Home to Angkor Wat, the awe-inspiring and mind-blowing collection of ancient temple ruins, a visit to Siem Reap might just be the highlight of your trip. Let read on this trip to know some of the impressive places in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Impressive Places in Siem Reap
1. Bakong Temple
As Bakong Temple is the first mountain temple sandstone in Cambodia, it has a special space in the culture and tradition of the country deeply. Located near modern Siem Reap, the temple was constructed by the rulers of the Khmer Empire. It has the shape of a stepped pyramid which intricately exposes the Khmer architectural styles. It was also the official state temple of King Indravarman I in the final decades of the 09th century AD. Ed inside is Lord Shiva. The primary deity place here are three concentric enclosures and they are separated by different moats. Elephant statues as guardians at the corners of three lower levels of the pyramid and statues of lions remain as the guardian at the stairs.
2. Angkor Wat
Magical, mysterious, and absolutely mesmerizing, Angkor Wat is one of those bucket list places that every human should experience before they die. Here is the largest Buddhist temple on earth, which took 30 years to build during the 12th century (113-5BC) and spans over 208 hectares (500 acres).
It is said that Angkor Wat was built as a funereal temple for King Suryavarman II, with each structure representing phases of life, death, and beyond. As you stroll through one of history’s lost civilizations, climbing marble stairs and ducking through stone-structured archways, you’ll get an architectural glimpse into a world long forgotten.
It is highly recommended to get an English-speaking guide to walk with you from temple to temple explaining each one and its purpose as you go.
3. Angkor National Museum
An excellent accompaniment to a visit to Angkor Wat, this modern museum does a good job of explaining and unpicking the history of the Angkorian period, with audio-visual presentations, excellent information boards, and a well set out collection of Khmer treasures from the site’s temples, along with pieces from other Cambodian archaeological sites.
A visit here is one of the best ways to get your head around the various eras of the Angkorian period and the succession of kings that attempted to outbid each other on their temple building schemes.
4. Cambodia Landmine museum
This is one of the impressive places in Siem Reap, Cambodia for environment lovers all over the world.
This is probably one of the very few places in the world, where you will know about landmines, their dangers, and risks, how it impacts kids, how it kills people, and ways to disarm these landmines. There is a farm right behind the museum, where kids who are saved from landmines are put in relief camps and cared for. The museum is a repository of excellent tools, guns, weapons, and other equipment that were used for mining in those days.
5. Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre
This is Southeast Asia’s largest butterfly enclosure, home to thousands of endemic butterfly species that fly freely around a huge, enclosed tropical garden brimming with lush foliage and a variety of tropical flowers. A visit here provides an interesting natural diversion from all the temple-hopping, particularly for families with young budding botanists in tow.
As well as simply admiring the spectacular kaleidoscope of colors from the number of different butterflies within the garden, you can also see the entire life cycle of a butterfly from the pupae stage. About 25 kilometers north of Siem Reap, the center is very near to the Cambodia Landmine Museum, and combining the two for a morning or afternoon trip is a good idea if you’re suffering from temple fatigue.
6. The Old Market
Get the local experience at The Old Market, or as the locals call it “Psar Chaa”. Built in the 1920s, here is where residents of Siem Reap come to get their produce, grains, and meat for homecooked meals.
The market is divided into small sections selling different goods. Go to the fruit section where you can get organic fruit like mangosteens and dragon fruit at local prices, walk down the dim alleyways of the meat section where you’ll find freshly made sausages hanging on strings, or walk through the rows of vendors sitting on straw floor mats selling dried seafood.
Of course, there are sections selling clothes, handicrafts, and seasonings- which all make for great gifts to send home.