The best art galleries in Siem Reap

Best known for its spectacular complex of temples around Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s premier tourism destination Siem Reap has an art and culture scene to be reckoned with, and one that’s ever on the rise.

While just a few years back concerns were rife at the speed with which the city’s galleries were shutting their doors, these days our tiny little temple town is thankfully once again home to a wealth of visit-worthy collections of art. Indeed, some of the best collectables in the region – and some of the most innovative community art initiatives – are being incubated by the new crop of amazing galleries. These are some of our favourite Siem Reap art galleries, we do hope you’ll visit them while you’re here and support the incredible work they’re doing to sprout a modern art culture from the ashes of the Khmer Rouge regime.

One Eleven Gallery Photo Antal Gabelics
One Eleven Gallery – Photo by Antal Gabelics

One Eleven Gallery

Centrally located by the river between Old Market and Wat Damnak Village, the gallery showcases both a permanent collection of work as well as a rotation of exhibitions by visiting artists.

This chic space currently houses a range of work from Siem Reap-based artists such as world-renowned Belgian painter Christian Develter, well known for his larger-than-life, vibrant Chin Series, as well as Hungarian photographer Antal Gabelics and his meditative, mandala-esque Angkorian prints.

Not to be missed is the gallery’s bar, which stays open after gallery hours to serve up quality drinks and signature cocktails. One Eleven Gallery also regularly host a variety of events and live musical performances.

Update: As of June 2019, artwork from One Eleven Gallery’s stable of artists now hangs in Baby Elephant’s premium rooms. This work will be available for purchase soon, and provides a welcome contemporary Cambodian feel to our beautiful rooms. We are proud to provide this much-deserved attention to the Cambodian and locally-based artists whose work now graces our walls.

Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-11pm; Old Market Bridge; 095-930-090; https://www.oneelevengallery.com/

WORLD PRESS PHOTO Exhibition 2018 opening at MIRAGE. December 2018.

Mirage Collective

Mirage is a contemporary Siem Reap art gallery, art space and collective founded in 2016 by Cambodian-Canadian photographer and skateboarder Serey Siv and his Korean partner Kyungmin Mun. The space operates as a gallery and creative work space with exhibitions and events. Mirage focuses on the rediscovery, presentation, and preservation of Khmer culture, but Serey says the collective of creatives is multicultural and inclusive, giving stage to international artists and performers as well as giving platform to diverse Cambodian voices.

We love their interesting events and their ever-growing hub of cool creatives who you’ll meet when you drop in there. Keep your eye out for Manuela Kind, of the Mirage collective, who is doing design work with Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel.

Monday to Saturday, 10am – 5.30pm; Oknha Oum Chhay Street/ Street 03, Siem Reap, Siemreab-Otdar Meanchey, Cambodia; 086 367 730; 086 367 730; https://www.mirage-collective.com

Tribe Gallery Siem Reap
Photo courtesy of Tribe Gallery Siem Reap

Tribe Urban Art Gallery

Opening in November 2018, TRIBE Urban Art Gallery is an art gallery in Siem Reap’s Kandal Village, a little community in French colonial-style buildings that has sprouted in what was once a traditional market.

Nat Di Maggio & Terry McIlkenny, the founders both share a love and passion for urban street and contemporary art. Originally from London UK where they have been heavily immersed in the street art scene as gallery and exhibition curators and collectors.

The gallery’s purpose and mission is to primarily nurture and support local Khmer talent, established and emerging. Inviting international artists to showcase their work, share their experiences and skills, tell their stories enabling Khmer Artists to realise their global artistic possibilities.

Tuesday to Sunday, 10am – 6pm; Central Market Street, Siem Reap, Siemreab-Otdar Meanchey, Cambodia, 081 378 229 655; https://www.facebook.com/pg/TRIBEcambodia/

Batia Sarem Gallery
Photo courtesy of Batia Sarem Gallery

Batia Sarem

For Batia Sarem, a new and exciting gallery on Bamboo Street, Siem Reap is a gateway from where the curators can take the works to collectors in Asia, Europe or elsewhere, via art fairs, gallery or museum exhibitions, while exhibiting to and for Cambodians in the first instance.

