I visited the Siem Reap region of Cambodia this past fall, a place rich in history and culture.

Here are 16 pictures (all photos taken by or of me) which give you a taste of why I was so fascinated by the Siem Reap region:

Life in the Countryside Around Siem Reap

Although the main attraction of Siem Reap is the amazing Angkor Temple complex, I was most intrigued by the culture and life of the people in the countryside around Siem Reap.

Cambodia homemade spinning machine
A woman spins cotton into thread on a homemade spinner.
cambodia harvesting rice
Harvesting rice with a sickle in the paddy

Both of these women appear old enough to have lived through the 1970s with Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge, and the Killing Fields.  It was not until 1993 that the King of Cambodia was restored.  In spite of this recent history, the Cambodian people are warm and clearly resilient, and survivors.

Cambodian home
A families one-room home outside of the city.

The Markets and Food of Siem Reap

Siem Reap Province Market
There is order in the chaos of the markets – the smells, sites, and sounds are fascinating.
Siem Reap night Market
The food stands were the center of the night life.
Cambodian food
Delicious vegetables, noodles, and protein cooked at the table.
cambodian edible spiders
I could not bring myself to try every food.  This cart was selling (starting in the bottom right and going clockwise) scorpions, spiders, snakes, frogs, and worms.

Angkor Temple Complex

The Angkor temple complex dates to the 12th century and features Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world.  Each temple in the complex has unique characteristics and histories.

temple 5
Banteay Srei temple with its monkey guards
temple 1
Ta Pram Temple – Definitely had my Indiana Jones going on here.
Angor Wat Scale
The photos do not do justice to the size of the temples.
Bayon Temple and the face of King Jayavarman VII who had many of the temples built, plus he had hospitals, rest houses, and reservoirs built.  His is a fascinating history that rivals the great engineers of the Roman Empire.

Blessings abound at Angkor Wat. Although the complex is full of tourists, it is a peaceful place to be.



Tonle Sap Floating Village

Another unique place we visited was the floating villages on Tonle Sap lake (a very large fresh water lake).  We were told that non-Cambodians, primarily Vietnamese, could not own land, so they lived in floating villages on water. Seeing this way of life was fascinating.

Chong prolay primary school
One of the schools.  The children paddle a boat to school.
tonle sap
Coming back from the general store.

Kulen Mountain

Kulen Mountain rises almost 1600 feet from the flats of Siem Reap and offers gorgeous hiking and stunning vistas, plus a unique underwater temple.

Hiking atop Kulen Mountain

I was so happy and thankful to have the opportunity to see Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, and the countryside around it.

Thank you for reading and if you missed my similar highlights about from visiting Laos, you can find them here:  Visiting Laos.