Cambodia is reemerging from the throes of war that brought the nation’s economic and technological growth to a standstill; it became frozen in time. Ironically, like Cuba, Cambodia is now that much more attractive to visitors because of the time capsule effect.
The modern world is creeping in, but most of the country is a cultural study in life as it was throughout much of Southeast Asia 30 or 40 years ago. The countryside is a picturesque mosaic of villages, farmlands, and forests; the reborn capital of Phnom Penh blends modern Asia with vestiges of French colonialism; and the coast is still free of the crowds and trappings of modern tourism that pervade many of the beaches of neighboring Thailand. But, Cambodia’s biggest attraction is the magnificent, 12th Century ruins of Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. With its spellbinding combination of sheer scale and intricate architectural ornamentation, Angkor Wat belongs high on any list of the world’s must-see travel destinations.
In various destinations around the world, we have highlighted examples of exceptional accommodations that set new standards for aesthetics and responsible tourism. These properties reflect our own company values by emphasizing community involvement and the preservation of cultural heritage, protection of natural resources, and sustainability, both in practice and design. They also combine outstanding comfort and service, natural beauty, and functionality. Where you stay along the way can greatly enhance any journey. Options abound, but these are some of our favorites.
Harmonious luxury distinguishes this extraordinary resort, which spreads across two adjacent islands known as Song Saa, the Khmer word for “sweethearts.” The 27 individual villas—built over the water, in the jungle, and along the island shores—were ecologically designed to showcase, but not intrude upon, the marine reserve that surrounds this sanctuary. Artisanal furnishings, created from local beach driftwood and old fishing boat timber, add a special accent to the exquisite accommodations.
Eight beautiful acres of tropical gardens and rice paddies surround this 5-star luxury resort at the doorstep of Siem Reap and the ruins of Angkor. Intricate, traditional Cambodian design infuses the 45 wooden, eco-sensitive bungalows built on stilts, while the Spa Temple offers an encounter with time-honored healing techniques, and wellness and beauty recipes blend the art of alchemy with the science of uniquely local ingredients.
Accessible only by boat, and set along the peaceful Tatai River in the lush southwestern corner of Cambodia, this floating villa resort offers an ultimately unique experience amid virgin rainforest flora and fauna. The sustainable design is completely environmentally calibrated, and the local community runs the lodge, ensuring that every need and whim is well tended to with inimitable Cambodian hospitality.
Embark on a whirlwind adventure and spend the next three weeks taking in the highlights of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. If you are looking for fantastic landscapes to photograph, amazing food to try, welcoming people to befriend, or a moving, cultural experience, then this trip should be at the top of your list. Stay in world class hotels and cruise across Ha Long Bay, hike and bike through Ho Chi Minh and Siem Reap, and learn more than you thought possible about this fantastic corner of the globe.