Wednesday, July 27, 2011

SIEM REAP

(includes Kbal Spean & Roluos)

BARS & NIGHTCLUBS

Abacus – Ph Oum Khun Phlauv Sivatha; 011-855-63-966-156; cafeabacus.com; outdoor bar.
Arts Lounge – Sivutha Boulevard (at Hotel de la Paix); 011-855-63-966-000; hoteldelapaixangkor.com; contemporary works fill minimalist space, where designer cocktails offered; try Oolong Kiwi Sling (tea and vodka).
Linga Bar – Pub Street Alley (“the Passage,” near Old Market, in Siem Reap Town, directly across from John McDermott Gallery Annex and One Hotel Angkor); 011-855-12-246-912; lingbar.com; mixed, gay-friendly dance club with killer mojitos.
Martini Lounge – River Road (at La Residence d’Angkor), 2nd Floor; 011-855-63-963-390; residencedangkor.com; both garden and pool views.
Miss Wong – the Lane (behind Pub Street Alley); 011-855-92-428-332; vintage Shanghai scene, with intimate leather booths; try Indochine Martini (vodka, ginger cognac, and fresh pineapple juice).



HOTELS
Alila Sothea – National Road No. 6 (Khum Svay Dangkum); 011-855-63-966-788; alilahotels.com/sothea.
Amansara – Road to Angkor; 011-855-63-760-335 or 800-477-9180; amanresorts.com; King Sihanouk’s former guest villa; minimalist; of 24 guest suites, 12 have private plunge pools; price includes ruins tour.
FCC Angkor Boutique – Pokambor Avenue; 011-855-63-760-280; fcccambodia.com; lovely and modern.
Hotel de la Paix – Sivutha Boulevard; 011-855-63-966-000; hoteldelapaixangkor.com; Art Deco and Khmer styles combined; in-house art gallery; pool.
La Residence d’Angkor – River Road; 011-855-63-963-390; residencedangkor.com; hardwood floors, silk, and bamboo accents and giant whirlpool tubs.
Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor – 1 Vithei Charles de Gaulle (Khum Svay Dang Kum); 011-855-63-963-888 or 800-768-9009; raffles.com; 5 miles from Angkor Wat; colonial-style hotel fronted by 15 acres of gardens; swimming pool.
Samar Villas & Spa Resort – 115 Group 7 (Phum Tropeang Ses Khum Kochok Srok); 011-855-63-762-449; samarvillas.com; closer to Angkor than other hotels; on intimate scale; tucked behind ornate wooden fence in residential neighborhood; built in traditional Khmer design, with pointed roofs and intricately carved trim; 5 suites, 2 villas, and apartment, most of which overlook oval pool; men receive complimentary daily shave in lobby.
Sofitel Royal Angkor – Vithei Charles De Gaulle (Khum Svay Dang Angkor); 011-855-63-964600; sofitel.com; French colonial style with Khmer touches; very beautiful.
Viroth’s Hotel – 0658 Wat Bo Village; 011-855-63-761-720; viroth-hotel.com; minimalist, welcome respite from temple overload.



RESTAURANTS
Abacus – Ph Oum Khun Phlauv Sivatha; 011-855-63-966-156; cafeabacus.com; French-inflected cuisine.
Chez Sophea & Matthieu – opposite Angkor Wat; 011-855-12-858-003; perfect for lunch; open-air restaurant with wooden tables and white linens; French food.
Cuisine Wat Damnak – Wat Damnak (behind Pagoda, between Angkor High School and Psa Dey Hoy Market); 011-855-63-965-491; cuisinewatdamnak.com; Cambodian-French fusion.
Khmer Kitchen – 1 Mondul (Sangkat Svay Dangkum); 011-855-63-964-154; khmerkitchens.com; 2 outposts, clustered near Old Market; serve amok (fish curry typically served in banana leaf); also, should try sauteed chicken with morning glory shoots.
Meric – Sivutha Boulevard (at Hotel de la Paix); 011-855-63-966-000; hoteldelapaixangkor.com; dimly-lit, Art Deco-themed; dine on hanging, cushioned daybeds, which swing alongside flame-lighted pool; try 7-course Khmer tasting menu.
Restaurant Pyongyang – 4 Airport Road; 011-855-63-760-260; traditional food, at night accompanied by traditional dance and music performances.
Sugar Palm – Ta Phul Road; 011-855-63-964-838; Cambodian home-cooking.
Viroth’s Restaurant – 246 Wat Bo Street; 011-855-12-825-346; viroth-hotel.com; minimalist, welcome respite from temple overload.



