“The spiritual and cultural heart of Cambodia is Siem Reap, home to famous temples (UNESCO site Angkor Wat is just one of many) as well as a great arts scene, and first-class restaurants and shopping,” says Susan Moynihan, founder of The Honeymoonist. The combination of old and new, plus the magnificence of the surrounding temples, makes it a beautiful, spiritual place.
While you’re there: Get to Angkor Wat early for sunrise—not only is it an amazing experience, but you beat the heat and the crowds,” says Moynihan. Siem Reap is also a top pick for spa enthusiasts. “Khmer massage has its roots in Cambodia’s long Buddhist tradition, and was originally designed for monks coming out of long periods of repose. The treatment doesn’t use oil, so it’s great for those with sensitive skin, and the deep strokes and stretching relieves pressure and helps with circulation,” adds Moynihan. Try Frangipani Spa, a Cambodian-run spa in the city’s artsy French Quarter.
Where to stay: Belmond La Residence d’Angkor is a luxury boutique hotel within walking distance of restaurants and the city’s famous night market. “The shady courtyard pool is the perfect place to retreat after a steamy morning exploring the temples before hitting the spa,” says Moynihan. “Try a traditional Khmer massage, or go for the clothed Indochina Signature massage, which incorporates elements of Thai massage as well. They also offer a traditional Water Blessing, done by a Cambodian monk—it’s free for guests.”
Moynihan never leaves home without: Eminence Organic Sun Defense Minerals powder sunscreen with SPF 30. “This is my favorite travel product,” says Moynihan. “It’s a brush-on sunscreen so you don’t have to worry about carrying liquids through airport screening.”
Our expert: Susan Moynihan, founder of The Honeymoonist
Text by: Leigh Crandall
Top Photo: Shutterstock.com