- Unesco World Heritage
I don't consider Siem Reap city centre to be at all typical for Cambodia. Pub Street, for example, is full of tourists and bars, making it the ideal place to go for a night out after a day spent visiting the temples. But too few people actually bother to venture into the less brightly-lit streets in the area around it. Yet there is lots to do there!
One of the things I liked best was going for a Cambodian style evening out: simply ask a tuk-tuk driver to take you to the Khmer Pub Street and you won't be disappointed! I spent a whole night singing, eating fried rice and drinking Angkor beer in a bar/restaurant. All the local Cambodians come to spend their weekends in these famous beer gardens.
During the day, I got myself a bike and cycled to the village of Phnom Krom, 10 kilometres south of Siem Reap. The route took me through fields and past a lotus farm. At Phnom Krom there is a mountain with a pre-Angkorian temple at its summit. However, what I best remember about this off-the-beaten-track site is the 360-degree views it offers over the rice fields, making it the ideal place from which to watch the simply unforgettable sunset!
As for the city itself, I really enjoyed visiting the National Museum and the Artisans Angkor centre as well as shopping in the various shops selling items that are 100 percent made in Cambodia.
Just 7 1/2 miles from the site of Angkor, Siem Reap serves as base camp for all visitors to the temples. I wasn’t charmed by the city that I found to be quite distorted by tourism. However, soon enough you can get away from the centre and the touristy Queenstreet to lose yourself in the more authentic streets.
Though there's nothing exceptional about the city itself, don't miss the outskirts of Siem Reap, something you must do during a stay in Cambodia. I was fascinated by the grandeur and beauty of the Angkor site, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Count on at least three days to discover the temples. I had a real heart for the Bayon and its tower faces, and Ta Prohm, a temple overtaken by giant trees.
I also advise you to take an excursion on Lake Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater reservoir in Southeast Asia. I visited the stilt village of Kampong Pleuk, a very nice trip, something to do later in the day to enjoy the sunset.
It's several years since I have been to Siem Reap so doubtless the town would look different today. Nonetheless I remember Siem Reap as a really nice place.
Nowadays lots of people visit Siem Reap but it's still a good place to see and to stay to have fun after visiting the temples. In any case, the town is a more or less obligatory stop for most travellers who go to Cambodia because Siem Reap is the doorway to the Temples of Angkor.
If you are visiting the temples you will find your accommodation in Siem Reap and all the excursions to the temples leave from there. There's also a market that's worth stopping at. But apart from that, the places to stay and some restaurants , there's nothing really interesting to see at Siem Reap.