French colonial townhouses and Khmer wooden houses stand side by side in Siem Reap City Centre. While the city is famous for being a gateway to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap has its own sights and attractions, including various temples and museums. With its relaxed atmosphere and a mix of European and Cambodian design, it's a city that's becoming more than just a base to see Angkor Archaeological Park.
Siem Reap City Centre has evolved from being a quiet village backwater, and there is still much evidence of single-story Khmer houses, which are painted in a wide concoction of colours. These houses contrast the modern amenities of a city that caters heavily to the tourist industry. There are countless restaurants and cafes along with a small number of spas and shops. Angkor National Museum is the main attraction in the City Centre and provides a historical narrative that accompanies the Archaeological Park. The McDermott Gallery exhibits photos of the temples before and after tourism, while local non-profit organisations run various workshops and stores. Around Siem Reap City Centre, the temples of Wat Preah Prom Rath and Wat Bo showcase the old and new of Khmer architecture.
Siem Reap International is Cambodia's second largest airport and is found seven kilometres from Siem Reap City Centre. It's serviced by a wide network of domestic and international flights. Long-distance buses arrive at a station to the east of Siem Reap, including those from Bangkok and Phnom Penh.
Many of the buildings on the central Siem Reap streets date to the time of French occupation. Their balconies are now used as restaurant terraces while coffee signs hang below their multicoloured upper windows.