SERVICES
Frangipani Spa – 617/615 Hup Guan Street; 011-855-12-982-062; frangipanisiemreap.com; glorious 60-minute massages.
Journeys Within – off Route 6; 011-855-63-964-748; www.journeys-within.com; will arrange 3-day bird-watching trip to Tmatboey.
Spa Indochine – Sivutha Boulevard (at Hotel de la Paix); 011-855-63-966-000; hoteldelapaixangkor.com; traditional Khmer massages.



SHOPPING
Angkor Heritage – Phum Treang (at Angkor Village Resort); 011-855-63-760-068; traditional handicrafts, as well as reproductions.
Artisans d'Angkor – Stung Thmey Street; 011-855-63-963-330; artisansdangkor.com; organization that trains Cambodians in traditional arts, ranging from lacquer painting to stone carving.
Citadel Knives – 157 Street 7; 011-855-23-880-014; knives-citadel.com; everything from daggers and swords to kitchen knives.
Galerie Cambodge – 1 Vithei Charles de Gaulle (Khum Svay Dang Kum, at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor); 011-855-12-855-204; galeriecambodge.com; cotton T-shirts with lotus-flower patterns, lacquered bamboo bowls, and silk-strap, leather sandals.
Garden of Desire – Passage, Pub Street Alley; 011-855-12-319-116; gardenofdesire-asia.com; Ly Pisith's silver jewelry made with Cambodian gemstones.
McDermott Gallery – FCC Complex, Pokambor Avenue; 011-855-12-274-274; mcdermottgallery.com; emotive, dreamlike photographs of Angkor.
Old Market – Psar Chaa Road; “flea market.”
Jasmine Boutique – Pokambor Avenue (at FCC Angkor Boutique); 011-855-63-760-610; jasmineboutique.net; Phnom Penh-based fashion house that specializes in jewel-toned silk dresses.
Khmer Attitude – 1 Vithei Charles de Gaulle (Khum Svay Dang Kum, at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor); 011-855-12-855-204; khattitude.com; features silk accessories and clothing, as well as silver jewelry.
Eric Raisina – 53 Veal Village, Kok Chork; 011-855-63-963-207; ericraisina.com; originally from Madagascar, Raisina studied textile design in Paris, where received training in crochet and embroidery; beautiful, handmade clothing.
Rajana – Pub Street; 011-855-12-481-894; rajanacrafts.org; hand-painted cards and canvas bags produced by indigent Cambodians.
Samatoa – Pithnou Street; 011-855-63-96-53-10; samatoa.com; flirty flocks and quilts, specializing in silk.
Senteurs d’Angkor – Pithnou Street; 011-855-63-964-801; senteursdangkor.com; spices, coffee, bath products.
Theam's House – 25 Veal Village, Kok Chork; 011-855-1271-2039; theamshouse.com; Theam Lim's personal showroom and studio.
Thev Gallery – Sivutha Boulevard (at Hotel de la Paix); 011-855-63-966-000; hoteldelapaixangkor.com; Asia-based and local Cambodian artists' works.



SIGHTS & SITES
Angkor Archaeological Park – 155 square-mile area that includes Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Ta Prohm, among more than 100 temples; make sure to visit Phnom Bakheng, 5-tiered rectangular temple on hill (get up at 5 a.m. and make 15-minute hike up to sandstone terrace, which overlooks jungle expanse); make sure to see Banteay Srei, temple renowned for intricate red sandstone carvings; also, Kbal Spean, “1K Lingas River”; make sure to see Ta Prohm Temple.
Angkor Conservation Office – Angkor Conservation Compound, Siem Reap River; 011-855-63-380-279; apsaraangkor.com; has Ks relics in restoration process; by appointment only; may need to ask local or tour group to arrange.
Angkor National Museum – 968 Vithei Charles de Gaulle; angkornationalmuseum.com; 011-855-63-966-601; although looks like mall from outside, beautiful collection inside.
Beng Mealea – 45 miles from Siem Reap on road to Koh Ker; sprawling sandstone temple nearly consumed by jungle.
Cambodia Landmine Museum – 20 miles northeast of Siem Reap, on road to Banteay Srei; 011-855-12-598-951; cambodialandminemuseum.org; jarring reminder of country’s 3 decades of war.
Kbai Spean – Kulen Hills (16 miles from main Angkor monument group); Angkorian era archaeological site; stone carvings in sandstone formations carved in river banks & bed; also known as “Valley of K Lingas”; motifs for stone carvings are mainly myriad lingams (phallic symbol of Hindu god Shiva), depicted as neatly arranged bumps that cover the sandstone bed rock surface, and lingam-yoni designs; various Hindu mythological motifs, including depictions of gods Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Lakshmi, Rama, and Hanuman, as well as animals (cows & frogs).
Old Market – Psar Chaa; good place for street food breakfast.
Roluos Group – Roluos; oldest, and original, temples in area, consisting of Bakong and Preah Ko.

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