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Siem Reap (Khmer: ក្រុងសៀមរាប, pronounced [siəm riəp]; Thai: เสียมราฐ) is the capital city of Siem Reap Province in north western Cambodia, and a popular resort town as the gateway to Angkor region.

Siem Reap has colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter, and around the Old Market. In the city, there are museums, traditional Apsara dance performances, a Cambodian cultural village, souvenir and handycraft shops, silk farms, rice-paddies in the countryside, fishing villages and a bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap Lake.

Siem Reap today—being a popular tourist destination—has a large number of hotels, resorts, restaurants and businesses closely related to tourism. This is much owed to its proximity to the Angkor temples, the most popular tourist attraction in Cambodia.

Attractions

Angkor Wat: Angkor Wat (Wat temple) is the central feature of the Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site containing the magnificent remains of the Khmer civilization. Angkor Wat’s rising series of five towers culminates in an impressive central tower that symbolizes mythical Mount Meru. Thousands of feet of wall space are covered with intricate carving depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. The most important are the Carved Bas reliefs of the Hindu narratives. They tell a story about gods fighting demons in order to reclaim order which can only be achieved by recovering the elixir of life known as amrita. The gods and demons must work together to release it and then battle to attain it.

Angkor Thom: Angkor Thom is an inner royal city built by the end of the 12th century and is renowned for its temples, in particular the Bayon. Other notable sites are Baphuon, Phimeanakas, The Terrace of the Elephants and The Terrace of the Leper King. The city can be accessed through 5 city gates, one on each cardinal point and the Victory Gate on the eastern wall.

Artisans Angkor: Artisans Angkor is a semi-public company founded in 1992 which aims to revive traditional Khmer craftsmanship and provide employment for rural artisans. It is also associated with a silk farm where visitors may learn about sericulture and weaving. It also participates in the restoration of historical Angkor sites by repairing and replacing damaged sculptures.

Local specialty

Rice wine: Traditionally rice wine may be made by the Cambodian households or villages for their own consumption. Some are also produced commercially or inspired by this tradition, an example is the Sombai Infused Cambodian Liqueur (Sombai) produced in Siem Reap. This beverage takes inspiration from the Sraa Tram (or soaked wine) that Cambodians drink traditionally and the infused rums from the islands. The particularity of the bottles of Sombai is that they are hand-painted making it attractive to tourists visiting Cambodia. The workshop and its tasting parlour installed in a traditional Khmer wooden house, has become a tourist attraction in town.

Climate

According to the Köppen climate classification, Siem Reap features a tropical wet and dry climate. The city is generally hot throughout the course of the year, with average high temperatures never falling below 30 C in any month. Siem Reap has a relatively lengthy wet season which starts in April and ends in November. The dry season covers the remaining four months. The city averages approximately 1500 mm of rainfall per year.