Photo: Rural scenes around Siem Reap.

Eat and meet

Introduction


International food

Siem Reap restaurants serve up top-quality food from almost every corner of the globe and you can travel the world from here, provided you’re happy to use a plate instead of a magic carpet. We are still missing out on one continent, and hopefully we may see some African food here one day soon, but for the rest, well, there’s plenty from the world’s menus to satisfy everyone’s... Read our full review of International food.

Cambodian food basics

Much maligned as the unsavoury cousin of spicier and more glamorous Thai food, real Cambodian cooking is unfortunately under-appreciated by many visitors to Cambodia, although this is hardly their fault. Among the reasons is their simple lack of awareness. “People are familiar with Vietnamese food, Chinese food and Thai,” says French chef Joannès Rivière. “But Cambodian food is not so... Read our full review of Cambodian food basics.

Street food

Siem Reap is full of restaurants but where to find very simple, very cheap street... Read our full review of Street food.

NGO restaurants

If you are what you eat, then it’s hard to beat the opportunity to tuck into delicious, healthy food at the same time as supporting a worthwhile cause. Perhaps the way to Cambodia’s heart is through your stomach. Siem Reap has at least four NGO cafés and restaurants, though there’s bound to be more tucked away, and more on the way to the busy overall scene as... Read our full review of NGO restaurants.

Vegetarian food

It’s not easy in Cambodia to find a sympathetic ear if you’re a vegetarian. Instead, you will be confronted with everything ranging from open disbelief, to dark mutterings that the barang is clearly mad, to acts of rebellion with secret sprinklings of shrimp or bacon bits. And sometimes the struggle is not even that overt. So much of Cambodian food is laced with prahok or fish sauce that it... Read our full review of Vegetarian food.

Italian restaurants

Cambodia may be a Johnny-come-lately on the Southeast Asia tourist trail, but there’s one area where they’ve already caught up with, even exceeded, their neighbours. The restaurants here (in both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh) are fantastic. The Cambodian culinary scene has developed in less than ten years, yet has managed to set high standards so that even the average restaurants should serve up... Read our full review of Italian restaurants.

Mexican food

I’m not American, which you can tell by the fact that I eat burgers with a knife and fork (frankly, the concept of having to unhinge your jaw in order to put food in your mouth seems freakish and bizarre), have an almost disturbing neurosis about “proper” spelling, and get very twitchy when someone asks for recommendations about Mexican food. I grew up in Ireland, during the 80s, when... Read our full review of Mexican food.

Fancy Cambodian food

Cambodian food does get a bit of a bad rap compared to its neighbours, for numerous reasons of varying soundness, and it can seem incongruous therefore to even associate the words “posh”, “Khmer” and “nosh” (a bit like trying to think of snazzy Welsh food), but associate them you can, and the rewards for doing so in Siem Reap are rich... Read our full review of Fancy Cambodian food.

Best places for afternoon tea

I recently discovered that German baronesses and French princesses can be counted among my forebears, which might explain why I’ve still never set foot in a KFC. It would have been better if the witches hadn’t apparently spent absolutely everything, leaving me with nothing but their tastes, but this is what I’m now stuck with: Champagne taste and beer money. But Siem Reap isn’t a bad... Read our full review of Best places for afternoon tea.

Garden restaurants

While some might argue that a large bowl of glistening French fries is the best accompaniment to any dish, sometimes it doesn’t quite do the trick. In fact, what might work best is simply a better view, and this can be hard to come by in Siem Reap. The colour green is said to create feelings of comfort, laziness, relaxation and calm. And what could possibly make everything taste better than... Read our full review of Garden restaurants.

How to cook real Cambodian food

A few years ago, a young French chef came to Siem Reap as a volunteer to train the students at Sala Baï, an NGO that every year trains about 100 young disadvantaged Cambodians from the surrounding area in the arts of cooking, front of house, house-keeping and waiting tables. The school has a solid reputation for the quality of its graduating students; every single graduate has been placed in... Read our full review of How to cook real Cambodian food.

Supermarkets

So many tourist markets, boutiques, jewellers and craft shops in Siem Reap can make shopping here a real pleasure. On the other hand, if you have a case of the midnight munchies, or just need batteries, its charms can seem a little over-worked. The practical things in life can rarely be found in the bottom of a recycled, eco-friendly, socially conscious, vegetarian... Read our full review of Supermarkets.

