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Siem Reap is the former capital of the great Khmer Empire and now a burgeoning cultural hub of Cambodia, brimming with breaktaking ruins and archaeological sites.
The iconic temples of Angkor were built over a 600 year period, dating between the 9th century to the 13th century, and the star is the magical temple of Angkor Wat, built in the 12th century.
An unmissable site, Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world, the oldest temple in Cambodia and a revered UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nestled within a mystical tropical forest, the grand ruins tower high into the sky.
The walls are woven with enchanting trees and lotus flowers blossom on the mossy water moat. The architectural detail is astonishing and the temple is adorned with stunning carvings depicting historical and mythological events.
The Angkor complex also houses the magnificent Angkor Thom, an ancient temple holding the city’s most significant monuments. The site is encircled by a wall that is eight metres high and 13 kilometres long, with a 100-metre wide water moat.
You’ll visit other highlights of Angkor, including Ta Prohm, where giant trees spread their roots across the ruined temples, and Banteay Srei, a beautiful pink sandstone temple famed for the most intricate of all carvings to be found in Angkor.
Our expert guides will bring these incredible ruins to life, with vivid stories about the empire and interesting insights into the significance of the temples. You can enjoy the sites with a bike tour or take private transport to avoid the crowds.
Beyond the temples, Siem Reap is a humming city lined with French colonial and Chinese architecture, local artisan wares, luxury spas and world class wining and dining.
Our guide will show your around town, suggesting the best dining options, from international restaurants to hidden Cambodian culinary gems, or take a cooking class to learn the best of Khmer cuisine.
Take a boat cruise down the Tonlé Sap River and the floating village of Kompong Phluk. The river is the home to many Cham and Vietnamese communities living on floating villages and it is a peaceful area, void of tourist crowds.
Visit the Land Mine Museum, a small self-guided museum offering a fascinating insight into Cambodia’s war-torn past and the ongoing problems with unexploded land mines.
A charming city and the gateway to awe-inspiring Angkor, it’s easy to see why Siem Reap is an essential stop on any trip to Cambodia.
The best time to visit Siem Reap is the dry season from November to April, when there is less rain and more pleasant temperatures. December to February has even cooler temperatures, however it’s also a popular time to visit, coinciding with Christmas and New Year holidays.
May to October is the monsoon season, however the rain usually arrives in short, intense afternoon downpours and you’ll still see sun most days. This is a less crowded time to visit and the rain also brings a lush vibrancy to the town.
A visit in April or May can get uncomfortably hot, with temperatures often reaching 38 degrees Celsius. The dry weather also turns the city into a dust bowl. For the best sunrise photo opportunities at the temples, visit in March or September when the equinoxes fall.
A trip to Siem Reap is essential for any tour of Cambodia and we feature at least two nights in Siem Reap on all our luxury Cambodia itineraries, although you’ll likely want to stay longer. All stops include a guided tour of the iconic temples of Angkor, with other activities on offer including a boat cruise down the Tonlé Sap River to a floating village and a cooking class to master Khmer cuisine.
In Siem Reap, we work with luxury accommodations including Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor, a five-star hotel set on a 15-acre oasis of lush French Gardens, fashioned with colonial-style grandeur and boasting the largest swimming pool in Cambodia. The Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa delivers incredible luxury with private jacuzzis, plunge pools, gardens and indulgent spa services, with a complementary foot massage on arrival, all only 15 minutes from Angkor.