As midlife women, it’s time to embrace the power of positive ageing
As midlife women, it’s time to embrace the power of positive ageing

Ellie Balfe

Thinking of making a career change? These are the books you should read first
Thinking of making a career change? These are the books you should read first

Erin Lindsay

This picturesque, split-level home in Delgany is on the market for €995,000
This picturesque, split-level home in Delgany is on the market for €995,000

Sarah Finnan

How I Got Here: Pamela O’Neill, head of the dispute management at Eversheds Sutherland
How I Got Here: Pamela O’Neill, head of the dispute management at Eversheds Sutherland

Megan Burns

Supper Club: Kevin Dundon’s courgette and feta pasta salad
Supper Club: Kevin Dundon’s courgette and feta pasta salad

IMAGE

A seafront Skerries home has been given a luxe update with rich colours and hotel-inspired details
A seafront Skerries home has been given a luxe update with rich colours and hotel-inspired...

Megan Burns

Paul Carlucci: ‘There’s no better investment than buying books and letting yourself be swept away’
Paul Carlucci: ‘There’s no better investment than buying books and letting yourself be swept away’

Sarah Gill

The secrets to marriage and relationships according to couples together 10, 20, 30 and 40 years
The secrets to marriage and relationships according to couples together 10, 20, 30 and 40...

Amanda Cassidy

This peaceful Victorian-era Galway home is on the market for €1.65 million
This peaceful Victorian-era Galway home is on the market for €1.65 million

Sarah Finnan

Ask the Doctor: ‘Is there a device similar to a leadless single-chamber pacemaker that can be fitted to the atrium?’
Ask the Doctor: ‘Is there a device similar to a leadless single-chamber pacemaker that can...

Sarah Gill

Image / Editorial

Cambodia Travel Diary: Part 1


By IMAGE
15th Jun 2014
Cambodia Travel Diary: Part 1

La Residence - bedroom

See More Photos
In this two-part series, Annemarie O’Connor travels to South East Asia to experience Cambodia’s unique culture…

Adventures by definition require bold undertakings of uncertain outcome. Travelling 24 hours and over 10,000 kilometers to South East Asia is hardly the stuff of Ferdinand Magellan (more like Emirates) but given this was my first trip to Cambodia; you could call it a risk. Prior to having boarded three planes: Dublin to Dubai, Dubai to Bangkok, Bangkok to Siem Reap, my knowledge of the ancient kingdom was limited to the historical scars of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge; with cursory references to Angkor Wat and, of course, Angelina Jolie. Once there my limited expectations would create room for an ineffable experience.

Here are the highlights:

SIEM REAP

DIGS

My travelling companion and I started our 10-day trip at Siem Reap: the gateway to Cambodia and home to its crowning temple, UNESCO World Heritage site and 7th Wonder of the World – Angkor Wat. Our digs, the French colonial Belmond La Residence d?Angkor, made a handy hub for sightseeing (2-minute tuk-tuk to the centre of town) and equally for relaxing (think 1-hour post flight Ylang Ylang massage.) The helpful staff was spot on with recommendations, such as guided temple tours (effective for the time-strapped) and local restaurant bookings (try the Chanrey Tree for Khmer cuisine like crispy sticky rice and Beef Lok Lak.) They also provided a traditional Cambodian water blessing from the monastery’s resident monks – a ceremony to impart good luck, long life and happiness.

TEMPLES

With only 48 hours in town, we opted for a two-pronged approach to tackling the vast network of temples, many of which are best viewed at sunrise or sunset and prone to heavy tourist traffic. A 45-minute helicopter tour targeted Angor Wat – a Khmer temple designed as a microcosm of the Hindu cosmological universe – without having to resurrect our jetlagged bodies at 4am. Bonus. Moreover, the pilot provided staggering evidence of reclining golden Buddhas carted by elephants to the top of the Kulen mountains. Keen to supplement this ariel overview, we took a guided tour of Ta Phrom, the ?Tree Temple? and film location for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Bantey Kidei, famous for its female aspara (dancing deity) and devata (divine guardian) carvings; and climbed to the top of Pre Rup – a symbolic mountaintop residence of the gods.

NIGHTLIFE

The frisson of Pub Street with its overflowing bars and night markets may not be everyone’s cup of green tea but it would be remiss not to experience it. Swathes of embroidered silks, food vendors selling fried tarantula (yes, that’s right!) and artisan Buddha statues provide much of the nocturnal theatre. Warning: If buying a Buddha, opt for replicas as opposed to antiques or reliquaries, which are forbidden under Cambodian law. And as for that nightcap, head back to The Martini Lounge at La Residence for a lemon meringue basil libation and a promise to return.

BLACK BOOK

Stay ??www.belmond.com/la-residence-d-angkor-siem-reap

Eat ??www.chanreytree.com

See ??www.helistarcambodia.com

Buy ??www.senteursdangkor.com