Siem Reap : Places To Go In Cambodia
Siem Reap (meaning Siamese defeated) is an ever-expanding town and its growth is almost exclusively due to its 7km proximity to the Angkor temples.
In fact, explorers to the temples used Siem Reap as their base over 100 years ago and tourists have continued the tradition over the last decade.
Siem Reap used to be nothing more than a collection of small villages but has slowly grown into a full-blown town thanks to the Angkor temple restoration expeditions and the recent tourist boom kicked-off by the countries relative peace and stability over the last ten years.
This has, of course, led to an abundant supply of affordable guesthouses and hotels. But despite its growth, Siem Reap has managed to keep its tree-lined avenues and French colonial buildings, and thus provides a very pleasant and relaxed environment for the traveler.
The Bayon Pearnik would like to warn you about temple burnout, a common affliction for those who aren’t complete temple nuts. To avoid this, we suggest taking your time with the ‘must see’ temples while avoiding the only average ones (it might be an idea to discuss this with your driver/guide before you set off for the day).
Long lunch breaks in the restaurants near the temples or back at your hotel/guesthouse is advisable, as you’ll then miss the hottest part of the day (look at the When To Visit in the general section for weather information).
And, if you have the time, breaking up your temple excursions with strolls into Siem Reap town or visiting an attraction which isn’t connected to the temples (see Trips In & Around Siem Reap & Angkor section) are two good ways of combating temple fatigue.
Dangers & Annoyances
Land-mines are no longer a problem around Angkor but the hundreds of locals hassling you outside the temple entrances to buy drinks, food, postcards, bootlegged books, t-shirts, cloths etc; is an issue which the authorities would be well advised to do something about.
There’s no doubt that the hard sell that you’ll receive each time you enter or leave a temple is thoroughly annoying and it can (if you let it get to you) effect your enjoyment of the temples. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot you can do about this other than count to ten so you don’t lose your temper.
We’d also like to point out that there are plenty of monkeys around the temples. They look cute and its great to take a picture of them but don’t get too close as they are wild animals. For some reason, they hate red so be extra careful if you’re wearing anything of that colour.
You may also find overly friendly children hanging around the temples who will latch onto you and try and give you a rundown on the one you're currently visiting. They can often be pretty knowledgeable but, of course, they’re only after money and a simple ‘please leave me alone’ dosn’t always have the desired effect (once again, count to ten!).
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