Apsara: Traditional Cambodian Dance

No trip to Cambodia is complete without a glimpse of the traditional Apsara dance performance.

Robam Tep Apsara, or the Dance of the Aspara Divinities is the name given to a classical Khmer dance recreated by the Cambodian Royal Ballet, not long after it nearly vanished during the regime of the Khmer Rouge.

Apsara: Traditional Cambodian Dance

This traditional dance originated from the story of the union of the hermit Kampu and Apsara Mera. In Hindu and Buddhist mythology, Apsaras are supernatural female beings of the clouds and waters. They are said to be young and beautiful, and are adept dancers with the ability to change their shapes at will. The Apsara dance is performed by women gracefully dressed in close-fitting traditional costumes known as a Sampot Sarabap, which is constructed from rich silk brocade featuring intricate yet aesthetic details, along with a golden headdress. 

apsara dance
Apsara: The Traditional Cambodian Dance
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An Apsara dancer dressed in a Sampot Sarabap and a golden headdress

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An Apsara dancer performing at dinner show

Apsara is performed by a group of young women in a flawlessly harmonized orientation. Every unhurried and deliberate movement is accentuated by a subtle bend in the knees with the heels elevated and lowered to the ground with each beat. A constant smile is attached to their faces, as they graciously flaunt their well-mastered elegance to awestruck audiences. The recurrent hand gestures throughout the performance give prominence to the dance, with each motion and shift denoting different parts of the story.

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free apsara dance performance in siem reap
Apsara: The Traditional Cambodian Dance

Although there are occasional performances held in temples, a more convenient option would be to attend one of the nightly performances offered in restaurants. Pairing your dinner with this traditional dance will surely add zest to your gastronomic experience while traveling in Siem Reap. Remember to book ahead to secure the best seats!

Temple Balcony
Time: 19:30 (Daily)
Address: Street 08, Krong Siem Reap
Website | +855 12 234 565
Price: Free

Apsara Theatre
Time: 20:30 (Daily)
Address: Street 26, Krong Siem Reap
Website | +855 63 963 561
Price: $25 per adult/$12.50 per child

La Noria Hotel
Time: 19.30 (Wednesday & Sunday)
Address: River Rd, Krong Siem Reap
Website | +855 63 964 242
Price: $6 per person

Phare Cambodian Circus
Time: 20:00 (Daily)
Address: South of the intersection with Sok San Road
Website | +855 (0) 15 499 480

Apsara Terrace
Time: 19:45 (Monday, Wednesday & Friday)
Address: Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, 1 Vithei Charles De Gaulle
Website | +855 63 963 888
Price: $40 per adult/$25.50 per child

Kulen II Restaurant
Time: 19:30 (Daily)
Address: Sivatha Street, Siem Reap
+855 (0) 92 630 090
Price: $12 per adult/$6 per child (free for <3 br="" buffet="" show="">

Alliance Café
Time: 20:00 (Tuesday, Thursday & Satuday)
Address: Wat Damnak, 7 Makara Street
+855 63 760 169
Price: $20 per person (including set dinner)

Don't forget to share your travel & dining moments with us on Instagram by tagging @rollinggrace or #RollingGrace. Happy travelling!


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