Siem Reap in northern Cambodia is known primarily as the launch pad for any trip to the magical magnificence of ancient temples including Angkor Wat – but it is also now a great destination in its own right, to be enjoyed and savoured.
The main draw of Siem Reap, Angkor Archaeological Park, has to be seen to be believed. One of most important historical and archaeological sites in the world, it was declared a UNSECO World Heritage Site in 1992. The park contains the breathtakingly magnificent ruins of the largest pre-industrial city in the world, and was the home of several capitals of the Khmer Empire between the 9th and 15th centuries. The most famous temple, Angkor Wat, is just one of countless locations to visit, that can easily consume days of your visit.
Siem Reap, however, should not be overlooked. The town is home to a wealth of attractions and – even without the archaeological park nearby – this would undoubtedly be an enjoyable place to visit.
A worthwhile complement to the park is the town’s own Angkor National Museum, offering a vivid illustration of Khmer culture and history in addition to its famous 1,000 Buddhas room. And for the chance to glimpse the temples of Angkor in splendid isolation – before the throngs of tourists arrived – your best bet is a visit to see the wonderful photographs of the McDermott Gallery on Siem Reap’s riverside. The town is also home to its very own dramatic and beautiful temples, from the 500 year old Wat Preah Prom Rath to the brand new constructions at Wat Bo.
Siem Reap is surrounded by charming and lush countryside, where you can still find tranquil villages and traditional ways of life. You may also come across Angkor Silk Farm, still demonstrating authentic and fascinating Cambodian weaving techniques.
Elsewhere in Siem Reap you can get to grips with the local cuisine with cookery classes, sample locally made beverages including rum, palm wine and sombai, or even make your own souvenir at one of the town’s pottery classes. The town also has a thriving arts, theatre and cultural scene.
Accommodation in Siem Reap
Holidays from £1739 per person
Holidays from £2239 per person
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