Made famous by its proximity to the legendary Temple of Angkor Wat, Siem Reap offers a step into the crumbling world of the lost Khmer Empire. Whilst Siem Reap has its charms, the showpiece is naturally Angkor. Encircled by tropical forest, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is adorned with grand lotus towers and ornate carvings and reigns as the largest religious monument in the World.
Our expert guides will bring the history of Angkor Wat to life as you meander through peaceful Buddhist temples, getting up close to exquisite bas-reliefs as the sun rises over huge smiling faces. However, it’s not just the spectacularly moated temple that this ancient city boasts. Venture further afield to unearth the less visited Beng Mealea where vines interweave through columns and trees thrust out of towers. Or for a touch of rural Cambodian daily life, glide along Tonle Sap Lake to see floating and stilted villages.
Meanwhile, Siem Reap itself is quickly rising as a sanctuary for relaxation and experiencing a renaissance in Khmer cuisine and culture. Discover its interesting blend of colonial and Chinese architecture, various pop-up galleries or just relax in the tranquil surrounds of your luxury hotel.
Each time I visit this area, I am blown away by the Angkor temples. My personal favourite is Bayon, part of Angkor Thom, with these huge carved stone faces depicting the city’s founder, King Jayavarman VII. After exploring the temple, I enjoyed a private boat trip on its moat, sipping a gin and tonic as the sun went down. A perfect way to end the day!
What to do
- Experience Angkor Wat and the many other ancient temples in the region
- Try your hand at a Khmer cooking class
- Visit the local art galleries
- Watch a local Khmer dances to immerse yourself in Cambodian culture
When to go
Visit from October to February to make the most of the dry season and reduced rain.