The gallery name pays tribute to the memory of two women whose coming together is an embodiment of our gallery. Batia, Yves’s maternal grandmother, who escaped anti-Semitism in Poland – the horrors of which she never forgot – for Israel. Sarem, Lyvann’s paternal grandmother, a woman dedicated to the arts, a professor of classical ballet who perished in the genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge.

These collections of work must be seen by any serious art collector when you visit Siem Reap.

11:00 – 7:00 Mon – Sun, 45 Bamboo Street, Siem Reap, Siemreab-Otdar Meanchey, Cambodia; batiasarem at gmail.com; 086 336 720; https://www.facebook.com/pg/batiasarem/

McDermott Gallery in Siem Reap, Cambodia - photo by McDermott Gallery

McDermott Gallery

Update: McDermott Gallery is currently closed.

American photographer John McDermott has been visiting Siem Reap since the mid-1990s, originally attracted by a total solar eclipse that we wanted to see occur over Angkor Wat, and has travelled extensively in Southeast Asia while producing work on ancient temples and cultural heritage sites.

As well as remaining an active photographer and having his work on permanent display at Phnom Penh’s National Museum, he has in the meantime founded three galleries in Siem Reap dedicated to Cambodian and Asia-based artists, the first of which was the sleek, eponymous McDermott Gallery at the city’s Foreign Correspondents Club.

Aside from the work of others, McDermott’s own moody shots of the Siem Reap’s famous Angkor Wat ruins offer another perspective on, and only add to the experience of visiting, the temples themselves.

Daily, 12pm-8pm; Pokambor Avenue; 012-274-274; www.mcdermottgallery.com

Theam's House art gallery in Siem Reap, Cambodia - photo by Theam's House

Theam’s House

This wooden house and lush tropical garden is the home and living gallery and workshop of Cambodian artist and designer Lim Muy Theam, born in the southern province of Takeo nine years before the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime.

After seeking refuge and pursuing the arts in Paris, he returned to Cambodia to discover his motherland’s art and culture, he later founded Theam’s House as a way to showcase local talent and pass on his own learning and experiences to a new generation of Cambodian artists. The rooms of Theam’s House are home to his own pieces and those that form part of the collection he has amassed over the years, and include a range of artisan products that make for lovely souvenirs of a visit to Siem Reap.

Daily, 8am-9pm; Phum Veal Village; 078-208-161; www.theamshouse.com

Full Frontal art gallery in Siem Reap, Cambodia - photo by Full Frontal

Full Frontal

Update: Full Frontal is now closed.

Another new addition to the local creative scene, and another Siem Reap art venue to combine that very much Baby-Elephant-approved formula of gallery and bar, Full Frontal is headed by Jessica Lim, a prominent name in the local Angkor Photo Festival.

Full Frontal also hosts poetry sessions, and is home to a collection of work by contemporary artists from Cambodia, wider Southeast Asia, and elsewhere.

Monday to Saturday, 10am-10pm; Achar Sva Street; 095-930-090; www.facebook.com/fullfrontalgallery

The 1961 Coworking & Art Space in Siem Reap, Cambodia - photo by The 1961 Coworking & Art Space

The 1961 Coworking & Art Space

Update: The 1961 Coworking & Art Space is now closed.

This innovative and suitably stylishly designed venue takes a hybrid approach that sees it double up as an art gallery, coworking spot, and event space. The 1961’s art gallery side feature exhibitions showcasing the work of both local and international talent and covering a wide range of art genres.

A welcome addition to the Siem Reap creative scene, it’s a modern, fresh and every bit living venue that’s doing an admirable job of connecting with and becoming a part of the local community.

