How To Spend 48 Hours in Cambodia
I have a confession – Cambodia was not a destination on my Wishlist of places to visit in the near future; having visited Thailand and Koh Samui last year, and previously explored lots of Thailand during my Gap Year, I naively thought I’d ‘seen it all’. Oh how wrong I was.
This August, Charlie and I were invited on a press trip to Cambodia and Laos with the Avani hotel group, an opportunity far too good to turn down, and so with open minds we boarded the 13 hour flight to Bangkok, and then Siem Reap in Cambodia.
Our home during our time in Cambodia was the charming colonial style boutique hotel; FCC Angkor – Managed by Avani, which just reopened following a £5.5 million transformation. With a fascinating history, the building is a former mansion of the French colonial governor, and the decor throughout perfectly mixes the history of the building with modern luxuries. The hotel rooms surround a spectacular swimming pool (you’ve probably seen it on Instagram!) and there will soon be another extension to the property complete with a spa too – you may never want to leave the comfort of the hotel, but with some of Cambodia’s historical highlights just minutes away, there’s enough to tempt you!
If you can pull yourself away from the fabulous pool area, there’s also an art gallery showcasing John McDermott’s work, including imagery of the infamous Angkor Wat temples, as well as a gym complete with plenty of equipment for fitness bunnies to burn off all the calories consumed in the hotel restaurant!
The casual fine dining options at the hotel include a fusion of Asian and Khmer (Cambodian) food, as well as comfort food like Pizzas and Spaghetti Carbonara! Our favourites included the Green Vegetable Coconut Curry as well as the Pad Thai and Khmer flavoured chicken wings.
The hotel acted as the perfect luxurious base for our explorations of Cambodia, and with room rates starting at £115 a night, including airport transfers, breakfast and (fast!) Wi Fi, it had everything we needed and more, and most definitely a place I’d recommend you stay.
The FCC (Foreign Correspondents Club) is located close to the Siem Reap river, and a five minute walk (or one minute Tuk Tuk ride) from the Old Market area (or, as it’s less romantically known; Pub Street) which we explored during our first day to treat ourselves to a full body massage. I’d most definitely recommend popping into the Fragnipani Spa; where a 90 minute massage cost under $60, and was a truly luxury experience!
Another spot for delicious food and an incredible community support programme was Haven Cafe. Located on the fantastically named; Chocolate Street, the cafe truly is a Haven tucked away from the bustling streets, with a focus on sustainability (you won’t find any single use plastic here!) and offering a training and education programme to those born into poverty and with little or no access to education. I’d definitely recommend a fresh coconut to sip on while you chat with the owners about their incredible project.
Of course, the main attraction and my Cambodia highlight was our sunrise tour of Angkor Wat. The 4am alarm was totally worth it, as we trekked our way toward the ancient temple ruins as the sky turned from black, to violet, to hot pink and gold as the sun rose for the day. The spectacular silhouette of the world’s largest temple came into view as we watched from another of the temple structures; the photo opportunities were endless! Make sure to watch my vlog from our trip to capture just how beautiful this morning truly was!
The Ta Prohm temple below is just a 10 minute journey from the larger Angkor Wat temple; a spectacular site that’s been taken over by the jungle, silk cotton and fig trees over time tearing apart the stones which constructed the temples without mortar, but the result is an astonishing vision of man made structure and nature entwined. The site is even more popular recently thanks to it’s appearance in Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider – I must admit I did have De Ja Vu when visiting, as I’m pretty sure I’ve bolted through the temple corridors in a video game in the past!
Have you considered a visit to Cambodia? If you need a little more inspiration, have a watch of my vlog from the trip here!
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