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Places to Visit in Siem Reap, Cambodia – Things To Do for First-Timers

Home to lots of ancient temples and temple remains, Siem Reap is a traveler’s fairyland. There are various places to visit in Siem Reap exuding spiritualism and charm that let you travel back in time and learn about the ancient Angkor civilization. The resort town of Siem Reap is also one of the cheapest tourist destinations in the world luring armies of backpackers and budget travelers every year.

Angkor Wat (Angkor Archaeological Park)

Places to Visit in Siem Reap, Cambodia - Angkor Wat (Angkor Archaeological Park)

Siem Reap’s energetic and forever expanding tourist industry is all down to the fact that one of the world’s most incredible tourist attractions sits next door.

The vast ancient city that sprawls across Angkor Archaeological Park (more commonly called after its major temple complex, Angkor Wat, by visitors) was built by a succession of kings between the 9th and 15th centuries, contains hundreds of temples, and is so vast that even after multiple visits, you’ll still feel like you’ve only scratched the surface.

During the medieval age, this was the world’s largest city, though only the temples remain today. The main temple complex within the site is Angkor Wat itself, with its stunning bas-reliefs carved with scenes from traditional Hindu epics. In particular, make sure to check out the Churning of the Ocean Milk bas-relief on the east gallery.

After Angkor Wat, head to the sprawling 10-square-kilometer Angkor Thom complex, where you’ll find one of the most photogenic temples in the site. The Bayon Temple is famed for its 216 stone faces of Avalokiteśvara carved into the temple’s 54 towers, built by the king Jayavarman VII, but don’t miss the intricate bas-reliefs running around the temple walls that depict life here in the city and various battle scenes.


Places to Visit in Siem Reap, Cambodia - Bakong

Bakong is the first of Angkor’s large mountain temples. Dating back to the 9th century, this temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva as learned from a plate found at the temple. The main Linga, ‘Sri Indraswara’ was consecrated in 881 in the inner sanctuary, putting this temple in the list of unmissable places to visit in Siem Reap.

Neak Pean

Places to Visit in Siem Reap, Cambodia -  Neak Pean

Neak Pean is a circular artificial island with a Buddhist temple in the centre. There are beliefs that the temple was originally dedicated to Avalokitesvara and the pools here were designed for curing diseases. Your Siem Reap sightseeing is not complete without checking out the sculptures of snakes around the base of the temple.

Landmine Museum

Landmine Museum
Places to Visit in Siem Reap, Cambodia – Landmine Museum

The long years of war during the late 20th century continue to scar Cambodia with the horrifying toll of landmines. There are thought to be around five million landmines still sitting buried in the countryside left by Khmer Rouge forces, Vietnamese forces, and the Cambodian government. Cambodians are still paying the price today with 15 people on average injured by landmines each month.

The Landmine Museum, 25 kilometers north of Siem Reap, does an excellent and highly informative job of highlighting the ongoing scourge of landmines in Cambodia and the work being done to de-mine the country. It was set up by local man Aki Ra, who has greatly contributed to demining efforts.

Theam’s House Gallery

Theam’s House Gallery
Theam’s House’s showroom and inspiring tropical garden make this a visit to remember, while the workshop allows visitors to observe the artists creating Lacquer ware paintings or wood and stones sculptures. With over 10 years of experience as the artistic director of Artisans d’Angkor, Lim Muy Theam, a Cambodian who studied at one of France’s most prestigious art and design schools, decided to start his own project. He trained a team of local artisans and reconnected them with Cambodia’s creative past, giving the works of art authentic ancestral flair.

Angkor Fashion Plaza

Angkor Fashion Plaza
Places to Visit in Siem Reap, Cambodia – Angkor Fashion Plaza

This well-known retail address in Siem Reap offers an array of fashion brands, for men, women and children, under one roof. Located along the river, its strategic position in the city makes shopping here for quality apparel and accessories truly convenient. At factory outlet prices, shoppers can indulge in brands such as Under Armour, DACLO, Columbia, Polo, Ralph Lauren and Doughnut. Angkor Fashion Plaza accepts ALIPAY, Pi Pay and WeChat Pay.

Bamboo Indochine

Bamboo Indochine

Bambou Indochine is a clothing brand inspired by Cambodia’s natural beauty, for men, women and children. Choose from 100% cotton t-shirts, polo shirts as well as Dry-fit, silk and bamboo fibre, a naturally absorbent and soft, comfortable fabric, ideal for wearing in Cambodia’s tropical climate. Bambou Indochine’s goal was to bring original designs and international quality to the souvenir t-shirt and resort-wear market for locals and tourists alike. Children, too, will adore the colourful fabrics – try the gecko design for a great reminder of Cambodia.