The first impression when you enter Siem Reap is the incredible touristic burst in a rather small city. However, if you take a closer look and decide to spend a couple of hours on the streets, you’ll soon be overwhelmed by a strange and alluring combination of old French cafés, rickshaws, and shops selling exotic fruits and spices. In other words, Siem Reap is a place where history meets the present.
This mixture of French colonialism, Khmer tradition, Angkorian history, modern services, and Cambodian good spirits is basically unlimited. It provides everything you want for a perfect vacation, be it historical interests, relaxation places, or a walk on the secret and cozy streets of the town. Thus, the advantages of Siem Reap are obvious:
- It is located near a great complex (i.e. The Angkor Wat).
- It has a good network of services, hotels, spas, places for promenade, markets with souvenirs, etc.
- Local people in Siem Reap adapt fast and effectively, so most of services are flexible.
- It is easily reachable by plane and it has a good bus/tuk tuk network for both inside the city and the surroundings.
Truly Remarkable Sights
There are hundreds. Literally. The list below is merely an intro to one of the most fascinating areas in Southeast Asia, which is the Siem Reap region. So here’s the top five you shouldn’t miss:
- You don’t have to have a keen interest in archeology or architecture to see and understand the greatness of the Angkorian Empire when visiting Angkor Wat. This place can’t be accurately described without skipping superb details.
- The Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary, for its beautiful species of birds other animals.
- In the 1000 Buddha’s Room (the Angkor National Museum) silence takes over. Pictures and stories are in this case futile. You must see it for yourself to understand it.
- Venice is overrated! Check it for yourself going to Kompong Phluk, a floating village outside Siem Reap.
- The Stupa Memorial, where you can see the aftermath of the genocide which took place in Cambodia 30 years ago.
Take Advantage of Local Attractions
As an alternative to visiting special places, there’s plenty of room for local activities. You should try more than a couple if you’re here to experience the authentic part of Cambodian life or if, on the contrary, you just try to find a nice and quiet relaxation spot. Whichever the case may be, remember that Siem Reap is versatile enough to cover most of your needs. You just need to know what to look for. So here’s what tourists are after when reaching Siem Reap:
- Spas, spas, spas. From oriental massage to warm baths and aromatherapy, you can easily find the proper setting to relax.
- Don’t miss the French cafés. They have a peculiar feel you won’t meet anywhere else in the entire French Indochina.
- Visit the surroundings of Siem Reap by bicycle, or other local means of transport. The real Cambodia is very close to you if you take a step or two away from the main roads.
- Take cooking classes of Khmer cuisine.
- If you plan your trip well you can be in Siem Reap during the Angkor Photography Festival (last week of November).
- Shop for souvenirs, Angkorian arts and crafts, Khmer clothing, etc. Siem Reap is one of the best solutions for shopping in Cambodia when it comes to traditional objects and articles.