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Khmer


Cuisine Wat Damnak
Wat Damnak Area
T: (077) 347 762

After three years in operation, Cuisine Wat Damnak made it on to the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015, but this is likely to be only the beginning of great stuff for this small, unpretentious and fantastic establishment. Owner-chef Joannes Riviere and his wife Carole Salmon are dedicated to bringing you the best of Cambodian food, with a twist or two. What they create here is so good it... Read our full review of Cuisine Wat Damnak.

Cafe Indochine
44 Sivatha Blvd, Siem Reap
T: (012) 964 533, (092) 630 958

One of the last traditional Khmer wooden villas remaining in the centre of Siem Reap is home to Cafe Indochine, creating a romantic, intimate setting for this classic Khmer restaurant with some additional international... Read our full review of Cafe Indochine.

Marum
#8A, B Slokram (by Wat Po Langka), Siem Reap
T: (017) 363 284

Run by Kaliyan Mith, an NGO working with street children in Siem Reap, Marum makes dining for a worthy cause something to savour. Sitting in a similar category of quality cuisine to the delightful and always busy Haven training school restaurant, Marum raises the bar slightly with regards to both ambiance and price... Read our full review of Marum.

The Old House
Pi Thnou St (opposite Siem Reap provincial hospital), Old Market area, Siem Reap
T: (012) 493 948

About 100 metres from the northern end of Pub Street but a million miles from the genuine free Apsara shows, authentic Cambodian snake and crocodile barbecues and myriad piscene pedicure tanks, you will find a small haven of tranquility, a very classy little Khmer-owned and managed restaurant serving inexpensive and reliably high quality local food in zen-like... Read our full review of The Old House.

The Sugar Palm
Taphul Rd, Siem Reap
T: (063) 964 838

When one of Britain's top chefs, Gordon Ramsey, was looking for a place to go to learn how to cook Khmer food, he went to Sugar Palm, where Kethana Dunnet’s souffled amok is considered to be the best in town, if not the country, by a long mile. Set in a gorgeously preserved traditional Khmer villa a short five-minute tuk tuk ride away from the centre of town, Sugar Palm is a firm favourite... Read our full review of The Sugar Palm.

Mr Grill
Wat Bo Rd, Siem Reap
T: (012) 645 772

Popular with expats, locals and visitors alike, Mr Grill has a massive menu of grills and dishes, including fish, meat and veg selections that you can grill yourself at the table, as well as an a la carte menu of Cambodian, and some Western, dishes. The open-air restaurant on Wat Bo Road is something of an institution in Siem Reap, and the busy atmosphere is infectiously dynamic, especially if... Read our full review of Mr Grill.

Chamkar
The Passage
T: (092) 733 150

A huge hit with vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, this very pretty restaurant stands out on The Passage for its elegant decor. The space here is small and intimate, but it always manages to be comfortable, and the location in the middle of The Alley means you're in a prime spot, yet you feel like you're retaining a calm distance. The extensive menu offers veggie variations on classic... Read our full review of Chamkar.

Khmer Kitchen
Street 9 & Pub Street Alley, Old Market area, Siem Reap
T: (063) 964 154 or (012) 763 468

With its deep red and warm yellow decor, lively atmosphere and rows of wooden tables, Khmer Kitchen bears an uncanny resemblance to a Spanish venta or a Mexican cantina. But the similarity ends with the decor and what you will actually find at this busy eatery in Siem Reap’s tourist centre are generous portions of honest Cambodian food at good value prices, and all within staggering distance of... Read our full review of Khmer Kitchen.

Champey
The Passage, behind Bar St, through to the Old Market
T: (063) 964 713

Beautiful decor and an effort to create some of the finest Khmer food in the Pub Street area make this place stand out. They aim to create Khmer royal cuisine and the food is some of the best Khmer fare available in downtown and the Old Market-facing part of the restaurant is ideal for people watching. They also have a salon upstairs with air-con for those who need a blast of cool... Read our full review of Champey.

