The funny thing about Cambodia’s temple town is that, on the surface, it may appear to be just a little spot in the jungle to base yourself while exploring the Angkor Wat complex, but it’s really so much more. And that includes hotels. This town is an embarrassment of luxury-hotel riches, and it can be a tough decision figuring out which one is right for you. Lucky for you, then, that I took the liberty of staying at five of varying concepts, from the contemporary and the colonial to the the whimsical and the rustic-luxe, to share some insight on what sort of experience fits your style. (Seen below, as originally published in the November 2018 edition of Condé Nast Traveller Middle East.)
Siem Reap and the Angkor area is so much more than its temples (and its temples are so much more than just Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Prohm – be sure to branch out to the lesser visited yet no less fantastic, and – even better – far less crowded, temples), and I recommend building enough time into your stay in Siem Reap to better explore the area – one way to do that is with Grasshopper Adventures cycling tours, which has an itinerary that takes you into and around the nearby villages. It’s as interesting as it is beautiful, and even as someone who really does not like cycling, I would hop on and do it again in a heartbeat.
I spent 10 days in Siem Reap, and between the food (hitting up a local market and taking a Khmer cooking class is a must, as are evening cocktails at Miss Wong), art (it’s everywhere), shopping (Kandal Village has some very cute boutiques) and entertainment (you must get a seat at Phare Circus), there’s so much to keep you busy beyond the temples, with lots of businesses working alongside the local community in meaningful ways, such as Shinta Mani hotels’ hospitality training school and charitable foundation.
This is a rare destination that I hope to return to.