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Siem Reap is a town with a French colonial centre, and the gateway to the Temples of Angkor. These majestic temples in northwest Cambodia belong to the classic period of Khmer art and civilization. They were created by a succession of Khmer kings who presided over an empire that dominated the region from the 800 AD to 1430 AD, reaching its peak in the 12th century. From the 15th century the temples were more or less abandoned and forgotten by the world although visited by a number of travellers including the French naturalist Henri Mouhot who is attributed with their discovery in 1861. Siem Reap offers a wide range of hotels, restaurants, cafés and shops. It also offers the opportunity to see traditional Cambodia, with dance performances, silk farms, rice fields, rural countryside and boat trips on the huge nearby Tonlé Sap lake to small fishing villages.

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