In surprising news, Cambodia just reopened its borders to vaccinated foreign travellers. Great news, in a country where over 90% of the population have been fully vaccinated. So find yourself a free week, because a week is what you need to explore Angkor.
Angkor – The Greatest World Wonder
Cambodia is of course famous for Angkor. And of all the proclaimed “new world wonders” Angkor is surely the most impressive. Because Angkor is not one sight like Christ the Redeemer, or one city like Machu Picchu. Angkor is many Khmer cities, palaces and temples, stretching for miles across the jungle, all in an evocative state of ruin.
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There is so much to experience. So when visiting Angkor you must ask, am I an explorer or am I a tourist?
You Need a Week for Siem Reap and Angkor
To explore Angkor is to live an adventure, where every footstep takes you deeper into a lost Khmer world. It seems to go on forever, temple and temple of surprise, room after room of mystery. Siem Reap is the town where you stay, close to the Angkor complex. Over a couple of days you can tick off the most famous sights. But you’re an explorer right? So you’ll want to:
Dine in an Ancient Angkorian Temple
A temple beautifully lit by candles. Staying in Angkor after dark, when everyone else has left. A welcome dance and then fine Khmer dining in a temple.
Yoga at Dawn Among Forgotten Angkorian Temple Ruins
A secret temple, far from the tourist route. Early morning in the jungle. A quiet sunrise yoga session with nobody watching.
Meet the Sacred Dance Teacher of Angkor
A meeting with Mrs Karet-Coxen, who established the Khmer sacred dance school for HRH Princess Buppha Devi. A chance to discuss traditional dance before a private performance.
Keep Exploring Temples
A morning of exploration. Then time to rest by the pool and in the spa. The Angkor jungle is hot and humid. So relax. It’s more comfortable to spread your exploration over more days.
Lunch & Cooking in a Private Angkor House
There are no passable restaurants inside Angkor, so everybody backtracks to Siem Reap for lunch. We know a private house, surrounded by temples, where you have a superb lunch or do a Khmer cooking class.
Ebiking Outside Siem Reap
Awesome jungle trails not accessible by tuktuks. A morning or afternoon by bike, visiting local communities and getting close to nature. Of course there will be temples and palaces as well.
A professional photographer who knows where to go at what time of day. So you get great photos of you inside Angkor. This is fantastic for couples and families.
Meeting a Fashion Designer
A world famous designer who worked for Yves St Laurent and Christian Lacrois in Paris before falling in love with Cambodian silk. Meet him to discuss fashion and silk making, with a drink in hand.
Keep Exploring Angkor
The Angkorian period lasted 550 years. Angkor Wat is the biggest temple complex the world has ever seen. But Angkor Thom and its mind-bending Bayon are more memorable. Then there are other ancient capitals here. Stay longer, so you can travel deeper into history.
Angkor is not a Two-Day Destination
For decades, every tourist did the same thing. Luxury travellers followed the same itinerary as the group tours, just with private guides and a better hotel. Angkor is not:
- Only an “add-on” to Thailand or Vietnam
- Only worth one or two nights in Siem Reap “to do Angkor”
- Visiting Angkor Wat at sunrise (people stand in rows five deep to take the famous photo)
- Queuing to see the famous Tomb Raider temple Ta Prohm (it’s not the only temple overtaken by tree roots)
- Getting stuck in crowds doing the same sightseeing loop at the same time in the same direction
- Becoming very hot and sweaty
- Leaving Cambodia thinking Angkor is a tourist trap
Angkor Deserves a Week
Such a vast and complex world wonder deserves better. Angkor is deserving of your time. Cambodia’s reopening is a chance to explore Angkor before big crowds return. But it is also an opportunity to travel deeper and immerse yourself in an ancient world.