There was an authenticity to the type of experience set up for us that made every city we visited special and gave us countless moments we will never forget.
Named for a crushing defeat inflicted on an invading Thai army by the Khmer Empire, the battle at Siem Reap was later avenged by another Thai kingdom, who went on to rule the area for a time before losing it to the French. Afterwards, Siem Reap fell into obscurity and as little as twenty years ago, was a sleepy town with muddy streets and a population of 5,000.
Today, thanks to its proximity to the superlative ruins of the ancient Khmer kingdom of Angkor, it has become one of the premier destinations not only in southeast Asia but the entire world, with five-star hotels and other, world-class facilities. Recognizing the importance of the complexes of Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Angkor Thom, both for the sake of posterity and the present day tourism economy, the Cambodian government has made preserving this heritage a top priority.
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Our co-founder Jay Tindall was amazed by his helicopter flight over Angkor Wat, as well as his visit to a live minefield with a mine clearance charity.
Built in the 12th century as the capital of King Suryavarman II’s kingdom, the magnificent Angkor Wat is the largest and best-preserved of the Angkor temples. It is the apogee of classical Khmer architecture and has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on the national flag, and stands on par with such other monumental achievements as Machu Picchu and the Great Pyramids.
Private Temple Dinner
Have a private dinner of gourmet Khmer cuisine on the grounds of a prominent Angkor temple. Your multi-course meal will be accompanied by traditional Cambodian music, dance and theater performances. (Please note that this is an exceptional production that is not included in the cost of a typical trip.)
Visit Cambodian Orphan Save Organization (COSO) and meet one of its directors, who will give you a private tour of its facilities. COSO is a non-governmental organization working to improve the lives of Siem Reap’s orphans through education, vocational training and schooling in traditional Cambodian arts, and the children will be thrilled to meet you today.
Charter a helicopter for an aerial tour of the vast Angkor Archeological Park, which is some 150 square miles in area. Flights of various durations are available, ranging from quick 15-minute jaunts to trips of several hours where you can touch down at remote temple ruins far from the typical Angkor foot traffic.
Drive about 45 minutes from central Siem Reap to Banteay Srei, a small gem of a temple that Remote Lands highly recommends. Built in the 10th century and nicknamed the “Citadel of Women,” Banteay Srei is a jewel of red sandstone, famed for its intimate size and some of the finest, most intricate carvings in Southeast Asia.
Visit Kbal Spean, a carved riverbed, known as the River of a Thousand Lingas. Named for the 11th-13th century stone carvings of lingas and Hindu deities spread out along the riverbed and banks, the river is also home to various wildlife, among them varying species of birds and butterflies.
Phnom Kulen Mountain
Ascend Phnom Kulen Mountain, the most sacred peak in Cambodia, and a popular spot for Khmer pilgrimages. At Wat Swey Leu, an adjacent temple, you will be received by the abbott of the pagoda for a private water blessing, an important Buddhist cleansing ritual. Have tea and snacks afterwards with the senior monk, who will tell you about your year ahead.
Tonle Sap Lake
Embark on a half or full-day cruise on Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia (and among the largest in all of Asia). Tonle Sap was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1997. More than 1 million people live on and in the transition zone around the lake, whose waters sustain markets, schools, churches, flower gardens, vegetable farms, and even police stations. During the wet season from May to November, the water inflow expands the surface area of the lake more than five-fold, inundating the surrounding forested flood plain. Tonle Sap fisheries supply approximately 80 percent of the protein consumed in all of Cambodia.
Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary
Go on safari at Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary, one of three core areas of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve, located at the northwest tip of the lake. More than 120 different bird species inhabit Prek Toal, and during the dry season from January to May, the swampy forests of Prek Toal support the largest colonies of storks, pelicans and ibises in all of mainland Southeast Asia. The sanctuary is also home to the Gray-Headed Fish Eagle, the very rare Greater Adjutant stork (which is estimated to number less than 1,000), the Oriental Darter, and the exceedingly elusive Masked Finfoot.
Angkor National Museum
Meet a head archaeologist at the Angkor National Museum, which opened in 2007 to house overflow from its sister museum in Phnom Penh, but has become a major venue it its own right. It features various Hindu and Buddhist statues, artifacts from the Angkor temples and surrounding area, scale models of different temple complexes, and engaging multimedia exhibits
Explore Ta Prohm temple. The ruins at Ta Prohm date from 1186 and have purposely been allowed to be reclaimed by the jungle. This highly atmospheric temple complex is a must-see on any visit to Siem Reap and offers amazing photo opportunities. Ta Prohm is very much an active archaeological site, too – in October 2011, workers unearthed two headless stone statues (the larger of which measured approximately 10 feet tall), which date from the 12th century and are the biggest excavated finds since the 1930s.
Angkor Thom & Bayon
Explore the Angkor Thom temple complex, which in the 12th century was an immense city and the capital of the Mahayana Buddhist king Jayavarman VII’s empire. Bayon, the central temple of Angkor Thom, is a marvel of “baroque” Khmer architecture, constructed between the late 12th and early 13th centuries as the official state temple of Jayavarman VII.
