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The Heart of Khmer History
Siem Reap is the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat and its vast Temple Complex spread over an area of more than 400 square kilometers.
However, Siem Reap offer many more intriguing activities in the near surroundings.
This has made Siem Reap the most sought-after tourist destination in all of Southeast Asia.
With its international airport, Siem Reap can be your ideal starting point in your journey to Cambodia, or for a stop over from any other destination within Southeast Asia.
Angkor Archaeological Park
Doubtless, the most intriguing site in all of Cambodia.
The vast Angkor Archaeological Park consists of hundreds of ancient structures, with some of them of monumental proportions.
Once the seat of the Khmer Empire, which ruled a large portion of mainland Southeast Asia between the ninth and fifteenth centuries AD, Angkor reached its peak in the twelfth century before entering a long period of decline.
Angkor, in Cambodia’s northern province of Siem Reap, is one of the most important archaeological sites of Southeast Asia.
It extends over approximately 400 square kilometers and consists of scores of temples, hydraulic structures (basins, dykes, reservoirs, canals) as well as communication routes.
For several centuries Angkor, was the center of the Khmer Kingdom. With impressive monuments, several different ancient urban plans and large water reservoirs, the site is a unique concentration of features testifying to an exceptional civilisation.
The archaeological park include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations, the Jungle Temple Ta Prohm and many more.
Siem Reap Town & Around
The town of Siem Reap is located just south of Angkor Wat, so it is the obvious place to stay while visiting the temples and its surroundings.
Siem Reap is still relatively small and caters to every taste and offers an endless supply of different activities.
There are world-class hotels, resorts, homestay options, local guesthouses and hip hostels which will guarantee a comfortable stay.
Some of the best restaurants can be found here for decent dining experiences, but trying the street food is a must too.
Fancy shopping? A visit of one of the many art galleries? Or this all relieving massage after a long day in the temple park? Siem Reap has it all.
But again, Siem Reap offers much more than just the comfort-chaos-setup of a life embracing Asian city.
Village encounters in the countryside, quad bike tours, cycling adventures, hiking, bargaining for silk in one of the many markets, authentic cooking classes, ballooning, helicopter rides and much more...
How about an exclusive dining in a secret temple?
Especially recommended is a visit to the Tonle Sap Lake and to the Kulen Mountains. Read more below.
Tonle Sap Lake
"Spectacular Lake Ecosystem and a unique way of life"
The largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, Tonle Sap, is a rich and vast ecosystem, and is life essential for a big part of Cambodias population.
The size of the lake is changing dramatically between the seasons. In monsoon season, Tonle Sap River is changing its direction of flow, pumping mineral rich water from the Mekong up into the lake, expanding it up to 6 fold.
People living on or at the lake need to adjust to these changes. On the shore, whole villages are sitting on 6 to 10m high stilts to avoid flooding in the monsoon season.
The lake is also filled with floating villages, complete with schools, clinics and even a basketball field, adjusting to the rising or falling water levels by simply relocating their property.
A steady traffic of long-tail boats secure the transport of people, supply and other goods between the villages.
For visitors, this is a complete new world to discover and is a stark and welcoming contrast to the temple exploration.
Bird lovers can find a unique and undisturbed habitat on Tonle Sap, packed with various species.
Feeling active? Navigate a Kayak, quietly through the floating villages and a flooded forest. A serene and touching way of visiting Tonle Sap.
Phnom Kulen Mountain
Phnom Kulen National Park is a mountainous plateau, situated about 50 kilometers north of Siem Reap in Svay Leu District.
The sacred mountain is significant, since it is esteemed as the birthplace of the ancient Khmer Empire. Multiple historic sites are scattered across the mountain and can be explored, some only accessible by foot or moto.
There are also numerous of recent religious sites which are also worth a visit, catering to the never ending flow of pilgrims. At Preah Ang Thom, the largest reclining buddha can be visited atop a massive boulder.
The main sight however is the river of 1'000 Linga's and its massive waterfall a little further downstream.
Thousands of these Linga's, a phallic fertility symbol, are carved into the sandstone riverbed, said to fertilise the river, which passes all the way south to Angkor.
Further downstream some smaller waterfalls are followed by the impressive and marvellous 20m Kulen waterfall. Beautifully set in dense tropical forest, it invites not just for taking a picture but also for a swim in its basin below.
The variants of trips to Phnom Kulen are adjustable to any taste and can also include multi day trekking with camping or homestay nights.
Siem Reap Quick FAQ
A short excerpt of the most important information. You didn't find an answer to your question here?
Contact us, we can help you out.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
From October to March is the best time however monsoon season is also recommended, especially if you want to avoid the crowds and see the best scenery of Siem Reap.
MONEY & ATM's
There are hundreds of ATM's and Money exchanges located in the town. Expect a ATM fee of around 4 USD per transaction.
DANGERS & ANNOYANCES
Siem Reap and its surrounding is a very safe place. However pickpocketing does happen occasionally. Be also aware of unrealistic price expectations when bargaining for a service or goods.
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Khmer New Year: in April is the biggest festival of Cambodia where every Cambodian gathers to celebrate.
Water festival: end of October or beginning of November is a specular celebration in Phnom Penh with boat competitions, firework and lantern floating along the Mekong.
Various providers of prepaid SIM Cards for mobile services including affordable data packages are available on the airport or in town.
The WiFi infrastructure is wide spread in Siem Reap. Almost every venue these days offers free WiFi to their customers.
Tonle Sap Lake
Explore This Unique
Stilted villages, Floating villages, Flooded forests, unique lifestyle, vast breeding grounds for birds and much more waiting to be explored.
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