiful hand-woven bags, intricate jewellery, silk scarves and paintings. Join in by booking a pottery, jewellery or bag-making workshop at the Backstreet Academy at the back of the market for some proper cultural exchange.
7.LES CHANTIERS ESCOLES SILK
The farm produces some of the best work in the country, including clothing, interior-design products and accessories. All production stages can be seen here, from the cultivation of mulberry trees through the nurturing of silk worms to the dyeing and weaving of silk.
8.ANGKOR NATIONAL MUSEUM
The museum opened in 2007 and houses thousands of artifacts recovered from Angkor Wat. On exhibit is Relics from the ancient Angkor Empire – including over 6,000 lintels, assorted statues of Hindu gods, Buddhist bodhisattvas and sandstone reliefs which tells the fascinating story of the Angkor Empire's beginnings and eventual downfall.
OTHER PLACES TO SEE
The best way to get around is by Remork-Moto (motorcycles with carriages), car, motorcycle and bicycle.
Because Siem Reap is in the north of the country, it tends to be a little cooler, and temperatures are at their most comfortable from December to February, averaging around 25°C