Discovering Siem Reap Cambodia: Beyond the Temples of Angkor Wat

Known for its ancient temples, rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture, Siem Reap Cambodia offers a truly remarkable experience for travelers.

Get ready to be enchanted by the beauty and allure of this extraordinary city.

Travel Tips for Siem Reap

Key Takeaways:

  • Siem Reap is famous for its ancient temples, with Angkor Wat being the most renowned.
  • There are various cultural attractions to explore, such as the Angkor National Museum and the Artisans Angkor Workshop and Gallery.
  • Experience the vibrant nightlife scene at Pub Street and the Night Market.
  • Venture beyond the temples to discover lesser-known sites like the Beng Mealea temple, Kampong Phluk floating village, and the Roluos Group of temples.
  • Engage in responsible tourism by visiting the ethical Kulan Elephant Forest and enjoying the captivating performances of Phare, The Cambodian Circus.

Siem Reap’s arts and crafts scene offers a wide array of unique gifts and souvenirs. The best hotels in Siem Reap provide excellent accommodation options to suit various preferences.

Indulge in the local cuisine, including delicious Khmer dishes and street food that will tantalize your taste buds. With a multitude of activities to choose from, such as temple visits, cultural experiences, and outdoor adventures, Siem Reap guarantees an unforgettable journey.

Remember to plan your visit during the dry season from November to April for optimal exploration. Siem Reap truly is a captivating destination that will leave you enchanted with its wonders.

Exploring the Temples of Angkor Wat

Immerse yourself in the ancient wonders of Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world, and discover the rich tapestry of Khmer history. This magnificent temple complex, located in Siem Reap, Cambodia, is a testament to the architectural brilliance and spiritual significance of the Khmer Empire. As you wander through the intricate corridors and marvel at the intricate carvings, you’ll be transported back in time to a bygone era.

Angkor Wat is not just a single temple; it is a sprawling complex that houses numerous temples, each with its own unique charm and story to tell. From the iconic Angkor Wat itself, with its distinct five towers symbolizing the five peaks of Mount Meru, to the enigmatic faces of Bayon Temple, you’ll be captivated by the grandeur and artistry of these ancient structures.

To fully appreciate the magnificence of Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples, it’s highly recommended to embark on a temple tour. There are various tour options available, ranging from guided tours led by knowledgeable local guides to self-guided exploration with the aid of informative guidebooks and audio guides. Whichever option you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to delve into the fascinating history and mythology behind each temple, unraveling the mysteries of the Khmer Empire.

Angkor WatThe largest and most famous temple, known for its grandeur and intricate carvings.
Bayon TempleKnown for its iconic stone faces, representing Avalokiteshvara, a bodhisattva of compassion.
Ta ProhmFamous for its ancient trees intertwining with the temple ruins, creating a mystical atmosphere.
Banteay SreiA smaller temple known for its exquisite pink sandstone carvings, showcasing exceptional craftsmanship.

Exploring the temples of Angkor Wat is like stepping into a living history book. The intricate architecture, the spiritual significance, and the ancient stories engraved in stone make it a truly awe-inspiring experience.

Unveiling Siem Reap’s Cultural Treasures

Delve into Siem Reap’s rich cultural heritage by exploring the Angkor National Museum and immersing yourself in the intricate craftsmanship at the Artisans Angkor Workshop and Gallery.

Siem Reap is more than just temples; it is a treasure trove of cultural wonders that will captivate your senses.

The Angkor National Museum is a must-visit attraction for history enthusiasts and art lovers alike. Here, you can embark on a journey through time and discover the fascinating story of the Khmer civilization.

The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts, including sculptures, ceramics, and ancient relics, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of the region’s rich cultural history.

At the Artisans Angkor Workshop and Gallery, you can witness traditional Khmer craftsmanship at its finest. This renowned social business aims to revive and promote traditional arts and crafts in Cambodia.

Take a guided tour of the workshop to see skilled artisans meticulously creating intricate carvings, silk paintings, and lacquerware.

You can even try your hand at some of these techniques under expert guidance. Afterwards, browse through the gallery’s exquisite collection of handmade products, including jewelry, textiles, and home decor, all crafted with exceptional attention to detail.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene of Siem Reap and experience the city’s unique blend of tradition and modernity.

