It has been 20 years since I first travelled to Cambodia and the magical town of Siem Reap. A great deal has happened in 20 years, the degree of development has been unprecedented. On first arriving in 1993 the immediate impression was lack of services open to the tourist. Certainly there clearly was still the tuk tuk drivers eager to operate a vehicle you on a tour of the temples of Angkor for the day. Hotels were popping up but other services were limited. There were no ATMs and very little else to do if one desired to take a break from visiting the temples. Fast forward 20 years and the problem has completely changed by way of a great deal of investment, knowledge and innovation. It has been possible through development aid. The tenacity of the local those who despite most of the atrocities they have experienced are keen showing off their wonderful country and take the opportunities they have. It has already been possible as numerous Khmers who escaped during the Khmer Rouge era are returning with the knowledge they have gained abroad bringing positive change to the area community.
With many local businesses preparing for the brand new tourist season starting in October don't just think about a tour to Siem Reap as just a quick temple visit. That the moment to have a review of what else is available and how it enhances the local economy.
Horse-riding in Siem Reap is one tour, for individuals with only a little adventure in your mind why don't you have a horse riding tour for 1-3 hours through rural countryside passing streams, rice fields and local villages. The tours are suitable for beginners and children and certainly are a fun solution to split up visiting the temples or just for experiencing different things on a tour to Cambodia.
For those with a head for heights and wanting to catch some aerial views and photographs of the majestic Angkor Wat try a balloon ride over Angkor. The German made helium balloon doesn't actually move since it is mounted on a string but ascends around 200 metres for a 10 minute trip which enables you to acquire some great photographs and an aerial view of the eighth wonder of the entire world!
If you find yourself in Siem Reap on a Sunday evening a good experience is really a traditional Khmer dance show with live traditional music wear by the Cambodian Children's House of Peace, an orphanage in Siem Reap. The show is held every Sunday during the institution term without fail at 7pm. It's free but do create a donation to their worthy cause if visiting. If you are visiting during rainy season there's a rain cover so don't let that put you off. It is worth the visit.
There are obviously a number of other attractions and activities to pick from in your short trip to Siem Reap and Cambodia. Keep your mind open and don't forget how far Cambodia has come within the last 20 years!