Luxury & boutique hotels

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Dark years under Pol Pot may have taken Cambodia to the brink of collapse, but the green shoots of recovery are nowhere stronger than in Siem Reap, where a fresh crop of boutique hotels, trendy French bistros and lavish spas breathe new life into the town. Siem Reap has never needed fancy trimmings to draw visitors: its star attraction is the architectural marvel Angkor Wat. Rescued from their jungle embrace, the Angkor temples have the grand scale of the Great Wall, the iconic beauty of the Taj Mahal and the powerful symbolism of the pyramids. With its laid-back pace and good-time vibe, Siem Reap feels like a happy grin barely hidden by a shy hand.

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Areas in Siem Reap

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.

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    Found your stay cheaper elsewhere? We’ll match the price and give you a $75 voucher.

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    Enjoy extras such as a picnic lunch, champagne or spa treatments, on the house

Getting there

  • Planes

    Touch down at Siem Reap International Airport ( from regional gateways including Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. For connections, try Singapore Airlines ( or Thai Air ( It’s about a 40-minute flight from Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.
  • Boats

    Fast 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.
  • Automobiles

    Self-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.
  • Taxis

    You 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.

Sumptuous Siem Reap stays

Sumptuous Siem Reap stays

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.

Find out more about where to stay in Cambodia
Cuisine in Cambodia

Cuisine in Cambodia

You’ll never be far from sustenance in snack-loving Cambodia. Street food is king: on Phnom Penh’s rue Pasteur, try crispy nom pain pâté sandwiches or ansam (grilled sticky rice parcels stuffed with bananas or jackfruit). Kep’s cove-perched market shacks pack a culinary punch; Kimly's coconut-laced green-pepper crab, fresh from the sea, is the stuff of foodie daydreams. In Siem Reap, make like the locals and order plates of sticky lemongrass ribs in Nouveau Pho de Paris, or sample Cuisine Wat Damnak’s delectable Khmer tasting menu – Raymond Blanc is a fan. Whatever you do, don’t leave without getting a taste of The Blue Pumpkin’s salty-sweet caramel cashew nut ice-cream.

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Must-see in Siem Reap

Must-see in Siem Reap

You’d be mad, of course, to miss the enigmatic splendour of Angkor, a sprawling complex of pink-tinged granite temples, carving-lined riverbeds and mirror-smooth reservoirs. Laid-back colonial Siem Reap is sleepy by day and heady by night; it pays to spend a day or two sampling its sybaritic pleasures (Heritage Suites’ Bodia Spa is a Smith favourite) before venturing further afield. Phnom Penh beckons with its dizzying mess of bars, daredevil motodops and charming Mekong riverfront; beyond, sugar-palm dotted paddy fields extend to stretches of idyllic beaches, sleepy seaside Kep and Mondulkiri’s unspoilt jungles and waterfalls.

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