Luxtripper Travel Editor
We loved exploring these two beautiful countries!
If the sound of a lost civilisation appeals to you, then Angkor Wat should be at the top of your bucket list! Lost within the Cambodian jungle for centuries, the ruins of this huge complex were only discovered in 1861 and it soon became acknowledged as the largest religious monument in the world.
Ready and determined to watch the sunrise behind Angkor Wat on your Cambodia holiday, we set out in the early hours of the morning to find a perfect spot. We sleepily climbed into a tuk tuk and zipped past shopkeepers setting up their colourful market stalls until we found a patch by the huge lake overlooking the main towers, and was simply blown away by how beautiful it was. We were still rubbing sleep from our eyes when suddenly the sun began peering over the temple, and a perfect reflection of the complex slowly appeared across the lake; we knew this was truly a once in a lifetime experience that we would never forget.
Head north to Ta Prohm and you'll be delighted to hear that this stunning foliage covered sanctuary of crumbling towers was the set of Tomb Raider, so you'll probably feel the urge to start posing and exploring the area as if they were the archaeologist herself! Spectacular ruins give way to an enchanting temple that feels frozen in time, as if the soaring kapok trees are protecting it from falling to dust. The winding roots and moss flanked rocks make you feel like like you’re one of the first explorers to discover a lost world. This is a must-visit destination for any Cambodia holiday!
Complete your journey at Cambodia's Bayon Temple and you won’t be disappointed by the multitude of smiling stone faces that seem to jut out from the many towers of the temple, we couldn’t help but grin back. The lower levels of the temple are filled with narrow passageways and crevices forming a maze that definitely bought out the explorer in us, while the upper level’s crumbling 37 towers and walls housed beautiful bas reliefs containing over 11,000 figures!
Balance out a day of exploring ancient ruins with an afternoon of exhilarating fun at Angkor Archaeological Park’s zip line adventure tour! We glided through towering trees and even yelped with delight at the sight of a baby gibbon as we traversed the beautiful ancient jungles and rainforests of this UNESCO Word Heritage Site, families will be delighted!
Head one hour out of town to the famous floating village for an authentic experience. We clumsily climbed into the boat and let our shoulders drop as we idyllically floated by the colourful stilted houses. Smiling local women on boats enticed us with their beautifully laden fresh fruits, and families spanning three generations all shared a long tail as they glided along the river waters. This authentic experience really opened our eyes to how the locals live their lives along the waterfront.
Siem Reap is full of incredible markets, hidden cafes and colourful buildings, and a great way to explore this region is by bike. Cambodian Barbecue is the perfect meal for a couples and families to share, as it’s not spicy and perfect for picky eaters, and you’ll also find plenty of restaurants serving it. When it gets too hot, instead of opting for ice cream why not visit Fresh Fruit Factory for a colourful shaved ice dessert? We loved the mango flavour!
After sundown, round the evening off with a walk down the road to Angkor Wat Night Market. Beautiful colonies of thatch roofed stalls house the classic elephant clad harem pants, stunning handmade silver ware, colourful fabrics and woven basket bags unique to Cambodia, and many more delicately made handicrafts. You won’t be able to resist staring at the woven bracelets and tiny elephant trinkets, don’t forget to haggle!
After all of that sightseeing and zip lining, we were due for some much needed rest and relaxation, so we paired this destination with the perfect beach escape in Phuket. Flanked by shimmering golden sands, surrounded by crystal clear water and built up enough to accommodate travellers but not so much so that you lose the culture, it’s the perfect destination for those travelling as a couple or a family.
You’ll never be short of beautiful beaches on this dazzling island, and we have always loved Karon Beach for its soft sands and gentle clear waters. We easily spent a good portion of the day laying along a sun lounger and taking in the beautiful ocean views, and its perfect blend of being not too crowded but not completely secluded makes it perfect for children as they can buddy up with others of their age to build sand castles and dig for treasure. There’s also many activities that can be enjoyed along the beachfront so adults can stay entertained too.
As with almost any Southeast Asian destination, when the sun sets and the shops close, the markets come to life! We hailed down a colourful tuk tuk and headed towards Phuket Town for the twice weekly Indie Market. As we cruised past Karon Beach’s bright lights and colourful restaurant signs, the scenery changed into Sino Portuguese buildings and we soon arrived at the market. White tented stalls housed local artisanal handcrafts and delicious smelling Thai delicacies, and we quickly grabbed Thai fish cakes, grilled chicken and sticky rice before finding a spot on a picnic table. We soon realised we had happened upon a popular spot for locals, with very little tourists in sight.
Spend at least one day hopping across the beautiful islands that are scattered throughout the Andaman Sea. We packed our beach towels while dreamy images of utopia clouded our minds and headed for the waters on a private speedboat, taking in beautiful views of the glittering waters with the wind in our hair towards Koh Phi Phi. It was here that we discovered paradise, as we approached the turquoise bay we were transfixed by the soft sands and mysterious caverns, we even saw a monkey scaling the walls!
Before we knew it we were paddling through the crystal clear waters, admiring the perfect views of colourful shoals of fish swimming by. The sublime contrast of turquoise waters, azure skies and the lush greenery flanking the soaring cliff faces that jutted out of the ocean left us mesmerised, it was like we had been dropped onto the set of Avatar, and we really didn’t want to leave.