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Cafes


Best coffee joints

I know some prefer it cool, smooth and slow, but I have to confess I’m a major fan of hot and steamy. Of course, this does usually result in short lived affairs, but I don’t know anyone who could handle that much intensity for longer anyway. Especially with the Italians, God do the Italians really know how to do it. On the other hand, you’d take your time over a Cambodian. They’re edgier... Read our full review of Best coffee joints.

Gelato Lab
Alley West, Siem Reap
T: (085) 757 590

No expense has been spared here to serve up the very best ice-cream and coffee in town or, very possibly, the region. Every day, a state-of-the-art machine churns out fresh ice-creams and sorbets that are bursting with the pure flavours of organic milk and local fruits, and the best chocolate, nuts, Madagascar vanilla and other flavours that the all-Italian owners can... Read our full review of Gelato Lab.

La Boulangerie
Street 7
T: (063) 6901 501

This very sweet, locally owned and run cafe serves up some excellent value breakfasts, great coffee, and really good value lunches, including salads, sandwiches and quiches. Immensely popular with the French expat community, and anyone else with the good sense to make it a regular spot. They've recently expanded their menu, and their venue, and are now open for dinners too. La Boulangerie isn't... Read our full review of La Boulangerie.

Little Red Fox Espresso
593 Hap Guan Street, Kandal Village, Siem Reap
T: (016) 669 724

As the guys who opened this place would say, Little Red Fox Espresso is seriously “the bomb”. Adam Rodwell and David Stirling threw caution to the wind when they moved to Siem Reap in mid-2014, and even more so when they opened up their cafe and hair salon in an area just that little bit off the main track. But notwithstanding people’s continuing reluctance to step away from the safe... Read our full review of Little Red Fox Espresso.

Joe to Go
Street 9, Siem Reap
T: (063) 969 050

Simple, unpretentious and comfortable describes both the food and the set-up here. Created by Global Child, an excellent NGO that seeks to provide a top-notch education for former street children in Siem Reap, the cafe was set up to help fund the programme. But that doesn’t mean they are relying on people’s goodwill to carry them through. The food here is generous, thoughtfully considered and... Read our full review of Joe to Go.

Sister Srey Cafe
200 Pokambor Ave, Siem Reap
T: (097) 723 8001

There’s a lot of heart and humour in this little riverside sweet spot. Sister Srey is the creation of two young Australian sisters who were on all set to make their fame and fortune in London but decided on the way that Siem Reap is actually where it’s at — and who could blame them? They opened up at the end of 2012, and have been running crowd control ever since as fans flock in for the... Read our full review of Sister Srey Cafe.

The Hive
631 Psar Kandal St (behind Angkor Riviera Hotel), Siem Reap
T: (097) 763 3484

On the edges of the ever cooler Kandal Village, The Hive has proven to be one of the most popular additions to Siem Reap’s growing cafe scene thanks to its friendly vibe, excellent coffees, well-conceived menu and sin-busting range of fruit and veg... Read our full review of The Hive.

Angkor Cafe
Opposite Angkor Wat
T: (012) 946 227

Sometimes, when the heat and tiredness of trudging around Angkor sets in, the only cure is a pastry or ice-cream and great big coffee. Part of the Blue Pumpkin chain, it doesn't open till 08:00, though the Pub Street restaurant is open as early as 05:00. The Angkor Café faces the causeway leading to Angkor Wat, and is linked with Artisans d'Angkor so you can enjoy your coffee and,... Read our full review of Angkor Cafe.

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International


Haven Training Restaurant
Sok San Street (20m behind X-Bar), Siem Reap
T: (078) 342 404

There are few restaurants in Siem Reap, if any other, where you need to book a couple of days in advance in high season to be sure to get a seat. The well-deserved popularity of Haven Training Restaurant means you need to plan this one in advance and not just rock up if the idea of quality, fairly priced food that’s all for a social cause, sounds appealing. Don’t do as I did and get turned... Read our full review of Haven Training Restaurant.

Abacus
Off Route 6 (Behind Acleda Bank), Siem Reap
T: (012) 644 286

A classic French menu in a romantic garden or elegant interior setting, impeccable service and incredible food mean a trip to Abacus is always a special occasion. The focus is French, but with some special Asian twists in places. Special dishes include arguably the best carpaccio in town, and a lamb shank with lentils that is to die for. The Abacus burger is frequently vaunted as the best in... Read our full review of Abacus.

