Cambodia in Brief – A Quick Guide to Siem Reap
A Quick Guide to Siem Reap
In the mornings Siem Reap is very quiet, with the majority of its guests being away exploring the temples of Angkor Archaeological Park. It’s the perfect time to visit the Old Market or to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. In the afternoons and evenings the city is buzzing with activity. Pub Street and the Night Market areas are lit up, tuk-tuks browsing through streets, live bands play in the restaurant gardens. And spas are opened until late, in case travellers want to have a foot massage before heading back to their hotels for the night.
What to do and see in Siem Reap
Explore Angkor Archaeological Park
Angkor Archaeological Park is a time machine that will take you from the busy modern world to the ancient times when the Khmer Empire was the strongest kingdom in South East Asia. 162 hectares of land and forest hide over 400 temples. Some are well restored and preserved – Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Prohm. Others are still hiding waiting to be discovered. Every year scientists find more and more temples in the area. Visiting the park is like reading a giant stone book about Khmer history and beliefs.
Explore local villages on a Quad Bike
After spending a day in the temples, take a quad bike ride through Siem Reap countryside. Quad bikes (ATVs) are easy to manage, and they are more stable than motorbikes on the road. Have fun driving through small villages where kids run to the road to greet you. Or follow your guide to the rice fields to see the sun setting over the palm trees. You are guaranteed to have an unforgettable adventure.
Apsara Dance show
A restaurant on the balcony of the Temple bar (in the heart of Pub Street) has free Apsara dance shows every evening. Enjoy your meal, and watch professional dancers bringing back ancient Hindu temple rituals. The show is a mix of temple dances and traditional Khmer village dances. One of our favourites tells a Hindu legend about a battle between Hanuman – Monkey King – and two forest goddesses. The dance is full of energy and spirit.
Take a Food tour
Do you want to know the names of all the herbs in your curry? Would you like to know how to choose the best fish for Amok? Do you want to try as many local dishes as possible in the short time you have in Siem Reap? Then your answer is – a Food Tour. You bring your appetite, and your local guide brings extend knowledge about Cambodian cuisine and the best places where to try it. Explore local markets, taste different types of local desserts, decide on your favourite method of cooking noodles, and with all that don’t forget to take as many photos as possible.
Spend a night at Phare circus
Phare Circus performances tell stories about Cambodia’s past and present through acrobatic displays, jokes, poetry, live art and music. The actors are full of energy and passion. Watching them performing can easily become the most unforgettable evening you spend in Cambodia. For the Active Travellers the Circus now offers workshops. You can learn simple acrobatic tricks under the supervision of the experienced Phare Circus staff. If you are interested, book at least two weeks in advance.
How’s the food?
One word – amazing! You stand no chance to be hungry. Siem Reap has a huge variety of restaurants and markets, where you can try many famous Khmer dishes. Street vendors sell fresh juices on every corner. And if you fancy something different, there are plenty of French, Mexican and Korean restaurants in town.
Though watching the sun rising over the towers of Angkor Wat is a must-do activity in Siem Reap, don’t limit yourself to just couple of famous temples. Buy a 3-day or a week pass and explore the park outside of the popular routes.
Is Siem Reap for you?
Siem Reap will enchant everyone with a huge variety of sites and activities. History, art, photography and culture lovers will be amazed by the ancient temples and rich history of the region. Families with kids will find plenty of activities for both – adults and children. Backpackers and party animals will spend merry nights at the famous Pub Street. Foodies will find local food markets impossible to leave.
The best time to go to Siem Reap
Siem Reap is pleasant all year round. Monsoon season (late May-October) brings rains. During this time of the year the sunrise sky above Angkor Wat is especially bright and multi-coloured. Dry season (November-April) starts with what locals call “cool weather”. It can be about 23-25 degrees celsius in November-January. It warms up by early March, when temperatures sometimes reach 39 degrees.
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