Angkor National Museum

Artisans Angkor Workshop and Gallery Products

ProductDescriptionPrice Range
Silk ScarvesHandwoven silk scarves in a variety of colors and patterns.$20 – $50
Wooden CarvingsExquisite wooden sculptures depicting traditional Khmer motifs.$30 – $200
LacquerwareDecorative bowls, vases, and trays adorned with intricate lacquer designs.$40 – $150
Silver JewelryHandcrafted silver jewelry featuring intricate filigree designs.$50 – $200

Indulge in Siem Reap’s cultural treasures and take home a piece of Cambodia’s rich heritage.

Nightlife in Siem ReapDiscover the Vibrant Nightlife of Pub Street

When the sun sets, Siem Reap comes alive with its energetic nightlife, and the heart of it all is Pub Street – a bustling hub of bars, restaurants, and live music.

Whether you’re looking to unwind with a drink, enjoy a delicious meal, or dance the night away, Pub Street has something for everyone.

One of the highlights of Pub Street is the vibrant atmosphere that greets you as you stroll down its lively streets. The colorful lights, energetic music, and bustling crowds create an electric ambiance that is hard to resist.

You’ll find a wide variety of bars and clubs offering everything from local Cambodian beer to international cocktails. Sit back and relax with a cold drink, or join in the lively atmosphere and dance along to the live music.

If you’re feeling hungry, Pub Street is also a food lover’s paradise. From traditional Cambodian dishes to international cuisines, the street is lined with restaurants offering a diverse range of culinary delights. Indulge in local street food favorites such as Khmer noodles or grilled skewers, or sample international dishes from around the world.

In addition to bars and restaurants, Pub Street is also home to the vibrant Night Market.

Here, you can browse through a variety of stalls selling souvenirs, handicrafts, clothing, and artwork. It’s the perfect place to pick up unique gifts and mementos of your time in Siem Reap.

Unforgettable Experiences Beyond the Temples

While the grandeur of Angkor Wat may be the main attraction, don’t miss out on the hidden treasures that lie beyond, such as the awe-inspiring Beng Mealea temple, the floating village of Kampong Phluk, and the magnificent Roluos Group of temples.

These lesser-known sites offer a unique perspective on Siem Reap’s rich history and cultural heritage.

Beng Mealea temple

One of the most captivating sites to explore is the Beng Mealea temple. Known as the “Indiana Jones temple,” it is truly a hidden gem. This sprawling temple complex is engulfed by lush vegetation, creating a mystical atmosphere that will transport you back in time.

As you wander through its weathered ruins, you’ll feel a sense of wonder and adventure.

Beng Mealea templeApproximately 40 kilometers east of Siem ReapAn ancient temple complex engulfed by lush vegetation, offering a unique and adventurous exploration experience.
Kampong PhlukApproximately 16 kilometers southeast of Siem ReapA floating village located on the Tonle Sap Lake, providing a glimpse into the daily lives of the local residents.
Roluos Group of templesApproximately 15 kilometers east of Siem ReapA collection of early Angkor temples showcasing intricate carvings and architectural splendor.

For a unique cultural experience, visit the floating village of Kampong Phluk. This village offers an insight into the traditional way of life along the Tonle Sap Lake. Witness firsthand the stilted houses, floating schools, and bustling markets as you navigate through the maze of waterways. It’s an enchanting experience that will leave you with lasting memories.

The Roluos Group of temples is another must-visit destination. Located just a short drive from Siem Reap, this collection of temples predates Angkor Wat and showcases the early Khmer architecture. Marvel at the intricate carvings and architectural splendor as you explore the temples, each with its own unique charm and history. It’s a journey back in time that will transport you to the origins of the Khmer Empire.

Uncover Siem Reap’s Hidden Gems

While Angkor Wat may steal the spotlight, Siem Reap has so much more to offer. Beyond the temples, the Beng Mealea temple, Kampong Phluk, and the Roluos Group of temples await your discovery. Immerse yourself in the history and culture of this captivating destination, and create unforgettable memories that will stay with you forever.

