SIEM REAP (Khmer : ក្រុងសៀមរាប, pronounced ;
Thai : เสียมราฐ) is the capital city of Siem Reap
Province in northwestern
Cambodia . It is a popular resort town and a
gateway to the
Siem Reap has colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old
French Quarter, and around the Old Market. In the city, there are
museums, traditional Apsara dance performances, a Cambodian cultural
village, souvenir and handycraft shops, silk farms, rice-paddies in
the countryside, fishing villages and a bird sanctuary near the Tonle
Sap Lake .
Siem Reap today—being a popular tourist destination—has a large
number of hotels, resorts, restaurants and businesses closely related
to tourism . This is much owed to its proximity to the
the most popular tourist attraction in Cambodia.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Re-discovery of
* 2 The
Wat and the river
* 3 Economy
* 4 Attractions
* 4.3 Other temples
* 4.4 The
Cambodia Landmine Museum and Relief Center
* 4.5 War Museum
Angkor National Museum
* 4.7 Markets
* 4.8 Artisans
Cambodian Cultural Village
* 5 Notable sites near
* 5.2 Floating Villages
* 6 Local specialty
* 6.1 Rice wine
* 7 Climate
* 8 Transportation
* 9 Sister cities
* 10 References
* 11 External links
Battambang "> Nightlife in
The Thai army managed to defeat the Burmese, who quickly retreated
through the pass. Maha Chakkraphat's thoughts then turned to Cambodia.
Not only had Ang Chan attacked and looted Prachin Buri, turning its
people into slaves, but he also refused to give
Maha Chakkraphat a
white elephant he had requested, rejecting even this token of
submission to Siam.
Maha Chakkraphat ordered Prince Ong, the governor
Sawankhalok , to lead an expedition to punish Ang Chan and recover
the Thai captives. The rival armies met, and Ang Chan killed Prince
Ong with a lucky musket shot from elephant back. The leaderless Thai
army fled, and Ang Chan allegedly captured more than 10,000 Siamese
soldiers. To celebrate his great victory, King Ang Chan supposedly
named the battleground "Siem Reap", meaning "the total defeat of
Siam". Pub Street in
In reality, surviving historic sources make this folk tale appear
very unlikely, since they date the decline of the
Angkor kingdom to
more than a century before this, when a military expedition from
Ayutthaya captured and sacked
Angkor Wat, which began a long period of
vassal rule over Cambodia. The 1431 capture coincided with the
decline of Angkor, though the reasons behind its abandonment are not
clear. They may have included environmental changes and failings in
the Khmer infrastructure.
From the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, infighting among the
Khmer nobility led to periodic intervention and domination by both of
Cambodia's more powerful neighbors, Vietnam and Siam. Siem Reap, along
Battambang (Phra Tabong) and
Sisophon , major cities in the
northwest of Cambodia, was under Siamese administration and the
provinces were collectively known as Inner
Cambodia from 1795 until
1907, when they were ceded to
French Indochina . In fact, during the
18th century, under the rule of the
Ayutthaya Kingdom , it was known
Siam (Siam's city), not as "Siam's Defeat".
RE-DISCOVERY OF ANGKOR
A part of Sivutha Blvd in the downtown area
Siem Reap was little more than a village when French explorers such
Henri Mouhot "re-discovered"
Angkor in the 19th century. However,
European visitors had visited the temple ruins much earlier, including
António da Madalena in 1586". In 1901, the École française
d\'Extrême-Orient (EFEO; French School of the Far East) began a long
Angkor by funding an expedition into
Siam to the
Bayon . The EFEO took responsibility for clearing and restoring the
whole site. In the same year, the first western tourists arrived in
Angkor, a total of about 200 in just three months.
Angkor had been
'rescued' from the jungle and was assuming its place in the modern
Angkor was built in the mid-1920s.
With the acquisition of
Angkor by the French in 1907 following a
Siem Reap began to grow. The Grand Hotel
Angkor opened in 1932 and the temples of
Angkor became one of
Asia's leading draws until the late 1960s. when civil war kept them
away. In 1975, the population of Siem Reap, like all other Cambodian
cities and towns, was driven into the countryside by the communist
Khmer Rouge .
Siem Reap's recent history is coloured by the horror of the brutal
Khmer Rouge regime. Since
Pol Pot 's death in 1998, however, relative
stability and a rejuvenated tourist industry have revived the city and
province. Royal Residence,
Siem Reap now serves as a small gateway town to the world heritage
Angkor Wat. It is a vibrant town with modern hotels and
restaurants, still managing to preserve much of its culture and
Siem Reap ranked fourth in the World's Best Cities of
Travel and Leisure survey in 2014.
