Once a small market town, Siem Reap has undergone one of the fastest periods of growth in Southeast Asia, and is still growing.
Now a gateway to Angkor - and home to all the hotels - the town has a surprisingly sophisticated selection of good restaurants and bars, but you do not have to look far to find a more authentic Cambodia, for example, on the stalls of the fascinating local market.
Travelers from far and wide congregate in a small corner of northwest Cambodia to marvel at this truly staggering collection of temples. Scattered throughout a huge area of forest, together they comprise one of the world’s greatest man-made wonders. Though often used to refer to the entire complex, Angkor Wat is the most famous temple, but to see even this you should allow several hours and will probably want to return.
Built between 1113 and 1150 A.D., this is the world’s largest religious monument, with countless towers, cloisters, courtyards and carvings. As the most famous, it attracts the most visitors and its main avenue can become crowded with photographers at sunset. However, in the immediate area there are more than 50 other temples to explore.
The 'Grand Circuit'
The 'Grand Circuit' comprises the walled city of Angkor Thom, the centerpiece Bayon temple decorated with over 200 intricately carved faces, the former Buddhist university Preah Khan, and finally Ta Prohm. Engulfed in jungle, this temple remains much as Henry Mouhot would have originally found it when he rediscovered the deserted temples in the 1860s.
Beyond the Grand Circuit are many other temples, often more overgrown and almost deserted, sharing 360 square kilometers with a dense forest of tall, majestic trees. Our favorites include the Rolous Group, a collection of early Khmer temples built in the 9th century; Banteay Srei, a charming early Hindu temple; and the recently opened Beng Melea. Less visited, these provide the seclusion to take in the splendor and vastness of this lost empire’s achievement.
Tonle Sap Lake
A great excursion is on Tonle Sap Lake, a vast body of water that, when the Mekong floods, is Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake. A boat trip on the lake reveals rural Cambodian life as it co-exists with the seasonal floods, with floating and stilted villages where communities dwell in an aquatic world.
Suggested itineraries featuring Siem Reap
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Siem Reap, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Siem Reap
Places & hotels on the map
Places in and around Siem Reap
- Temples of Angkor Siem Reap
- Battambang 48 miles away
- Banteay Chhmar 71 miles away
- Preah Vihear 91 miles away
- Koh Kong 134 miles away
- Phnom Penh 143 miles away
- Kratie & Chhlong 158 miles away
- Sihanoukville 191 miles away
- Kampot 192 miles away
- Kep 201 miles away
- Ratanakiri 212 miles away
- Ban Lung 213 miles away
- Sen Monorom 233 miles away
- Mondulkiri 237 miles away
Accommodation choices for Siem Reap
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Siem Reap. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Ideas for experiencing Siem Reap
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Siem Reap, and which use the best local guides.