Beng Mealea, or “Lotus Pond,” is a prominent Hindu temple a short drive outside Siem Reap. One of the larger temples in the area, Beng Mealea was once surrounded by a large moat, and while the temple itself is a Hindu place of worship, it also features Buddhist motifs. Marvel at the giant sandstone blocks which make up the temple, thought to have been transported downriver by barge. Relatively secluded, Beng Mealea provides a quieter counterpoint to the frenetic crowds of the better-known Angkor Wat.
A three-hour drive from Siem Reap, Koh Ker served as the capital of the Khmer Empire from 928-944 A.D. Within Koh Ker is Prasat Thom, a tall temple mountain which offers a sweeping view of the forest and plain below. Within the complex itself are temples dedicated to the Hindu deities Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma. Given its isolation and distance from Siem Reap, Koh Ker exudes a quiet, peaceful charm that stands in contrast to Angkor Wat.
Sacred Dancers of Angkor
Visit Ravynn Karet Coxen’s traditional Khmer dance school, Conservatoire of Apsara Dance. As an extension of the Nginn Karet Foundation for Cambodia, the aim here is not to produce teams of dancers to wow the tourists, but to preserve Cambodian dance and to make these children its custodians for the future. You will be taught by the teachers of the school some of the traditional dancing before being invited for a blessing ceremony. Finally, sit down to enjoy a traditional dance put on by the children of the school.
This 6-day luxury journey through Cambodia takes you through Phnom Penh, Battambang, and Siem Reap. You’ll visit heart-wrenching memorial sites like the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Museum, ride the famous bamboo train, and of course, visit the unforgettable Angkor Wat temples, all while staying in luxurious hotels.
This 16-day luxury tour of Cambodia’s natural beauty, culture, and history will take you from Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Kratie, Stung Treng, Preah Rumkel, Preah Vihear, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville. You’ll visit the country’s epic spots, including the Cheung Ek Killing Fields, Angkor Wat, forests, waterfalls, and more.
Aman and Remote Lands have combined to offer an extraordinary private jet journey across Asia on March 6-20, 2017 including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, The Philippines and Japan. Sixteen guests will fly on two Gulfstream private jets and stay in five Aman in Vinh Hy Bay, Siem Reap, Luang Prabang, Palawan and Tokyo. All touring is private and each couple has their own private car, driver and guide for touring, and we will all come together at night for highly convivial cocktail parties and special dinners.
Gain in-depth insight into Cambodia’s intriguing past on this exciting 4-day tour of iconic Angkor Wat. You’ll visit such temples as the Roluos group, Ta Prohm, Bayon Thom, Banteay Srei, Beng Mealea, Koh Ker, and Phnom Bakheng, all while staying in sheer luxury at one of Siem Reap’s most extravagant hotels.
See the best of Cambodia on this 8-day luxury journey through Phnom Penh, Kep, Koh Rong, and Siem Reap. You’ll visit unforgettable sites like Tuol Sleng Museum, the Killing Fields, King Sihanouk's once palace, tranquil Rabbit Island, Song Saa Private Island, and more, while staying in hotels fit for royalty.
Experience Indochina in style and comfort, aboard a luxury private jet. Starting off in Bangkok, you’ll take in some of the city’s most ancient temples, before taking off for the ever-charming Lao city, Luang Prabang. From here, you’ll head to Vietnam, where you’ll take in some of the country’s most...
Lap up the best of Vietnam and Cambodia on this 15-day luxury tour, taking you from Hanoi to Siem Reap. You’ll be mesmerized by Halong Bay’s limestone karsts, exchange cultural insights in the Black Tai villages, and step into the ancient Khmer Kingdom at Angkor Wat, while staying in some of the region’s best hotels.
Set off on a private jet to discover a few of the best destinations the region has to offer. Stroll the streets of emperors in Vietnam, visit old-word temples scattered across Southeast Asia, and try your hand at bargaining with the locals at different fresh markets. This trip hits all of Southeast Asia’s must-see destinations,...
Travel from the bustling streets of Bangkok to the quiet heights of Vietnam’s Sapa by private aircraft, experiencing history and adventure with VIP access.
Located approximately five miles from the famed Angkor Wat, Amansara is sleek, stylish and superbly private. Formerly the guest villa of King Norodom Sihanouk, the grounds were originally laid out in 1962 and designed to embrace both modern design and the rich artistic legacy of Cambodia. This tranquil oasis is surrounded by beautiful gardens and includes a curved slate swimming pool. The 24 suites are decorated in a classic Indochinese palette of cool gray, pristine white, dark timber and ivory, and all include a private courtyard and soothing water features; 12 suites are equipped with private swimming pools. The Roof Garden, shaded by trees, is the ideal venue for relaxing by candlelight with cocktails, or for invigorating morning yoga sessions. The Spa, which has four treatment rooms, focuses on therapeutic Cambodian techniques using organic products. Every suite has access to its own remork and driver. On the 2007 Zagat Survey list of the world’s best hotels, Amansara was ranked number two for service.
Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa
This award-winning five-star hotel enjoys a fantastic location in the Cambodian countryside, just a short drive away from Siem Reap town center as well as the incredible Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and prized tourist attraction of the country. Contemporary Khmer design is a running theme throughout Anantara’s rooms and suites, lush oasis spa, tropical gardens and range of superb dining options, with a generous helping of wooden flooring, rich textiles and locally-made artistic installations. Each one of the 39 rooms and suites is spacious and fully-equipped with all the latest modern conveniences, and the luxurious floor-to-ceiling windows in every room present tranquil garden or pool views. Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa - true to its name - also offers a memorable spa experience set in a tranquil oasis in the middle of a tropical garden – perfect for easing away those aches and pains after exploring the nearby temple complex or plethora of other nearby attractions. Elsewhere, guests can take a dip in the hot tub, relax in the sauna, dine at one of three on-site restaurants or kick back next to the pool with a cocktail in hand.
A float on the mighty Mekong River is the best way to take in the scenery of beautiful and historic Cambodia and Vietnam. With seven-night, four-night and three-night cruises to choose from, there’s something for everyone on the Aqua Mekong. Guests will enjoy sumptuous luxury in the spacious but cosy suites and gaze out of the enormous river-facing windows at the passing panoramas. Likewise, the dining room affords unparalleled views of the forests, temples, floating villages and pagodas as guests indulge in international cuisine and local delicacies by Michelin-starred chef David Thompson, surrounded by historic Asian artifacts.The top deck is where all the action is: guests can recline with a drink in the indoor and outdoor lounges, take a dip in the pool or enjoy a private screening of a classic film from the area. On lazy days, those in search of relaxation can peruse the library, browse handcrafted souvenirs in the on-board shop or unwind in the spa with a range of traditional treatments.
La Residence d'Angkor
This traditional Khmer-styled hotel is located close to Angkor Wat, offering 62 spacious rooms and suites. Each are equipped with satellite flat-screen televisions, DVD players, Wi-Fi connectivity and a freeform terrazza bathtub. The rooms and suites are decorated with jewel-toned silk and bamboo furnishings with a floor-to-ceiling window. La Residence offers two on-site restaurants serving Khmer and barbecue cuisines, and a bar and lounge overlooking the pool and garden. Other facilities include the Condé Nast Traveler’s 2010 listed Kong Kea Spa, two shopping boutiques, a fitness center and a large outdoor swimming pool. La Residence d’Angkor is approximately 20 minutes from the nearest airport.
Park Hyatt Siem Reap
The Park Hyatt is a new addition to Cambodia’s select five-star hotel crowd. The hotel was previously Hotel De La Paix, one of the country’s top properties, and has been rebranded after a complete renovation. This new and exciting hotel is situated in one of Asia’s major emerging cultural destinations, providing ultimate indulgence and impeccable service. Designed by award-winning Bangkok-based interior designer Bill Bensley, Park Hyatt won Cambodia’s No. 1 hotel spot in Travel + Leisure and ranked No. 29 in its World’s Best Hotels 2010 list. Park Hyatt Siem Reap features 107 guestrooms, a choice of restaurants, a bar, fresh bakery, two swimming pools, a spa and fitness center.
Raffles Grand Hotel Angkor
A grand, historic hotel, Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor opened its doors in the early 1930s. It is located on the main road to Angkor Wat and was planned so that it aligns on a north-south axis with Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. Now sensitively restored, the hotel’s classic style coupled with its renewed modernity complement the grandeur of Angkor Wat. The hotel has 131 guest rooms and suites, each tastefully appointed with Art Deco-styled furnishings and Cambodian objets d’art. Guest services include the Raffles Amrita Spa, a fitness center, and a host of classes in the Raffles Amrita Pavilion, from Khmer dancing to Tai Chi. Elegant dining options range from the formal Restaurant Le Grand, to the Café d’Angkor, to the wide selection of cocktails at the famed Elephant Bar.
Shinta Mani Club
The acclaimed architect Bill Bensley has worked his magic on this gorgeous 39-room boutique hotel, creating an altogether contemporary space with Angkorian-inspired designs throughout. As well as looking the part, Shinta Mani Club enjoys an ideal location in the heart of Siem Reap, tucked away down a quiet, leafy road in the city’s famous old French quarter. The position is ideal for touring the town, enjoying the splendid array of Asian-French dining options and of course, taking a trip to Siem Reap’s prized possession: Angkor Wat. The temple complex is only a 15-minute tuk-tuk or car ride away from the hotel, and other nearby attractions include the National Museum, night market and the Royal Gardens. The range of 39 rooms at Shinta Mani Club have a distinctly boutique feel to them, with quaint, artistic references to the ancient history of Cambodia sitting alongside a wide range of facilitates making this a relaxing and comfortable place to stay. Away from the rooms, guests can take a dip in the inviting garden-side pool, ease their aching muscles in the hotel’s spa, or enjoy one of their many swanky restaurants and bars spread across the hotel and surrounding area.