Siem Reap province is located in northwest Cambodia. It is the major tourist hub in Cambodia, as it is the closest city to the world famous temples of Angkor (the Angkor temple complex is north of the city). Let discover some attractive destinations in Siem Reap province!
Kulen Mountain National Park
The Kulen Mountain or Phnom Kulen is declared as a National Park. It is an isolated mountain massif located in Svay Leu District and some 48km from Siem Reap. Its highest point is 487 meters.
This is widely regarded as the birthplace of the ancient Khmer Empire. During the constructional period of the ancient temples in the nineth century, sand stones were brought from this sacred mountain to Angkor. It was here at Phnom Kulen that King Jayavarman II proclaimed independence from Java in 802 A.D.
The site is known for its carvings representing fertility and its waters hold special significance to the people of Cambodia. Just a few inches under the surface of the water, over 1000 carvings of Yoni and Linga are etched into the sandstone riverbed. The waters are regarded as holy, given the sacred carvings which also include a stone representation of the Hindu god Vishnu lying on his serpent Ananta, with his wife Lakshmi at his feet. A lotus flower protrudes from Vishnu’s navel bearing the god Brahma. The river then ends with a beautiful waterfall. Phnom Kulen is regarded highly by Cambodian people as a sacred location and has developed into a great tour destination.
Angkor National Museum
Angkor National Museum is a very popular tourist spot in Siem Reap On display are thousands of important Buddhist and Hindu sculptures from the various Angkor temples. Many original pieces recovered for safe-keeping by the authorities from the temple ruins are also on exhibit at this museum.
Since the discovery of the Angkor temples, many of the antique artifacts have been stolen and sold to private collectors, museums and auction houses all over the world. Over the years, efforts have been made by the Royal Cambodian government to recover them and with the cooperation of various government agencies from around the world, many of the lost pieces have found their way back to Cambodia.
The Angkor National Museum houses and exhibits many of the recovered items amongst the several thousand exhibits now on display. In this very modern building, tourists will discover the Golden Era of the Khmer Kingdom and through state of the art multimedia technology, enjoy a full story of the legend.
Like the one in Phnom Penh, the Angkor Night Market is also designed to give visitors a secure and enjoyable shopping and dining experience in a vibrant, contemporary Khmer environment. Both these night markets offer a wide variety of stalls offering a diverse range of goods and services. A ‘must visit’ when in the vicinity.