Siem Reap

This Cambodian city borders the fascinating Angkor Archaeological Park, making it a must-stop location on any Southeast Asian trip.

Siem Reap is one of Cambodia’s premier tourist destinations, thanks to its central location and abundance of cultural activities.

Nicknamed the “Great Gate to Angkor”, the city is best known for its close proximity to Angkor Archaeological Park, which is less than 4 miles (6 kilometers) away. This is the site of the ancient Khmer Empire, which ruled during the ninth to 15th centuries. Ruins of the ancient city are scattered throughout the park.

Angkor Wat Temple and Bayon Temple are the focal points of the area. Both are covered with intricate carvings and are beautifully preserved. Get your camera out at Ta Prohm Temple; the trees growing into the structure make it a prime photography spot. You can easily access the archaeological park from Siem Reap on a tour bus, bicycle or tuk-tuk. Within the park, you can even rent an elephant to get around.

The city of Siem Reap does have charms of its own as well. Be sure to enjoy some of the local cuisine. Many of the restaurants feature outdoor seating so that you can relax on the patio for the afternoon while savoring a Khmer curry. End your evening in the Red Lantern District, Siem Reap’s central nightlife area. Venues here range from pubs offering cheap jugs of beer, to vintage-style bars serving inventive cocktails.

Siem Reap is packed with day spas, where you can get traditional treatments and massages to unwind after a day of exploring.

Fill your suitcase with handmade goods that you can find at the street markets. The area specialises in silk and it’s hard to resist the gorgeous fabrics, robes, and home items that vendors sell.

Siem Reap International Airport has daily arrivals and departures from all over the world. Visitors can also get buses into the city from Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. Many people opt to rent a taxi from the border of Cambodia if they’re doing a multiple country tour.