A Must-Have Experience in Siem Reap, Cambodia 48

During the Khmer Rouge, the genocidal regime of Pol Pot from 1975 to 1979, had claimed millions of Khmer lives, including artists, musicians, and dancers. It is estimated that up to 90% of intellectuals and dancers were killed during the Khmer Rouge. Apsara Dance and other Khmer culture were destroyed during the Khmer Rouge. Understand Khmer Rouge.

One needs to know its past and its present to be able to see the future. By destroying the culture of any humankind is insane.

So, What is the Apsara Dance?


The Apsara Dance combines dance with drama to convey a story or message which is frequently found on the carvings of the Angkor Wat, and it plays an important role in the Khmer culture.

The Revival of the Apsara Dance

After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, Princess Norodom Buppha Devi which was the principal dancer for the royal troupe had wanted to revive the Apsara Dance. The Apsara Dance used to be performed exclusively for the King and was only taught in the Royal Court.

PrincessePrincess Norodom Buppha Devi spent many years studying temple panels to establish the dance moves, it was after 16 years after the fall of the Khmer Rouge (1995), the Cambodians once again witnessed the Apsara Dance at Angkor Wat.

So, Where can I watch the Apsara Dance?

In Siem Reap, the most popular dance performance tends to be the dinner performance, that would offer buffet or set meals with the Apsara Dance.

(Most Convenient/Budget Friendly) Temple Club is located at Pub Street, Siem Reap. The Apsara Dance would start at 7.45pm every evening, it is strongly recommended to make reservations to get awesome seats for best viewing. Phone: +855-12-234 565

(Most Impressive) Apsara Terrace at the Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor is located about 10 mins drive from Pub Street. Performance is on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but be prepared to pay fine dining price. Strongly recommended making reservations. Phone: +855-63-963 888

(Mid-range price, Walking distance from Pub Street) Apsara Theater, Angkor Village Hotel is located about 10 mins walking distance away from Pub Street. The dinner show starts at 8pm, it is relatively pricey. Phone: +855-63-963 531

The Apsara Dance is a Must-Have Experience if you are visiting Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia


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48 thoughts on “A Must-Have Experience in Siem Reap, Cambodia

  • Vicki | MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld

    I loved our time in Cambodia and found the carvings throughout the Angkor complex to be incredible. I recognized the symbols of the Aspara dance – but unfortunately never got to see it in real life. Thanks for sharing where we can find performances of this traditional dance and I hope it’s revival is maintained so the younger generations can carry on its legacy.

  • Paula

    I hope to get to Cambodia next year – I have been meaning to go for ages! Attending an Apsara Dance performance sounds like something that I would really enjoy and a great way to finish a day exploring the temples.

    • Bernard Tan Post author

      Cambodia is a place rich in culture and history! You should enjoy the performance after all the temple visiting.

  • Amelie

    I didn’t get to watch the Apsara dance unfortunately, but I saw some videos and some girls posing for photos at Angkor. It’s incredible to me what they do with their hands, so so beautiful and graceful.

  • Karla | karlaroundtheworld

    The Apsara dancers are carved all over the temples in Cambodia so its only apt to see them perform. I enjoyed watching the dance and eating local food . Been to Cambodia twice and did it twice. I think it is a tourist trap but still worth the experience.

  • LeAnna

    We saw Aspara dancing in Bali. While it seemed like it had become a pretty big tourist thing, I think you can still find quality shows with trained dancers in many places. It is a fascinating and historical thing to witness!

  • Alina Popescu

    The Apsara Dance sounds amazing and I am glad it’s being brought back, certainly a tradition that, if lost, would make the world poorer. Great guide to understand what it is and where to go see it!

  • Sarah Ebner

    This is so interesting- I had never heard of the Aspsara dance, but would love to to see it. It’s fascinating to hear that this cultural and important dance has been revived in this way.

  • Andi

    My first husband was Thai and my ex-sister-in-law did the very beautiful Thai dancing, the apsara dance reminds me of that. It is incredibly beautiful and I love the backstory of the princess resurrecting the dances by studying historical panels! If I get to Cambodia – and I’d like to – I would definitely make time to see this beautiful moving art.

  • Erica

    Unfortunately, I missed watching one when I was in Cambodia. I usually like to see cultural dances when I visit certain places. I saw some amazing ones in Bali and Vietnam. Such a shame I missed Cambodia’s!

    • Bernard Tan Post author

      You could plan another trip to Cambodia to explore the place again! It is a very fascinating place that has a lot of history and culture.

  • Adonis Villanueva

    Another to put on my bucket list when I make my way to Cambodia 🙂 I’ve read all about the Khmer Rouge, what hideous part of Cambodia’s history. I’m glad some part of the Aspara Dance survived it or if just a recreation because I want to check it out.

  • Liz

    I’ve never been to Cambodia! The Apsara dance sounds like a really good experience, and will definitely look into it when I finally make my way to Cambodia. 🙂 Thanks for the tip!

  • Miriam

    Great experience! I definitely want to go there myself some day soon! I am a big fan of all types of cultural activities so I’ll make sure to see this one too when I’ll be in cambodia!

  • Lori

    The Apsara Dance looks indeed like a not to miss thing to see while in this part of the world. I didn’t know about it – so I thank you for this presentation and tips!

  • kayla

    Oh how i miss Siem Reap, I haven’t been in over 4 years! The Apsara Dance is definetly a must see! Thank for providing the information and a bit of the background! Embracing the culture is so important when travelling <3 x

  • Evanne

    We loved experiencing the Apsara dance in Siem Reap! It really speaks to the beauty of the culture and the resilience of the people that they are working to revive and preserve such a beautiful custom. 100% agree that this is a must-see!

  • Lara Dunning

    so sad-90% of the intellectuals and dancers killed. I had heard about that time but didn’t know how devastating it was. Along with food, I think dance is a great way to understand a culture. Thanks for sharing this.

  • anna

    I really enjoyed exploring Cambodia. The temples were all so picturesque! When we were there we didn’t get the opportunity to watch this dance so that was a shame! Looks like a great way to observe a preserved part of their culture.

  • Marge Gavan

    I was supposed to watch an aspara dance because it was recommended to me by a friend. The thing is, I got scammed in Ho Chi Minh twice, putting a big dent in my budget. Hence, I had many plans in Siem Reap, including this one, that didn’t push through. I’d love to go back and watch the aspara dance this time.