Shinta Mani Siem Reap

Shinta Mani Siem Reap is a group of private oasis villas shaded by the gardens of the royal residence, ensconced within the vibrant streets of Siem Reap, near the magical Angkor Wat temple complex. This opulent oasis has just ten private villas with custom designed furniture and a private pool.

As tempting as it is to hide away in your villa, we encourage you to explore, especially since we have our own eateries to steer you to. Try the seasonal, seven-course Khmer Tasting Menu (inspired by the local harvest) at Kroya, pause for a sundowner at Bensley’s Bar, or sample a selection of fine Khmer beef farmed and aged locally at The Steakhouse. Say the word, and whether it’s an indulgent breakfast in the morning sun, afternoon tea, or cocktails and canapés — your butler is poised to make it happen for you on your private roof terrace.

“Bensley’s – a bar with a heart” is located on the second floor at Shinta Mani Angkor with a birds-eye view of Siem Reap street life in the historic palace quarter. Join us for a sundowner and tapas before heading off to dinner downstairs at Kroya, or the Steakhouse Siem Reap. The profit from your Gin & Tonic will support one-day of training for one student at Hotel school. The profit from your Bottle of Wine will support five-days of training for one-student at Hotel-school. Get tipsy and feel even better about it!

Each villa offers 1562 meters across two pavilions including a floor to ceiling glassed bathroom with views over the garden and outdoor bathtub and rain shower. Inside the living space, three dimensional murals have been carved to render the romantic folds of Jayavarman’s robe – one of the Khmer Kings known for his powerful pioneering spirit – the perfect complement to such exquisite surrounds.

Each spacious villa overlooks its own serene green garden through floor-to-ceiling glass windows, with an outdoor bathtub and rain shower to spy on. In the living room, bold murals evoke the folds of Khmer king Jayavarman’s robes – famed for his pioneering spirit, it’s only right this trailblazing stay should pay him tribute.

Custom-made furniture, handcrafted light fittings and artwork bringing Khmer lore to life. Even sleeping here is an indulgence, thanks to blissfully comfortable beds, Khmer-inspired bed sheets, personalised pillows and golden bamboo bedside towers.

Angkor Wat is far from the only reason to visit Siem Reap. Experience the vibrant and colourful contemporary culture of the people that live here, too. Modern day charisma comes from art, performance, food, crafts, song and dance unique to this region of South-East Asia. Discover it for yourself — just borrow one of our bikes, always available by the front door.

Ella Boat Ride

Life on South-East Asia’s largest freshwater lake has adapted in ingenious ways to the annual rise and fall of water caused by the phenomenal back flow of the Mekong River feeding the lake during the monsoon. The communities that live around the margins of the lake cope with huge seasonal variations in water levels by building their homes on floating bamboo rafts or 10m stilts.

Today you have the opportunity aboard Ella, our custom traditional wooden boat, to explore this unique, ever-transforming landscape. Cruise through Meachrey floating village, cocktail inh and, listening to bird calls and watching rural life pass you by as the sun sets across this glistening water world. Choose to either sit inside the boat, or on the roof for more panoramic views. (Sep-Jan)

Hidden Temple Hike

Morning or Evening - Hidden Temple Hike

Head into the countryside within the Angkor Archaeological Park on foot for a gentle half day hike on flat terrain (around 9-10km) to some of our favorite secret and secluded temples. The walk begins along an ancient irrigation channel to the moat of the ancient city of Angkor Thom. Follow the walls in the shade of tall Dipterocarp trees and pass through Angkor Krau village to reach Prasat Prei temple. This consists of a single tower plus a fire shrine, all enclosed by a laterite wall with gates to east and west. The entire compound is enclosed by a moat, brimming with life during the rainy season.

Continue on for a mile through bush, skirting small paddy fields then enter the forest surrounding Prasat Banteay Thom temple. In the thirteenth century Banteay Thom would have rivaled many of the temples in the main Angkor complex but time and looters have taken their toll on the carvings. A surviving pediment worth noting is the young Buddha’s ‘Great Departure’ on a horse. In the right-hand tower a large hole beneath a pedestal suggests that thieves had been searching for buried treasure, a common theme in remote temples across the country. There are no roads to Banteay Thom so you will most likely have the experience of an atmospheric temple completely to yourself.

