Siem Reap means “Siam defeated” and links back to a victory over what is now Thailand in the 16th century. The city is a major tourist destination due to its proximity to the Angkor Wat temples, and as a result it has well developed infrastructure, modern hotels, and restaurants. Tourism is very important to the economy of Siem Reap - it was estimated in 2010 that over 50% of jobs in the city were related to the tourism industry. This also means higher prices at Western restaurants and for transport – that is, until one learns to bargain in Khmer.
The city is generally hot throughout the course of the year, with average temperatures never falling much below 30 C in any month and the city averages approximately 1500mm of rainfall per year. Siem Reap has a relatively lengthy wet season which starts in April and ends in November. The dry season covers the remaining four months.
The countryside around the city is filled with rice paddies and ancient temples. Many international artists and photographers have made Siem Reap their home-contributing to a vibrant, if small, art scene. Siem Reap also has a thriving culinary scene, and some of the best restaurants in Cambodia are located here. You can find foreign food of all different stripes, particularly Japanese and Korean due to large populations of expats who reside there, and even a handful of cooking schools.
The town is 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport and is accessible by direct flights from many Asian cities, and by land from Phnom Penh and the Thai border. It is also accessible by boat (via the Tonle Sap lake) and bus from Phnom Penh and Battambang. A new airport is planned 60 kilometres (37 mi) from Siem Reap.