Located in Cambodia’s cultural capital, Siem Reap, Amansara is positioned close to Angkor, the vast, Unesco-protected ruins of the once-powerful Khmer empire. Formerly the mid-century modernism guesthouse of King Sihonouk, Amansara has been tastefully restored. Faith Ramos has worked for 10 years organising bespoke temple tour itineraries and excursions for guests to experience local culture and traditions. 

Faith Ramos
Image: Gillian McLaren Faith Ramos

Where’s the party? Sunset drinks at Banana Leaf, listening to live jazz. 
Nightcap at classy cocktail bar Miss Wong, for Indochine Martini or Mango Mai Tai.

Best eatery loved by locals? Banteay Srey Restaurant, original family run restaurant since the 1970s, uses heirloom recipes.

An outdoor activity? 
Kayaking Tonle Sap Lake during the monsoon, when the lake expands to five times its normal size.

Image: Gillian McLaren

The best new, high-end restaurant? Malis serves Khmer dishes created by master chef Luu Meng, inspired by traditional recipes.

What’s on at the theatre? Phare, the Cambodian Circus, tells stories about Khmer traditions and beliefs, in high energy, enthusiastic acrobatic stunts, accompanied by traditional Cambodian and modern music.

A celebration we shouldn’t miss? Angkor Sankranta, the three-day Khmer New Year Festival at the Angkor Archaeological Park, when Angkor Wat is lit up and open for the evening. View local handicrafts, cultural performances from different provinces and traditional games.

An important cultural event? Bon Om Tuk, the annual water festival featuring boat races on the Siem Reap River.

Amansara’s rooftop terrace
Image: Gillian McLaren Amansara’s rooftop terrace

Great local music? The Cambodian Space Project, featuring 1960s Khmer rock songs.

Local markets? Sunday Farmers’ Market at the Asana Old Wooden House. For authentic local products, Shinta Mani Made in Cambodia Market, Hup Guan Street. 

What is the signature dish of Cambodia and where can the best example be found? Nom Ben Chok – delicious, freshrice noodles with a delicately flavoured green curry and lashings of freshly chopped herbs and local salad. The best version is at Amansara’s Traditional Wooden House.

Best contemporary art gallery? Constable Gallery at Large in Hup Guan Street, Kandal Village.

Amansara spa lounge
Image: Gillian McLaren Amansara spa lounge

Best local spa? Amansara Spa has blind masseurs who give sensitive, intuitive massages, or Frangipani Spa in Hup Guan Street, Kandal Village.

Top things not to miss? Sunrise at Angkor Wat. Finedining at Cuisine Wat Damnak –  one of the top 50 restaurants in Asia – where chef Joannes Riviere’s innovative menus use locally grown and foraged wild ingredients. 

Strangler fig tree roots at Ta Prohm temple
Image: Gillian McLaren Strangler fig tree roots at Ta Prohm temple
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