Responsible Tourism in Siem Reap image

Responsible Tourism in Siem Reap

Embrace sustainable travel practices and make a positive impact during your visit to Siem Reap by supporting ethical initiatives like the Kulan Elephant Forest and witnessing the awe-inspiring performances at Phare, The Cambodian Circus.

These initiatives strive to promote responsible tourism and contribute to the preservation of the local environment and cultural heritage.

The Kulan Elephant Forest is a sanctuary that prioritizes the well-being and conservation of these magnificent creatures.

Here, you can observe elephants in their natural habitat, learn about their behavior and history, and even participate in ethical activities such as feeding and bathing them.

By visiting the Kulan Elephant Forest, you contribute to the protection and welfare of these gentle giants, ensuring their preservation for future generations.

Phare, The Cambodian Circus, on the other hand, offers a unique and captivating experience that combines theater, music, and acrobatics. This social enterprise provides opportunities for disadvantaged youth to showcase their talent and break free from the cycle of poverty.

The performers will leave you in awe with their incredible skills and inspiring stories. By attending a show, you not only support these talented individuals but also contribute to the empowerment of the local community.

By embracing responsible tourism practices and actively supporting initiatives like the Kulan Elephant Forest and Phare, The Cambodian Circus, you can truly make a difference in Siem Reap. These experiences allow you to engage with the local culture, support sustainable development, and leave a positive impact on the destination and its people.

Benefits of Supporting Responsible Tourism Initiatives
Preservation of local environment and wildlife
Empowerment of local communities
Support for sustainable development
Promotion of cultural heritage

Shopping for Unique Souvenirs

Take a piece of Siem Reap’s vibrant culture with you by exploring the local arts and crafts scene, where you’ll find a plethora of unique gifts and souvenirs to cherish.

Siem Reap is renowned for its rich artistic traditions, and you’ll discover an array of beautifully handmade items that reflect the city’s unique heritage.

One must-visit destination is the Old Market, a bustling hub where you can find everything from traditional textiles and hand-woven baskets to intricate woodcarvings and delicately crafted silverware.

As you wander through the vibrant stalls, you’ll be immersed in the sights, sounds, and scents of Siem Reap, making it an unforgettable shopping experience.

Local Artisans Angkor Workshop and Gallery

Another gem in Siem Reap’s arts and crafts scene is the Artisans Angkor Workshop and Gallery. This social enterprise aims to preserve traditional Khmer craftsmanship and provide sustainable employment opportunities for local artisans. Here, you can observe talented craftsmen at work, creating intricate stone carvings, lacquerware, silk products, and more. The gallery also showcases a stunning collection of finished artwork, where you can find unique pieces to take home as a lasting memory of your visit.

When exploring the arts and crafts scene in Siem Reap, be sure to engage with the artisans themselves. Many of them are happy to share their stories and techniques, giving you a deeper appreciation for the skill and passion behind each handmade item. By supporting local artisans and purchasing their creations, you are not only bringing home a piece of Siem Reap but also contributing to the preservation of traditional Cambodian craftsmanship.

Recommended Gifts and SouvenirsDescription
Hand-woven TextilesColorful scarves, traditional garments, and home decor items made from locally sourced materials.
WoodcarvingsIntricately carved statues, figurines, and decorative items showcasing Khmer mythology and culture.
Stone SculpturesExquisite carvings depicting scenes from Angkor’s temples, meticulously crafted by skilled artisans.
Silver JewelryBeautifully designed rings, necklaces, and earrings showcasing traditional Khmer motifs.
LacquerwareHand-painted bowls, vases, and boxes adorned with intricate designs, a true testament to Cambodian craftsmanship.

Best Hotels in Siem Reap

Enhance your Siem Reap experience by choosing from the finest hotels that offer exceptional comfort, world-class hospitality, and convenient proximity to the city’s top attractions.

Luxury Hotels

If you’re looking for the ultimate indulgence, Siem Reap boasts a range of luxurious hotels that will exceed your expectations. Immerse yourself in opulence at the Amansara Resort, where you’ll be treated like royalty with personalized service and elegant suites.

