At the turn of the millennium Siem Reap was a Cambodian provincial town with some minor installations. The tourism industry largely met the brave hikers willing to brave the winding road from the Thai border on the tailgate of a local pickup truck. The nearby ruins of Angkor in Siem Reap turned into a booming city in less than half a decade.
The huge and expensive hotels have sprung up everywhere. Real estate values have soared to European levels, and tourism has become a lucrative industry wide. Siem Reap today is barely recognizable from the Siem Reap in 2000.
To really understand the true of Cambodia, one must visit one of the great archaeological sites of the world; the spiritual heart and identity of the Khmer people: the Angkor complex.
The East Baray measures 7 km by 1.8 km and the Western Baray 8 km by 2.3 km. Angkor Wat is the cultural home of the Khmer people. Its shape is always on the national flag. Angkor Wat is the power that was once the Khmer Empire, a detailed history that was carved in the many fortified walls of this temple a legacy. The temple is accessible by a giant stone road through a ditch hundred eighty. This is an incredible feat of engineering.
Recently Siem Reap was a quiet little town ... It's from Siem Reap that one can visit the Angkor site and its mythical temples, but also discover the Tonle Sap, the old Siem Reap with its houses stilts and its waterwheels, markets, etc. Siem Reap is 300 km from Phnom Penh.