Serving as capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia, Siem Reap is a popular tourist resort destination. Boasting of a rich history and cultural, the city has been ruled by many dynasties is the past. The city came to limelight after the development of Angkor Archaeological Park and it transformed from a sleepy quiet town to a bustling tourist destination. The city is located at an elevation of 18 meters above sea level and is currently inhabited by 174,265 residents. The city nothing but a cluster of small villages, that flourishes on the bank of the Siem Reap River. Tourism is the major economic sector and Siem Reap serves as a small gateway town to the world famous heritage site of the Angkor temples. While Khmer is the official language of the city, English and French are also spoken widely.
Tourists flying to Siem Reap land at the Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport, which is the major international airport and located around 7 km from the city center. It is the busiest airport in Cambodia in terms of passenger traffic and currently 40 airlines operate from and to Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport. Featuring a tropical wet and dry climate, the city has the same weather for most part of the year and temperatures rarely come down below 300 C in any month. The city experiences two seasons – wet season from April till November and dry season lasting from December to March. The dry season is the peak tourist season for visiting Siem Reap and during these months, the hotels cost shoots up. Some of the major festivals celebrated in Siem Reap are – Khmer New Year 2014 in April, Giant Puppet Parade in February, Chinese New Year in February, Happy Chinese Year in January, Thali in November and Pchum Ben in October.
Angkor Wat, world famous heritage attraction is the most celebrated attraction near Siem Reap and majority of the tourists come to Siem Reap to explore some worthwhile attractions and a number of beautiful modern Buddhist temples. Angkor National Museum, Angkor Silk Farm and Senteurs d'Angkor Workshop are some of the attractions that tourists can explore while on the way to Angkar Wat from Siem Reap. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a 20 minutes ride from Siem Reap will take tourists to this world famous archaeological attraction. Wat Preah Prom Rath, Wat Prohm Rath, Wat Preah Enkosa, Wat Preah Enkosei, Wat Po Lanka, Wat Bo, Wat Damnak and Wat Kesararam are other major temples in and around Siem Reap.
When in Siem Reap tourists should not miss enjoying a ride on the ubiquitous tuk-tuk. Tuk-tuks are the local taxis, and the easiest way to get around Siem Reap. Phnom Kulen at a distance of 48 km from Siem Reap has number of natural attractions. The Cambodian Cultural Village is another great tourist spot in the city where miniatures of famous historical buildings and structures of Cambodia are at display. Kompong Khleang, Kompong Phluk, Chong Kneas, with Kompong Khleang (the three floating villages), Phnom Dei (a beautiful hill near Siem Reap) and Banteay Srei (an ancient temple around 30 km from Siem Reap) are the major attractions.
Eating and Shopping
With numerous street vendors offering varieties of options, eating in Siem Reap can be tagged as a breathless sport. Offering a wide range of local, Asian and international cuisines there is something for every traveller coming to Siem Reap. From regular eating places to markets selling eccentric dishes like bugs and cockroaches there is so much in Siem Reap to blow your mind and senses. The old market is the largest hub of restaurant but Wat Bo area has its own share of appetizing restaurants. Some of the local delicacies which you can enjoy here are – Amok trey, Ansom chek, Babor, Kuy teav, Bai chha, Kralan, Chha Kh'nhei, Num banh chok, Nom Lote and Samlar kar. Abacus Restaurant, Angkor Palm Restaurant, Blue Pumpkin Restaurant, Butterflies Restaurant, Chamkar Vegetarian Restaurant, Chanrey Tree Restaurant, Cuisine Wat Damnak and Green on Peace Cafe are the most popular places in the city to enjoy a hearty meal. Siem Reap also offer great nightclubs and pubs to enjoy a night out and Teh Alley, Pub Street, Sok San Road (Bar Street) and The Lane are the best places to enjoy a late night drink.
The city is a haven for those who love shopping and there are end numbers of malls and shopping markets along with traditional bazaars which sell anything and everything. The city is exceptionally famous for its arts and crafts, tourist junk, souvenirs, Siem Reap bags and T-shirts. Angkor Trade Centre, Made in Cambodia Market, Psar Chas, Psar Leu, Alley West, Artisans d'Angkor, Friends 'n' Stuff and Khmer Ceramics & Fine Arts Centre are among the popular shopping places in Siem Reap.
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