The name Siem Riep literally means "Siam Defeated", after the Khmer defeated the armies from Thailand. In the 12th century, the king embarked on a mass scale building project, resulting in the present day temples in the area.
Siem Riep is a large district, and the namesake city is the capital of the district. The present population in the Siem Riep city is about is about 250 000, and is the second largest city in Cambodia. Siem Riep is the feed point to the old Khmer temples, with Angkor Wat being the best well known. Other interesting temples are Angkor Thom, and Ta Prohm.
Angkor Wat in particular draw a large number of tourists to the area - about 3.5 million yearly. This of course, put a strain on the infrastructure and hotel capacity.