As well as the temples themselves, Cambodia has a very rich history of arts, culture, ancient civilizations, and an horrific civil war that was orchestrated by Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge army, from 1975-1979. From the invitingly impressive, to the modestly humble, you’ll find a nice variety of museums in Siem Reap where you can learn about the country and its remarkable history.
Angkor National Museum
The Angkor National Museum takes you back to the Golden Era of the Khmer Kingdom, when marvels such as Angkor Wat were masterminded and created. This period introduced the origin of Khmer art, culture and architecture, that has continued to inspire to this day. Angkor National Museum have created a modern, enthralling experience to document the royal historical path of the Golden Era of the Khmer Kingdom. Using state of the art multimedia technology, visitors will be captivated by the journey being played out before their eyes. Boasting impressive galleries, ancient statues and original artifacts, this is a fantastically educational day out for all of the family.
- Location: Vithei Charles de Gaulle Road;
- Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 8:30am – 6:00pm;
- Entrance fee: Cambodian National: $3, Foreign National: $12, Foreign Student: $6, Children 6-12 years: $6, Children under 6: Free;
- Audio tour guide: available in Khmer, English, Japanese, Korean, German, French, Chinese and Thai for 3 dollars;
- How to get there: $3-$4 one way, by tuk tuk, from most central hotels;
Siem Reap War Museum
During 1975-1979, the people of Cambodia were met with one of the most shocking and brutal civil wars to have plagued any country. Pol Pot and his army, the Khmer Rouge, overran and cleared out the capital city of Phnom Penh, promising liberation and freedom to all. Unknown to people back then, what Pol Pot had in mind was far from liberating. Shortly after, famine, slavery and death became common, and camps were set up to control the Khmer civilization. Other provinces fell to the Khmer Rouge, until Cambodia was at its knees and at the mercy of this twisted dictatorship. By 1979, between 1.5 million and 3 million men, women and children were killed. The Siem Reap War Museum is a humbling experience, where you will come face-to-face with original military vehicles and weaponry used during that time. Educational and fascinating, it is also child friendly and set in a remote, beautiful garden, not too far from the center.
- Location: National Road 6, close to Siem Reap International Airport;
- Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 8:00am to 5:30pm;
- Entrance Fee: $5;
- How to get there: $4-$5 one way, by tuk tuk, from most central hotels;
Cambodia Landmine Museum
After the Khmer Rouge was defeated, Cambodia was left with a high number of undetonated landmines spread across the country. The Cambodia Landmine Museum displays an exclusive collection of landmines, but also other weapons used during the Pol Pot regime. Additionally, visitors of the museum can locate and dismantle mines in a makeshift minefield, as well. The museum also runs an awareness campaign to educate and warn the local youth about landmines. They also support various NGO’s and landmine victims. Although many landmines have been deactivated in Cambodia, there are still some areas which are still forbidden to access because of these hidden dangers.