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My Love Affair with Cambodia: A Journey of Culture, community and creativity

Posted on November 22, 2023, featured in Experiences

In my extensive travels around the world, Cambodia has always been one of my absolute favourite destinations! 

The country’s blend of rich history, captivating culture, and the unforgettable stay at Shinta Mani WILD and Shinta Mani Angkor in Siem Reap have etched a permanent mark on my heart.  I also had the great pleasure of meeting Bill Bensley, for over 35 years, Bill has been designing some of the world’s most iconic hotels, resorts, spas, homes and sometimes even palaces. Shinta Mani are part of his collect. An icon in architecture and design he spared me 30 mins to chat to him about anti-poaching and art.. I was star struck and I hope to get him away from his gorgeous home in Bangkok and out to Africa to see me at some stage!   

For more on Bill Bensley’s work, click HERE

Shinta Mani Angkor: A Gateway to Cambodia’s Soul

Shinta Mani Angkor located in Siem Reap and boasts rooms and villas, I was lucky enough to be in a villa and spend time at this classy and elegant location. This was a gateway to the heart of Cambodian culture. The resort beautifully encapsulated the essence of Cambodia, melding traditional Khmer aesthetics with modern chic. Every corner of Shinta Mani Angkor resonated with the country’s rich heritage, making it an integral part of my Cambodian experience.  Bill does this so well!!   

Combine this with Shinta Mani WILD… and you have a superb all round experience… and maybe a little city Phnom Pen! 

Artisan Workshops:

At Shinta Mani, I delved into the world of Cambodian artistry. The hands-on experience with local artisans in pottery and stone carving was not just about learning skills but about immersing myself in the country’s artistic soul. 

Spa Indulgence:

The spa treatments, rooted in ancient Khmer healing traditions, were a sensory journey. Each therapy was not only rejuvenating but also provided a deep sense of connection to Cambodian wellness practices. 

DINING:

Great restaurants abound with local tasting menus.. take advantage of the excellent fresh produce! 

A Sensory Retreat

Artisan Workshops: At Shinta Mani, I delved into the world of Cambodian artistry. The hands-on experience with local artisans in pottery and stone carving was not just about learning skills but about immersing myself in the country’s artistic soul.

Spa Indulgence: The spa treatments, rooted in ancient Khmer healing traditions, were a sensory journey. Each therapy was not only rejuvenating but also provided a deep sense of connection to Cambodian wellness practices.

Beyond the Hotel: Embracing Cambodia’s Essence

The Majesty of Angkor Wat

Exploring Angkor Wat was a transcendent experience. The temple’s architectural grandeur and historical depth were awe-inspiring. Walking among the ancient ruins, I felt a profound connection to the stories and spirituality etched into every stone.

Vibrant Life on Tonlé Sap Lake

The visit to the floating villages on Tonlé Sap Lake was eye-opening. Witnessing the unique lifestyle of these communities, floating harmoniously on the lake, offered a glimpse into the resilience and adaptability of the Cambodian people.

Culinary Discoveries

Cambodian cuisine was a revelation. The rich flavors and fresh ingredients in dishes like fish amok and beef lok lak provided a delicious insight into the country’s culinary traditions.

Shinta Mani Wild – Phnom Penh Access – Cardamom National Park:

Shinta Mani Wild, an incredible property located at the edge of Cardamom National Park, offered a unique opportunity to connect with nature while enjoying world-class design and hospitality. The property, perched on a 25-meter-wide boulder, provides a sense of adventure like no other.

Must-Do Experiences at Shinta Mani Wild:

Hiking: Explore the lush wilderness surrounding the resort through guided hikes, discovering the biodiversity of Cardamom National Park.

Anti-Poaching: Engage in conservation efforts and learn about the crucial work being done to protect unique and endangered species.

Sundowners: Enjoy breathtaking sunset views from the resort’s unique vantage point, where you can unwind with a drink and soak in the natural beauty.

Food: Savor gourmet cuisine prepared with locally sourced ingredients, complemented by the stunning natural backdrop.

Song Saa Private Island: Nature Regenerates and Connection Awakens

My journey also took me to Song Saa Private Island, where nature regenerates, and connection awakens. This private island resort offers more than just a luxurious getaway; it’s a commitment to community and conservation. The natural beauty of the island and its surroundings left me in awe.

Why Cambodia Is Unparalleled: A Kingdom of Kindness and Joy

Cambodia is a magical, gentle land that appeals to all of our senses. The warmth of its people, the richness of its history, and the natural beauty of its landscapes create a symphony of experiences that are both enchanting and grounding. Whether you’re exploring the majesty of Angkor, savoring the culinary delights, or immersing yourself in conservation efforts, Cambodia offers a journey like no other. I never tire of visiting this kingdom of kindness and joy, and I would love to share this incredible destination with you.

Experience the magic of Colombia and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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