The capital city of Siem Reap Province is a famous town, situated in the northwestern Cambodia. The name of the city, Siem Reap, was given by the King Ang Chan (1516 to 1566) as per the oral tradition. The name means “the flat defeat of Siam”. The king named it that way because of the defeat of the Siamese invasion over Ang Chang’s army. The city was also known by the name Nakhom Siam in the 18th century under the regime of Ayutthaya Kingdom. The Old Market and the Old French Quarter is planned in Chinese style and Colonial architecture. The city being a famous tourist destination has many resorts, hotels and restaurants. For the Apsara dance performances there are a large number of museums. The city is famous because of the Angkor temples. The prices in the city are quite high in comparison to the other places of Cambodia.
Exploring the Ancient Temples of Angkor is the favorite pastime of the tourists. The re-invention of the Angkor was done in 1901 after the EFEO (French School of the Far East) decided to restore and clear the whole place. Thus, Angkor re-discovered its place in the modern arts. One early visit sight at Angkor is the “Angkor Wat”. People like to visit this place early in the morning to see the coming light from its spectacular morning sunrise which offers a fabulous view. People can even hire a tuk-tuk or a bike to reach the place. There are various temples at Angkor with mysterious histories and unique symbolism to explore. The temple of ‘Ta Prohm’ is the one where the famous movie, Tomb Raider, was filmed. The trees surrounding the temple are the biggest trees you have ever seen with a spectacular landscape. The whole experience of discovering the temples of Angkor will be great.
The renowned Cambidian Landmine Museum is focused towards the removal of landmines in Cambodia. The museum is owned by an NGO which provides education to the children who are affected by the landmines. Although the museum is located in a small village situated in the northern part of the city, the museum is a fascinating and lovely place to visit and that too for a great cause. The people of Cambodia have suffered from huge traumas in the past fifty years. Thus, to help those people by just visiting the museum which is very informative is highly recommended. Even the well known Banteay Srey Butterfly Farm is just a few kilometers away from the museum in the same road. Along the road there are some Cambodian Cuisine restaurants which are really good. These restaurants offer Mexican food also along with Cambodian food. Walking around the rural roads of the place will make you feel like you are in a clean village.
Tourists often prefer to visit the city during the gorgeous Angkor Photography Festival, The Water Festival and The Annual Street Puppet Festival. The Angkor Photography Festival is a 7 day artistic festival which is organized in the last week of November every year. This festival showcases 10 gallery exhibitions and 7 outdoor projections in a week. This festival is held at different venues around the city on different days. The talent of Asian photographers was highlighted in the exhibitions. During the event some lucky photographers can even get a chance to participate in free workshops. All the money earned by the organizers of this event will be donated by them to a local NGO for street children.
Next is the Water Festival which is the most overgenerous festival in the list of the Siem Reap people and even the tourists. Above million people attend this festival in the starting of November. Many bright and colorful boats from all over the country rushes out towards the banks of Mekong Rivers and Tonle Sap in Phnom Penh. This is a boat racing competition where almost 50 paddlers participate and battle with each other. The sight of these decorated boats and the fireworks in the sky are very eye-pleasing to the viewers. Last but not the least is the Annual Street Puppet Festival which offers a unique and cute puppet show to its viewers. The event is very exciting as they use stilts and sticks to hold and command the puppets.
A place to explore the cultures and customs of different places is the Cambodian Cultural Village. The Village was introduced on 24th of September in the year 2003. This Cultural Village has 11 different villages representing the local customs, cultural heritages and characteristics of multiple races (atleast 21). To explore the Archaeological treasures of the place one should visit the Angkor National Museum which has its eight galleries showcasing the history, cultural heritage and civilization of Khamer. There are some temples around the town which are WatPreahPromRath, WatProhm Rath, WatPreahEnkosa, WatPreahEnkosei, Wat Bo, Wat Po Lanka and WatKesararam. Most of these temples are dedicated to Bhuddha. Central Market and Old Market is the place to go for shopping of accessories, jewelry, clothes and even antiques. People can enjoy popping around the small galleries and markets, taking a walk along the Siem Reap River and complimenting the Chinese style architecture. There is no doubt in the fact that Siem Reap is the best place for strolling and exploring.