Siem Reap Cambodia is not only about Angkor Wat temple complex. And just as you start to learn that, prepare to lose yourself in a land lost in time.
Siem Reap plays host to over 200 temples of various shapes and sizes. Though Angkor Wat may be the largest, the other 900 year old temples also sport amazingly unique architectural feats.
And so that you don’t get too lost, we got you covered on the best things to do in Siem Reap.
Bayon, Angkor Thom, Siem Reap Cambodia
The former capital city of Angkor Thom sports the picturesque Bayon Temple with six gates. The main tower has four faces believed to be a representation of omnipresence of King Jayavarman VII. Built in the 12th Century, it has total of 200 faces. Two galleries surround the main mountain of Bayon Temple. Featuring more than 11000 carved figures over a length of 1.2 kms, these galleries are truly spectacular.
Ta Prohm Temple Cambodia
Ta Prohm grabbed a lot of attention when it featured in the Tomb Raider movie. Unlike other temples, Ta Prohm is in the same condition as the French discovered it centuries ago. The trees come out of the temple ruins and the complex is surrounded by the forest. All this transports you to another world. At the end, it will astound you how the nature has swallowed this temple complex.
Banteay Srei Temple Siem Reap Cambodia
Built with red sandstone, this 10th century Cambodian temple is a Hindu temple for Lord Shiva. Every inch of this miniature temple has intricate projected carvings from hindu mythology. The miniature form of Banteay Srei temple has made it popular with the tourists.
Bakong Temple Siem Reap Cambodia
Bakong is one of the oldest temples in Siem Reap and first of the large mountain temples in Angkor. Build at the end of the 9th century, it was a state temple dedicated to Hindu God Shiva.
Sahasralinga in Kbal Spean
Take a break from the temple visits at Siem Reap and head to the serene Kbal Spean in the deep jungle. This valley of spectacular ‘river of thousand lingas dates’ back to the Angkorian era. The elaborately carved riverbed has images and idols of Hindu deities all over and is a treat to watch. This river is believed to have blessed the water resources entering the city. Sahasralinga, is a sanskrit word which literally translates to Thousand Lingas.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Visit the capital city of Phnom Penh. Here you get to see the modern side of Cambodia. The sites worth visiting are the modern Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and Wat Phnom Hill.
Though grim, you can also visit the Toul Sleng Genocide museum and the Killing fields and get a glimpse of the horrific Cambodian past. Strongly interwoven to the Cambodian culture, it is a heavy walk through history. Follow it up with a relaxing evening river cruise and walk on Sisowath Quay.
Cambodian food is a mix of Indian spices and Thai coconut that basically means yummy food. Experimenting a lot with their meat, turtle, alligator and frog are not uncommon. Dare yourself to try the local delicacies of fried tarantulas and grasshoppers. Vegetarians also get a lot of options, as most of the dishes come in the vegetarian avatar.
Shopping in Cambodia
Cheap conversion rates means shopping here is a treat! Phnom Penh and Siem Reap both have some great markets. Explore the Central and Russian markets in Phnom Penh to roll in raw silks. You may get lost in the many inner lanes to find bragging bargains! Siem Reap also has similar markets such as the Old Market but have much better night markets.
One of the joys of Cambodian markets is the number of foot massage palours. Pamper your feet with fish pedicure here! The markets have many traditional artifacts like stone and wood carvings.
And if it’s the travel planning, accommodation, meals etc. that bog you down, check out this amazing Cambodian Experience Tour (9 Days).
So take this trip back in time to see the grandeur of an ancient civilization and the fighting spirit of the Cambodians. Experience rich history along with Khmer culture and hospitality. This trip will not only knock out a few kilos but also send you home zenned and wiser!