Photo: Within the grounds of the Royal Palace.

Cambodia forum

New Museum in Siem Reap and more

Posted by efkphd on 29/1/2008 at 06:03

Just returned from Siem Reap. Check out the new museum, it's truly terrific. Entrance fee is $12, but worth it. Might be a useful stop before visiting Ankgor Wat. Siem Reap is a surprise, lots to do in town with a vigorous tourist scene near the market; streets and alleys closed off to traffic and filled with open air restaurants. We stayed at the mid-range City River hotel in a quiet location within 10 min. walk to the market. Small restaurants next door were excellent and inexpensive. Best time to visit the ruins is early morning when it is still cool and free from hordes of tourists. Warning: Cabin on the hi-speed boat from Siem Reap to Phonm Penh was claustrophobic (the windows were yellow). We spent the entire six hours balancing ourselves on the roof (low railing, no chairs, lots of sun & wind.) The trip across Tonle Sap lake is boring, but then the scenery gets very interesting.

#1 efkphd has been a member since 29/1/2008. Posts: 2

Posted by spy on 30/1/2008 at 04:51

hey thanks for the tip about the museum. Will certainly be checking it out in a few weeks!

#2 spy has been a member since 11/1/2007. Posts: 14

Posted by raypond on 1/2/2008 at 09:38

I was at the new museum in Siem Reap last week and although I don't entirely disagree with efkphd I'm not as enthusiastic about it as him/her.

It's a beaut building but like so many modern museums it's got lots of wide open spaces and very few (relatively) exhibits. The information on each exhibit is often less than enlightening and many are very badly lit.

I know it is new and I suspect the curators are short of money but they are desperately short of exhibits to support the sculptures and pieces of buildings that constitute 95% of the displays. For instance: the gallery titled "Ancient Costume" does not contain a single piece of fabric or even a sketch of what Khmer clothing may have looked like. Just more statues.

I don't want to be too harsh as it is early days. I suspect that in a few year's time it may be a great museum but at the moment the best thing in it is the excellent scale model of Angkor Wat. You can see pretty much everything else at the real Angkor Wat.


#3 raypond has been a member since 30/6/2007. Posts: 4

Posted by steveatkins on 9/2/2008 at 19:11

Why spend you time in a museum when you have the real thing just down the road. The museum is a touchy subject with Cambodians as it is owned by a Thai company, lots of past friction over the Thai's stealing the Khmer culture and presenting it as their own,,,

#4 steveatkins has been a member since 15/6/2007. Posts: 33

Posted by efkphd on 10/2/2008 at 00:07

Re posting #4: I never intended the museum to be a substitute for the real thing. But it does give an over view, the room of 1000 Buddhas is amazing, it's a place to go during the heat of the day and it isn't, at least not yet, crawling with photo-mad tourists who don't mind blocking the way while they take pictures of each other. I was unaware that the museum was owned by a Thai company which may explain why the staff at our hotel was very lackluster about it. On the other hand, Cambodia seems to welcome and need foreign aid projects and overseas investors.

#5 efkphd has been a member since 29/1/2008. Posts: 2

Posted by spy on 4/3/2008 at 22:05

I was recently in Siem Reap and I must back track on my earlier enthusiasm. Looking at the place should have warned me- basically the place has crappy pastiche towers mimicking the Angkor temples. There are some decent artifacts but the oveall interpretation is poor.

Finally, it all seems very sterile and as another poster says, seems very commercial and controversial in terms of local economic development, the social context of Siem Reap and the Khmer history. 12 dollars too!

So best avoid would be my advice. Go to the temples and hire a local guide.

#6 spy has been a member since 11/1/2007. Posts: 14

Posted by kristinholdo on 9/3/2008 at 15:33

I think the museum itself its worth visting, however t is quite pricy.. it also looks like its not ready yet. It does however display a lot of information, and you will be able to stroll around in your own paste absorbing all the information.if you have a 3 dy pass in angkor, this might be a good thing to do on your second day - as you have seen the temples and know what it is all about - and you are able to relate to all the information, and styles and names.. and when you go back to the temples on the 3 rd day you might have a better understanding and apreciate it more...

the room of the 1000 buddas is quite beautiful... the sounvernir shop is extremely expencive.

baed on our hotels guests experiences, some really love it and I have had some who went back for a second day to buy things. I have also had people saying its average, and some said they felt it was a rp of. I tink it really depends on your interest..

#7 kristinholdo has been a member since 30/11/2007. Posts: 11

Posted by Mamabelle on 7/6/2008 at 11:45

We chose not to visit the museum on principle. We were given the impression that none of the money is used locally ....that it is taken out of the country.
You would be better off visiting the landmine museum (though didn't get there this time)....the Handicapped Rehabilitation Centre in town (which we did get to).....go to the free cello concert at the children's hospital...there is plenty to do in Siem Reap that benefits the community.

#8 Mamabelle has been a member since 6/6/2008. Posts: 7

Posted by dixonstreet on 7/6/2008 at 14:15

yes its not completed,its boring,its out of place and its expensive for what you get,i noticed about 5 westerns there and about 20 khmers they get in for about 2usd,

#9 dixonstreet has been a member since 7/6/2008. Posts: 10

Posted by steiny on 29/6/2008 at 05:18

Agree with dixonstreet. I work in museums and this is not one! The museum in Phnom Penh has loads of fabulous examples of carvings from the temples. Give your tourist dollars elsewhere to benefit the local economy.

#10 steiny has been a member since 26/9/2006. Posts: 11

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