For a blend of ancient grandeur and modern sophistication, the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor is a timeless gem, offering exquisite rooms and an expansive pool set amidst lush gardens.

Boutique Hotels

For a more intimate and authentic experience, boutique hotels in Siem Reap capture the essence of Cambodian hospitality. The Heritage Suites Hotel offers charming colonial-style villas surrounded by tropical gardens, while the Shinta Mani Shack seamlessly combines contemporary design with Khmer architecture. These boutique hotels provide a tranquil retreat after a day of exploring the temples, creating a truly memorable stay.

Mid-Range Hotels

If you’re seeking a balance between comfort and affordability, Siem Reap has a wide range of mid-range hotels that offer excellent value for money. The Central Suite Residence provides spacious rooms and a rooftop pool, while the Claremont Angkor Boutique Hotel offers modern amenities and a central location near the vibrant Pub Street. These hotels cater to budget-conscious travelers without compromising on quality or convenience.

Best hotels in Siem Reap
HotelRatingLocationPrice Range
Amansara Resort5 starsCity Center$$$$$
Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor5 starsCity Center$$$$
Heritage Suites Hotel4 starsWat Bo$$$
Shinta Mani Shack4 starsCity Center$$$
Central Suite Residence3 starsWat Bo$$
Claremont Angkor Boutique Hotel3 starsCity Center$$

When planning your trip to Siem Reap, consider your preferences and budget to choose the perfect hotel that will enhance your overall experience. These hotels not only provide comfortable accommodations but also serve as a base to explore the wonders of Siem Reap, ensuring a memorable stay in this enchanting city.

Indulge in Siem Reap’s Local Cuisine

Embark on a gastronomic adventure and savor the flavors of Siem Reap’s local cuisine, where every bite is a delightful celebration of Khmer flavors. Siem Reap offers a wide array of traditional dishes that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.

Start your culinary journey with a visit to the Old Market, also known as Psar Chas, where you can immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and sample an array of fresh produce, exotic spices, and local delicacies.

From mouthwatering amok, a fragrant fish curry steamed in banana leaves, to lok lak, a flavorful stir-fried beef dish served with rice and a tangy lime and black pepper sauce, there is something to satisfy every palate.

Local Cuisine

For an authentic Khmer dining experience, make sure to visit one of the traditional Khmer restaurants in Siem Reap. Indulge in dishes such as nom banh chok, a savory rice noodle dish topped with a flavorsome fish-based curry sauce, or try the famous Khmer hot pot, a communal dish where you can cook your own selection of fresh ingredients in a simmering aromatic broth.

As you explore the city, don’t miss the opportunity to sample some of the delicious street food offerings. From crispy fried insects to refreshing fruit shakes, the bustling street stalls of Siem Reap are a treasure trove of culinary delights. Take a leisurely stroll along the Night Market and treat yourself to some traditional Khmer snacks like num krok, a coconut rice pancake, or enjoy a refreshing sugar cane juice.

With its diverse flavors and unique culinary traditions, Siem Reap’s local cuisine truly reflects the rich cultural heritage of Cambodia. From the fragrant spices to the fresh ingredients, every dish tells a story and offers a glimpse into the vibrant culinary tapestry of this enchanting destination.

Things to Do in Siem Reap

Siem Reap offers a plethora of activities to suit every traveler’s preference, ensuring a memorable and fulfilling experience in this captivating city. Start by exploring the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. Marvel at the intricate carvings and stunning architecture that dates back centuries. Take a temple tour to fully immerse yourself in the rich history and spirituality of this UNESCO World Heritage site.

Angkor Wat

Aside from the temples, Siem Reap has much more to offer. Visit the Angkor National Museum to delve deeper into Khmer history and culture. Discover the vibrant local arts scene at the Artisans Angkor Workshop and Gallery, where you can witness skilled artisans creating beautiful handicrafts.

When the sun sets, head to Pub Street and indulge in the city’s vibrant nightlife. Enjoy a wide range of entertainment options, from live music and dance performances to rooftop bars and street food stalls. The Night Market is also a must-visit, where you can find unique souvenirs, clothing, and local delicacies.