Early - Angkor Wat Sunrise and Exploration

(4.45 AM – 8.30 AM)

A sunrise tour starts at predawn to witness the breathtaking view of the tropical sun emerging from behind the iconic lotus towers of Angkor Wat. Constructed over a period of 30 years during the reign of King Suryavarman II [AD1113], by some measures it is the largest religious complex in the world. Originally a Hindu mountain temple aligned to the spring equinox, around the C16th it was converted to a Theravada Buddhist monument, a capacity in which it continues today.

Explore the well preserved central complex and detailed bas-reliefs depicting scenes from Hindu mythologies and battles of the ancient empire. The beauty in balance and composition, combined with its sheer vast scale ensure Angkor Wat’s place as the crowning achievement in Khmer art and architecture. This is truly one of travel’s remaining great adventures.

Banteay Chhmar by Helicopter

Depart early by private helicopter to the remote sprawling archaeological site of Banteay Chhmar, ‘Citadel of the Cat’. A national treasure, this temple complex is rarely visited due to its distant location which gives visitors a sense of first-time discovery. The remoteness of the site makes visitors few and far between: you may find that you have this temple to yourself.

Unlike many other Angkor temples Banteay Chhmar has never been restored and has succumbed to severe looting over the years, being listed several times as one of the hundred most endangered sites in the world by the World Monuments Fund. Experts have claimed that the temple rivaled Angkor Wat in size and magnificence and it has been estimated that it took about 20,000 laborers and about 30 years to build it. Highlights of Banteay Chhmar include the exceptional bas-reliefs on the walls, although many are much damaged due to vandalism or theft.

Cooking Class

Feeling inspired by the tasty Khmer specialties, Kroya Restaurant has commenced cooking classes to bring guests closer to the secrets of the Cambodian cuisine. Cooking class starts with a morning visit to one of the old markets, also known as the Psa Chas. Our Executive Chef will guide you through the market and teach you more about the local produce and herbs for the class. Ingredients that are typically used in Khmer cooking include turmeric, kafir lime leaves, ginger, lemongrass, dried chilli and galangal. Following the visit to the market, guests will return to the hotel and start the class in a private space within Kroya. Each participant will receive a cook book featuring the four traditional Khmer dishes that will be created during the class. Dishes include mango salad, fish amok, beef sour soup and sticky rice dumplings. Once the meal has been prepped and cooked under the careful guidance of our Executive Chef, these delicious dishes will be enjoyed for lunch.

Single Magic Day

Take your time to walk through the temple from the West entrance to the East entrance to meet again with our driver (walk 1–2 km). From the Northwest of Ta Prohm we shall walk (15 minutes) through the forest to the lightly visited temple of Ta Nei. There is a reasonable chance of having this beautiful Angkor temple to yourself to explore. Pause for a light breakfast around this peaceful area before exploring further. End the morning at Ta Keo temple, known as the “mountain with bronze peaks”, and admire its five-tiered pyramid structure.

Tonle Sap Lake

Depart Siem Reap on a 45-minute drive through beautiful rural Cambodia along traditional dirt roads to the Port of Mechrey, a small rarely-visited fishing village on the edge of the great lake. Here we board our specially-designed shallow-drafted boat—originally used by park rangers to catch poachers—to enable us to reach the shallowest water areas and travel at speed. Through near empty waterways with remnants of floating villages and flooded forests all around, we zip across the water to the authentic village of Prek Toal, a permanent floating settlement complete with church, schools and village stores. A hive of activity, Preak Toal is the Tone Sap’s largest floating village and the jump off point for the best birdlife spotting in the region (season dependent). From here we circle out to the edge of the vast lake (which looks more like a sea) before stopping for a picnic lunch. We supply plenty of cool drinks and encourage interaction with the local inhabitants as we explore life unchanged for centuries on the lake. If we’re lucky we may spot some migrating birdlife in this area. Early morning or afternoon.

Villa Chandra

In the evening join us at ABOUTAsia’s country villa Chandara, situated in a beautiful and tranquil village to the north of the Western Baray. An impressive engineering feat, this man-made reservoir was once integral to the complex Angkorian rice irrigation system. You will travel to Chandara by boat (depending on water level) in the late afternoon. To relax here a while is an opportunity to slow down and just watch, cold drink in hand. The tempo of the Cambodian countryside is truly meditation in motion. At the end of the day you will likely see ox-carts returning from the fields, children washing their water buffalos, or playing and laughing as they jump from the bridge into the stream. While the chef prepares your Classic Dinner, you can wander across the levees of the rice paddies, look for fish traps, or walk to a viewpoint over the ancient reservoir. Listen to the elegance of traditional Khmer music played by local musicians, before being seated for your evening meal.

 

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