Luxury & boutique hotels
Siem Reap, Cambodia
When to go
The cooler, drier months from November to February make rambles in the jungle more enjoyable, but the world and his wife will be there, too. The wet season, which peaks from June to October, need not put a dampener on your trip, as the landscape is lush and the showers short.
PlanesTouch down at Siem Reap International Airport (www.cambodia-airports.com) from regional gateways including Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. For connections, try Singapore Airlines (www.singaporeairlines.com) or Thai Air (www.thaiairways.com). It’s about a 40-minute flight from Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.
BoatsFast boats connect Phnom Penh and Siem Reap via the undulating Tonlé Sap river and lake (it’s still a five- to six-hour ride). Luxury cruise operators also run between Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, if aquatic action floats your boat.
AutomobilesSelf-drive is not permitted – thank goodness – because a lack of road rules makes the traffic chaotic at best. Buses ply the streets to Phnom Penh from US$6 and take six hours. If you want to explore, ask your hotel to hook you up with a reliable driver. Incurable romantics might prefer the local remorques (tuk tuks) which start at just US$15 a day.
TaxisYou can take a taxi from the airport for a flat rate of US$7 to any destination in Siem Reap. There are no metered taxis as such, but the tuk tuk drivers more than make up for it by offering their services every 10 seconds or so. Motorbikes are a cheap way to get around the temples, starting at just US$8 a day. Short hops around town are US$1 or less.
Escape in eco-luxe style to Song Saa Private Island, an effortless rustic-chic spread of private-pool villas dotting pristine Koh Rong islands. Feast on spanking-fresh seafood, loll in the blissful spa; a cheeky dip in the secluded outdoor bath tub is an absolute must.
Knai Bang Chatt’s modernist villas are set on Kep’s simple but stylish seafront, boasting driftwood day-beds, a gulf-view pool and art deco styling. Lazy lunches and greedy dinners are taken at the Sailing Club, but for a castaway treat staff can organise a beachfront barbecue at nearby Rabbit Island.