Must see attractions in Siem Reap

  • Top ChoiceSights in Siem Reap

    Angkor National Museum

    Looming large on the road to Angkor is the Angkor National Museum, a state-of-the-art showpiece on the Khmer civilisation and the majesty of Angkor. Displays are themed by era, religion and royalty as visitors move through the impressive galleries. After a short presentation, visitors enter the Zen-like Gallery of a Thousand Buddhas, which has a fine collection of images. Other exhibits include the pre-Angkorian periods of Funan and Chenla; the great Khmer kings; Angkor Wat; Angkor Thom; and the inscriptions.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Siem Reap

    Artisans Angkor – Les Chantiers Écoles

    Siem Reap is the epicentre of the drive to revitalise Cambodian traditional culture, which was dealt a harsh blow by the Khmer Rouge and the years of instability that followed its rule. Les Chantiers Écoles teaches wood- and stone-carving techniques, traditional silk painting, lacquerware and other artisan skills to impoverished young Cambodians. Free guided tours explaining traditional techniques are available daily from 7.30am to 6.30pm. Tucked down a side road, the school is well signposted from Sivatha St.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Siem Reap

    Apopo Visitor Centre

    Meet the hero rats that are helping to clear landmines in Cambodia. Apopo has trained the highly sensitive, almost-blind Gambian pouched rat to sniff explosives, which dramatically speeds up the detection of mines in the countryside. The visitor centre gives background on the work of Apopo, with a short video and the chance to meet the rats themselves.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    Preah Ang Chek Preah Ang Chorm

    Located just west of the royal residence is this shrine. Said to represent two Angkorian princesses, these sacred statues were originally housed at the Preah Poan gallery in Angkor Wat, but were moved all over Siem Reap to protect them from invaders, eventually settling here in 1990. Locals throng here to pray for luck, especially newlyweds, and it is an atmospheric place to visit around dusk, as the incense smoke swirls around.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    Angkor Silk Farm

    Les Chantiers Écoles maintains the Angkor Silk Farm, which produces some of the best work in the country, including clothing, interior-design products and accessories. All stages of the production process can be seen here, from the cultivation of mulberry trees to the nurturing of silkworms to the dyeing and weaving of silk. Free tours are available daily. A free shuttle bus departs from Les Chantiers Écoles in Siem Reap at 9.30am and 1.30pm.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    Cambolac

    Cambodia has a long tradition of producing beautiful lacquerware, although the years of upheaval resulted in some of the skills being lost. Cambolac is a social enterprise helping to restore Cambodia's lacquer tradition and create a new contemporary scene. You can tour the workshop to learn more about the perfectionism required to produce a piece. Most of the guides are hearing-impaired and a tour allows some great interaction and the opportunity to learn some basic sign language.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    Angkor Conservation

    Angkor Conservation is a Ministry of Culture compound that houses more than 5000 statues, lingas (phallic symbols) and inscribed stelae, stored here to protect them from the wanton looting that has blighted hundreds of sites around Angkor. The finest statuary is hidden away inside Angkor Conservation’s warehouses, meticulously numbered and catalogued. While it's not officially open to the public, it is sometimes possible to get a peek at the collection for a fee.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    Senteurs d’Angkor Botanic Garden

    The botanic garden of Senteurs d’Angkor is a sort of Willy Wonka’s for the senses, where you can sample infused teas and speciality coffees in the on-site cafe. More a laboratory than a garden, the operators also make soaps, oils and perfumes here. It recently relocated to a stunning new centre near the Angkor Golf Resort.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    Wat Bo

    This is one of the town’s oldest temples and has a collection of well-preserved wall paintings from the late 19th century depicting the Reamker, Cambodia’s interpretation of the Ramayana. The monks here regularly chant sometime between 4.30pm and 6pm, and this can be a spellbinding and spiritual moment if you happen to be visiting.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    War Museum

    The unique selling point here is that the museum encourages visitors to handle the old weapons, from an AK-47 right through to a rocket launcher. We're not sure what health and safety think about it, but it makes for a good photo op. Other war junk includes Soviet-era T-54 tanks and MiG-19 fighters. Former soldiers act as tour guides.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    MGC Asian Traditional Textiles Museum

    This museum showcases the best in Asian textiles from around the Mekong region, including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and India. There are a variety of galleries showing the weaving process in each country and a mix of traditional and contemporary galleries showing different regional costumes past and present.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    Cambodian Cultural Village

    It may be kitsch, it may be kooky, but it’s very popular with Cambodians and provides a diversion for families travelling with children. This is the Cambodian Cultural Village, which tries to represent all of Cambodia in a whirlwind tour of recreated houses and villages. The visit begins with a wax museum and includes homes of the Cham, Chinese, Kreung and Khmer people, as well as miniature replicas of landmark buildings in Cambodia.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    Wat Dam Nak

    Formerly a royal palace during the reign of King Sisowath, hence the name dam nak (palace), today Wat Dam Nak is home to the Center for Khmer Studies (www.khmerstudies.org), an independent institution promoting a greater understanding of Khmer culture with a drop-in research library on-site.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    Wat Thmei

    Wat Thmei has a small memorial stupa containing the skulls and bones of victims of the Khmer Rouge. It also has plenty of young monks eager to practise their English.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    Miniature Replicas of Angkor’s Temples

    One of the more quirky places in town is the garden of local master-sculptor Dy Proeung, which houses miniature replicas of Angkor Wat, the Bayon, Banteay Srei and other temples. It is the bluffer’s way to get an aerial shot of Angkor without chartering a helicopter, although the astute might question the presence of oversized insects in the shot.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    Bayon Information Centre

    This exhibition introduces the visitor to the history of the Khmer empire and the restoration projects around Angkor through a series of short films and displays. Set in the beautiful Japanese Team for Safeguarding Angkor (JSA) compound, it’s considerably cheaper than the Angkor National Museum, although there is no statuary on display. Last entry at 3pm.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    Angkor Panorama Museum

    Donated by the North Korean government, this stylish building conceals an incredible panoramic painting that is 13m high and 123m around. The detail is stunning, with many of the figures such as the Buddhist monks extremely lifelike. Apparently it took almost three years to complete, but this still doesn't really justify the high entry fee.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    Wat Athvea

    South of the city centre, Wat Athvea is an attractive pagoda on the site of an ancient temple. The old temple is still in very good condition and sees far fewer visitors than the main temples in the Angkor area, making it a peaceful spot in the late afternoon.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    Wat Preah Inkosei

    This wat north of town is built on the site of an early Angkorian brick temple, which still stands today at the rear of the compound.

  • Sights in Siem Reap

    Wat Preah Prohm Roth

    A traditional Buddhist temple in the heart of Siem Reap, this is the easiest one to explore for the casual visitor.