Il Forno
The Lane
T: (078) 208 174

Authentic Italian cooking in an inviting, relaxed but very thoughtful streetside restaurant. Il Forno went from non-existence to pre-eminence in about 24 hours flat. Created by a young Italian family, the rich aroma of authenticity wafts from every dish. Their pizzas are crisp and thin based, with real tomato sauce and generous toppings. Many of the pastas are house-made, and their pesto... Read our full review of Il Forno.

La Cabane La Cuisine des Filles
New Street A, Siem Reap
T: (078) 697 833

A small and rather unassuming lane transports you from the neon-lit crush of Pub Street towards La Cabane La Cuisine des Filles, a one-minute walk in time and space and a world away in atmosphere and service. It's an unusual spot, having about it something of an air of the Mediterranean seaside with gaily painted yellow and orange corrugated walls that a large, open-plan room is able to carry off... Read our full review of La Cabane La Cuisine des Filles.

Ivy 2
Off Pokambor Avenue
T: (012) 800 860

A relaxed, open-terrace festooned with greenery and some of the most highly-rated vegetarian food in town make this a go-to spot for many. Ivy 2 has possibly the biggest vegetarian menu in town, and whether you're a vegetarian or meat-lover, their cheesey mash will have you swooning. Their non-vegetarian menu is impressive too, with all the classics and then some good home cooking that will... Read our full review of Ivy 2.

Fresh at Chilli Si Dang
Wat Bo
T: (017) 875 129

Set on the east bank of Siem Reap river, Fresh at Chilli Si Dang offers airy streetside and riverside eating with prices that are reasonable and service that is prompt and quite chatty. A small, relaxed and friendly bar, this is a good place to drop into if you want to find out what's happening in town. The waterside seating is a winner too. After being closed for one year in 2008, the... Read our full review of Fresh at Chilli Si Dang.

The Purple Elephant
Bakheng Road, Siem Reap
T: (089) 642 956

It is one of Siem Reap’s quirks that while you can find excellent cooking from places as far flung as Mexico, Italy and the Philippines, it’s really hard to find decent food rooted in the traditions of neighbouring Thailand. Fortunately we have The Purple Elephant to plug the gap, and it’s more than up to the task. It might be a little difficult to find, but fans of tom yum will not be... Read our full review of The Purple Elephant.

Breakfasts

They say you should breakfast like a king, and they also say you should start the day as you mean to carry on. So a right royal brekkie is clearly the only way to go or people will think you’re depressed. More to the point, temple hopping around Angkor and its surrounds is hard work, and a good breakfast will give you all the calories you need for clambering up Bayon and down Baphuon.... Read our full review of Breakfasts.

Tapas

For many people searing Asian temperatures are something of an appetite killer (would that I were one of them). Even after a day of meandering around temples or browsing markets, come dinnertime the ravening hunger that one might look forward to satisfying on a cold winter’s day just isn’t there, and the idea of sitting down to a full meal can be somewhat off-putting. Praise be, in that case,... Read our full review of Tapas .

French restaurants

Being born French is nature’s way of fondly ruffling your hair and gently patting you on the bum before letting you off to play in the world safe in the knowledge that you’re one of the favoured. Because while it’s possible that the French may indeed have the most terrifying children’s books in the world, the children of Marianne’s nation grow up in a magnificently beautiful country,... Read our full review of French restaurants.

Kerala Restaurant
Alley West, Old Market area, Siem Reap
T: (086) 217 701

Kerala Restaurant — named after the southwest Indian state of Kerala — on Siem Reap’s increasingly chi-chi Alley West is as good a reason as any to give yourself a break from Khmer cuisine and treat yourself to an authentic South Indian meal in pleasant, informal surroundings and at reasonable... Read our full review of Kerala Restaurant.

Peace Cafe
East River Road, Siem Reap
T: (063) 965 210, (092) 177 127

In a town that owes its place on the tourist map to some of the most spectacular spiritual monuments in history, it’s only fitting that you can still find a quiet retreat to feed your own 21st century spiritual needs. And at Peace Cafe, you can also re-fuel with some quality vegetarian food at the same time, in one of the greenest, coolest parts of... Read our full review of Peace Cafe.

