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Arty Siem Reap

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Art and culture lovers are easily stimulated in Siem Reap. Forget the history of an empire, you can scramble the temples for the art alone, with Angkor Wat and the Bayon being the highlights when it comes to bas-reliefs and carvings. The Angkor National Museum is home to fine sculptures and carvings. There are a handful of galleries and a few arty festivals, however, it's the cultural arena where Siem Reap really shines, from the classical Apsara dance shows to the kooky Phare Cambodian Circus.
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0092 Street 22, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
This quirky little mid-range boutique hotel (that goes for budget prices during low season) makes a fun stay for creative types. Popular with young Asian hipsters, who can generally be found exploring every corner of the property with their...
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The Cambodians are highly skilled at a long list of crafts, carving being one of them, as the beautiful bas-reliefs and intricate decoration on the temples in Angkor Archaeological Park attest. They continue to carve to this day, in both wood and...
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Angkor Thom, Cambodia
Carved bas relief on the walls of the Elephant Terrace near Angkor Thom, Cambodia.
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Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
The most quintessential Cambodian souvenir must be the checked cotton krama that you will see around the necks, heads or waists of every Cambodian you meet. Cambodians like to boast that the krama has a dozen different uses -- some clever, some...
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You’ll see curvaceous Apsara dancers adorning the walls of Angkor Wat and other temples at Angkor Archaeological Park, so do try to see a performance of Apsara dancers so you understand why these ethereal beauties were carved in stone time and...
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Cambodian shadow-puppet theatre, known as Sbaek, is performed at a number of venues around Siem Reap, however, the best shows are by Cambodian Living Arts at the beautiful 18th century Wat Bo Pagoda. It's said that this medieval art form dates...
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Ring Road, south of the intersection with, Sok San Rd, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
I was delighted to come across the Phare Circus the last time I was lucky enough to visit Siem Reap. I've never tired of exploring the atmospheric temple complexes the region is famous for, but it’s always nice to have the option of variety. The...
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Street 11, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Set in an atmospheric colonial building with mismatched furniture, whirring ceiling fans, and rotating art on the walls, retro-chic Cafe Central is one of my favorite spots to kick back with a coffee or drink and watch the world go by. The...
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Upper West Side, Slarkram Commune, River Rd, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
A short tuk-tuk ride along the riverside in the direction of the temples is a striking retro Sixties-era villa called The 1961, an art gallery and performance space that was renovated and has now had a co-working space thrown into the mix. Started...
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Les Artisans d'Angkor is part tourist attraction, part shopping destination. The company creates workshops that teach young rural Cambodians an artistic trade to help them find work near their homes. At the Les Artisans d'Angkor shop in Siem Reap,...
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The Giant Puppet Project, Cambodia’s largest community arts effort and takes place every February in Siem Reap. Basically it is a lively, night-time carnival on the city's Pub Street featuring a parade of huge glowing figures up to 30 meters long,...