Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is the most famous ancient temple site in Cambodia, and visiting the ancient Angkorian temples is the reason most visitors come to Cambodia, and to Siem Reap. With its five lotus-like towers rising 65 meters into the sky, it is truly a monumental, and awe inspiring sight. This UNESCO World Heritage site was at one time the largest pre-industrial city in the world, and is considered one of the ancient wonders of the world. Angkor Wat is the crown jewel of any visit to the temples of Angkor.

The ruins of Angkor Wat are located in the Angkor Archaeological Park, and the entrance to the park is located about 3km north of modern-day Siem Reap. There are no hotels within the park grounds, and most visitors to the ancient temples stay in Siem Reap, using it as a base from which to make daily visits to the temples. The most significant temple ruins are found 6 to 25km north of town, with the closest major temple being Angkor Wat. The Roluos Group of temples are 13km east of Siem Reap.

It is best to arrange your tour of the Angkor Archaeological Park with a reputable tour agency and a knowledgeable tour guide. They can assist with purchasing the admission pass, and arrange the transportation you will need. There are also guidebooks available, which will help in understanding the history of the temples.

Several restaurants and hotels in Siem Reap present Apsara Dance Shows, and Apsara Dance Dinner Shows are included in many tours.

Most shows include the four genre of traditional Khmer dance: Apsara Dance, Masked Dance, Shadow Theatre, and Folk Dance. These are abbreviated dances for tourists, and unfortunately there is usually little, or no explanation as to the origin and meaning of the dances. But they are still interesting and worthwhile to see.

Below are a few of the venues offering Apsara Dance.

Apsaras Dance & Dinner Shows in Siem Reap

Several restaurants and hotels in Siem Reap present Apsara Dance Shows, and Apsara Dance Dinner Shows are included in many tours.

Most shows include the four genre of traditional Khmer dance: Apsara Dance, Masked Dance, Shadow Theatre, and Folk Dance. These are abbreviated dances for tourists, and unfortunately there is usually little, or no explanation as to the origin and meaning of the dances. But they are still interesting and worthwhile to see.

Below are a few of the venues offering Apsara Dance.

Bayon & Ta Prohm Temples

Aside from Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and Bayon may be the best known and most photographed of the “other” temples. Ta Prohm is popular because of its lost temple in the jungle atmosphere, overgrown with trees and vines, and Bayon is famous for its huge enigmatic, carved stone faces.

The Bayon Temple is the dominant feature inside the walled city of Angkor Thom, and Ta Prohm is not far outside the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom. Both are Buddhist temples, and were constructed by King Jayavarman VII; Bayon in the late 12th century, and Ta Prohm from the mid 12th century to the early 13th century. These two magnificent examples of Angkor temple architecture should not be missed. See below for details of these two ancient structures.

Tonlé Sap Lake in Siem Reap

The Tonlé Sap Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. During the dry season the lake drains into the Tonle Sap River which flows into the Mekong River. But in the rainy season (June to October), the huge amount of water in the Mekong causes the Tonlé Sap River to reverse its flow.

The combination of water flowing into the lake, and the backup of the Tonle Sap River swells the lake to 5-times its size in the dry season. This increase in size floods the surrounding floodplain and forests, creating an incredibly diverse and rich eco-system.