VIDEO: Five Things to Do in Siem Reap
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VIDEO: Five Things to Do in Siem Reap

There’s no better way to begin a trip to Siem Reap — one of Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best cities — than by watching the sun rise over Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world.

Of course, if you’re traveling to Siem Reap you can easily spend days exploring the massive temple complex. Here you’ll see the remains of the Khmer Empire, which reigned over the region from the 9th to the 15th century. Consider hiring a tuk tuk, which will help you keep cool while covering as much ground as possible.

New medieval cities have been recently discovered deep within the Cambodian jungle. If what you want is to pass days wandering through the ruins, consider bedding down at the totally Zen Phum Baitang resort. Whatever you do please keep your pants on.

Phare, the Cambodian Circus, is a valuable way to pass a balmy afternoon or evening — and one of the most fun things to do in Siem Reap outside of Angkor Wat. Nine children who survived the Khmer Rouge formed the circus 20 years ago with the help of an art teacher. Today, performers entertain and mesmerize their audience with contortion, acrobatics, juggling, theater, modern dance, and impressive feats of aerial arts. Each show pays homage to Cambodian culture.

The best souvenirs are local handicrafts, which are sold by the thousands at the Angkor Night Market. The best part? It’s much more comfortable to shop in the cool evening. You can also come here to catch a movie under the stars at the market’s movie mall, which regularly shows documentaries.

One more thing: You’ll want to save time in your schedule to visit the Cambodian Land Mine Museum, which was created to care for children harmed by land mines. Aki Ra, the museum’s founder, was recruited to be a child soldier in the war. He has since return to the same lands to defuse the thousands of mines he planted. For more information, have a look at the video, above.

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