Top 5 Must Do's in Siem reapEdit This
Siem Reap must do's naturally include incredible temples that date back to the 12th century and the Khmer empire. Most of the temples are located just outside of Siem Reap. However, there are also several Siem Reap must do's that exist within the city limits and many tourists miss out on them due to the huge emphasis on visiting the temples. Here are the top 5 must do's for visiting Siem Reap that will allow you to see more of this beautiful Cambodian city.
Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom
The obvious place to start is with Angkor Wat and the ancient capital city of Cambodia. Angkor Wat dates to the early 12th century when king Suryavarman II established the area as the capital. It is a stunning symbol of Cambodia and Khmer architecture. The temple was originally Hindu, but was later converted for Buddhist use. You should also visit nearby Angkor Thom and its main temple, Bayon. The massive faces carved into the temple are thought to be a combination of the gods and the king, Jayavarman VII. Finally, stop at Ta Prohm(the Tomb Raider Temple) to see the massive trees that have merged with the ancient walls to make these ruins truly picturesque.
This main market place is great for picking up souvenirs. Don't forget to bargain, but don't argue with vendors. If they won't budge on the price, just thank them and walk away. Psar Chaa is also excellent for sampling some Cambodian foods, including pork and rice, Prahok (Cambodian style fish paste) and soups. And don't forget to sample foods that remained after French colonialism: the baguettes and frogs are delicious.
Angkor National Museum
Learn about the history of Angkor, whether before or after seeing the magnificent temples. The museum shows artifacts that date from the pre-Angkor period, including ancient costumes. You can learn about the religion and the kings, as well as visit the exhibits dedicated purely to Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. There are also hundreds of images of Buddha to see.
Traditional Khmer Dance
One of the Siem Reap must do's that sadly doesn't make it onto most itineraries is the Apsara Dance. This traditional dance was created from the apsara reliefs. Other (older) forms of traditional Cambodian dance include the male masked dances, folk dance, classical dances and shadow puppet theatre. All of the dances tell a story and are mesmerizing to see. You can see the classical dances at the Apsara Theatre or at many fine hotels and restaurants.
Tonle Sap Lake
Finally, visit the beautiful Tonle Sap Lake to see the colorful floating villages. The lake drains into the Mekong River, but is most impressive in the rainy season (beginning in June) when the river backs up into the lake to make it swell to an impressive size.