THE WAT AND THE RIVER
A covered pedestrian bridge over the
Siem Reap River, next to
the Old Market in
The Town is a cluster of small villages along the
Siem Reap River
Siem Reap River .
These villages were originally developed around
Buddhist pagodas (Wat
) which are almost evenly spaced along the river from
Wat Preah En Kau
Sei in the north to
Wat Phnom Krom in the south, where the Siem Reap
River meets the great
Tonle Sap Lake.
The main town is concentrated around Sivutha Street and the Psar Chas
area (Old Market area) where there are old colonial buildings,
shopping and commercial districts. The
Wat Bo area is now full of
guesthouses and restaurants while the Psar Leu area is often crowded
with jewellery and handicraft shops, selling such items as rubies and
woodcarving. Other fast developing areas are the airport road and main
Angkor where a number of large hotels and resorts can be
Dancer performing for tourists at a restaurant
Tourism is a very important aspect of the economy of
Siem Reap - it
was estimated in 2010 that over 50% of jobs in the town were related
to the tourism industry. The city has seen a massive increase in
tourist trade in the couple of decades after the end of the Khmer
Rouge era, and businesses centered on tourism have flourished due to
the tourism boom. Visitor numbers were negligible in the mid-1990s,
but by 2004, over half a million foreign visitors had arrived in the
Siem Reap province that year, approximately 50% of all foreign
tourists in Cambodia. By 2012, tourist number had reached over two
million. A large number of hotels have sprung up in the city, these
range from 5-star hotels and chic resorts to hundreds of budget
Most tourists in
Siem Reap come to visit the
, (about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) north of the city), and other Angkor
ruins. There are many shopping opportunities around the Psar Chas
area, and there are also a number of western-styled pubs and bars
catering to tourists.
A large number of NGOs and other not-for profits organizations
operate in and around Siem Reap, and they play a vital role in the
economy, as well as helping to develop it for the future. Thousands of
expatriates call the city home and they also have a significant impact
on the economy.
Satellite view of
Siem Reap (to the left in the satellite image)
in relation to
Angkor archaeological sites such as
Buddhist monks in front of
Wat temple) is the central feature of the
World Heritage Site containing the magnificent remains of the Khmer
Angkor Wat's rising series of five towers culminates in
an impressive central tower that symbolizes mythical
Mount Meru .
Thousands of feet of wall space are covered with intricate carving
depicting scenes from
Hindu mythology . The most important are the
Carved Bas reliefs of the Hindu narratives. They tell a story about
gods fighting demons in order to reclaim order which can only be
achieved by recovering the elixir of life known as amrita . The gods
and demons must work together to release it and then battle to attain
The towers of
Angkor Thom Main article:
Angkor Thom is an inner royal city built by the end of the 12th
century and is renowned for its temples, in particular the
Other notable sites are
Phimeanakas , The Terrace of the
Elephants and The
Terrace of the Leper King . The city can be accessed
through 5 city gates, one on each cardinal point and the Victory Gate
on the eastern wall.
A number of significant temples are dotted around
Angkor Thom within the
Angkor Archaeological Park, including Ta Prohm
Preah Khan ,
Banteay Kdei ,
Phnom Bakheng ,
Ta Keo ,
Ta Som , an .
These temples may be visited along the grand circuit or the small
circuit routes. Other sites are the Roluos group of temples located
to the east of Siem Reap.
THE CAMBODIA LANDMINE MUSEUM AND RELIEF CENTER
The Landmine Museum offers tourists and Cambodians the chance to see
(safe) landmines up close, understand how they work, and what they can
do to help rid
Cambodia and the world of their continuing threat. It
is located approximately 25 km north of
Siem Reap (30 minutes by tuk
tuk), just 7 km south of the Banteay Srey Temple complex in Angkor
National Park. On the way to the museum there are quaint countryside
villages, rice paddies and wide views of locals working their fields,
as well as local handicrafts "outside the hussle and bussle of town."
Some two dozen at-risk Khmer children are educated and live, along
with staff, at the Relief Center located on the museum property. The
organization has plans for building a farm behind the Center sometime
WAR MUSEUM CAMBODIA
The War Museum
Cambodia covers the last three decades of the 20th
century when the
Khmer Rouge was active in Cambodia. There is a vast
array of vehicles, artillery, weaponry, landmines and equipment on
display. The museum is making use of guides who are war veterans who
fought for the Cambodian army, the
Khmer Rouge or the Vietnamese army.
Angkor National Museum
ANGKOR NATIONAL MUSEUM
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.
