Friday, 21 June 2013

10 Exciting things to do and see in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Many travelers want to come to Cambodia only to visit the temples of Angkor Wat, one of the most popular attractions in Southeast Asia, but there are many other interesting things to do in Siem Reap. More than a million tourists per year pass through Siem Reap, which makes the place more strong growth in Cambodia out of Phnom Penh, the capital.

With history dating all the way back to the year 802, the visit of Siem Reap is a no-brainer for many people traveling through Southeast Asia.

1 Angkor Wat

Despite so many other things to do in Siem Reap, Angkor Wat world heritage site is still the main draw for tourists. The temples of Angkor Wat, built in the 12th century by the khmer people, must be seen to be believed. Dozens of temples - some restored and some even invaded by vines - are Angkor Wat, which is about four miles north of Siem Reap. The scale of Angkor Wat is overwhelming; a three-day pass ($40 US) is necessary to appreciate even a fraction of the carved reliefs and ruins outside the site of the main temple.

2 Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary

The sanctuary of Prek Toal bird became one of the most important breeding grounds for the birds endangered by water in Southeast Asia. Located in the marshes of the Tonle Sap Lake, this bird sanctuary offers a chance to do the boat tour and see rare birds outside captivity.

You can make arrangements to visit sanctuary of Prek Toal bird through your guest house or rent a boat from Phnom Krom dockside Chong Khneas (35 US $-$45 for round trip). You will be dropped off at Prek Toal Environmental Research (entrance fee $5) station, where you can pick up information about the fauna of the region and the flora, or book an excursion by boat on the Sanctuary ($15-25).

3 Ball on Angkor Wat Tower

Just to the West of Angkor Wat, a tourism company offers an exciting - and different way to enjoy the ruins without fighting the hordes of tourists and touts. See the site of 600 m in the air gives a new perspective on how solid the temple complex really is.

Travel balloon from $35US and prices rise for long trips. You will find the ball on the road from the airport to Angkor Wat, a short distance from the gates of Angkor Wat. Call + 85 12 520810 for more information.

4 Museum of land mines

The Khmer Rouge in 1975 and the Vietnamese occupation in 1979 helped tumultuous past, Siem Reap war-torn. Siem Reap has not begun to stabilize and become safe enough for tourists to visit before the 1990s.

Unfortunately, millions of landmines and unexploded ordnance have been left by decades of conflict. Many beggars without legs of the city are a living testimony to the way in which these dangerous objects are still nowadays.

The Cambodia Museum minefield was founded by a former soldier of the child whose parents have been killed by the Khmer Rouge and is composed by the victims and orphans of the mines. Although disappointing, the Museum of landmines is a real piece of Cambodia away from the glam of tourism.

5 Military Shooting Range

Watched too many action movies and want to give it a try? Approximately three quarter hours from Siem Reap, tourists can try an arsenal of automatic weapons in a former military shooting range. Prices are not cheap - 1 shot US $ and more - but where you will have the opportunity to shoot an AK-47 or to throw a live grenade?

Soldiers retired to supervise the beach and you harass always to try the latest and the greatest firepower, including belt-fed machineguns. Those who have enough money and the guts are even invited to shoot an old Soviet-made rocket! The beach is located along Highway 67 to Banteay Srey (see their location on Google Maps).

6 Aqua pool

During the months of March, April and may, temperatures can reach over 100 degrees in Siem Reap. A great way to escape the Sun and oppressive, jungle humidity is at the head of Aqua - a wholly owned Australian bar and a restaurant located around a giant, public swimming pool.

Let not the outside appearance fool you, Aqua provides an ideal environment to refresh and to meet people at the same time. For 2 per day US $, you can relax by the pool with a drink in hand.

7 Angkor national museum

The Angkor national museum is a magnificent monument which houses thousands of objects recovered from the ruins of Angkor Wat and the surrounding areas in an impressive building. Works of Art, statues, and presentations by well planned videos make this museum worth a visit and the entry is bien12 $ US.

Visit the national museum before Angkor Angkor Wat will give an overview of the history of the Khmer civilization and will enhance your visit to the ruins of the temple.A walk through the Museum takes about two hours.

8 Cello Concert at the children's Hospital

Dr. Beat Richner of Switzerland helps the children of Cambodia since 1992 and has even starred in films.Every Saturday night around 7 pm Dr. Richner gives a performance of free cello at the children Hospital of Jayavarman VII to anyone wishing to see - and help - its efforts for giving to the region's children a better future. Donations accepted.

9 Kampong Phluk

Approximately 13 miles from Siem Reap, Kampong Phluk is a fishing village built on stilts in the marshes around the Tonle Sap, the largest lake of Cambodia.

Only a handful of tourists make the trip by boat or by bus in Kampong Phluk, which helped the village retains much of its authenticity. This is the place to go to see the life daily Khmer away from the influence of heavy tourism.

10 Wat Thmei

Siem Reap suffered horribly in the Khmer Rouge, and victims of the region are commemorated today in this monastery. A stupa at the walls of glass on the premises holds a mass of bones belonging to the victims of the massacre. Like his counterpart Tuol Sleng in Phnom Penh, Wat Thmei provides a brutal reminder of the madness that ruled Cambodia in the 1970s.

This is not all bones and death here, even if the great monastery here houses many monks and orphans in their care. (Wat Thmei does not part of Siem Reap tourist circuit of the hapless orphanage - to learn more about why you should not go to orphanages in the region, read this: orphanages in Cambodia are not tourist attractions.)

Wat Thmei is approximately 540 meters west of Angkor Wat, on the left fork on the road.

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