In 2003, UNESCO recognized Apsara dance as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The Apsara dance has become an essential traditional dance of the Kingdom of Cambodia since the 7th century. Apsaras were considered as the beautiful female creatures that come from the heaven to entertain Gods and Kings with their dance. Hundreds of Apsaras are depicted on the stone carved walls of the Angkor site, especially in Angkor Wat and the ancient city of Angkor Thom. Exactly like the one can be seen on the Angkor temples’ walls, Apsara dancers are always well dressed in traditional costumes such as elegant silk clothing with floral motifs, magnificent headdresses, and jewelry.
This dance constitutes a link between the different religions on which Cambodia had been built upon. Apsara dance is extremely complex. However, the movements of the dance are gentle, elegance, yet powerful. The dance narrates classical myths or religious stories with each hand gesture contain different meanings. These gestures are often performed in a specific order to tell the story of the dance. Apsara dance performance is not hard to find in Cambodia, so you should not miss it when visiting Cambodia. Here the list of places where you watch the Apsara dance show.
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1. Koulen Restaurant
A restaurant located in the center of Siem Reap. The restaurant first opened back in 1998. The place is fully decorated like a traditional Khmer house. This restaurant serves traditional Khmer, Chinese, and western food as a set menu for lunch and a buffet in the evening. Koulen restaurant provides a warm welcome to each and every customer in the traditional Khmer style with courteous and friendly service. On top of the quality food and services they also have nightly Traditional Khmer Dancing shows such as the Apsara dance, the Peacock of Pailin, the Sovann Machha dance, and many more to entertain customers while they eat.
- Showtime: 19:30 pm
- Price range: 12$ per person
- Location: Sivatha Street in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
- Contact: +855(0)92630090
2. Park Hyatt Siem Reap
Although many places offer the Apsara dance show, Park Hyatt is one of the best places to enjoy the show. Park Hyatt is a hotel located in the heart of Siem Reap within walking distance to the center as well as the nightlife area of Siem Reap city. This hotel offers an enchanted evening of culture and exquisite cuisine every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday. During the dinner, the Apsaras will perform six traditional dances. With a lovely and quiet ambiance, you will able to appreciate more of the complex choreography and gestures of the Apsara dancers. Furthermore, the dance is performed in the hotel’s tranquil courtyard outside the restaurant and bar. Accompanied by delicious cuisine and good services, you will surely have a great evening in Park Hyatt.
- Showtime: 19 pm – 20 pm
- Price range: 39 $ + per person
- Location: Sivutha Boulevard, Siem Reap Cambodia, Cambodia
- Contact: +855 63 211 234
3. Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor
The Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, previously known as the Grand Hotel d’Angkor, has been a luxurious oasis serving those exploring the mysteries of the East since 1932. Lovingly restored by Raffles Hotels and Resorts in 1997, and in October 2019, the hotel reserves the concept of the romance of a bygone era. This hotel set in over 15 acres of thoughtfully landscaped tropical gardens and built around its iconic swimming pools.
The hotel provides a relaxing retreat mixing the ancient vibe from the temples and the modern bustling town of Siem Reap. The hotel also has the Apsara terrace, set up in the serene gardens and surrounded by traditional Cambodian boundary stones with majestic wooden gates at the entrance. In there, the customer can enjoy a majestic cultural performance like Cambodian Apsara dance and Khmer martial art with a selection of pan-Asian barbeque cuisine. However, it is not available daily, from April to September, they have the show on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. While from October to March, they perform from Wednesday to Sunday.
- Showtime: 19: 30 pm
- Price range: 30$+ per person
- Location: 1 Vithei Charles de Gaulle Khum Svay Dang Kum Siem Reap, 17251
- Contact: 063 963 888
4. Temple Balcony
Temple balcony is a part of the temple club. It located in the center of nightlife area, Pub Street Siem Reap. Temple balcony is the second floor of the club, but this place is like a hidden gem. It is different from your normal club; you can explore the nightlife and enjoy the cultural show at the same. During the daytime, this place serves food like a normal restaurant. However, from 10 pm until the wee hours, the ground and the first floor become the dance floor with great music and DJ playing. Surprisingly, on the second floor is more of an open-air rooftop bar where you can get great cocktails and live band music every day. Also, there is a traditional Khmer dance show every night. Thus, you can watch the Apsara dance show with food and draught beer then going downstair to have fun on the dance floor.
- Showtime: 19 pm
- Price range: 2$+
- Location: 59 Street 08, Krong Siem Reap
- Contact: 015 999 922
5. Smile of Angkor
Smile of Angkor is a theatre located in Siem Reap city. This theatre contains the first grand epic show that recreates the Angkor Civilization in all its glorious aspects. With its folk tales show from the ancient custom to present, this show takes you on a journey from the foundation to the prosperity of the Angkor era and the worldwide famous Angkor Wat. Every day they also perform other cultural shows such as the Apsara Dance, Peacock Dance, Shiva Dance, and Khmer culture art, Bukator. The performers are professional and the show itself is fun and lively for the eyes. Smile of Angkor also has the package that includes the buffet dinner and pick up, so it is a good deal.
- Showtime: 19: 30 pm
- Price range: 25$ +
- Location: Apsara Rd, Krong Siem Reap
- Contact: 097 455 1717
During the ancient time, not any normal people were allowed to see this performance beside the king since it was considered as a prestigious dance show. It then makes the Apsara dance show as one of the things you must see when visiting Cambodia. Apsara dance will steal your heart at first glance. All the dancers are trained since they were little so that they could have flexibility. Every movement and its meanings are well delivered and charming accompanied by traditional music. You could see that their movements are gentle yet powerful at the same. Do not miss the Apsara dance, it will impress you.