Go during the drier months – November to February.
There is nothing like experiencing the different villages by bicycle. Don’t miss tasting Palm Sugar, which is a popular ingredient used in almost all dishes.
Watch The Killing Fields, the drama about the Khmer Rouge seen through the eyes of three Journalists. Dine with Monks. Your hotel can arrange for monks to meet you at breakfast and tell you about their day to day lives and their goals for the future. I was particularly interested in Buddhism - they were incredibly informative.
Stay: In my opinion, The Amansara, the former guesthouse of King Sihanouk, is the most elegant and beautiful hotel in Siem Reap. It has only 24 guesthouses, and delivers the incredible service, dining and ambiance that are synonymous with the Aman hotels. One of the best things about staying here are the customized excursions provided as part of the Amansara experience. A newcomer, Phum Baitang features 45 villas surrounded by lemon grass fields and rice paddies.
Dawn Buster: Wake up early, grab a quick coffee and snack, and head to Angkor Wat. You’ll be there for sunrise and a morning tour of the temple before the crowds arrive. The Amansara guides will arrange entry and will take you to the entrance points that open extra early. Bring comfortable shoes/sneakers as you will be walking and climbing for a few hours.
Explore: Next it’s on to Angkor Thom. This famous walled city has many temples within its borders, including the fascinating Bayon Temple with its many magnificent smiling faces. The Terrace of the Elephants and The Terrace of the Leper King are must visits, too! Also, there is a small contemporary pagoda where Buddhist monks will celebrate a private blessing ceremony for you, wishing you health and safe travels – a truly amazing experience! On the way back, our guide took us to visit a local community. This was a fascinating way to get a small glimpse into the way of life of the Cambodian people.
Relax: After a busy morning and afternoon, it’s time to recharge. Head back to the hotel and relax at the pool. The smell of Jasmine is breathtaking - you'll hear nothing but crickets. The spa at the Aman and Phum Baitang is marvelous and, if you have time, book the Temple Walk treatment or the coconut-milk massage.
Dinner: Cuisine Wat Damnak has it all – a beautiful setting and a wonderful chef. This was far and away the best meal we ate in Cambodia. The six course menu was an inspired combination of Cambodian food with a modern french flair. We enjoyed the food so much that we went back the next day to try the alternate menu. The steamed chocolate cake with rice praline was amazing!
Night Walk: Grab a tuk-tuk for a ride to the Night Market. It’s packed with stalls selling a variety of handicrafts, souvenirs, and silks - well worth a browse. It’s also possible to chill out in the Island Bar or indulge in a Dr. Fish massage.
- A Daytripper itinerary 10.16.14