Siem Reap is the capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia, and a popular resort town as the gateway to Angkor region Siem Reap, which literally means the “Defeat of Siam”, is the most prosperous region of contemporary Cambodia.
Its close proximity to the Angkor Wat temple complex has turned the city into one of the world’s premier travel destinations. More than one million travelers visit Siem Reap every year to explore over a thousand years of Khmer heritage built near Tonle Sap Lake, the foundation of the economic power of the ancient Cambodian empire.
The primary attraction for visitors to Siem Reap is the Angkor Wat and the Angkor Temple Region, which blankets more than 300km of northwestern Cambodia. Angkor Wat – Heritage of Humanity and World Wonder – Siem Reap Province Angkor Wat, which literally means ‘City Temple’, is a Hindu temple complex built to replicate the heavens on earth. Constructed for King Suryavarman II in the early twelfth century, it is the best-preserved temple and is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation.
The temple is the epitome of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. The Angkor Temple Complex has been designated a UN Heritage Site and consists of hundreds of structures from the 9th to the 14th century that tell the story of the rise and fall of the Khmer empire. The ancient ruins of Angkor rank amongst the world’s most magnificent archaeological wonders. The capital city Phnom Penh absolutely exudes history, as well as offers up some superb dining and a full-on nightlife.
Long the gateway to Angkor’s 12th-century Khmer ruins, Siem Reap has evolved from a cluster of riverfront villages in northwestern Cambodia into a full-fledged destination. When the morning light washes over the overgrown temples and ruins of Angkor Wat, a simple Siem Reap sunrise becomes a profound event. The ancient structures are contained within one of the largest religious complexes in the world.
Angkor Wat is a photographer’s dream. The most popular time to visit Angkor Wat is at sunrise—the light is magical and the reflection of the temple on the lake is simply stunning. The hottest month of the year in Siem Reap is April with intense heat during the day and very high humidity during the night. The coolest months of the year are December and January, when you might actually see people wearing coats in the evening. The climate of Siem Reap does not stop you from visiting Angkor at any time of the year.