Siem Reap’s close proximity to some of Cambodia’s biggest attractions, as well as its unique character and insatiable energy, make it the perfect place to experience the culture and traditions of the Khmer people.
Make a visit to Cambodian Cultural Village for a kitschy look at the nation’s diverse people. A wax museum, miniature replicas of some major landmarks and daily live performances may prove too touristy for some, but travelers with small children in tow love how accessible history and culture at this Siem Reap gem.
Those in search of a more authentic experience can purchase tickets to the Khmer Royal Ballet. Once reserved for dignitaries holding court, visitors to Siem Reap can now see this all-female performance in the center of the city. Similarly, Apsara dance, inspired by thousands of temple carvings, has been a part of Khmer culture for a millennium. Tickets to these performances can be slightly more difficult to find, but catching an Aspara show is a truly memorable experience.
Travelers looking to better understand traditional healers can visit the National Center of Traditional Medicine. Medical texts gathered from pagodas across the country line the shelves of this unique destination, which serves as a welcome center and training ground for healers from across Cambodia. It’s the perfect place to learn about ancient practices, alternative medicine and inimitable traditions.