SIEM REAP TOWN: Gateway to the Temples of Angkor
Siem Reap was an ancient political centre situated 320 km north of Phnom Penh in Siem Reap province. The town of Siem Reap (‘ The Defeat of Siamese or Thai ’), the provincial capital, is 6 kilomtres of Angkor Wat. Siem Reap town is where you will stay during your visit to Angkor. The area has been receiving foreign visitors to the temples for over 100 years. The town is actually a cluster of old villages, which originally developed around individual pagodas, and later overlaid with an French colonial-era center. Note the colonial and Chinese style architecture in the town center and around the Old Market. Nowadays, Siem Reap offers a wide range of hotels, restaurants, pubs and including several upscale hotels and dozens of budget guesthouses. Siem Reap town serves as the gateway to the millennium-old temple ruins of the Khmer Empire. Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Angkor Archaeological Park encompasses dozens of temple ruins including Bayon, Banteay Srey and the legendary Angkor Wat whose artistic and archaeological significance and visual impact put it in a class with the Pyramids, Machu Pichu and the Taj Mahal. Unlike many other world class monuments, the ruins of Angkor are as yet unspoiled by over-development. This will not be true in a couple of years. Though the major temples are relatively well touristed these days, it is still possible get away from the crowds, to explore the area and discover Angkor.