Siem reap

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Siem Reap – The Gateway To An Ancient World

Siem Reap - the holy land of Cambodian people

Siem Reap is always the best destination for great things. It is the gateway to the spiritual world people often look forward to visiting – a completely different place to get away from the fast-paced life. Besides the temples, you have plenty of things to do in and around the city. Although Siem Reap was the seat of the mighty Khmer kingdom from the 9th to the 15th century, it is just a captivated and small part of Cambodia nowadays. Let’s discover Siem Reap with AA Vietnam Travel today!

The historical origin of Siem Reap

The name “Siem Reap” means “defeat of Siam” (siem in Khmer). It is commonly referred to as a conflict between the Siamese and Khmer kingdoms. Due to oral tradition, King Ang Chan (1516–1566) named the town “Siem Reap” after the repulsion of an army sent to invade Cambodia by the Thai king Maha Chakkraphat in 1549.

Located in northwestern Cambodia, this city has majestic temples and stunning landscapes. Siem Reap is well-known for its historic destinations like Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. Besides that, it offers a welcoming atmosphere for all food lovers and adventurers.

Siem Reap is always the best destination for great things. It is the gateway to the spiritual world people often look forward to visiting – a completely different place to get away from the fast-paced life.

How to travel to and around Siem Reap

The town is 7 kilometers away from Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport. It is accessible by direct flights from many critical international airports around the world, and by land from Phnom Penh (Cambodia’s capital) and the Thai border. It is also possible to travel there by boat (via Tonle Sap lake).

Getting around in Siem Reap is relatively easy as it is quite a small city. Besides walking, local transportation options such as rework (Cambodian tuk-tuks) are a great idea to experience commuting like a local. Taxi is also available at an affordable price.

The best time to visit Siem Reap

The ideal time to visit Siem Reap is between December and January when the days are mostly sunny and dry. The weather is good enough for you to go outside and enjoy the sunshine without too much humidity. The average temperature is around 26°C and 31°C.

On Siem Reap’s rainy season starts from late May and ends around October. It rains mostly in September, therefore traveling to the city this month is not recommended.


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Activities in Siem Reap

Visiting temples of Angkor

Temples of Angkor are the most famous historic destination in Siem Reap. Meanwhile, Angkor Wat is the best temple to visit among all of them. It is one of the most prominent religious monuments in the world, located in an area of 162.6 hectares. At first, Angkor Wat was built as a Hindu temple honored to the god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire. However, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. You can come here to enjoy the majestic structure of this old temple and worship the gods.

Siem Reap, Angkor Wat on a sunny day.
Angkor Wat on a sunny day.

Besides Angkor Wat, there are more temples to see within the Angkor Archaeological Park such as Angkor Thom Ta Prohm, Preah Khan, Banteay Kdei, Phnom Bakheng, Ta Keo, East Mebon, Drukhsh, and Neak Pean. The temples of Angkor are such beautiful heaven on Earth, where you can get lost in an ancient and spiritual world.

Watching the Cambodian circus

Phare, the Cambodian Circus, is a spiritual art of Cambodian people in Siem Reap. It is a circus-style entertainment featuring high-flying acrobatics with live music, plus on-site dining. Exceeding far more a conventional circus, it involves performance art with social messages implying in the production. They are all about historical, folk, or modern life of Cambodian people throughout history. In the night time, tourists should keep themselves occupied as there is not many tourist attraction opening around the area. Watching the circus is accountable as a night-time must-do activity in Siem Reap. It is suitable for the adult to enjoy the remarkable, enthusiast, and vibrant stage; while the children may be overwhelming due to the artistry movement and fantastic cinematic effects.

Siem Reap, Amazing performances are organized nightly at Phare.

The performance is available nightly at 8 pm. In the peak traveling period from November to March, Phare the Cambodian Circus offers additional performance at 5 pm every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. There are three seat sections in the circus, featuring premium section A with three front rows staying closest to the stage. The ticket price varies from 18 USD to 38 USD per adult (12+ years old) and 10 USD to 18 USD per kid (5-11 years old).

Discovering Seam Reap cuisine

Siem Reap is not only a place for you to stretch your legs and senses, but it is also food heaven with excellent cuisine. From the tasty and colorful street food to the vibrant cafe, Siem Reap has it all ready for you. In the early morning, you can enjoy a bowl of labor (rice porridge) or kuy teav (noodle) to warm up your gut. The hot bowl comes with an eye-catching decoration of vegetables and herbs: fried shallot, spring onion, mung bean, and a lime wedge.

Fish amok
Fish amok – one of the most famous dishes in Siem Reap.

After that, a coffee cup will complete the bliss of your relaxing morning. Do not forget to visit The Little Red Fox Espresso to enjoy the fresh-brewed coffee featuring Cambodian rock and roll music. Otherwise, Rohatt Cafe is another location for you to recharge yourself near the Siam Reap river. In the cafe, the chef offers a wide range of authentic Khmer food. Notably, fish amok is a mouth-watering dish with fresh fish chunks shimmering in yellow curry then garnishing with galangal, kaffir lime leaves, peanut, and chili. It is usually served in a bamboo steam pot with banana leaves. Another step to walk close to Cambodian cuisine is ordering a 50-cent Angkor beer to go with your meal. Get way beyond the tourist guidebook and enjoy your Siem Reap vacation like a local!

Besides, Siem Reap has other signature dishes for you to try such as beef la ap, nom banh chok, bai sach chrouk, and so on. The more you try, the more you love Siam Reap and its fabulous eating culture.