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Siem Reap, Cambodia: Places to Visit

Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia neighboring Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. While the country is still recovering from a war there are plenty of places to visit while touring this friendly place. Siem Reap is one of the largest cities in the country and is located East of the Tonle Sap (The Great Lake). You can travel to Siem Reap by car, bus, or boat. If traveling by car or bus from Phnom Penh (about 6-7 hours), there are some bumpy roads ahead so be aware. If traveling by car or bus from Battambong (about 3 hours), you will be pleasantly surprised at how smooth and new the roads are compared to other parts of the country.

Siem Reap is growing rapidly and you will see a mixture of new and old while traveling through the bustling city. A lot of investors have come into Siem Reap to establish businesses, donate for the preservation of the temples and for real estate purposes. The town itself is very tourist friendly and you will find a lot of the workers know a little bit of English or French.

Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat is an ancient temple built during the early 12th Century. Listed as one of the seven wonders of the world, it is a must see for any visitor coming to Cambodia. The temples are located about ten minutes from Siem Reap. Travel to Angkor Wat from Siem Reap can be done in many ways, price does vary depending on how many temples you are planning on seeing outside of Angkor Wat. Tuk tuks are taxis available nearly everywhere and can get you to Angkor Wat for a few bucks depending on the number of passengers. Motos are another option is you are traveling solo. You can also rent bikes to travel to Angkor Wat, but be warned that Cambodia is hot and humid so bring plenty of water if you are planning on biking.

Admission price is $20USD (1-day pass), $40USD (3-day pass), or $60USD (7-day pass) for visitors, and free for citizens of Cambodia. You can purchase tickets after 5 pm the day before you plan on going, the temples themselves open at 5 am just in time to watch the sunrise and they close at 6 pm.

Bayon, Bateay Srei, and other temples
Aside from Angkor Wat, there are a lot of surrounding temples that are worth checking out. Bayon is another popular temple that is located near Angkor Wat. Banteay Srei is located a little further away from Angkor Wat (about 20-30 minutes) and transportation often costs a little more. Banteay Srei is considered the most preserved of all the temples in Angkor Wat. The details adorning the Banteay Srey temples are amazing and significantly more detailed than other temple carvings.

Kulen Mountain (Phnom Kulen) - 2 hours northeast of Siem Reap
The Kulen Mountain is a little difficult to get to as you will be traveling on dirt road for most of the journey, but it is definitely worth it. During the drive up through the mountains you will be able to look at the lush green valley of the mountain base. While at the Kulen Mountains you will be able to have lunch on a raised open hut, drink fresh coconut juice, wade and swim in a beautiful waterfall, and, of course, take plenty of great pictures. If you are up for a small hike, at the top of the mountain there is a temple, which at the highest point has a giant stone statue of a reclining Buddha - simply amazing.

Cambodian Cultural Village
The Cambodian Cultural Village is a large establishment set to preserve the traditions of the Khmer people. The host daily performances to celebrate Cambodian dancing, singing, music, and other art forms. There is a lot to see here aside from the shows. There is a wax museum, and a multitude of little villages where you can enjoy viewing the different architecture and lifestyles of the people of Cambodia. Also, there are little miniatures of different places of interest that you can view, including the Royal Palace, the National Museum, and Wat Phnom (all three are located in Phnom Penh).

Pub Street
Pub Street is located just minutes from any area of Siem Reap. This street boasts a plethora of restaurants and bars. A lot of foreigners have claimed their stake along pub street, including a traditional Irish Pub, complete of Guiness! Aside of brick and mortar restaurants and bars, you will find traditional Khmer eating stalls just across the street. Pub street is liveliest at night and many bars open until the wee hours of the morning.

The Alley
The Alley is located just walking distance from Pub Street and has a great many choices for restaurants, happy hours, bars, and shopping boutiques. It is very easy to jump from bar to bar in the alley during happy hour. The Alley also offers a range of cuisines including pizza and pasta, traditional Khmer food, and even Mexican food!



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