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Siem Reap, which means "Siam defeated," based on a 15th-century battle with Cambodia's neighbors to the west, is turning into a thriving, bustling city with great shopping, dining, and nightlife options. There's still not much in the town itself to distract you from Angkor, but after a long day at the temples you'll be happy to spend your evening strolling along the Siemp Reap River, and dining at an outdoor table on a back alley in the hip old French quarter near Pub Street, which is closed to traffic in the evening.
True, construction sites are common eyesores and disrupters of the peace in this rapidly expanding town, but don't let that deter you from exploring Siem Reap. The Old Market area is a huge draw and the perfect place to shop for souvenirs. Many of the colonial buildings in the area were destroyed during the Khmer Rouge years, but many others have been restored and turned into delightful hotels and restaurants.
You could spend an entire afternoon in the Old Market area, wandering from shop to shop, café to café, gallery to gallery. It changes every month, with ever more delights in store. Long gone are the days when high-end souvenirs (the legal kind) came from Thailand. Today numerous shops offer high-quality Cambodian silks, Kampot pepper and other Cambodian spices, and herbal soaps and toiletries made from natural Cambodian products.
Siem Reap at a Glance
- Angkor Village Hotel
- Angkor Village Resort
- Borann, l'Auberge des Temples
- FCC Angkor Hotel
- Golden Banana Boutique Hotel and Bed & Breakfast
- Heritage Suites Hotel
Elsewhere in Cambodia
- Angkor Temple Complex
- Around Siem Reap
- Kampong Cham
- Kampong Thom Ruins
- Koh Dach
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