ROAM THE RUINS OF THE KHMER KINGDOM
Let's face it- Siem Reap is the main reason why most people decide to visit Cambodia. And rightly so. It is a really wonderful place that lets everyone fall in love with Cambodia and its people and enjoy amazing Angkor temples despite the hot and humid weather. Your hotel will be your base so pick a nice one where you will be able to relax and recuperate after an exhausting day of "templing", as most people call temple to temple hopping. Between 900 and 1200 AD, the Khmer kingdom of Angkor gave us some of the most magnificent architectural marvels.
There are around 70 major temples in the whole Angkor area, so you will have to plan your trip carefully and, if pressed for time, opt only for the ones that appeal to you the most. For specific Angkor Temple tips, visit our blog. We recommend seeing these temples as a must: Angkor Wat, Bayon (which is part of Angkor Thom), Ta Prohm and Preah Khan (both jungle temples that will make you feel like Indiana Jones), Banteay Srei and if you have time Pre Rup .
In addition to temple visits, you should try to see the Apsara Theatre Show at the Angkor Village hotel. The dinner and show cost $27 per person, and you can reserve it online (first start the reservation process through a chat before providing a credit card number through email). It is recommended to make the reservations in advance. The Apsara dance dates back to the 7th century, but in the modern form has been revived in the 1950's and 1960's by Princess Bopha.
The food in Cambodia is absolutely delicious. One of the best ones we've ever had, in all our travel. We loved tasting the khmer fish amok, and we took the full advantage of coconut curry dishes. The highlight was the visit to the Haven restaurant, a training restaurant for vulnerable orphans. The food is great, as is the feeling of helping someone. In our experience, where ever you end up eating in Cambodia, you cannot go wrong- everything is just wonderfully tasty. Another restaurant worth visiting, especially for breakfast is the Vibe Cafe famous for its Acai Bowls and and Cambodia Traditional Chef, a local restaurant near all the action and excitement of Pub Street, with delicious, yet inexpensive traditional food.
As for shopping, like many tourists we came back with several cotton T-shirts and pants. The cotton clothing is everywhere, and although the cotton quality is not the best, it is a great souvenir/gift, and it means a lot to the people selling it. For more upscale shopping, as well as observing the manufacturing process, you can visit Artisans Angkor, Cambodian company created to help young rural people find work near their home village by teaching them traditional Khmer craftsmanship skills. You can visit the Siem Reap workshop or the Silk Farm farm near the city.