Siem reap

Siem reap

Things to do - general

Siem Reap is the capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia, and a popular resort town as the gateway to Angkor region.Siem Reap has colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter, and around the Old Market. In the city, there are museums, traditional Apsara dance performances, Cambodian cultural village, souvenir and handicraft shops, silk farms, rice-paddy countryside, fishing villages and a bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap Lake.Siem Reap today—being a popular tourist destination—has a large number of hotels, resorts, restaurants and businesses closely related to tourism. This is much owed to its proximity to Angkor temples, the most popular tourist attraction in Cambodia

Country Cambodia
Languages spokenKhmer
Currency usedCambodia Riel
Area (km2)20229

Angkor Wat


Described by Frenchman Francis Garnier as "the masterpiece of an unknown Michelangelo", Angkor Wat, or the city that became a pagoda, is the single largest religious monument in the world.

Built from 1113 during the reign of King Suryavarman II, Angkor Wat took well over 30 years to complete and was dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. In size alone Angkor Wat is breathtaking. The outer walls stretch for 1.5km east to west and 1.3km north to south, and the walls are encircled by a beautiful moat almost 200m wide — the entire site takes in some 200 hectares.

Tara Riverboat

tara-river-boat-tours

tara-river-boat-tours

Heavily advertised throughout Siem Reap, the Tara Riverboat is a floating bar and restaurant anchored in the waters of Tonle Sap. It has two advertised packages -- a day and a sunset tour. While the tour includes visits to Chong Khneas and to the Gecko Environmental Centre, it's worth noting these tours are not done on the Tara Riverboat itself, but rather smaller boats with a guide. If you're planning on seeing Chong Khneas or the Gecko Centre anyway, it makes sense to bundle these together and roll them up in a Tara package, but if your main interest is seeing a floating village, then you're better off heading to one of the other, less-touristed villages, like Kompong Phluk or Kompong Khleang.
Landmine Museum

Once little more than a humble shack, Aki Ra's Land Mine Museum has been reincarnated into the Cambodia Land Mine Museum & Relief Facility -- a registered Canadian-based organisation -- which opened in April 2007 with the aim of building and developing the original museum's vision. The new centre includes an expanded museum, a dormitory residence for up to 30 amputee children and a school.

Tonle Sap Lake

Tonlesap lake

Tonlesap lake

If you came to Siem Reap on the boat -- either from Phnom Penh or Battambang -- the great body of water you travelled across is the Tonle Sap lake. The name means large freshwater river and it's a combined lake and river system of vital importance to Cambodia's agriculture and biodiversity. For much of the year the lake is quite small, but during monsoon season, the Tonle Sap River (connecting the lake to the far larger and more powerful Mekong River) reverses flow and water from the Mekong River flows up the Tonle Sap river, filling the lake and the floodplain that surrounds it. In the process masses of sediment is dumped, and with the forests flooded an ideal breeding ground for fish is created. This remarkable water system is the reason why the ancient Angkor civilisation was able to thrive here and grow enough crops to support such a dense population. Today, the lake remains the lifeblood of the region.

The lake is home to a number of floating and stilted villages, some of which are well worth visiting, others far less so. While it may be tempting to lump all the villages together, they're not the same, and the general rule is the further you go from Siem Reap, the more interesting and less corrupted by tourism, they are. The most commonly visited (in order of popularity) are Chong Khneas, Kompong Phluk and Kompong Khleang, with the first being the most frequently visited and so the most aggressive toward tourists.

Apsara dancing

Apsara dance

Apsara dance

Just about every guesthouse, restaurant, shop and tuk tuk driver will happily set you up with an evening of Apsara dancing. Though seemingly ubiquitous, the dancers are often talented and the apsara dance is still very much a part of modern Khmer culture -- it's not just a tourism invention. Most shows include a few sets of dancing, including Apsara, classical and folk dancing, and many of the shows include a buffet dinner and some drinks. .

Butterfly Garden

Siem reap butterflygarden

Siem reap butterflygarden

This tourist trap boasts supposed lush gardens and 1,500 butterflies. When we visited, we spotted one butterfly the entire time we were there. The gardens and the koi pond were so moldy and overgrown that they stank. The staff were inattentive and the Khmer and international cuisine served bland and overpriced. Tourist trap for sure.

Elephant Rides

The two main spots for riding elephants are both out near Angkor, one running in the morning and the other in the late afternoon. Morning sessions are held near the South Gate of Angkor Thom, afternoon sessions run up to near the summit of Bakheng. Elephant riding gets uncomfortable quickly, so many opt for the morning session, which doesn't involve climbing a hill.

