Only 5km from the modern Cambodian town of Siem Reap lies one of the largest archeological sites in the world: The Temples of Angkor. Angkor Wat originally built in the 1300’s under the reign of Suryavaman II dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu. Angkor Wat was to serve as a capital city and now serves as a Buddhist religious center in the area. Angkor Wat literally translates to “temple city.” One visit and you will have no trouble understanding why. The combination of this history with modern amenities in Siem Reap provide the perfect blend of “old” and “new” for the culture savvy traveler.
“The Old” – Angkor Wat sits on over 200 acres of land enclosed by its outer walls and surrounded by a moat. Within the grounds are temples and galleries partially engulfed by the forest. The temples were built using sandstone and a mysteriously still unknown kind of mortar. The inner walls are decorated with carvings depicting the history of the ancients in great detail, showing the advanced capabilities of these ancient peoples. Despite the increase in tourism to Angkor Wat, the temple is well preserved and hosts more than a million visitors every year.
“The New” – The neighboring city of Siem Reap plays host to the visiting tourists coming to see the temples of Angkor Wat, and does it in style. With 5 star hotels, restaurants, and nightlife, the city of Siem Reap is just as much modern as Angor Wat is majestic. International cuisines feature everything from traditional dishes to wester style pubs and bars. It also provides many areas for shopping, culture, and art. Siem Reap offers full modern amenities for even the most discerning travelers.
Quick facts to get started: The weather is fairly warm all year with temperatures into the 90s for much of the year. Also the rainy season from May until October is less than ideal for visiting. There are several options for those looking to get around the city from walking, biking, or hiring personal drivers, and with a favorable currency exchange rate for most currencies it is easy to travel in style. The city as a booming center for tourism is fairly safe although it is advised to follow the same cautions one would exercise in any large city.