The days when Siem Reap was little more than a village have long gone. The nearby UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor has seen to that. Increasing numbers of overseas tourists are now booking Vietnam and Cambodia tours and almost everyone one of them includes Angkor, hence Siem Reap, in their itinerary.
As tourist numbers have grown, so has the infrastructure to include hotels and restaurants to cater for the demand. While it is unlikely that Siem Reap will ever become famous for its 21st Century night clubs, there are an increasing number of things to do in Siem Reap after the sun goes down.
It is nice to learn more about local culture during a Cambodia holiday and one way to do that is to go to traditional performances of art, song and dance at one of the local theatres. A good example, and one of several, is the Smile of Angkor Grand Theatre where traditional dances are performed alongside a multiscreen presentation of the Khmer civilisation, its customs and culture. Likewise, there is a daily show at Phare, a Cambodian Circus where there are performances each evening. On the same note, the play in two acts performed by the Local Disabled Community at the Night Market every evening is a unique experience for all who see it. There is no charge but gifts of books and pens are a great way to show your appreciation to youngsters who are intent on improving their lives through education.
If you are on a Cambodia family vacation then one way to involve all the family is to go to the Great Escape in Angkor Shopping Arcade where you can all try to solves riddles and puzzles to escape from a locked room. If you want something more conventional have a night at the cinema.
If you are looking for action, then the place to go to is Street 8, nicknamed ‘’Pub Street’’ where you will find cheap beer and loud music. The best-known places include Angkor What? Temple Club, The Red Piano and Le Tigre de Papier but there are others:
• Soup Dragon with great views of the sunset from the rooftop area which corresponds with ‘’happy hour.’’
• Banana Leaf Café with its late bar, excellent cocktails and live music.
• X Bar which opens from mid-afternoon and doesn’t close until sunrise, another with great views over the area from the rooftop.
If you are looking for something slightly quieter then head for streets nearby such as The Alley and The Lane:
• Miss Wong Cocktail Bar has a feel of the 1930s in Shanghai.
• Asana Od Wooden House, recently restored, is the last such house in the Old Market area.
• Long’s Bar is a place to chill, the only non-smoking bar in Siem Reap.
Elsewhere in town, look up FCC Angkor in Pokambor Avenue close to the Post Office, The Warehouse over the road from the Old Market or Chillax Lounge & Bar where the music is a little more relaxing than most places.