There’s plenty to do here, with peaceful riverside walkways to wander, colourful markets to explore, excellent restaurants serving fragrant Cambodian curries, ‘Pub Street’ for lively drinks after dark and sumptuous spas to soothe weary limbs. Popular activities include taking Khmer cooking classes and watching traditional Aspara dance performances. There’s an impressive choice of top-end hotels, too: Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor is a Cambodian icon in 15 acres of landscaped gardens; Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor is a stylish riverfront sanctuary; and the Park Hyatt Siem Reap is a sumptuous base in the centre of the city.
However, there’s no getting away from the fact that most people come here to see the largest religious complex on earth. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Angkor Archaeological Park is an ancient man-made wonder with mind-blowing scale and intricacy. Built over a period of 600 years beginning in the 7th Century, there are scores of temples here; some restored and some still overgrown with jungle vines. The main group – and the closest to Siem Reap – includes Ta Prohm, Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat, Angkor’s crowning glory. Surrounded by a wide moat, this vast 12th-century masterpiece features astoundingly intricate carvings and imposing lotus towers. Watching the sun set behind Angkor Wat is a bucket list staple.
At Angkor Thom, highlights include the 350-metre long Terrace of the Elephants, which depicts a famous Khmer battle, and the Bayon Temple, which is adorned with over 200 giant stone faces. Mysterious Ta Prohm is one of the most photographed temples, where Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was filmed. Its structures are being reclaimed by the jungle, resulting in an otherworldly entwinement of gigantic roots and temple ruins. Away from the ‘big three’ temples, there are hundreds more hidden down jungle paths. Around 20 miles from the main group, Banteay Srei is one of the smallest but most beautiful sites at Angkor, with exceptional artwork carved into rose-pink sandstone.
While in Siem Reap, take the chance to visit the nearby floating villages on Tonlé Sap Lake. This is one of the best places to gain an insight into local life, with several floating fishing villages made up of stilted houses, schools and even hospitals.
Air Charter Service can help you charter flights to Siem Reap to ensure a smooth experience from the UK or another destination in Asia. Simple contact our team and we'll arrange everything you need to charter a private jet to Siem Reap.