For those seeking off-the-beaten-path adventures, venture beyond the Angkor temple complex. Explore the hidden gem of Beng Mealea temple, a sprawling temple ruin engulfed by lush jungle. Immerse yourself in the local way of life at the floating village of Kampong Phluk, where you can experience the unique stilt houses and witness the daily activities of the local community. Don’t miss the ancient Roluos Group of temples, which predates Angkor Wat and offers a glimpse into the early Khmer civilization.

Angkor WatAngkor National MuseumPub Street
Beng Mealea templeArtisans Angkor Workshop and GalleryNight Market
Kampong Phluk  

For a unique and responsible tourism experience, visit the Kulan Elephant Forest and support the ethical treatment of elephants. Witness these magnificent creatures up close and learn about their conservation efforts. Another must-see is Phare, The Cambodian Circus, a mesmerizing performance that combines acrobatics, theater, and music to tell compelling stories of Cambodian culture and history.

Before you leave Siem Reap, don’t forget to explore the local arts and crafts scene. From intricately woven textiles to handmade jewelry and traditional paintings, you’ll find a wide range of unique gifts and souvenirs to bring home.

Plan your visit to Siem Reap during the dry season from November to April for the best weather and optimal conditions for exploring.

Travel Tips for Siem Reap

Maximize your Siem Reap adventure with these helpful travel tips, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey from start to finish.

1. Plan your visit during the dry season: The best time to explore Siem Reap is during the dry season from November to April. The weather is pleasant, with clear skies and less rainfall, making it ideal for temple visits and outdoor activities.

2. Dress appropriately for temple tours: Remember to dress respectfully when visiting the temples of Angkor Wat. Ensure your shoulders and knees are covered as a sign of respect for the sacred sites. Don’t forget to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.

3. Hire a knowledgeable guide: To truly appreciate the historical and cultural significance of the temples, consider hiring a local guide. They will provide insightful information and take you on a journey through Khmer history, making your visit more meaningful and memorable.

4. Sample the local cuisine: Siem Reap is renowned for its delicious Khmer cuisine. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in local dishes such as Fish Amok, Beef Lok Lak, and Banh Chok. Venture beyond the tourist areas and explore the local food stalls and markets for an authentic culinary experience.

Quick TipsDo’sDon’ts
TransportationDo use licensed taxis or tuk-tuks for transportation.Don’t accept unsolicited offers for transportation from strangers.
CurrencyDo carry US dollars in small denominations for easier transactions.Don’t rely solely on credit cards, as cash is widely accepted.
Cultural EtiquetteDo greet locals with a respectful “Chum Reap Suor” (Hello).Don’t touch someone’s head or point your feet at sacred objects.

“Siem Reap is a city that truly captivates visitors with its ancient temples, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality. By following these travel tips, you’ll have a memorable experience and gain a deeper understanding of this fascinating destination.” – Travel Enthusiast

Remember to stay hydrated and take breaks during your explorations.

Siem Reap can get hot, so it’s important to drink plenty of water and rest in shaded areas.

Don’t rush through the temples; take your time to soak in the atmosphere and appreciate the intricate details.

Travel Tips for Siem Reap

With these travel tips in mind, you’re well-prepared to embark on an unforgettable journey in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

From the awe-inspiring temples to the vibrant local culture, this captivating destination offers something for every traveler. Immerse yourself in history, savor the local cuisine, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Safe travels and enjoy your Siem Reap adventure!

The Best Time to Visit Siem Reap

Plan your visit to Siem Reap during the dry season from November to April, when the weather is pleasant, and the temples are at their most enchanting. This period offers clear skies, allowing you to fully appreciate the intricate details and awe-inspiring architecture of the temples, including the iconic Angkor Wat. With temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to low 90s Fahrenheit (mid-20s to low 30s Celsius), you can comfortably explore the ancient sites without being hindered by excessive heat or rainfall.

During the dry season, you can also take advantage of the lesser crowds, allowing for a more immersive and tranquil experience. The temples of Angkor Wat and the surrounding complexes are vast and diverse, offering countless exploration opportunities.

In addition to the favorable weather conditions and temple visits, the dry season also allows for other unforgettable experiences.

