This Cambodian boomtown is the gateway to the famous Angkor temples, but offers plenty more to see and do besides exploring its majestic monuments.
Most people head to Siem Reap with a view to visiting the Angkor Archaeological Park, home to the iconic ruins of Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. It’s easy to get lost in the sheer scale and endless intricate details of the giant temple, such as the 3,000+ asparas (heavenly nymphs) carved into the walls and 800-metre-long series of bas-reliefs portraying historical events and folk tales.
Away from its tranquil temple sites, Siam Reap’s nightlife hub can be found along Pub Street. Here you’ll find an assortment of bars serving one-dollar beers and revellers heading to popular haunts such as The Red Piano and Temple Club. If you prefer a more relaxed affair, there are plenty of family-style restaurants offering casual dining and outdoor seating. The night markets are also well worth exploring, offering unique trinkets like silk paintings, Khmer-style massages and street food stalls. If you want to sample some popular local dishes, order some fish amok (steamed fish curry), lok lak (stir-fried beef) or bai sach chrouk (slow-cooked pork with rice).
The easiest way to get around Siem Reap is by tuk-tuk or motorbike taxis called ‘motodops’. Haggling the price down a dollar or so is the norm, so don’t say yes to the first price you’re given.