Enveloped by a patchwork of paddy fields, the provincial town of Siem Reap is best known as the gateway to the lost city of Angkor. One of the ancient wonders of the world, this vast temple complex reveals the legacy of the Khmer Empire.
Settled in a corner of north-western Cambodia, Siem Reap has completely transformed in recent years from a sleepy village to one of the fastest growing towns in Southeast Asia, yet retains its easy-going atmosphere.
The town’s main draw is the astounding, half-overgrown temples of Angkor. An entire lost city wrapped in relentless jungle, the ruins of this UNESCO World Heritage site offer awe-inspiring glimpses of the culture of the Khmer Empire.
The carefully preserved complex encompasses over 1,000 temples, but the mighty Angkor Wat is the most famous. Built by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century, the fortified temple is surrounded by a 200-metre wide moat and features quaint courtyards and intricately carved towers. Equally atmospheric is Ta Prohm; overtaken by jungle vegetation this is one of the most photogenic temples in the complex.
When you’re not visiting shrines, you can take a boat trips on the calm waters of the Tonle Sap Lake to visit floating villages or go on excursions to the surrounding countryside. You can also enjoy leisurely strolls through the town’s streets, a chance to browse the markets and sample the street food.
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