Wat Damnak & the Centre for Khmer Studies

Expand your mind

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What we say: 3.5 stars

A short stroll from Siem Reap's Old Market, Wat Damnak was once a palace of King Sisowath that now houses a Buddhist monastery, a children's school, a sewing school for young women and two charities, including the Centre for Khmer Studies (CKS).

Committed to strengthening education for Cambodia's youth, CKS operates a reading room and library (occupying the pinkish-burgundy building), opened in 2010. With more than 11,000 titles mainly in Khmer, French and English, it's the country's largest collection of books outside of Phnom Penh. The emphasis is on social sciences and arts, and the library also holds journals, maps, guidebooks and daily national newspapers in three languages.

If wanting to have a scholarly discussion, the University of California at Berkeley-trained librarians will be happy to oblige in either Khmer, English or French (but it is a library so do keep your voice down). CKS is a must for anyone serious about understanding the history of Angkor, the issues facing modern Cambodia and much more.

Wat Damnak's grounds also contain fragrant frangipani trees and flower gardens, so it's not only a good spot to expand the mind but also to soothe the soul.

More details
Wat Damnak, Salakamroeuk, Siem Reap
How to get there: Wat Damnak is easily accessed from the town centre: simply cross the bridge in front of the Old Market, and take the second right. You’ll see the outer walls of the wat instantly on your left, and the gate is only 20 metres up, also on your left.
Last updated: 23rd May, 2013

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