You can venture beyond the Angkor temple complex to discover hidden gems such as the Beng Mealea temple, a captivating ruin engulfed by nature, or immerse yourself in the unique culture of the floating village of Kampong Phluk.

The Roluos Group of temples, located just outside Siem Reap, offers a glimpse into the early days of Khmer civilization.

Best Time to Visit Siem ReapTemperature (Fahrenheit)Temperature (Celsius)Crowds
November to AprilMid-70s to low 90sMid-20s to low 30sLesser crowds
May to OctoberHigh 80s to mid-90sHigh 20s to mid-30sHigher crowds

So, if you’re planning a visit to Siem Reap, make sure to schedule it during the dry season from November to April.

This will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the wonders of the ancient temples, discover lesser-known sites, and enjoy the pleasant weather that characterizes this vibrant destination.

Best time to visit Siem Reap

Remember, the best time to visit Siem Reap is during the dry season. Take advantage of this period to experience the enchantment of the temples, explore the rich culture, and create unforgettable memories in this captivating destination.

Conclusion: Siem Reap – A Captivating Destination

Siem Reap, Cambodia is a destination like no other, where ancient wonders, rich history, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality come together to create an unforgettable journey that will leave you captivated.

At the heart of Siem Reap’s allure is the iconic Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. Exploring its intricate temples and learning about Khmer history is an experience that will transport you back in time.

But Siem Reap offers more than just temples. Immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant culture by visiting the Angkor National Museum and the Artisans Angkor Workshop and Gallery. Discover the hidden gems beyond the temple complex, such as the mesmerizing Beng Mealea temple, the floating village of Kampong Phluk, and the ancient Roluos Group of temples.

Responsible tourism is also a priority in Siem Reap. Spend time at the ethical Kulan Elephant Forest, where you can observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Don’t miss the captivating performances of Phare, The Cambodian Circus, where local talents showcase traditional arts with a modern twist.

Siem Reap is a haven for arts and crafts enthusiasts, offering a wide range of unique gifts and souvenirs. Indulge in the local cuisine, savoring the flavors of delicious Khmer dishes and vibrant street food.

The best time to visit Siem Reap is during the dry season, from November to April, when the weather is ideal for exploration.


What is Siem Reap known for?

Siem Reap is known for its ancient temples of Angkor Wat, rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture.

What is the main attraction in Siem Reap?

The main attraction in Siem Reap is Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world.

What are some other attractions in Siem Reap?

Other attractions in Siem Reap include the Angkor National Museum, the Old Market, and the Artisans Angkor Workshop and Gallery.

Is there a nightlife scene in Siem Reap?

Yes, Siem Reap has a vibrant nightlife scene, with Pub Street and the Night Market being popular spots for entertainment.

Are there any other sites to visit beyond the Angkor temple complex?

Yes, visitors can explore lesser-known sites such as the Beng Mealea temple, the floating village of Kampong Phluk, and the Roluos Group of temples.

Are there any responsible tourism options in Siem Reap?

Yes, you can visit the Kulan Elephant Forest and attend the Phare, The Cambodian Circus for responsible tourism experiences in Siem Reap.

Can I buy unique gifts and souvenirs in Siem Reap?

Absolutely! Siem Reap has a thriving arts and crafts scene, offering a wide range of unique gifts and souvenirs.

When is the best time to visit Siem Reap?

The best time to visit Siem Reap is during the dry season from November to April.

What are some recommended hotels in Siem Reap?

There are many great hotels in Siem Reap to choose from, catering to various preferences and budgets.

What is the local cuisine like in Siem Reap?

Siem Reap offers delicious Khmer dishes and street food that will delight your taste buds.

What are some recommended things to do in Siem Reap?

There is a wide range of activities to enjoy in Siem Reap, including temple visits, cultural experiences, and outdoor adventures.

Any travel tips for visiting Siem Reap?

Some travel tips for visiting Siem Reap include information on the best time to visit, transportation options, and cultural etiquette.

What is the conclusion about Siem Reap as a destination?

Siem Reap offers a captivating experience with its diverse range of attractions, from ancient temples to vibrant culture.

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