1 Watch the magic of sunrise as it lights up Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is Cambodia's most iconic and enduring image - the centerpiece of the vast temple complex that draws millions of visitors from around the world. Explore its walkways, admire its intricate carvings, and climb its steep, dramatic towers. View the temple at sunrise after entering it from its little-accessed eastern side for a truly unique and memorable experience. 2Be moved and entertained by Phare Circus, Cambodia's answer to Cirque du Soleil. This is so much more than a conventional circus, with an emphasis on performance art and a subtle yet striking social message behind each production. Open since 2013, the Circus is a unique form of entertainment that should be considered unmissable when staying in Siem Reap. Several generations of performers have gone on to perform in international shows around the world. These performers have deeply moving personal stories of abuse and hardship, making their talents a triumph against the odds. An inspiring night out for adults and children alike.
3 Stumble-upon true mystery in the River of a Thousand Lingas deep in the tropical forested hills of Kbal Spean. Lingas have been elaborately carved into the riverbed, thus sanctifying the entire river course that leads down to the barrages of Angkor. There are several images of Hindu deities carved into the rocks that dot the area, many of which display their secrets, during the dry season, when the river levels drop.
4 Relive stories of the Ramayana and Mahabharata at the exquisitely carved 10th century citadel of Banteay Srei. Considered by many to be the jewel in the crown of Angkorian art, Banteay Srei is cut from stone of a pinkish hue and includes some of the finest stone carving anywhere on earth. It is thankfully one of the smallest sites at Angkor, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in stature.The Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, is wonderfully well preserved and many of its carvings are three-dimensional.
5 Embrace your inner Indiana Jones. Without doubt, the most atmospheric ruin at Angkor is Ta Prohm. Its appeal lies in the fact that, unlike the other monuments of Angkor, it has been swallowed by the jungle, and looks very much the way most of the monuments of Angkor appeared when European explorers first stumbled upon them. The temple is cloaked in dappled shadow, its crumbling towers and walls locked in the slow muscular embrace of vast root systems of ficus trees.
6 Pinch yourself in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city. Yes this is the Asia we fantasise about. The chanting of saffron-clad monks, the golden spires of a palace or two, and a meandering (sometimes muddy) life-giving river that forms the heart and soul of the city. This is Phnom Penh - with its wide boulevards, shaded by tamarind and jacaranda trees, that now play host to upscale coffee shops, luxurious boutique hotels and cutting-edge clubs, restaurants and bars.
7Watch an Apsara dance performance. The Apsara Dance draws its inspiration from the mythological court of the gods and from its celestial dancers, the Apsaras. Apsara dancers’ fingers are extraordinarily elastic; so much so that they can bend their fingers backwards almost to the wrist and training starts when they are so young that their bones are still supple.
8 Smile back at the four-headed Avalokiteshvara at the Bayon Temple. Part of the world famous destination of Angkor, the Bayon temple features a sea of over 200 massive stone faces looking in all directions. The curious smiling faces are an instantly recognizable image of Angkor. The temple itself is modelled on Mount Meru, the home of Lord Shiva, and is located physically at the centre of the walled city of Angkor Thom.
9 Visit the Killing Fields of Cambodia. It's a monument unlike any in the world - crammed with skulls and other bones unearthed from just one of the hundreds of Cambodian Killing Fields. A tour of Tuol Sleng Prison (S-21) and the Killing Fields is a sobering reminder of the evils of the Khmer Rouge regime. Although not a joyful tour, visiting these monuments unlocks keys to understanding the development of this still developing country.
10 Run Amok with Cambodian food. Similar to Vietnamese food, Cambodian cuisine is unique for the variety of fresh herbs and condiments which they readily make available with every meal. Some of its most famous dishes include Fish Amok. This dish is composed of a rich and creamy curry like sauce that is the perfect balance of ginger, lemongrass, turmeric and coconut milk. When cooked correctly, the fish is silky smooth, almost melting in your mouth with each bite. If you are more adventurous, then know that insects such as ants, grubs, grasshoppers and spiders are part of the everyday diet too. Fried Tarantula, or a-ping, is a Cambodian favourite. The ladies believe it makes them beautiful and the kids just like the thrill of it all. Either way it’s there and you can eat it from vendors selling it on the streets!