Siem Reap province is located in northwest Cambodia at the top end of the Tonle Sap lake. Siem Reap is a major tourist hub in Cambodia, as it is the closest city to the world famous Temples of Angkor; the home of Angkor temple complex is north of the city. Located in the South of Cambodia on the shores of the Tonle Sap Lake, the greatest sweet water reserve in whole Southeast Asia. The name Siem Reap means Siamese defeated, referring to the victory of the Khmer Empire over the army of the Thai kingdom in the 17th century.
At the turn of the millennium Siem Reap was a Cambodian provincial town with few facilities, with minor surfaced roads and little in the way of nightlife. The tourism industry in Siem Reap catered mainly to backpackers willing to brave the bad road from Thailand’s border on the tailgate of a local pick-up truck. There were a couple of large hotels and a handful of budget guesthouses. Tuk-tuks and taxis were non-existent and the trusty moto was the chosen means of touring the temples of Angkor.
The proximity of the Temples of Angkor ruins turned Siem Reap into a boomtown in less than half a decade. Huge, expensive hotels have sprung up everywhere along with budget hotels. Property values have soared to European levels and tourism has become a vast, lucrative industry. The Siem Reap of today is barely recognizable from the Siem Reap of the year 2000.
Siem Reap is gateway for the temples of Angkor, Siem Reap. Visitors come here to see the Temples of Angkor, but there is plenty to do in and around the city. Siem Reap has grown over the past few years and reinvented itself as the centre of chic Cambodia, with everything from backpacker hostels to boutique hotels, with world-class dining across a range of cuisines, spas, shopping, local tours to suit both food lovers and adventurers, and a creative cultural scene that includes Cambodia's leading circus.
Angkor is a place to be savored and not rushed, with the average stay for visitors been around 4 to 5 days, this is the base from which to plan your adventures. Still think three days at the temples is enough? Think again, with Siem Reap on the doorstep.