A view of the Old Market (Psar Chas) in
Siem Reap Main
The Old Market or
Psah Chas is located between Pub Street and the
Siem Reap River, and offers a mixture of souvenirs for tourists and a
variety of food produce and other items meant for the locals.
Other markets in
Siem Reap include the
Angkor Night Market which is
located off Sivutha Street, Phsar Kandal (The Central Market) located
at Sivutha Street which mainly caters to tourists, and Phsar Leu (The
Upper Market) which is located further away along National Road 6 but
is the biggest market of
Siem Reap used by the locals. The Made in
Cambodia Market (initially called "Well Made in Cambodia") is a
night market for tourists in
Siem Reap where all the products sold
should be made in Cambodia. The market hosts daily shows and other
events in King's Road. Craftsman at Artisans
Buddha images in stone
Main article: Artisans
Angkor is a semi-public company founded in 1992 which aims
to revive traditional Khmer craftsmanship and provide employment for
rural artisans. It is also associated with a silk farm where visitors
may learn about sericulture and weaving. It also participates in the
restoration of historical
Angkor sites by repairing and replacing
CAMBODIAN CULTURAL VILLAGE
Opened on 24 September 2003, the
Cambodian Cultural 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 21 multi
NOTABLE SITES NEAR SIEM REAP
Lingas carved into the riverbed of Kbal Spean.
A number of notable sites further away from
Siem Reap are also
accessible from the town.
Phnom Kulen National Park is about 48 km from
Siem Reap and
contains a number of attractions such as its two waterfalls and the
Kbal Spean 's "river of 1000 lingas". Floating Village of Kampong
There are three floating villages around
Siem Reap - Kompong Khleang,
Kompong Phluk, Chong Kneas, with Kompong Khleang considered the most
The Tonlé Sap, Khmer for "Vast Body of Fresh Water" and more
commonly translated as "Great Lake" is a combined lake and river
system of major importance to Cambodia. It is located in the heart of
Cambodia about 30 minutes south of downtown
Siem Reap and has many
attractions. The area around the
Tonle Sap including the province of
Siem Reap is part of the
Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve .
Phnom Dei is a hill near Siem Reap.
Banteay Srei is a 10th-century temple located about 30 km northeast
of Siem Reap. It is notable for its fine intricate decorative carvings
on rose pink sandstone.
Painted bottles of
Sombai Liqueur with pictures of Angkor
Traditionally rice wine may be made by the Cambodian households or
villages for their own consumption. Some are also produced
commercially or inspired by this tradition, an example is the Sombai
Infused Cambodian Liqueur (
Sombai ) produced in Siem Reap. This
beverage takes inspiration from the Sraa Tram (or soaked wine) that
Cambodians drink traditionally and the infused rums from the islands.
The particularity of the bottles of
Sombai is that they are
hand-painted making it attractive to tourists visiting
The workshop and its tasting parlour installed in a traditional Khmer
wooden house, has become a tourist attraction in town.
According to the
Köppen climate classification ,
Siem Reap features
a tropical wet and dry climate . The city is generally hot throughout
the course of the year, with average high temperatures never falling
below 30 C in any month.
Siem Reap has a relatively lengthy wet season
which starts in April and ends in November. The dry season covers the
remaining four months. The city averages approximately 1500 mm of
rainfall per year.
CLIMATE DATA FOR SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA (AVERAGES: 1997-2010,
RECORD HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
DAILY MEAN °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
RECORD LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE RAINFALL MM (INCHES)
AVERAGE RAINY DAYS (≥ 0.1 MM)
AVERAGE RELATIVE HUMIDITY (%)
Siem Reap International Airport
Siem Reap International Airport
The town is 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from Siem Reap-
Airport (IATA code REP) and is accessible by direct flights from many
Asian cities, and by land from
Phnom Penh and the Thai border. It is
also accessible by boat (via the
Tonle Sap lake) and bus from Phnom
Penh and Battambang. A new airport is planned 60 kilometres (37 mi)
from Siem Reap. The boat from
Phnom Penh to
It is possible to get from
Siem Reap via
Poipet . The road
Siem Reap is newly paved and sealed as of 2013. If
travelers take a taxi from
Poipet and from
Poipet to Siem
Reap, it is possible to complete the whole journey in 6–10 hours,
depending on border-crossing times. This journey is also possible by
bus and minibus. Tickets can be bought online via the official
Nattakan website. Getting to
Siem Reap from
Bangkok is also possible
by train via the Aranyaprathet station to the border with
later via shared mini-buses or taxis to Siem Reap.
Fontainebleau , France, since 11 June 2000
Sankt Goar , Germany, since 13 May 2015
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