Daily, 7am-10pm; 211 Osaphear Street; 087-539-181; www.the1961.com

baby elephant boutique hotel siem reap

Where to stay in Siem Reap

Looking for a Siem Reap hotel from which to explore the best art galleries that Siem Reap has to offer, while also being within easy reach of the famous Angkor Wat temples? Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel is waiting for you – click here to take a look at our relaxing rooms, all with free breakfast and use of our gorgeous swimming pool.

Which of these Siem Reap art galleries is your favourite? Let us know which spots we should include on our list – leave us a comment below!

Photos by One Eleven, Mirage Collective, Batia Sarem, McDermott Gallery, Theam’s House, The 1961 Co-Working & Art Space, and Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel.

The spiritual heart of Siem Reap

Yoga at Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Whether it’s the rich religious history of the famous Angkor Wat temple complex, the peaceful countryside vibe of Siem Reap, or the vibrant yoga and healing scene in our little town, there’s little denying that there’s a positive spiritual buzz around here.

Planning to stay with us at Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel? The secret when booking is to book direct! Book your stay at Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel direct on our website and enjoy:

  • The best deals on tours and transport
  • Savings on extra services
  • The best prices on room rates

We look forward to seeing you soon! Or kun cheran.

Temple in Siem Reap - photo by Danielle C

If you could use a little calm and a touch more zen in your busy modern life (who couldn’t!?), here’s how to use your stay at Baby Elephant to tap into Siem Reap’s spiritual heart. 

Take a yoga class

Yoga somehow feels like it belongs at Siem Reap, and our little town has no shortage of places to get your pose on, stretch yourself to wellness, and reap the spiritual benefits of mindfulness in the process.

At our Siem Reap hotel, we run a regular schedule of yoga and fitness classes, open to both guests and non-guests, and led by a stellar line-up of travelling and Siem Reap-resident yogis with vast experience from wide-ranging backgrounds. Take a look at our current yoga and fitness schedule here.

Feel the spiritual buzz at Angkor Wat

There’s a reason most visitors to Siem Reap are in town for Angkor Wat – the temples at this expansive, UNESCO-recognised complex are still alive with the spiritual and religious wisdom of the past, and you can truly feel the buzz of this fascinating ancient civilisation.

Angkor Wat, like other ancient sites around the word, is even said to lay along intersecting ‘ley line’ points that form a grid across the globe. These lines apparently mark out where energy is emitted by the earth, which in turn can be harnessed for positive power.

Take a trip to Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Phrom and other famous and lesser-visited temples at Cambodia’s renowned complex – our team can help you tailor your excursion to avoid the crowds, so that you can make the most of the ambiance and spiritual energy, and really soak up the vibe of the place.

Experience a retreat

With all this positive, spiritual energy flying around Siem Reap, it’s the perfect place to take a retreat, and recharge your batteries by escaping the stresses and strains of everyday modern life.

At Baby Elephant, we’ve introduced our Signature Retreats, focussed on helping you achieve wellbeing and balance while exploring Siem Reap’s medieval and modern history and getting a special taste of the Cambodia of today.

You’ll participate in yoga, fitness and meditation classes, enjoy traditional Khmer massage, and be treated to authentically Khmer dishes prepared by our Cambodian chef.

There’s also a visit to one of Siem Reap’s NGO-operated training restaurants for dinner, plus local tours and a trip to the historic Cambodian pagoda at nearby Wat Thmey. It’s all the perfect opportunity to unwind and recharge – click here for more details.

Participate in a water blessing

You don’t get much more spiritual than taking part in an actual religious blessing and, at Siem Reap’s Wat Athvea temple, that’s exactly what you can do. Just a short way out of the city and into the Cambodian countryside, the pagoda hosts the traditional Buddhist practice of receiving a water blessing with the aim of bringing you fortune and good luck.

