top of page

Cambodia & Thailand an Awesome Combination! Part 1

Cambodia, especially Angkor Wat, had been a dream destination of ours for a while. We decided that four days added to the front of our trip to Thailand would be tight, yet offer just enough time for what we wanted to do and see there.We knew immediately when flew into the airport at Siem Reap that we had made the right decision.

Our chosen destination management company, Trails of Indochina,

had a representative meet us at the airport and guide us painlessly through all Cambodian country entrance requirements, airport security and even luggage retrieval. When you are bleary eyed after a long flight, there is nothing better than spotting a man at the gate holding a sign with your name on it and ready to do everything for you. After an easy drive from the airport to the hotel, we began our three night stay at the legendary Raffles hotel.

We chose to stay at the iconic Raffles Hotel, the first modern hotel ever built in Cambodia. Although there are now many fine five star hotels in Siem Reap, for me Raffles is “the one”- the one with the long and storied history, the one that makes you truly feel as though you have stepped back in time. And being first to build in a location has it’s benefits! Raffles is located a mere five miles away from the Unesco world heritage site Angkor Wat, so you couldn’t be situated in a better spot for your explorations.

Spoiler alert: you may endure some small humorous inconveniences in Cambodia. During check in on the first night, the lights in the lobby flickered a bit. Suddenly we were sitting in darkness. Presumably a fuse had blown. You would think someone besides you would mention a thing like that, but no. The employees checking us in, the door staff, everyone just carried on speaking in the dark, pouring perfectly brewed welcome tea without spilling a drop, as if nothing had happened. Eventually the lights came back on, a nice man in a crisp white uniform handed me a pen and I could see where to sign my name on the check in form. Hilarious.

It is the many small things like imperfect electricity and an aged old fashioned cage elevator that make Raffles feel like the truly special place it is. Stepping foot into the lobby, the unique 1930’s décor,

combined with the iconic uniforms that the door staff wear, will magically transport you to another time and place. Dark wood adorns the entire hotel, while black and white marble floors, gilded brass and silver plated accents in the French colonial style give it a rich and bountiful atmosphere. In the evening the lights give everything a flickering glow and you can’t help but feel that you are a part of an amazing piece of history.

Even their world famous Elephant Bar with its silver-plated elephant decorations and dark furniture perfectly juxtapose the gaudy with the luxurious. Had Humphrey Bogart visited Siem Reap, this would have been his bar. After check in, we of course sat where he would have sat, sipped Singapore Slings (invented by their Sister Raffles hotel in Singapore) and drank in our surroundings while looking forward to our first full day in country. This was going to be an adventure!

bottom of page