We were told that a visit to Siem Reap would not be complete without seeing a sample of traditional Khmer dancing. The Aspara Theatre was recommended as one of the nicest venues to see this type of performance. It’s a beautiful building with an interior of rich wood and many intricate relief carvings.
Aspara and other traditional Khmer dances are an ancient art form. They have played an important role in Cambodian culture for over a thousand years. The traditional Khmer dances were nearly lost forever during the Khmer Rouge regime. Due to a renewed interest in Cambodian culture they have seen an increasing revival.
Our seats and dining table were in an upper balcony that overlooked the performance area. The theater has an intimate feeling due to its small scale. All the seats have a good view of the stage. While we ate our meal we enjoyed watching a variety of dances. Each performance tells a story of traditional life in Cambodia. Some of the dances are done during special ceremonies such as weddings.
They had no problems accommodating our vegetarian request. Our meal consisted of an assortment of tasty selections such as a dumpling soup, an assortment of cooked veggies, a salad with fresh mint and lime, a deep fried vegetable pocket with dip and a side of rice.
The theater belongs to a fancy resort called the Angkor Village. It’s located across the street. It’s worth wandering around the beautiful setting of this village resort. I can only imagine how pampered you would be if you were staying there. Towards the back of the property there are a few shops. This is where I purchased some of my favorite items from Cambodia, a local made silk scarf and a pair of cast metal Khmer dragons.