Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Wat

Two decades after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge, Siem Reap is finally regaining its footing as one the most popular destinations on earth.

Siem Reap is undoubtedly Cambodia’s fastest growing city, welcoming over 100,000 international tourists every year and gaining recognition from locals as the ‘tourist town’. The city comprises of over 116 hotels with continuing developments, a far cry from its mere two properties just three years ago.

Angkor Night Markets

Tuk tuk’s are the best way to get around the city, drivers often knowing exactly where you want to go so long as you say it slowly. In some cases, drivers even have translation cards for major landmarks or tourist areas.

If you wander around independently, you will find that the most activity is in the Old Market Area (Psah Chas) which runs alongside the Siem Reap River. There, streets are filled with restaurants, spas, hotels, markets and bars. In particular, Pub St (where the name speaks for itself) turns into a hub of tourist activity at night, clubs pumping foreign pop and rock music while tuk tuk drivers scramble to grab the next customer stumbling out of a bar.

Traditional Apsara Dance

Apart from Pub St, the best place to be at night is at the Angkor Night Market, where over 200 huts showcase some of the best traditional Cambodian handmade products such as clothing, silk art, jewellery, scarves, wood and stone carvings and other handicrafts. If your feet are sore from shopping, head to the back of the market to get a US$2 foot massage or go to the market’s Dr. Fish stall and have fish nibble the dead skin off your feet and legs!

Cambodian banana flower salad

But tourists simply cannot say they’ve been to Siem Reap if they haven’t visited its biggest claim to fame – Angkor Wat. Built in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is one of few UNESCO world heritage listed sites and Cambodia’s most valuable monument. Angkor Wat is breathtaking, to say the least, and Siem Reap owes its booming tourist numbers to this majestic site.

With Angkor Wat standing as a reminder of such a grand past, it’s no wonder that Siem Reap has picked up the pieces so diligently and drawn in the world once again.

Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L
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