When it comes to traveling, I like to think of places that don’t usually come to people’s minds. Places that will enrich your soul, gratify your knowledge and ease your curiosity. Siem Reap in Cambodia is one such place.
Siem Reap is one of those places that caters to every taste. It’s difficult to get bored in this ever-evolving city. The variety of cuisine, accommodation, shopping, modes of transport, and daily activities is quite astonishing for what is actually a relatively small – and new – city on the edge.
The central highlight is of course the Temples of Angkor – most of which are just a short trip from the center of town. It is the most balanced, the most harmonious, and the most perfect Khmer temple. It shows Khmer art, which reached the height of it glory in the 12th century. Then visit an amazing view of Ta Prohm Temple which has been deliberately left as it was discovered. Climb Bakheng hill to have bird’s-eye view of sunset, Angkor Wat and western Baray.
However, it would be a mistake to see Siem Reap as merely a bed for the night to allow for days at Angkor Wat. Whether it’s enjoy sipping a coffee and people-watching in the town, taking a quad bike out into the countryside, or bargaining for silks and silver in the burgeoning markets, there are plenty of reasons to extend a stay.
The floating village on Tonle Sap Lake, is a must-see. It is the biggest fresh water lake in south-east Asia. Most people (90%) are fishermen living in their wooden houses built on small boats and rafts. Because of flood during rainy season they move their houses many times a year depending on water level.
The central shopping and restaurant area is concentrated around the south of the city near the Old Market. Nearly every week a new bar, boutique, massage spa, or restaurant seems to open; such is the pace of development. What can seem like a sleepy town by day (because everyone is at the temples) is teeming with people in high season after sunset. Perhaps the most famous street in town is Pub Street. As the name suggests, it is dominated by two night clubs – Temple Club and Angkor What?, and it is lined with bars and restaurants. It is the go-to place for travelers looking for a large night out.