Bucket list travel is back

“Wonders of the World” and “Bucket List” are terms that are used often, but often inappropriately, in the travel industry. But there is no doubt that Angkor Wat, as Cambodia’s top tourist attraction, can easily have both. As far as ruins and man-made sites are concerned, few in the world can compare. I’ve been to most of the great pyramid complexes in Mexico, Machu Picchu, the Colosseum, and other idiosyncratic sites, and I’d put Angkor Wat ahead of anything I’ve seen in this regard. It’s also bigger, so it’s more worth the extra trip.

For the past two years, I’ve been predicting a surge in Bucket List travel, as the pandemic brought home the realization that life is short and unpredictable, and that things you put off may never happen — plus, who knows what the next pair of shoes will be The drop might be? With the reopening of the pandemic shutdown, travel is getting easier again, so if Angkor Wat is one of the places you plan to visit “someday” – and it should be – you might just want to go now visit.

It’s also gotten cheaper and easier.Cambodia only reopened to tourism in November and last month Bloomberg Cambodia, with 83% of its population vaccinated, is among the top 10 best countries in the world, the report said, noting that “now is the perfect time to visit Angkor Wat… In Siem Reap, Cambodia, tourism is just starting to reopen, creating A silver lining is hope for locals and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for tourists.” A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

why go? First, the size of Angkor Wat is staggering, much larger than most people who have read about it or seen photographs expect. The name, which literally means City of Temples, is not one building, or even a group of buildings, but multiple sites containing about 1,000 buildings spread over 154 square miles—seven times the size of Manhattan !It was built in the 9th century and took 500 yearsday to 14day Over the centuries, the Angkor Archaeological Park has had much to see, and the eponymous Angkor Wat temple is just one – but a very important one. This is the reflection in the lake in front of it that appears on the postcard. Angkor Thom is technically a different ruined city nearby, but it’s also a must-see. The same goes for Ta Prohm, the overgrown jungle temple made famous for filming the original Tomb Raider movie. There are many other important temple sites including Ta Som, Ta Nei, Preah Khan, Preah Ko, Pre Rup, East Mebon and Banteay Srei, some of which are hidden gems and local secrets, rarely visited by western tourists and Very empty and often overcrowded alternative to main events. You get the idea – I was there for a few days and while I hit the highlights I left a lot unseen and planning to return, you could easily spend a week in the area.

The area is widely misunderstood by tourists who expect it to be a popular wonder like Machu Picchu or Giza, go for a day, and snap some selfies. The gateway to Angkor Wat is the modern city of Siem Reap, which is just as fascinating and much bigger than you might imagine, with an abundance of hotels, shopping, dining and other worthwhile tourist attractions such as floating villages , silk farms, cultural centers, and even a nice golf course with beautiful attractions. In between, you’re talking about an area, not a “sight” or monument, which could be part of a larger trip to Cambodia and/or Thailand, or be a great vacation spot in its own right. Despite the luxury hotels, Cambodia is an affordable place, with park tickets, guided tours and food all well worth the money.

So what’s new? I stayed at Anantara Angkor Wat when I went and loved it. I chose it because Anantara is one of those hidden gem foreign luxury brands that many American tourists balk at, but not for long. Owned by a former American pizza mogul, the fast-growing Thailand-based luxury chain has just expanded into Europe, opening a luxury golf resort in Portugal and top city hotels in Rome, Dublin and Budapest. They also own NH Hotels, including the newly opened NH New York, some of the more famous Anantara properties include the Royal Livingstone in Victoria Falls, The Palm in Dubai and Natadhu Private Island in the Maldives, while the flagship Siam is easily the best in Bangkok luxury palace. Anantara was an early player in the growing culinary tourism niche and was the first luxury chain to launch a company-wide branded culinary school program, Spice Spoons, which offers courses based on local cuisine at each location . I’ve stayed at Anantara resorts from Bali to Africa to South East Asia and have never been disappointed, so I chose them for Angkor Wat and it was great. I’m feeling better now.

While most of the top hotels here are located in the congested urban area of ​​Siem Reap, this resort is nestled in a peaceful and secluded tropical setting, yet is just minutes away from the Archaeological Park. It has great food, its own activities, and when you come back from a long day of exploring – which usually begins before sunrise – it’s an escapist haven of relaxation, with spacious and spread out accommodation, al fresco dining venue, large high end spa and gorgeous pool complex. It has Spice Spoons cooking classes focusing on Khmer-Cambodian cuisine and four dining options.

Now that Cambodia is back online, Anantara is luring tourists back with its first all-inclusive package that combines convenience and value for money. The Angkor All-Inclusive Discovery Package includes accommodation, daily breakfast, daily lunch or dinner with a choice of chef’s special tasting menu, an afternoon tea or Dining by Design at Jungle Temple (lunch or dinner set at 900 Ancient temples in the jungle, away from the tourist trails, very private, an unforgettable and unique experience) per stay, one day guided sunset quad bike (ATV) adventure, one day guided country bike tour, most Importantly, daily tours to Angkor Archaeological Park by private vehicle and English-speaking guide include temple passes. All of this is for two people and the great thing about this package is that it is customizable and available for any length from three nights or more. The package starts at $565 a night and includes meals, room and a full-day guided tour of the ruins, among other features — all for much less than what many luxury resorts charge for a room these days.

Travel safe!

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