Siem Reap

A silhouette of the Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap, is shadowed on Cambodia’s national currency–there’s also a national beer created in its name. The symbolic sites of the Angkor Archaeological Park joined the ranks of UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992 visiting Siem Reap, it’s easy to see why. Built in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is the largest temple complex in the world. The temples of Angkor Wat give visitors the opportunity to look beyond the country’s modern tale, which is plagued by the tragic experiences of Cambodians under Khmer Rouge rule. Built for the Hindu god Vishnu, the ancient temples represent the capitals of the Khmer Empire that were abandoned and left to the jungle–to this day archaeologists have been unable to determine why the city’s rulers abandoned the temples. A sunrise viewing is essential. The reflection of the temple on the lake is a mystical way to begin a day of temple viewing. Angkor Thom, Banteay Srey and Ta Prohn are all must-see temples in the area and are easily accessible from Siem Reap by tuk-tuk. Visitors wishing to gain a better understanding of Siem Reap and Angkor Wat’s archaeological significance should visit the Angkor National Museum in town. There are eight galleries at the museum that explore the history and cultural heritage of the region.

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Book Flights to Siem Reap Book now
Currency Cambodian Riel
Time Zone UTC+7
Area 10,299 km2
Languages Khmer
Holiday Packages to Siem Reap Book now
Population 896,309
Dining

Visitors seeking traditional Khmer flavours, will find there is no shortage of dining options in Siem Reap. The Passage, behind Bar Street, has a number of traditional Khmer restaurants where traditional foods such as Amok and Loc Lac are in good supply. Amok is a gently steamed curry, cooked in banana leaves. The curry base is made from fragrant Kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass and is a must taste dish during a visit to Siem Reap. Loc Lac is typically made from marinated beef, which is then stir fried and served with a peppery dipping sauce and steamed rice. A variation of a Vietnamese dish, bo luc lac, it was most likely brought to Cambodia by the French colonisers. Since then it has become a Khmer staple. Cambodian BBQ is also a wonderful meal to experience during a visit to Siem Reap. Restaurant tables are transformed into a do-it-yourself barbeque in which visitors can try some of the regions more exotic meats, like snake, crocodile and ostrich. The traditional stalls on Sivatha Street in the Old Market district, are a feasting zone. The stalls are open from late in the afternoon until the early hours of the morning and are a great place to find fast Khmer-style food. This is as far from fine dining as you can get but the buzzing market is a cultural experience in itself. For something different, enjoy dinner at the Sala Bai restaurant school. Underprivileged students training in hospitality and tourism run the restaurant which serves traditional Asian and Western food.

Shopping

The markets of Siem Reap are not only a sensory experience but also a great place to purchase souvenirs. The Central Market, Night Market and Old Market all sell similar items such as magnets, t-shirts, silk, silverware, teas and spices at very reasonable prices. If you’re after something unique and authentic to the country, head to the Made in Cambodia market on Ohm Khun Street. The market is open on the first Saturday of each month from 4-9pm. The market supports fair trade and the local economy and products here are of higher quality than the other markets. The town centre has a number of small boutiques selling authentic Khmer handicrafts but a short walk to Senteurs d’Angkor Workshop will allow you to see the artisans at work. The area is also known for its art galleries.