What to do in Siem Reap Cambodia

By far, the most famous sight in all of Cambodia is Angkor Wat. Dating back 900 years, it has survived the Vietnam War and the Khmer Rouge Regime with little damage. Many tourists come to Cambodia for one reason and one reason only to see Angkor Wat and each year tourist numbers are increasing immensely.

Situated on 500 acres of land, it now attracts over a half a million tourists each year. A few short years ago it was completely abandoned and many people hadn’t even heard of this great ruin. Bandits were stealing statues and artifacts and the jungle was overtaking the complex. It has undergone massive restoration and it is open and ready for viewing at $20 per person.

What makes Angkor Wat unique is to see the many temples that have been overtaken by the jungle. Many temples have been restored, but some have been left to show the true strength of the earth. When you arrive, the first place that you will see is the main temple of Angkor Wat. A giant structure overlooking a moat spanning over a km long and rising high into the air. It is a breathtaking view.

Be sure not to miss visiting Ta Prom. This is the temple that has been completely left in its original form. Trees and jungle have grown right out of the structure. Another must not miss temple is Angkor Tom. A famous sight where 54 Gods and Demons line the road. They have been badly looted, but with restoration efforts, many heads are now back on the statues.

One can spend days exploring the temples of Angkor. Whether you walk up to the top of the main temple of Angkor Wat, take a hot air balloon ride over the ruins, examine the intricate carvings on its walls, or sit high on Bakheng Hill to watch sunset over the complex, you will be mesmerized by its scope and beauty.

Angkor Wat isn’t the only sight to see in Siem Reap, this town is quickly becoming the fastest growing city in Cambodia. One can check out beautifully restored Colonial Buildings in the Old French Quarter. Stop at a cafe and enjoy a coffee and baguette and feel as though you are in an historical corner of France rather than South East Asia.

Cambodian tradition is alive and well however and nowhere will you see it more than in the Old Market. It is crowded and hot, but you will find a real bargain here and get a sense of the true Cambodia here. See live fish on display for this evenings dinner. Everything you could possible want is available, fresh fruit, clothing, souvenirs and household items. It is all there at the market.

If you have the time, a trip the the house of Aki Ra is a must. This man has been helping to clear the millions of landmines in Cambodia for over a decade. At his hut he has some of his decommissioned land mines on display that he gathered himself. It is a testimony to the work that he and so many others have done for this struggling country.

In actual fact there are an estimated 6 million landmines posing a danger to the people of Cambodia. Already there are tens of thousands of victims ranging from amputees to deaths. This museum is a place that has helped to bring awareness to the plight of the country’s people.

If you can only visit one area in Cambodia, Siem Reap is the place to go. It is building up to the point where you can find world class hotels or stay in a small guest house. You can eat street food at the market or enjoy an elegant meal at a fine restaurant.

Take a day to go out to see the countryside. The largest fresh water lake in all of South East Asia is located close to Siem Reap and you can visit one of several silk farms. Hire a taxi or a tuk tuk and enjoy the natural setting. See oxen pull carts and watch people work in the rice paddy fields. You will feel as if you have stepped back in time watching life slowly unfold before your eyes.

Siem Reap is definitely a unique destination for anyone to visit. Rich in history and wildlife, Filled with beautiful scenery and culture. It is a must see destination for anyone wanting to take a trip outside of the ordinary.

Deb Corbeil and Dave Bouskill are an Adventure Couple from Canada. Together they have visited over 35 countries on 5 continents. Each new adventure takes them to remote corners of the planet where they paddle, hike and trek their way around the earth. Visit their website theplanetd.com for new tips and information on exciting locations around the planet. For photos of their journeys visit picturetheplanet