Le Triskell d'Angkor
Street 10

Originally a creperie which also served some really excellent pizzas, the owner recently expanded the premises and the menu to accommodate those who were looking for some local dishes too. The crepes are excellent, and served with delicious pickles that beautifully off-set the flavours. Rich savoury dishes, such as the Savoyarde crepe stuffed with bacon, onion, potatoes and reblochon cheese or... Read our full review of Le Triskell d'Angkor.

The Indian
Street 9, Siem Reap
T: (017) 928 471

A posher spot for some good Indian nosh, and slightly more expensive than elsewhere, but The Indian is generally considered worth it. Its glassed-in front takes you away from the hustle and bustle outside, and the service is very good. Siem Reap is spoiled for choice when it comes to Indian restaurants, all of which have their own dedicated fans who claim that their favourite is the best.... Read our full review of The Indian.

Maharajah
Sivatha Boulevard
T: (063) 966 221

Anyone in a hurry for a curry is spoiled for choice in this town. You cannot go wrong by dropping in to any one of the ones that you might happen to pass. But Maharajah seems to strike the best balance for quality and value for money. There's everything you'd expect to find, all perfectly spiced, generously portioned, and very reasonably priced. It's moved from the old spot on Street 7,... Read our full review of Maharajah.

Cafe Central
Corner of Street 11 and Street 9, Old Market area, Siem Reap
T: T: (017) 692 997

Cool and breezy Cafe Central occupies the ground floor of a classic cream-coloured colonial building on a commanding corner spot opposite Siem Reap’s Old Market. Set midway between the slow flowing river and one end of the town’s celebrated Pub Street, the location is hard to beat. With shady terrace seating outside, and deep red retro diner-style banquettes beneath tall bi-fold windows... Read our full review of Cafe Central.

Hawaii Pizza House
No. 122, Wat Bo Village, Siem Reap
T: (012) 850 362

If you’re drawn in just on the name of this simple and inexpensive establishment, with its basic decoration and semi open-air set up, then you’d have been misled, since family-run Hawaii Pizza offers much more than just a respectable... Read our full review of Hawaii Pizza House.

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Bars


Wine

When it’s as hot in Siem Reap as it has been lately (though do we dare for a respite after the last few days of storms), there’s not a great deal you can do except restrict movement as much as possible (mainly so that you don’t skid in great lakes of your own sweat and break important things like a neck), and take in as many liquids as you can. Which sounds like a perfect prescription for... Read our full review of Wine.

Best happy hours

Buy one get one? With so many bars and restaurants in Siem Reap you can do better than that thanks to the numerous happy hour deals that will keep you merry come cocktail o’clock. But why bother with a happy hour in the first place? Alcohol is very, very cheap in Cambodia – we’re talking US$0.50 draft beer and $1.50 cocktails being commonplace. Many restaurants also offer a permanent happy... Read our full review of Best happy hours.

Laundry Bar
Street 9

Just along from Old Market, Siem Reap’s coolest bar manages somehow to be much, much more than the sum of its parts, thanks, we suppose, to the excellent music, low-down lights, and supremely-relaxed vibe. Their front-bar pool table is one of the busiest in town, with a regular rotation of players’ names going up on the chalk board, though there’s another one in the back room. You’ll also... Read our full review of Laundry Bar.

Miss Wong
The Lane, alley parallel to The Passage
T: (092) 428 332

This cocktail bar is small, friendly and, when it gets going, very lively. The cocktails are what make people come, the conversation usually makes them stay. The decor is China-chic-kitsch, a difficult balance but successfully pulled off without veering anywhere near pretension or tacky, and the staff are fabulous. The cocktail list has been designed with an eye on local ingredients, and... Read our full review of Miss Wong.

Linga Bar
The Passage
T: (012) 246 912

Siem Reap’s first gay bar opened 10 years ago, and swiftly made a name for itself for its superb cocktails, late-night partying and supreme people-watching potential. The Saturday night ladyboy revues were a howling crowd-pleaser too. But times move on. Linga was also one of the first foreign bars to open around Pub Street, and has now become one of the first to fall victim of the steep rent... Read our full review of Linga Bar.

