The Kingdom of Wonder
At the heart of The Kingdom of Wonder’s tourism trade, sits Siem Reap. Located in Northwest Cambodia, the town is the capital of the Siem Reap Province. This sacred region serves not only as a gateway to the Angkor Temple, but as a pinnacle of Khmer culture and experience in Cambodia.
The draw of the Temples brings travellers from far and wide. The hospitality, the culture and the endless offerings of Siem Reap provide much more than historical spiritualism and awe. A rich mix of tradition and tourism have developed the town into a tropical playground for visitors of the Angkor Wat Temple.
Architecture and Culture
In its architecture you’ll find an eclectic blend of traditional oriental and colonial French structures, particularly around the Old Market. With minimalist styles tending to be favoured with the newer builds, Siem Reap has managed to retain its relaxed ambiance throughout the town.
Outside of the many Temples to visit, Siem Reap is bursting at the seams with exquisite cuisine. Food is an extremely important part of Khmer life and just like its architecture you’ll find an infusion of traditional and colonial influence in the dishes.
As with any tourist destination, there is a much more cosmopolitan experience to be had in the evenings. The nightlife consists of many rooftop-bars, lounges and pubs set in traditional colonial buildings. Street-food, international restaurants, retail boutiques and trendy nightclubs can all be found around the main strip, Pub Street.
Retail and shopping play’s a big part in the local economy. The bustling markets and shopping centres stay open well into the evening to maximise trade. With retro and vintage gifts, collectables, furnishings and fashion topping the commerce on display, the stalls and shops are well punctuated with cafes, restaurants and bars to settle a weary traveller.
Climate and Residents
With a warmer climate that Phnom Penh and more English-speaking locals to meet the demand the Angkor Wat brings in the way of tourism, Siem Reap is a popular destination for expats. Surrounded by lush countryside and rice paddies, it makes the perfect location for someone wishing to move out of that western way of life and sink into a different culture.
Residents of Cambodia country-wide greet visitors with the upmost regard. As a visitor or a resident, you’ll find the locals extremely hospitable and friendly. It is not uncommon to have a group of locals coming to your aid if they see you are in need. The kind hearted nature of the Khmer people is what makes Cambodia such a special country.
Investment and Opportunity
Vast investments across the east come in the form of China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ and Cambodia’s infrastructure is undergoing a huge upgrade. The work on roads, ports, trainlines and airports will allow for greater access, especially from Cambodia’s neighbouring tourism triumphs, Thailand and Vietnam.
Siem Reap has become a main focus for local and national government and authorities. With the lure of the Angkor Wat temples providing heavy tourism traffic already, the push has been on increasing route loads into the area to help year-round tourism flourish for the whole province.
An increase in tourism brings an increase in demand for tourist driven amenities. From hospitality and entertainment to retail, medical and leisure complexes; Siem Reap requires heavy investment to meet the influx of visitors that the new airports and roads promise to bring. As investment is incentivised and actively promoted by the state, opportunity knocks for Siem Reap and those willing to invest in its future.