Siem Reap – A Gateway to Millennium Old Ruins - The Traveller


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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Siem Reap – A Gateway to Millennium Old Ruins

Siem Reap
Siam Reap literally translated in today’s Thailand means `Defeat of Siam’, which refers to the centuries old conflict that took place between the Siamese and Khmer people during the rule of the Ayutthava Kingdom towards the 18th century which is referred as Nakhom Siam. It stretches along the Siem Reap River nestling between rice paddies and serves as the gateway to millennium old ruins of Angkor, the Angkorian era Khmer Empire. Being listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Angkor Archaeological Park covers dozens of temple ruins and Bayon. Ta Prohm as well as the legendary Angkor Wat has great artistic and archaeological significance in line with the Pyramids, Machu Pichu and the Taj Mahal. Siem Reap now serves as a town to the world with famous heritage sites of the Angkor temples to explore and due to these attractions, this forgotten town has now been transformed into a major tourist hub. It is a vibrant town filled with modern hotels and architectural styles and in spite of international influences; Siem Reap and its people have still retained the town’s culture, image and traditions.

Angkor Wat Interesting Place to Explore

During the past two decades, this town has been making progress in growth wherein this small little town has growth of more than 100 hotels in around the town where tourist have a wide option in making a choice. First timers would find Siem Reap an appropriate choice for a perfect destination. Exploring the town is easy and exciting with many interesting and attraction sites to visit including Angkor Wat which is full of history, restaurants, museums, relaxation, night markets, adventure activities and friendly locals. Siem Reap is a cluster of old villages which was originally developed around individual pagodas and overlaid later with French colonial era center. One can see the colonial and Chinese style architecture in the town center and around the Old Market. Since the earliest days of tourism in the 19th century, it was a tradition to treat visitors to Siem Reap with an Apsara dance performance, a taste of classical Khmer culture and no visit to Cambodia was complete without attending a performance.

Contemporary Galleries and Boutiques

Siem Reap is an excellent place for shopping for all kinds of Cambodian products. In addition to classic souvenirs, it also has unique and a variety of contemporary art galleries, trendy shops and fashion boutiques with shopping venues scattered across the town especially in places along Sivutha Blvd, areas near Phsar Chas also known as the Old Market and near Pub Street. Near the Pub Street especially Alley West, several distinctive small contemporary galleries and boutiques are found. Traditional items and souvenirs can be purchased from downtown traditional market, Phsar Chas. The most prominent feature of this town is the Tonle Sap Lake which is a huge dumbbell shaped water body, stretching across the northwest of the country. During rainy season, the lake is the largest freshwater lakes in Asia rising to 12,000 km2 and during dry weather it reduces to 200 km2 draining into the Tonle Sap River and eventually emerging with the Mekong River at the chaktomuk confluence at Phnom Penh. A unique hydrologic phenomenon causes the Tonle Sap River to reverse its direction during the wet season, filling the lake.

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