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Cambodia

Welcome to Siem Reap

City description  

Near Siem Reap, capital of the Cambodian province of the same name, the French School of the Far East has been endeavoring for some years to restore the temples of Angkor, a unique archaeological complex built in friable sandstone in the 10th and 11th Centuries, then abandoned by the kings in the 15th. Swiftly swallowed up by vegetation, the royal city fell into obscurity until the Frenchman Henri Mouhot rediscovered it, writing, “These temples would feature credibly alongside our most beautiful basilicas; for magnificence they prevail over everything which the art of the Greeks and the Romans ever built… The work of giants!”

Now these dozens of ruined buildings attract a plethora of visitors and serve as a backdrop to numerous documentaries and even fiction such as Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Two Brothers. It is even the course for the marathons and half marathons of Angkor and Siem Reap. It is, however, difficult to run whilst being enraptured before the Churning of the Ocean of Milk at Angkor Wat, a marvelous bas-relief deriving from Hindu mythology but taken up by Khmer culture; whilst wondering before the five monumental gates of Angkor Thom; whilst in open-mouthed contemplation of the thirty-seven towers of Bayon each decorated with four faces; or even whilst trying to penetrate the mysteries of Preah Khan, a magnificent ancient city.

Visits organised over several days will open the sites up to you but, so as to avoid saturation, it is good to intersperse architectural visits with trips on the Tonlé Sap and its villages on piles to meet a fishing and farming folk. It is an essential port of call in November during the Bon Om Touk, the “Water Festival” when the river reverses its flow, the only such phenomenon in the world, which the Cambodians welcome by organising processions of junks and other illuminated boats. After these celebrations, there will always be time to pace the aisles of the Angkor National Museum, which presents Khmer art in an interactive and very contemporary way. Then, with a heavy heart and dry throat, to cross the threshold of the Cambodia Landmine Museum, founded by a former child soldier so as never to forget the folly of man.
Siem Reap, a hub for exploring the region, undoubtedly benefits from the godsend of tourism. But certain initiatives prevent the town from becoming a gathering of tourist shops. With good intentions some have also set up organisations which highlight Khmer know-how. “Artisans Angkor” is a product of this approach, bringing the manual production of silk, weaving, lacquer, sculpted wood and stone together in one place. “Made in Cambodia” is written in the same vein. And, surprisingly, at the night market on Pub Street, the nerve centre for night owls, traders offer local quality produce. Even Lucky Mall, a sort of supermarket for expats, offers selected fruit, vegetables and other edible goods from the region alongside Western brands.
Taken by storm in mid-April, at the time of Chaul Chnam Thmey, the Khmer New Year, these places anchor Siem Reap in Cambodian tradition. Even though it is bolstered by its success, it never loses its unique identity.

Siem Reap

Enjoy our selection of finest attractions

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  • Highlight
  • Art & design
  • Shopping

Where to Eat

  • Sofitel restaurants
  • Café
  • Restaurants

Cuisine Wat Damnak

Cuisine Wat Damnak unquestionably bears the signature of its chef owner, Joannès Rivière. The Frenchman, settled in Cambodia for 12 years, presents a modern and creative take on the best local products with two unique tasting menus.

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Martini Lounge

Inside or garden? It is up to you to choose or taste one of the 14 Martinis on the Menu at Martini Lounge, nestled within La Résidence d’Angkor. Among them, you can find the famous Lemon Drop Martini.

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Mahob Khmer Cuisine

The garden, the decor, the ambiance: everything is to perfection at Mahob Khmer Cuisine. What's more, Sothea Seng cooks meat like nobody else - at 400° on a lava stone grill.

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Restaurant Le Grand & Apsara Terrace

Enjoy several exceptional restaurants at the Raffles Siem Reap: Restaurant Le Grand offers royal Khmer cuisine and one of the finest wine lists in Asia. The barbecue at the Apsara Terrace is a delight for the eyes and the taste buds.

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Mie Cafe

The setting of Mie Cafe: a beautiful traditional wooden house in the calm of a garden. The warm welcome and the menu offering a variety of Khmer specialities created with finesse are worthy of a serene and gourmet stop-off.

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Elephant Bar

From 4pm to midnight, Elephant Bar becomes THE place to be in Siem Reap for its ambiance and fabulous cocktails. Spectacular: the Airavata made with rum, passion fruit, coconut, lime, banana cream and pineapple.

