background: Siem Reap
Siem Reap is the most prosperous region of contemporary Cambodia. Its close proximity to the Angkor Wat temple complex has turned the city into one of the world’s premier travel destinations. More than one million travelers visit Siem Reap every year to explore over a thousand years of Khmer heritage built near Tonle Sap Lake, the foundation of the economic power of the ancient Cambodian empire.
The heart of Siem Reap’s tourist district is known as Old Market, or Psah Chas. This part of town is home to a large concentration of restaurants and shops geared towards an ever-increasing number of American, British and European tourists. The influx of tourism has transformed a quiet little city into a bustling downtown area with an eclectic array of restaurants, bars and nightclubs that rivals any college town along with a night market that keep going well past midnight.
Angkor Wat and the Temple Region
The primary attraction for visitors to Siem Reap is the Angkor Wat and the Angkor Temple Region, which blankets more than 300km of northwestern Cambodia. The Angkor Temple Complex has been designated a UNESCO Heritage Site and consists of hundreds of structures from the 9th to the 14th century that tell the story of the rise and fall of the Khmer empire. This vast collection of historical structures are decorated with intricately carved, priceless Khmer artwork and that provide an archaeological and a pictorial history of an empire that ruled much of southeast Asia for five centuries. Structure range from partially renovated temples, pagoda and imperial residences to recently discovered ruins which are virtual untouched for the last 500 years.