This incredible temple complex, which lay forgotten beneath the jungle for centuries, dates back to the 12th century and represents one of the world’s most remarkable architectural achievements.
Siem Reap has colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter, and around the Old Market. In the city, there are traditional Apsara dance performances, craft shops, silk farms, rice-paddy countryside, fishing villages and a bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap Lake.
Spread over several hundred square kilometers, the former capital of the powerful Khmer civilization, Angkor is truly spectacular with temples, monuments and beautiful sculptures providing a testament to the extraordinary craftsmanship of the Khmers.
Angkor cannot be “done in a day.” While most of the main temples are clustered within a 10km radius, many tourists who visit for 3 days (considered the minimum time) often say they would like to stay for a week. Such is the spendour and the allure of this amazing place.
Opened on September 24, 2003, the Cambodian Culture Village assembles all the miniatures of famous historical buildings and structures of Cambodia. There are 11 unique villages, which represent different culture heritages, local customs and characteristics of 19 multi races. At each village, the tourists will be able to enjoy the excellent wood houses, carving, soft skill in stone, traditional performances in the different dance styles such as: Apsara dancing, performance of ethnic minorities from northeastern Cambodia, traditional wedding ceremony, Circus, Popular games, Peacock dancing, Acrobat, elephants shows, and boxing.
Opened on 12 November 2007, the Angkor National Museum offers visitors a better understanding of the area’s archaeological treasures. The Golden Era of the Khmer Kingdom is presented, including the use of state-of-the-art multimedia technology. The museum covers Khmer history, civilization, and cultural heritage in eight galleries.
What to see around Angkor
There are about 60 temple ruins in the Siem Reap area alone so you need to choose according to your schedule and level of interest.
On the “must see” list are the legendary ruins of Angkor Wat, the giant faces of Bayon and the Giant tree at Ta Prom. The famous South Gate of Angkor Thom can be seen en route to Bayon. Angkor Thom has some interesting terraces and the massive “temple-mountain of Baphuon and Phimeanakas is worth seeing.
Other temples you should visit if time allows are Pre-Rup, Preah Khan, Neak Pean and Ta Som. If you have more time, visit the Roulous Group around 12 km outside Siem Reap, which contains monuments and early Angkor Art. Further away (38km from Siem Reap) Banteay Srey is also well worth a visit.