Phumi Siem Reab Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Phumi Siem Reab

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    National Highway 55

    by victorwkf Updated Aug 27, 2010

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    National Highway 55 is the main road that links Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, and this road also links the Siem Reap airport to the town itself. This road is usually busy with traffic, and there are lots of hotels and restaurants along the way from the airport to Siem Reap.

    This is also the road from Siem Reap to the Rulous group of ancient monuments.

    National Highway 55 at Siem Reap
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    Sivutha Street

    by victorwkf Updated Aug 27, 2010

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    Sivutha Street is one of the main streets in Siem Reap, and there are many shops, restaurants/eateries, convenient stores, hotels etc which are located here.

    Siem Reap is a relatively safe and small town, so it is nice to walk around especially along Sivutha Street. When you walk around here, you will notice that with tourism, the town of Siem Reap itself is now getting modernised (with all the new and colouful buildings and shops), and the standard of living has gone up which will mean things will get more expensive unfortunately.

    Sivutha Street, Siem Reap
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    Markets at Siem Reap (Part 2)

    by victorwkf Updated Aug 27, 2010

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    Other than the usual souvenir shops, there is another section of the Old Market which is truely a local market. Here, you can find the local people selling vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, food etc and it is crowded.

    It is nice to walk around here to experience the local way of life, but do be careful because it is rather slippery. Also, watch your belongings even though Siem Reap is overall a safe town.

    Old Market, Siem Reap
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    Markets at Siem Reap (Part 1)

    by victorwkf Updated Aug 27, 2010

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    There are several markets at Siem Reap, of which the Old Market is perhaps the most famous. At this market, you can find many shops selling souvenirs, clothings, jeweleries etc. Many tourists come here for the souvenir, and always remember to shop around and bargain.

    Also, the Old Market is located just next to the Pub Street area, where there are many restaurants and pubs to hang out at night. More information and photos are at part 2 of this tip.

    Old Market, Siem Reap
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    Angkor National Museum

    by victorwkf Updated Aug 27, 2010

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    The Angkor National Museum is a must visit when you are in Siem Reap. This museum was new when I visited in November 2009, and consists of many beautiful displays, including the followings:

    - There is an exhibition hall with statues of many forms of Buddha, very impressive and informative.
    - The history of the various Angkor monuments are found here, together with the architecture of the various kingdoms.
    - There are also several mini theatres in the museum, where you can sit down in air-con comfort and watch the documentaries about the history of Angkor, architecture, legends, Apsaras etc.

    Another good thing about this museum is that it is located in the centre of Siem Reap, so it is very convenient to visit. More photos are at the travelogue section of this VT page (they do not allow photography inside the exhibition halls, so the photos were taken on the outside displays and building facade).

    Angkor National Museum, SIem Reap
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    Tonle Sap (Lake)

    by victorwkf Updated Aug 3, 2010

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    Tonle Sap is one of the largest lakes in South-east Asia and is within 1-2 hours drive from Siem Reap. There are day trips to this lake where you can take a boat ride and visit the floating villages.

    Personally, I did not have time to visit Tonle Sap but managed to take some photographs of this lake from my flight from Siem Reap back to Singapore. However, I heard from friends that the lake is rather dirty and smelly, so do be prepared.

    Tonle Sap (Lake), Cambodia
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  • dinner and sunsets over the tonle sap

    by lovethewater Written Jun 17, 2010

    best value by far,we stayed at the raffles and the tour included complimentary pick up,our guide was a mr solid,he had worked and lived on the lake all his life,the tour visited the floating village of chong kneas,the enviromental center and a beauitiful sunset over this huge lake,the tara riverboat is a lovely safe vessel first class dinning..the staff where great and loved the champange from australia..

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    Temples of Angkor

    by Willettsworld Updated Apr 25, 2010

    The main reason for coming to Siem Reap is, of course, to visit the temples of Angkor that include the amazing Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom as well as several outlying temple complexes that are spread over a vast area of some 400 square kilometres. They are simply one of the most splendid attractions in all of Southeast Asia. Long considered "lost", the ruins of Angkor were never really lost to the Khmers, who have used the monuments as religious sites throughout their history between the 9th and 15th centuries. The story more or less begins with their being "rediscovered" by Western explorers in the 19th century, beginning with the French botanist Henri Mahout who stumbled across Angkor Wat in 1860 and then they have become a major sight for tourists ever since.

    Angkor Wat, the first and most famous of all the temples, is the first one you come to along the road from Siem Reap. You then turn left and travel along the road around to the western entrance where you see it in all its majestic splendour. As well as visiting it during the day, it's also an idea to visit again in the evening when the sunsets in the west as the sun glows yellow and orange over it as it sets. Next along the road, north, is Angkor Thom which was the main city area with more temples including the impressive Bayon with its 54 towers of four faces each, totalling 216 faces. Angkor Thom also includes the Elephant Terrace, entrance gates, and Baphuon temple. Outside of Angkor Thom are several other temple complexes which are definitely worthy of a visit such as Ta Prohm (where parts of the Tomb Raider film were shot), Pre Rup, Banteay Kdei, Banteay Srey and the Roluos Group.

    Passes are required to enter the Angkor area. They are on sale at the front gate, on the main road from Siem Reap to Angkor Wat, for 1-day ($20), 3-day ($40), or 7-day ($60) intervals. The 3-day pass is valid for any 3 days within a week, while the 7-day pass is valid for any 7 days within a month. You will have a photograph taken and printed on your pass to make sure they are non-transferable as they have valid from and to dates on. Regular checks for the pass are performed at almost all sites within the park, so carry your pass with you at all times. See my transport tips about how to get around the temples.

