To talk about Cambodia, the first thing that comes to people’s mind must be the fantastic Angkor Wat temple. That is located in the ancient city of Cambodia, Siem Reap. However, there are so many reasons to visit this city since it is the home of historical and cultural heritage. Below are some of the reasons why you need to visit Siem Reap city of Cambodia at least once in your life.
10. Friendly and Helpful People
Once you step into this beautiful city, Warmth and genuine smile will greet you. You may ask for help from anyone, and they are willing to help you. Many Cambodians, especially young people can speak English. Though for some, their English might not be great, but they are not hesitant to speak to you when you reach out to them. A lot of tourists who visited Cambodia went back to their countries with a beautiful memory and a precious friendship with the locals.
9. The Calm and Relaxing Vibe
Siem Reap is a whole lot different from any other city. It is not as busy, and the locals are not as rushing or impatient all the time. There will be times when Siem Reap has heavy traffic, but it is only when the holidays or cultural celebrations approaching when there are people from other countries, cities, or provinces all surrounded in Siem Reap to celebrate and have a wonderful time. However, on any other ordinary day, Siem Reap has always been calming and relaxing, which truly helps you breath easier, and clear your mind from all the worries and stress.
Along the road to the temple areas, there are plenty of big old trees, which gives perfect shades along the street and helps purify the air wonderfully. Some of the trees are over hundreds of years old, so they are very big and tall with all shades of green leaves. It is such beautiful lively scenery for your eyesight. If you do not believe that being on a trip is a remedy for your tired soul, you should really try visiting Siem Reap.
8. Many breathtaking Natural Sites
I am not talking about the temple areas since it is already mostly well known for being historical sites. I am talking about beautiful mountains, breathtaking waterfalls, pretty rivers, and many other places that are the products of Mother Nature. Once you are there, you will realize that your holiday is not all about just seeing Angkor Wat.
7. Kulen Mountain, the Lost City of Khmer Empire
Phnom Kulen mountain, which can be translated as Lychee Mountain, is one of the most popular mountains in Siem Reap. The mountain used to be the capital of the Khmer Empire under the name ‘Mahendraparvata” during King Jayavarman II‘s reign. Therefore, on top of the mountain, there are many interesting historical sights to see.
There are ancient sculptures that have been sculpted on the rocks beneath the waterfall. It is believed to make the water become the sacred water for erasing all the sins and bad lucks. Though you may not believe the myth, the cold crystal clear water sure makes you feel your bad aura has been washed away. There is also a cave and an old pagoda with a big Buddha statue on the top of the mountain. You may see the view of the greenery from up there as well.
6. Relaxing Boat Trip on Tonle Sap River
One of the most popular activities, that tourists wouldn’t want to miss out, is taking a boat trip to see the sunset on Tonle Sap River. You may get lost in the wonderful scenery of the river along with the ecosystem, and forget about all your stress and tension for a while. The boat will stop by floating restaurants so that the tourists could order an early dinner or a drink to enjoy while seeing the sunset.
Once the sun is going down, the water is turning beautiful golden with a sparkly effect as if the river is swallowing a big golden ball. You may find yourself capturing as many photos as you can if you are not completely stunned by the gorgeous scene before your eyes.
5. A Guide to Visiting Angkor Complex
Welcome to the infamous Angkor complex of Cambodia. The complex can be divided due to the two routes, Small circuit, and Grand circuits. The Small Circuit gives access to many famous big and small temples, including Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Prohm temple. The Grand Circuit is an extended route of Small Circuit.
It leads to many other gorgeous temples such as Preah Khan temple (Sword temple), Neak Poan temple, Sras Srong River…etc. There is no way one day would be enough for seeing all these masterpieces since you may find yourself admire every detail of each temple.
4. Bicycle Rides Around the Temple Area
If you think traveling in a car is too simple, and you want to get a taste of exciting adventure in the ancient city, take your backpack and rent a bike. You can rent a bicycle for only $5 to $6 dollars per day. For the beginners, you are recommended to ride around the small circuit so that you don’t have to spend all the energy on pushing your bike. You may want to stop by each temple to explore and observe the amazing details of the historical architecture.
There are maps of the temple areas on sale at the bike rental shop just in case you don’t have internet access to Google maps. Don’t worry about getting lost. You can always ask the locals, they would be happy to give you a hand.
3. Shopping for Beautiful Colorful Costumes/Clothes
Around the temple areas, there are many small wooden and bamboo stalls that sell clothes such as dresses, shirts, t-shirts, hats, shoes, and many other adorable objects as souvenirs. The clothes mostly have bright beautiful colors with Angkor Wat or elephant printing patterns. Most visitors love to wear those kind of clothes to visit the temples. It makes their photographs come out even more lively and beautifully.
2. Eating Local Food
There are many popular dishes in the area. Around the Angkor Wat temple area, you could find grilled chicken with chili sauce, salt pepper lime sauce, Khmer raw Prahok, or ground tamarind. They use lotus leaves to wrap the food and rice which gives a natural aroma to the meal.
You may also buy grilled fish, grilled frog stuffed with ground meat, grilled Prohok, and so on. Around Sras Srong area, the chicken is served in a very similar way; however, they are more famous for baked chickens instead of the grilled ones. Further to the Grand circuit route, you would find cold palm fruit and juice on sales as well. There are also little food stalls that sell Num BanhChok, which is known to be Khmer traditional-styled noodles.
1. Experience the beautiful culture of Cambodia
Siem Reap is known for being the heart of Cambodian culture. Most places including hotels and restaurants are decorated to give a cultural vibe. There are also many places that preserve the culture by displaying old Khmer traditional music instruments, daily using tools and equipment, traditional clothes, sculptures, and paintings. Some also have performances of Khmer traditional dance. Here are some places you may want to check out if you are interested in learning more about Cambodian culture: Theam’s Galleries, Culture Cafe, Cambodia Cultural Village, Angkor National Museum…etc.