While Cambodia may not be on your short list for vacation destinations, I can tell you it is truly awe inspiring! I visited Cambodia as part of a two week trip that also included Thailand. My only regret, is that I was not able to stay an extra week and visit Vietnam. Vietnam is still on my must do list and hopefully I will make it there one day, in any event back to Cambodia.
As far as places to go, there are really two main cites to visit Siem Reap, the site of the breathtaking Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Both have an appeal that place them on the must do list.
When you land in Siem Reap, Cambodia, it feels like you are landing in the middle of the jungle and in many ways you are. You may be able to find a traditional taxi, but more than likely you will find a taxi driver traveling by motor bike. So glad my luggage for this trip was an oversized backpack! Angkor Wat is simply not to be missed and be sure to plan to spend several days there. As far as accommodations, Siem Reap, surprising has a nice mix of beautiful boutique hotels as well as a few managed by larger chains.
Speak French? It is a huge plus as Cambodia, like Vietnam was colonized by the French and many Cambodians speak French. I was pretty fluent at the time of my trip, but unfortunately my French now is sooooooo rusty. It actually makes me made to think about it. LOL!
If you are on a budget, don’t fret, there are a number of superb guest houses, which essentially are small hotels, many have pools, are close to Angkor Wat and are very neat, clean and well designed.
To reach Phnom Penh, you will need to take a plane. Phnom Penh feels much more like a large city than Siem Reap. In addition to being the capital of Cambodia it was also where the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot located their headquarters and main torture chamber in a former school known as Tuol Sleng. Today it is a museum that is virtually untouched from the days of Khmer rule. It is also located within yards of the mass graves known as “The Killing Fields”.
Despite, it’s history, a visit to Cambodia was one of the best vacations I have ever taken. From a design standpoint, think rich, luxurious woods, bright colors and gorgeous, well made, affordable design accessories to bring home.
In order to plan your trip, I suggest the Lonely Planet series of guides, as they provide a great insider overview.
Interior Designer Cathy Hobbs on location in Angkor Wat, CambodiaPhoto courtesy: http://www.siemreap.info
Frangipani Villa Hotel, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Viroth’s Hotel Siem Reap, Cambodia
HanumanAlaya Boutique Hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Photo courtesy: The Quay
The Quay Boutique Hotel (Phenom Penh, Cambodia)
I hope you enjoyed traveling to Cambodia this week, be sure to read my blog next Thursday to see where we visit next!