Accompanied by traditional Buddhist chanting that’s believed to bring good luck, you’ll have water poured over you by monks from the temple. You can then explore the rest of the pagoda in all its beauty, and soak up the natural healing vibe of rural Cambodia.

Learn the art of the lotus flower

The lotus flower holds a special place in daily life in rural Cambodia, and the flower is a traditional Buddhist symbol of determination and accomplishment, in the same way as the flower itself is seen to hold its head above the waters where it grows.

At Siem Reap’s lotus farm – which claims to be the first of its kind in the world – you can discover that there’s more to the humble lotus than you realised. By taking part in one of the farm’s guided tours, you’ll see every step of the lotus’ journey, from harvesting these beautiful flowers to seeing them spun, woven and put to use as fabric or simply as decorative flowers.

It’s difficult not to be mesmerised by the striking beauty and relaxing qualities of this most elegant of flowers – and it’s possible to take home a memento from this sustainably run social enterprise, where the shop sells lotus products ranging from bath salts and balms to fabric, massage oil and necklaces.

Lotus Farm; daily, 10am-6pm; 98 Pithnu Street; 063 63 69 133; www.lotusfarm.org

Discover meditation and energy healing

Various healing and spiritual wellness centres in Siem Reap help to demystify the art of meditation, and enable you to make the most of it in order to achieve balance and fulfilment in your life.

Spiritual wellness sessions involve both meditation and healing programmes that empower you on your own personal journey, channel your energies and balance your chakras, while also indulging in massage and reflexology to accomplish total wellness.

Wayist Centre; 66 Wayism Road; 077-804-814; www.wayist.com

Where to stay in Siem Reap

Looking for a Siem Reap hotel from which to best explore the spiritual buzz of Siem Reap? Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel is waiting for you – and we’ll be happy to help you arrange activities like these to get the most out of your stay – click here to take a look at our relaxing rooms, all with free breakfast and use of our gorgeous swimming pool.

Which are your favourite spiritual activities in Siem Reap? Do you have another favourite that we’ve forgotten? Let us know in the comments!

Photo by Danielle C.

Your Guide to Siem Reap: December 2016

A Cambodian Christmas Party at Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel, Siem Reap, Cambodia - photo by Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel

There’s plenty happening in Siem Reap in the run-up to Christmas and New Year! Here’s just a small selection of the events taking place in our charming little town. Keep an eye on our social media channels for the latest announcements – plus, don’t miss our special post on these must-see events at the start of December.

Planning to stay with us at Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel? The secret when booking is to book direct! Book your stay at Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel direct on our website and enjoy:

  • The best deals on tours and transport
  • Savings on extra services
  • The best prices on room rates

We look forward to seeing you soon! Or kun cheran.

Your Guide to Siem Reap in December 2016 - photo by Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel

Thursday 01 December

Out of the Darkness at Constable Gallery at Large
The contemporary Constable Gallery at Large sits in Kandal Village, one of our favourite areas of all Siem Reap. This exhibition, running until 14 February 2017, features the work of five Cambodian artists, including four from the Romcheik 5 gallery in Battambang.
6pm; www.bit.ly/constableoutofdarkness

Friday 02 December

Shelter at The Aviary
The Aviary Hotel hosts Battambang artist Channy Chhoeun’s first solo exhibition, Shelter, showcasing bright watercolour, oil and acrylic work depicting birds that are in trouble due to environmental changes.
7pm; www.bit.ly/aviaryshelter

Saturday 03 December

Angkor Photo Festival Launch Party at the Festival Zone, Amansara Resort
The 12th Angkor Photo Festival will be launched in style with this kick-off party with live music by Amok Soul Project, film screenings, and the first look at the work of 22 photographers being showcased at this year’s festival.
5.30pm; www.angkor-photo.com

