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It's been 20 years since I first travelled to Cambodia and the magical town of Siem Reap. A lot has happened in 20 years, the amount of development has been unprecedented. On first arriving in 1993 the immediate impression was not enough services offered to the tourist. Certainly there 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 little else to do if one wished to take a break from visiting the temples. Fast forward 20 years and the situation has completely changed by way of a lot of investment, knowledge and innovation. It has been possible through development aid. The tenacity of the neighborhood people who despite all of the atrocities they have undergone are keen to exhibit off their wonderful country and take the opportunities they have. It has also been possible as numerous Khmers who escaped through the Khmer Rouge era are returning with the knowledge they have gained abroad bringing positive change to the neighborhood community.
With many local businesses planning for the newest tourist season starting in October don't just think about a tour to Siem Reap as merely a quick temple visit. A moment to possess a look at what else is being offered and how it adds to the local economy.
Horse-riding in Siem Reap is one tour, for those with a little adventure at heart you will want to take 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 simply for experiencing different things on a tour to Cambodia.
For people that have 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 as it is attached with a rope but ascends around 200 metres for a 10 minute trip which allows you to get some great photographs and an aerial view of the eighth wonder of the planet!
If you learn yourself in Siem Reap tours operator on a Sunday evening a great experience is just a traditional Khmer dance show with live traditional music put on by the Cambodian Children's House of Peace, an orphanage in Siem Reap. The show is held every Sunday during the college term without fail at 7pm. It's completely free but do make a donation with their worthy cause if visiting. If you are visiting during rainy season there is a rain cover so don't allow that place you off. It's worth the visit.