Angkor from the air

Angokvatt Airballoon

Angokvatt Airballoon

It's possible to see Angkor Wat from a tethered balloon or a helicopter. The balloon is set to the west of Angkor Wat on the road to the airport. The balloon rises about 200m into the air and offers good views of both Angkor, Phnom Bakheng and other nearby monuments. There are at least two operations offering helicopter tours, though we're not sure how popular they are as we've never, ever seen one in action. The two main operators are Helicopters Cambodia and Sokha Helicopters

Useful information

Whether you wish to travel to Siem Reap, Cambodia (Latitude & Longitude. Altitude: 15 m or 49 ft) on holiday, business or vacation, are interested in buying property there or are looking to migrate the following Siem Reap climate, temperature and weather information should prove helpful:The average temperature in Siem Reap, Cambodia is 26.6 °C (80 °F).The average temperature range is 5 °C.Siem Reap's climate receives an average of 1281 mm (50.4 in) of rainfall per year, or 107 mm (4.2 in) per month.On average there are 106 days per year with more than 0.1 mm (0.004 in) of rainfall (precipitation) or 9 days with a quantity of rain, sleet, snow etc. per month.The driest weather is in January when an average of 0 mm (0.0 in) of rainfall (precipitation) occurrs across 0 days.The wettest weather is in October when an average of 263 mm (10.4 in) of rainfall (precipitation) occurrs across 16 days.The average annual relative humidity is 79.3% and average monthly relative humidity ranges from 72% in March to 86% in September & October

Culture and history info

he name Siem Reap translates literally to the 'Defeat of Siam'—today’s Thailand—and refers to the centuries-old conflict between the Siamese and Khmer peoples. Under the rule of the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 18th century, it was referred to as Nakhom Siam.[2]

According to oral tradition, the name was given by King Ang Chan (1516–1566) as “Siem Reap”, meaning “the flat defeat of Siam” (Cambodians call Siam or Thailand “Siem”). It was because of Ang Chan's victory against a Siamese invasion, slaying Prince Ong, and capturing no less than 10,000 Siamese troops.

The story was told that King Ang Chan of Cambodia tried to assert further independence from Siam. The Siamese also had been through internal trouble themselves during these years. King Chairacha was poisoned by his concubine, Lady Sri Sudachan, who committed adultery with a commoner, Worawongsathirat, while he was on a campaign against Chiang Mai. Sudachan then raised Worawongsathirat to the throne. The nobles hated Worawongsathirat and lured the usurper and his family to a place outside the city where he was assassinated, together with Sudachan and a new-born daughter, during the royal family's procession by barge to see a white elephant (allegedly just captured). The nobles then invited Prince Thianracha, who was a monk in a monastery, to give up that role and ascend the throne under the title of King Maha Chakkraphat (1548–1569). Being informed of the internal troubles in Ayutthaya, King Ang Chan attacked Prachin Buri in 1549 and successfully took away its Siamese inhabitants. There he obtained information that of Maha Chakkraphat's coronation, signaling that the question of succession in Ayutthaya had thus been settled. Ang Chan therefore retreated and did not advance any further. King Maha Chakkraphat was very angry at this, but his hands were tied, because the Burmese had just come by way of the Three Pagodas Pass; they took Kanchanaburi and Suphanburi, and appeared in front of Ayutthaya.

Pub Street in Siem Reap

Nightlife in Siem Reap
Because King Ang Chan refused to give King Maha Chakkraphat a white elephant when he asked for it, it is indicated that Ang Chan declined any symbol of vassalage to Siam. Maha Chakkraphat's attention was now turned towards Cambodia.[3] He put Prince Ong, the governor of Sawankhalok and Srey’s son, in charge of an expedition against Cambodia. Ang Chan counter-attacked, and shot Prince Ong dead on an elephant’s back, and his army routed the Siamese and captured no less than 10,000 Siamese troops. It was because of this victory over Siamese the that King Ang Chan renamed the battleground as “Siem Reap” meaning “the flat defeat of Siam”.

However, most sources indicate the decline of Angkor more than a century prior, when an Ayutthaya military expedition captured and sacked Angkor Wat in 1431, initiating a period of vassal rule there.[4] This event coincided with the decline of the city, though there is not a full understanding of the reasons behind the abandonment of Angkor Wat, which may have included changes in the environment and failings of infrastructure.[5]

From the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries, the feuds among the Khmer lords caused the interventions and domination from their more powerful neighbors: Vietnam and Siam. Siem Reap, along with Battambang(Phra Tabong) and Sisophon, major cities in the north western part of Cambodia, were under Siamese administration known as Inner Cambodia from 1795 till 1907 when the province was ceded to French Indochina

Unfortunately there are no accommodations at this location at the moment.

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