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Damnak Lounge Fine Dining

In the heart of Siem Reap, Damnak Lounge Fine Dining is a wonderful place for fusion food and blends Cambodian and western flavours, offering outstanding value for money. Open lunchtimes and evenings.

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The Little Red Fox Espresso

Run by two Australian expats, Siem Reap’s The Little Red Fox cafe is famous for its superb specialty coffee, featuring refreshing cold-drip, iced coffees and smooth espressos made by friendly baristas. The cafe’s shared wooden tables and cosy wicker chairs on the streetside terrace offer an inviting setting for lovers of good coffee and people-watching.

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Mouhot’s Dream

Enjoy refined French - Khmer fusion cuisine at Mouhot’s Dream, the celebrated restaurant of the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort. Chef Dominik Ambros creates delicate and artistic plates to delight the senses, featuring superb pan-seared foie gras and the speciality Wagyu beef. Beautiful tiled floors and warm honey-tone woods make for an elegant yet relaxed setting, dotted with lush green palms and sweeping lagoon views. Don’t be surprised if the chef appears to greet his guests or to explain the latest dishes ; it’s all part of this warm and welcoming fine dining experience in Siem Reap. 

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Practical information

  • where to stay
  • when to go
  • Travel transportation
  • event calendar

Siem Reap • Cambodia

Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort

In a peaceful garden sanctuary, the 238 luxurious rooms of Sofitel Angkor Phokee...

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When to go

Siem Reap has a warm and humid tropical climate with average temperature of 27°C.
It is a great destination to visit all year round, however avoid the rainy and monsoon season from June to October. At that time of the year you can expect 90% humidity and abundant rainfall.  
November to May is the best moment of the year to visit Siem Reap, when temperature is warm and the rainfall totally absent.

Siem Reap annual calendar

  • Jan

    Victory Day over Genocide, end of the Khmer Rouge regime, 7 January 2016

  • Fev

    Meak Bochea Day, Buddhist tradition, 22 February 2016

  • Mar

    International Women’s Day, 8 March 2016

  • Apr

    Khmer New Year Day and Khmer New Year Holidays, 13 – 16 April 2016

  • May

    Buddha’s Holiday in Cambodia, 13 – 14 May 2016

  • Jun

    Queen Mother Norodom Monineath’s birthday, 18 June 2016

  • Jul

    Book a Balloon Ride Over Angkor Wat in the early morning

  • Aug

    Visit the floating villages of Tonle Sap Lake

  • Sep

    Constitution Day, Cambodian Public Holiday, 24 September 2016

  • Oct

    Pchun Ben Day, Ancestor’s day religious celebration, 11 – 13 October 2016

  • Nov

    Bon Om Touk, Cambodian’s water festival, 13 November 2016

  • Dec

    Angkor Wat International Half-Marathon, 4 December 2016

Travel transportation

Transportation

Transportation is limited in Siem Reap and mainly includes taxi, motorbike taxis and tuk-tuks. Many bus companies link Siem Reap to the other major Cambodian and regional cities, such as Phnom Penh. However, Siem Reap’s centre is fairly compact and can easily be discovered by foot. Most hotels rent bikes, which can be a very convenient option to discover the city and the Angkor Archaeological Park. Note that foreigners are not generally allowed to rent motorcycles.

Taxis

The best way to move around Siem Reap is by taxi, motorbike-taxi and tuk-tuk. You can hail them in the street and the journey is usually very inexpensive. For example, a motorbike taxi ride will cost approximately $1, a tuk-tuk less than $2 and a taxi $4. Always clearly agree on the price with the driver before each trip.
A full day through Siem Reap and Angkor can be organised with a motorbike taxi for about $10.

getting to & from the airport

Siem Reap-Angkor International airport is​ located 7 km from the city centre of Siem Reap. A taxi will cost you less than $10, and $7 if you use a tuk-tuk. Always agree on the price with the driver before the trip.
The shuttle between the airport and the city center will cost $10 per person for a one-way ticket.

Getting around

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* Prices start from. Offer subject to the hotel's conditions and availability. See the sales conditions for the rate. Depending on the country, these prices may not include taxes, may include VAT only or may include all taxes (VAT and city tax). When prices do not include all taxes, the relevant taxes (VAT and/or city tax) will be stated in the following stages of the reservation process. The price is only guaranteed at the time of reservation.

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