Pub quiz mania

There’s something so attractive about pub quizzes: here’s an opportunity to enjoy a few beers with friends adjoined to the very exciting possibility of being able to show off your arcane knowledge of ’80s pop music or South American butterfly genera. The competitive edge adds a certain frisson to the evening while everyone knows that whether they win or lose, it was all only a bit of fun... Read our full review of Pub quiz mania.

Siem Reap’s Cambodian Pub Street

I was talking to an Irish nurse recently who was describing her two years spent volunteering in a provincial Cambodian hospital, living in a building beside the hospital with no television, electricity or fridge, no pizza, wine or cheese, no internet, pub quizzes or bags of Kettle Chips from the supermarket. No cappuccinos! As we listened, simultaneously thrilled and aghast, a friend of mine... Read our full review of Siem Reap’s Cambodian Pub Street.

X-Bar
Sivatha Blvd
T: (012) 263 271

View aside, there is plenty to keep you occupied such as pool tables, table football, large screen X Box games, and a massive screen for sports and other events. The entrance is just down a side street off Sivatha Boulevard, behind the 24 Hour Supermarket. This is the bar that seemingly never closes, and is renowned for its late night shenanigans. They host regular music events here (keep... Read our full review of X-Bar.

The Station Winebar
Street 7, Old Market area, Siem Reap
T: (097) 850 4043

There has been no regular train service in Cambodia since at least 2009, and even when there was it didn’t go anywhere near Siem Reap. So how The Station Winebar got its name remains a bit of a mystery. One thing is for sure, though, whether you are on foot, bicycle, moto or tuk tuk, it’s a good place to alight and savour one of the many great and reasonably priced wines on offer, as well as... Read our full review of The Station Winebar.

Picasso
Alley West, Siem Reap

On those days when the heat and humidity drive you to drink then Picasso is probably the place to head for. In a long, air-con room that's been designed to look like a brick tunnel, the horse-shoe bar makes for a cool and convivial setting that's perfect for winding down. Picasso is small and intimate and a great place to start, or finish, an evening. They also show some sports on the big... Read our full review of Picasso.

Angkor What?
Bar St
T: (012) 490 755

Unmissable for all the home-spun graffiti that covers almost every inch of every wall, this is Pub Street's party central, and one of its longest running establishments. Angkor What? has now achieved institutional status, and is on the list of virtually everyone coming here. It gets crowded after 22:00, with the music cranked up and the $5 buckets of vodka/Red Bull starting to have their... Read our full review of Angkor What?.

FCC Angkor
Pokambor Ave
T: (063) 760 283

It's just one of those things that you have to do while you're here: drop into the FCC Angkor for a happy hour cocktail at sunset and soak up the beautiful old colonial charm. If you explore a little, you'll find photographs up on the walls from the 60s and 70s that instantly transport you into a more romantic, adventurous frame of mind. For something a little more: the food here is good,... Read our full review of FCC Angkor.

Gay-friendly hotels and bars in Siem Reap

Siem Reap may be small compared to nearby travel hotspots such as Bangkok and Phnom Penh, but the gay scene here is very well formed. A Buddhist country, Cambodia is generally pretty tolerant of homosexuality, though there remains heavy pressure on young men and women to follow the traditional path and settle down, marry and have children. Thus, while visitors can expect a genuinely open-minded... Read our full review of Gay-friendly hotels and bars in Siem Reap.

Rooftop bars

Cambodia’s a very flat country inland. There are mountains along the border with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam – well, hills really but I’m not going to quibble – and even more along the southwest coastline, but inland all you’ll see is great expanses of flatness broken only by the stubble of sugar palms in the distance that look like someone forgot to shave them and the odd bump in the... Read our full review of Rooftop bars.

Where to go for drinks off Pub Street

Siem Reap is not a town you’ll struggle to find a drink in — just ask the expats — and Pub Street, as the name suggests, is full of restaurants and bars catering to the tourist masses, which is part of its problem. Trying to have a drink with friends in anything resembling an atmosphere is just not going to happen here unless “heaving cattle car” is the kind of atmosphere that thrills... Read our full review of Where to go for drinks off Pub Street.

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Siem Reap? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Cambodia.


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