Back in the 1960s, Siem Reap was the place to be in Southeast Asia and saw a steady stream of the rich and famous. After three decades of slumber, it’s well and truly back and one of the most popular destinations on the planet right now.
At its heart, Siem Reap is still a little charmer, with old French shop-houses, shady tree-lined boulevards and a slow-flowing river. But it is expanding at breakneck speed with new houses and apartments, hotels and resorts sprouting like mushrooms in the surrounding countryside. The tourist tide has arrived and locals are riding the wave. Not only is this great news for the long-suffering Khmers, but it has transformed the town into a pulsating place for visitors. Now is the time to be here.
The Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, covering 27,000 hectares in dry season (November to May) and 150,000 hectares during the rainy season (June to October). The Tonle Sap River reverses according to the season and the Tonle Sap acts as an overflow reservoir for the huge Mekong River. It is a beautiful and tranquil place to explore by boat.