Angkor Wat tops the bucket list of many jetsetters, and each year they pour into the temple in a mad dash to experience its wonder, and then high tail it out of town. However, a new wonder has given visitors to Siem Reap a new reason to stay a while. Located 20 minutes from the 300-plus Buddhist and Hindu ruins of Angkor Archaeological Park lies eight-acres of lush jungle, lemongrass, and paddy fields hidden in the sleepy Cambodian countryside.
Phum Baitang, the ’green village,’ is an oasis like no other in the area, featuring 45 stilted villas inspired by traditional Cambodian rice farmer houses built of thatch, rattan, and clay tiles. Each suite has an indoor and an outdoor sitting area, a deep soaking tub, and panoramic jungle views. A few even offer private plunge pools for cooling off in the late afternoon heat.
Channel your Zen at the resort’s gorgeous seven-room Spa Temple for the ultimate indulgence and relaxation. Designed to model the area’s UNESCO-designated temples, guests can indulge in coconut-milk massages as they release their worries and achieve Nirvana.
Have your choice of local or international fusion cuisine at the two restaurants on property, Bay Phsar and Hang Bay.
Just steps from the jaw-dropping 50-meter infinity pool sits the Pool Bar offering a stunning open-air setting with extensive views of the surrounding rice paddies and gardens. If you’re looking for a more traditional vibe, venture over to the Cigar & Cocktail Lounge, set in a 100-year-old farmhouse and furnished with rattan wing chairs, pie crust tables and oriental carpets, all of which pays homage to Cambodia’s colonial history.
Should you decide to actually leave the resort, Phum Baitang’s concierge team will make sure your choice of activities include cooking classes with trips to the local market, a visit to Cambodia’s ’Great Lake’, Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, Phnom Kulen National Park, Monk blessings, shopping at Phsar Chas, Siem Reap’s oldest market, located in the old French Quarter, and of course, a tour of Angkor Wat.
Looks like Phum Baitang just gave me a new reason to visit Cambodia again, and this time, I’ll definitely stay a while.