City of Siem Reap | Cambodia | Tourism | Guide

City of Siem Reap: an insight into traditional artwork

 

One of the most prominent tourist locations of all times today is the Kingdom of Cambodia. For the tourists, it has turned out to be one location that lures and offers much more temptation than any other place. After having being suffered solitude for several years, Cambodia was opened as popular tourist destination in 90’s. Ever since that time, this place has received a range of tourists and the number has continued to rise. Now, the country witnesses almost 2 million tourists every year, with one of the most popular locations being the City of Siem Reap and the closely associated Angkor Wat and other temples.

Pictures of the old market in Siem Reap

History of City of Siem Reap tourism

 

In early times, i.e., in 13th century, the City of Siem Reap was nothing but little more than ruins. No one visited this place. However, Hindu and Buddhist settlement gave a little push to the development of this place. Buildings started being developed and soon there were several temples. Today, some of these temples remains because they were built with stones. While houses, mostly built in wood, have disappeared with time.

Tonle Sap: Another nice excursion visiting villages on the lake from Siem Reap

gracing the tourism of the City of Siem Reap.

 

After many years, French took over the mastership of the City of Siem Reap and this happened in 19th century. Angkor was re-discovered by French explorers in 1901. In 1907, i.e., after seven years, Angkor was taken over French and it was also refurbished. It was during this year and after refurbishment that the City of Siem Reap started seeing the swarm of tourists. The conventional huts were being replaced by modern French architecture, which was mostly colonial. This can be seen in the city even today. The doors for The Grand Hotel d’Angkor were opened for the tourists in 1929 and since then there has been no looking back. Angkor and the City of Siem Reap started becoming so much popular that it even magnetized celebrities like Jackie Kennedy and Charlie Chaplin.

 

The City of Siem Reap today

 

The main source of attraction in the City of Siem Reap today is obviously Angkor Wat. It reflects the traditional culture that dates back to 9th century. The entire complex of Angkor Wat temple has been declared as the UN Heritage site. The temples reflect beautiful and intricate carvings of empire that was ruling Asia for five long centuries. The City of Siem Reap and primarily the Angkor Wat is a true gateway to pictorial and archeological artwork of the conventional times. The structures that would be seen in the Angkor Wat and surrounding areas are reflection of pagoda, renovated temples as well as imperialism. But the complex of Angkor Wat includes many marvelous temples like Bayon, Ta Phrom (still with trees) or Bantey Sreis (a little bit outside, maybe 30 km away).

 

Bayon, in April 2013.

 

Also, in the vicinity of Angkor Wat, you will see the Angkor National Museum. The museum is new to tourism as it opened in 2007 but still offers an insight and better understanding of archeological treasures. Angkor Thom is yet another attraction and it is the inner royal city and offers you a glimpse into southern gate and temple grounds. Psar Chaa, is also popular for the tourists as it is a flea market that allows tourists to shop for souvenirs and Khmer antiques. The Angkor central market offers you clothes, jewellery and enticing food.

Interesting ways to get at the City of Siem Reap

Although the Angkor International Airport is just 15 minutes from the main tourist attraction, but there are some other interesting ways of travelling in the City of Siem Reap. If you are visiting to Cambodia, you must also sit on Tuk Tuk, a blend of rickshaw and motorcycle. The natives usually travel around through tuk tuk or motorcycles or by foot. Tuk tuks are not luxury vehicles but will surely add a sense of adventure to your trip in the City of Siem Reap.

Beef loc lak from a restaurant in Siem Reap

I went to the first time in Siem Reap around 2005. I can tell you that since then, Siem Reap has probably triple. It has much more bars and tourists everywhere. However, because of the magnificent temples, it is still a great place to see. Try to avoid tourists by going to Bayon very early, or go to some temples outside the normal tourist itinerary.

Pub Street in Siem Reap

Travelling at Angkor and lodging in the City of Siem Reap is absolutely simple and great! Siem Reap has great restaurants. Try Amok fish or beef lok lac. Pub street is full of bars and the nightlife is also very good. Angelina Jolie while filming Tomb Raider used to go at the Red Piano. Another famous bar in called “Angkor What?” and just in front, the Temple Bar is open until very late.

The temple bar on Pub street

 

 

This post is also available in: French, Thai

Add comment