Vacations to Siem Reap, Cambodia

World-famous as the ‘gateway to Angkor’, Siem Reap has much more to offer than its handy proximity to the iconic temple complex. Having a cultural and historical context will heighten all your experiences here, so get a potted history of the city’s past at the Angkor National Museum, or visit the Cambodian Cultural Village for a wider perspective on Cambodia's heritage.

Show you’re in the know by heading to Kendal Village, a leafy, colonial district filled with hip boutiques, galleries and cafes near the Old French Quarter. It’s the place to be seen, and where you’ll find souvenirs that your friends and family will actually thank you for. Siem Reap is also heaving with markets, including Psar Chas, the bustling central market catering to locals and tourists alike. It’s a pungent place, thanks to the stalls selling prahok, a fermented fish paste. Just behind Psar Chas is Pub Street, a lively pedestrianized road lined with bars and restaurants that’s the heart of the city’s nightlife. Don’t stay up too late though, because Angkor Archaeological Park awaits and is best seen early.

Angkor is undoubtedly Siem Reap’s biggest-hitting attraction. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it lies six kilometers north of Siem Reap and covers around 400 square kilometers. This vast site features scores of awe-inspiring remains from the Khmer Empire dating from the 9th to the 15th centuries. Must-sees include:

Angkor Wat: This iconic temple complex is the biggest religious building in the world. Hewn out of sandstone and decorated inside and out with intricate bas-reliefs, its grandeur and beauty is almost too much to take in, so give yourself plenty of time here.

Ta Prohm: This ruined temple is partially hidden by jungle, and famous for its appearance in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, so dust off those jungle pants, adjust your ponytail and ready that whip! (On second thought, that might be a step too far).

Angkor Thom: The highlight of this sprawling ancient city is a breath-taking temple carved with over 11,000 figures depicting daily life, as well as 37 giant stone faces.

Angkor attracts thousands of tourists every day so there’s little chance of a peaceful moment. However, aim to arrive for around 5am to avoid the most punishing heat and peak crowds, then come back later in the afternoon to snap sunset shots. You’ll need a ticket to access the park– a three-day pass is the best option to explore its wonders fully, so you can pace yourself and not become too wat-weary.

Highlights

  • Immerse yourself in the vibrant nightlife

  • Explore the iconic Angkor Archaeological Park

  • Amazing street food

Eline
Senior Travel Designer
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Cambodia is such a diverse an interesting country, with beautiful nature and some of the world’s most incredible temples. The bike ride I embarked on through the ancient city of Angkor is definitely one of my most treasured memories.

Siem Reap trip ideas

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Places to stay in Siem Reap

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Things to do in Siem Reap

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Map of Siem Reap