Sunday 04 December

Angkor Marathon
The 21st Angkor Wat International Half Marathon 2016 charity race supports Cambodian landmine survivors, and the five categories range from a challenging 21km down to a three-kilometre open family run. If you’re not taking part, you can still head along to spectate – we recommend getting a spot.
6am; www.angkormarathon.org

Post-Marathon Candlelight Recovery Yoga at Baby Elephant
Whether you’ve run the race or you’re simply feeling exhausted by all that strenuous spectator action, join us at Baby Elephant for a relaxing candlelight yoga session with our fabulous yogi Melissa. This recovery class will help ease those aching joints and loosen you up to enjoy the rest of your time in Siem Reap – then join us for a calming cup of herbal tea, and perhaps some time poolside.
5.30pm

Move With Kindness at Kindness Festival Cambodia
This opening day of the first ever edition of the Kindness Festival Cambodia will see a collection of workshops focussed on the positive influence of hip-hop culture. Expect to learn about social dance, breakdance, yoga stretches and more – all before ending the evening with the Open Cypher Jam Move with Kindness Dance Party from 8pm, where you can catch Baby Elephant’s very own Adam DJ’ing!
12pm; www.kindnessfestival.org

Tuesday 06 – Thursday 08 December

Navutu Wellness Zone at Kindness Festival Cambodia
On the festival’s third, fourth and fifth days, Siem Reap’s Navutu Dreams resort will be running the Navutu Wellness Zone, where you can indulge in free massages, neuromuscular therapy and reiki. Plus, at 4pm on Wednesday over on the main stage, don’t miss Baby Elephant’s Ilana talking about our approach to ethical employment and hospitality!
2pm; www.kindnessfestival.org

Tuesday 06 December

World Press Photo Discussion Session at The Brothers
As part of the Angkor Photo Festival, the winning images from the annual World Press Photo contest are coming to Siem Reap for an exhibition that runs from 03 December to 16 January at the Festival Zone by Amansara Resort. The competition recognises the most outstanding images from the year’s photojournalism, and in 2016 attracted 82,951 photo entries taken in 128 countries. This one-off afternoon discussion, between World Photography Organisation CEO Scott Gray and World Press Photo’s Laurens Korteweg, looks at the role of awards like these in a photographer’s career.
2pm; www.angkor-photo.com

Sunday 18 December

Christmas Market and Fair at Le Bel Air
Some of Siem Reap’s best artisanal producers and creatives will be showing their wares at this festive market hosted by Belgian restaurant Le Bel Air. It’s the perfect chance to pick up unique Christmas gifts for loved ones, and Le Bel Air will have its impressive range of Belgian beers available, as well as snacks.
10am-4pm; www.bit.ly/belairchristmasmarket16

Siem Reap Food Co-Op Christmas Party
A BBQ, picnic areas, festive atmosphere and Christmas presents to raise funds for Volunteer Building Cambodia’s Community Centre. Wooden Christmas trees for sale, prizes galore and so much more!
Xpm; www.facebook.com/siemreapfoodcoop

Christmas Day (Sunday 25 December)

A Cambodian Christmas Party at Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel, Siem Reap, Cambodia - photo by Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel

A Cambodian Christmas Party at Baby Elephant
Celebrate Christmas Day in style with us at Baby Elephant, as we put on a special Christmas BBQ – with a delightful selection of carnivore- and vegan-friendly dishes, freeflow Angkor draft beer and sangria from 5-8pm, and two-for-one cocktails all night. Baby Elephant’s very own DJ Adam Scott will be spinning tunes, our pool will be as inviting as ever, and the night continues with an after-party at the ultra-Cambodian Le Tiem Sra bar just at the end of our lovely lane.
5pm; www.bit.ly/babyelephantcambodianchristmas

What are you up to in Siem Reap this December? Let us know in the comments!

The Baby Elephant Story

The original illustration of the baby elephant by Ranon Phal.

We’re excited about relaunching with our new name Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel and while this is in process I’d love to tell you the background and story of our new boutique hotel branding.

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