    Gateway into Angkor Thom Angkor Wat The Bayon Ta Prohm Pre Rup
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    Old Market

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 25, 2010

    The main tourist hub of central Siem Reap is located around the old market that houses both dry and wet sections, and is frequented by the local population of Siem Reap for their daily needs. You can witness locals shopping for their daily fruit, vegetables, meat and fish as well as grocery and household items. The market is a fascinating place to walk around and check out some of the interesting things for sale such as exotic animals and produce plus fried bugs that are not for the faint hearted. There's also some souvenir shops around the outside but be warned that the books that are sold are counterfeit.

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    Angkor Wat in Miniature

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 25, 2010

    Artist and master craftsman Dy Proeung has created several beautiful, hand carved and cast sandstone and concrete miniatures of Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ban-teay Srey and other Angkorian era temples and figures. You can visit his workshop/display yard to view his carvings and castings and to see the artist at work. He's received an award of recognition for his works from the former King of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk. Well worth the $1.50 admission fee.

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    Wat Po Lanka

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 25, 2010

    This temple is located on the eastern side of the river, to the north of the Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor and the Royal Gardens. I can't find any information about this temple on the net but it's worth a visit if you're in the area and have the time.

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    Angkor National Museum

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 25, 2010

    This is really the only worthwhile thing worth visiting in Siem Reap except for the odd temple. The museum opened in November 2007, and its freshly painted, shopping mall-like feel contrasts with the thousand-year-old artefacts contained within it. A visit is a comfortable, air-con experience that serves as a nice educational supplement to the history of Angkor if you visit the park without a tour guide. It's composed of eight separate galleries, all connected by a vaulted corridor with a series of fountains and lined with what seems like all the Angkorian limestone lion and demon heads missing from statues at the temples. My only gripe with this otherwise excellent museum, is the entry price which is whopping $12 - the same price as my hotel room! plus another $3 for a camera. This is expensive even in western countries yet alone in Cambodia but it really has to be visited to see the amazing exhibits on display. The galleries are:

    Gallery 1: 1,000 Buddha Images
    This is the only gallery that's just one large room, rather than a series of maze-like alcoves, and the sight of all these Buddhas at once is striking. Hundreds of small and miniature Buddha figurines, made of metals, jewels and wood, all individually illuminated, line the walls here, identified according to the period they were made during and where they were discovered. In the centre, life-size and larger Buddha characters are displayed. The display includes Buddhas from Banteay Kdei, Bayon, Angkor Wat and Preah Vihear.

    Gallery 2: Pre-Angkor Period: Khmer Civilisation
    This gallery and all the subsequent ones combine mural-size explanations and short films through maze-like rooms explaining Angkorian history. The styles of figurines precede the trademark Angkor style, and there's a large collection of lingas, lintels and colonnettes.

    Gallery 3: Religion and Beliefs
    This room explains several of the most significant Hindu and Buddhist religious stories and folk tales depicted on Angkorian temples, including the most memorable Churning of the Sea of Milk carved into the rear wall at Angkor Wat. Carvings of Buddhist and Hindu religious figures are concentrated here as well.

    Gallery 4: The Great Khmer Kings
    The gallery focuses on King Jayavarman II, Yasovarman I, Soryavarman II and Jayavarman VII, those most responsible for Angkor's greatest constructions. Figures of the kings and relics from the temples they commissioned abound.

    Gallery 5: Angkor Wat
    There's a large film gallery inside this section of the museum. It features beautiful, panoramic images of the temple and explanations of how it was constructed. There are also many restored figures from the temple itself as well as post-Angkorian wooden statues used for worship at the temple until several hundred years ago.

    Gallery 6: Angkor Thom
    In addition to recovered artefacts from Angkor Thom, this gallery includes a history of and artefacts from the vast irrigation projects commissioned by the king who built Angkor Thom with his smiling face looking out from every tower: Jayavarman VII.

    Gallery 7: Story From Stones
    This room is one of the most interesting. It's a collection of stone pallets with ancient Khmer and Sanskrit inscriptions. The writing on each slate is explained on placards below. The writing on them includes the declaration of the construction of a new hospital, lists of slave names, mediations of land disputes and adulations of kings and gods.

    Gallery 8: Ancient Costume
    From Apsaras and kings to princesses and warriors, this room contains the busts and statues of distinct fashions and styles as they evolved throughout Angkor time. There's also a collection of ancient jewellery and headdresses.

    Open: 9am-8pm daily. Admission: $12 plus $3 camera charge.

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    Preah Ang Chek & Preah Ang Chorm Shrine

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 25, 2010

    Of particular importance to the locals is the small shrine in front of the Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor and the Royal Independence Gardens, that contains two standing Buddhas with the names Preah Ang Chek (taller) and Preah Ang Chorm (shorter). They are surrounded by stories of power and indestructibility.

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    Royal Independence Gardens

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 25, 2010

    The Royal Independence Gardens lie in front of the Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor and are quite picturesque with trees, shrubs, flower borders and grass areas. I think I remember seeing a board outside the Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor saying that they were designed with contributions from the hotel. The royal connection, in case you're wondering, is that there's a royal palace across the road from the gardens and the Preah Ang Chek & Preah Ang Chorm Shrine (see next tip).

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    Wat Bo

    by Willettsworld Written Apr 25, 2010

    Wat Bo is located on the eastern side of the river and was founded in the 18th century. It is a large, highly respected pagoda and, like the Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh, the vihear of the temple contains very unique wall paintings of the Reamker that are said to date from the late 19th century. Look for the ordinary-life market scenes such as an opium smoking Chinese merchant, the colonial era French officer at the market and the French soldiers attending a traditional dance performance. Also of interest is the large collection of Buddha statues located behind the main Buddha.

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