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The name Siem Reap means the 'Flat Defeat of Siam' — today’s Thailand — and refers to the centuries-old conflict between the Siamese and Khmer peoples.

This name, according to an oral tradition, was given by King Ang Chan (1516-1566) as “Siem Reap”, meaning “the flat defeat of Siam” (Cambodians call Siam or Thailand “Siem”). It was because of the victory over the Thais whom King Ang Chan counter-attacked, and shot Prince Ong dead on an elephant’s back, and routed the Thais and captured no less than 10,000 Thai troops.

The story was told that King Ang Chan of Cambodia tried to assert further independence from Thailand. The Thais also had been through internal trouble themselves during these years. King Chairacha was poisoned by his concubine, Lady Sri Sudachan, who committed adultery with a commoner, Worawongsathirat, while he was on a campaign against Chiang Mai. The Queen then raised Worawongsathirat to the throne. The nobles hated Worawongsathirat and lured the usurper and his family to a place outside the city where he was assassinated together with Lady Sri Sudachan and a new-born daughter during the royal family's procession by barge to see a white elephant (allegedly just captured). The nobles then invited Prince Thianracha, who was a monk in a monastery, to give up that role and ascend the throne under the title of King Maha Chakkraphat (1548-1569). Being informed of the internal troubles in Ayutthaya, King Ang Chan attacked Prachin Buri in 1549 and successfully took away Thai inhabitants. At Prachin, he obtained information that King Maha Chakkraphat had become the new king of Ayutthaya, signaling that the question of succession in Ayutthaya had thus been settled. King Ang Chan therefore retreated and did not advance any further. King Maha Chakkraphat was very angry at this, but his hands were tied, because the Burmese had just come by way of the Three Pagodas Pass, they took Kanchanaburi and Suphanburi, and appeared in front of Ayutthaya.

Pub Street in Siem Reap.

Nightlife in Siem Reap

Cambodian history presents the reason for the next Thai attack. Because King Ang Chan refused to give King Maha Chakkraphat a white elephant when he asked for it, it is indicated that King Ang Chan declined any symbol of vassalage to Thailand. King Maha Chakkraphat's attention was now turned towards Cambodia. He put Prince Ong, the Governor of Sawankhalok and Srey’s son, in charge of an expedition against Cambodia. King Ang Chan counter-attacked, and shot Prince Ong dead on an elephant’s back, and his army routed the Thais and captured no less than 10,000 Thai troops. It was because of this victory over the Thais that King Ang Chan baptized that battle area as “Siem Reap” meaning “the flat defeat of Siam”. However, most sources mention the final defeat of Angkor Kingdom by the Thais from Ayutthaya in the fifteenth century. The city has been abandoned since then.

 

From the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries, the feuds among the Cambodian lords caused the interventions and domination from their more powerful neighbors, Vietnam and Siam. Siem Reap, along with Battambang(Phra Tabong) and Sisophon, major cities in the north western part of Cambodia, were under Siamese administration known as Inner Cambodia from 1795 till 1907 when the province was ceded to French Indochina.


Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort

The Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort, Siem Reap is set amidst peaceful landscaped gardens, just a few minutes’ drive to...
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Somadevi Angkor Hotel

Somadevi Angkor Hotel & Spa, Siem Reap is in the centre of Siem Reap Town. Angkor Wat is easily accessible by a short taxi ride. Rooms are pleasant and have modern amenities,...
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Angkor Miracle Resort & Spa

Angkor Miracle Resort & Spa, Siem Reap is set just over 10 minutes ride to the bustling centre of Siem Reap, Angkor National Museum and Golf Course while Tonle Sap Lake, the...
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Linratanak Angkor Hotel

Lin Ratanak Angkor Hotel is located on the edge of Siem Reap Town, about 10 minutes drive from the Old Market, Phsar Leu and the principal shopping and restaurant area. The...
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Steung Siemreap Hotel

Steung Siem Reap Hotel, Siem Reap is sited in the city centre of Siem Reap. Many restaurants, shops and bars are close by. It is a few minutes’ walk from Psah Chas...
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Casa Angkor Boutiue Hotel

The Casa Angkor Hotel, Siem Reap lies in an outer city area. It is a 10 minute walk from the Old Market and Siem Reap River and about 10 minutes’ drive from historic Angkor...
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Angkor Paradise Hotel

Angkor Paradise Hotel, Siem Reap is located a few minutes drive from the town centre. The magnificent Angkor Wat is about 15 minutes drive away. The Angkor Paradise...
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Sokhalay Angkor Resort & Spa

The Sokhalay Angkor Resort & Spa is perfectly located for both business and leisure guests to Siem Reap. The hotel has a total of 178 well-...
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Angkor Era Hotel

Situated in Chong Kov Shou, the Angkor Era Hotel is conveniently located in Siem Reap for both tourists and business travellers. It is conveniently positioned for visiting...
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Royal Angkor Resort & Spa

Royal Angkor Resort, Siem Reap is set in pleasant gardens and is sited on the airport road. It is a few minutes’ drive to Siem Reap Town and just over 15 minutes via taxi...
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