Siem Reap riverside is an overlooked location by most visitors in Siem Reap and this for several reasons: first the city is quite spread out and visitors spend most of their time around the neighborhood of their hotel. The second reason is that most people  stay only 3 days so do not have the time to explore other parts of the city as touring the temples of Angkor is the priority.

So what is all about the riverside?

If you stay at Villa D Riverside, located on the western bank of the river, you will have to opportunity to explore this area of the city without being  too far from the city center and from the temples of Angkor. Just across the street in front of the hotel you will find the wider section of the riverside with lush gardens and palm trees.

siem reap river naga bridge bridge siem reap pagoda

Siem Reap river crosses  the city from the  north, coming from the temples of Angkor, to the south  to ends  up in the great Tonle Sap lake,  about 15 km away. The banks of the river have a lot of greenery compared to the city center and the area is also quieter. From the pub street area, walking north you will pass by no  less than 8 bridges before reaching Villa D Riverside. Along this area the  most interesting thing  is you will have a have a peak into the daily life of Cambodians.  We went for a walk around the hotel with our camera to capture some pictures.

siem reap riverside street

Pagodas and Shrines

Pagodas (also called wat) are part of Cambodian’s everyday day life  where they go to pray and pay respect to their ancestors. There  are  peaceful and colorful places to visit. If you are lucky, depending on the Buddhist calendar you can stumble  upon some celebrations. As monks are living on their grounds you will have chances to talk them, they are always open to practice their English.

Two nice pagodas are situated on  the  opposite side of Villa D Riverside and are quite different from one another. The closest one, Wat Preah An Kau Saa has  very stylish architecture with some golden Buddha statues and  shrines.

Wat Preah An Kau Saa temple siem reap  monk house pagoda siem reap

Wat Preah An Kau Saa buddha siem reap Wat Preah An Kau Saa buddha siem reap

About 1 km north, you will find Wat An Kau Sai, most commonly called Wat Enkosei. This pagoda has  the rare feature to share its grounds with a temple built about 200 years before Angkor Wat. Its two distinct  towers made of bricks are still standing today  and one has very nicely conserved pediment above one the door with a carving of Indra on his mount Airavata. The good news is that you do not need the  Angkor pass  to access this site.

wat preah enkosei siem reap angkor temple

Local handicraft

On the east side of the river,  just south of Wat Preah An Kau Saa, you will find   Baskets of Cambodia where you will witness the manufacture by hands of l baskets made very long dried  reed grass called “la peuk” in Khmer (belongs to the rattan family). If you have more time and want to learn the art of making baskets you can join on their classes.

rattan baskets siem reap cambodia asket making cambodia siem reap siem reap cambodiac baskets reed baskets making siem reap cambodia

EFEO (École française d’Extrême-Orient)

École française d'Extrême-Orient siem reap Cambodia

Monk passing in front of the EFEO buildings along Siem Reap riverside

Just beside Baskets of Cambodia, two large wooden buildings are housing one of the centers of the EFEO (French School of the Far East) in Asia. The EFEO  played a critical role in the restoration of the temples of Angkor  for more than 100 years now. It is worth to stop there and have a look at their library if you want to learn more about the history of the temples.

Local market

Just across Baskets of Cambodia, you will find a  local food market, mainly indoor, but it extends  along the road as well.  In the street, locals are selling fruits, lotus flowers or goods like clothes and shoes.  The best time to visit is of course in the morning when locals are doing their shopping.

street food market siem reap cambodia mobile shop siem reap riverside flowers siem reap riverside market

If you are looking to do a photowalk/photography class along riverside please get in touch with Laurent at [email protected].

You can find on the map below the different locations  pinned down in dark orange color.