I travelled to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat. The city of Angkor Thom represents ancient urban planning at its best. This ‘city of temples’ incorporates canals, large water reservoirs and, of course, temples, including the famous Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Prohm. I love ancient societies and historic locations. The Angkor Wat temple complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one can easily understand why. It’s SO impressive. The history of the temple really sparked my imagination and curiosity. The place is filled with horror, beauty and greatness.
My favourite Cambodian location was Angkor Thom, where the jungle and ancient temples have become one. The place has a fairy-tale and magical vibe that is only enhanced by the fact that you have spent countless hours during your youth playing Tomb Raider on PlayStation, dreaming that you were as cool as Lara Croft while combing through a poorly rendered 3D version of Angkor Thom in search of artefacts.
In addition, I can highly recommend attending a temple dinner if you get the chance. I enjoyed a festive evening of cocktails, dinner and traditional entertainment at Thommanon Temple, a well-preserved Hindu temple which is believed to have been built at the same time work began on Angkor Wat.
I stayed at the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor. Just five miles from Angkor Wat, this hotel has been restored to its original colonial glory and features a spa, a 35-metre lap pool and shops full of local crafts. I had to have some of all those beautiful handmade and local artworks sent home – I literally hoarded them and would never have been able fit so much into my suitcase. I do love interior design, and they make such wonderful things in Cambodia.
I also went on a boat tour of Tonle Sap, southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake, passing the Chong Khneas Floating Village. Here, the villagers spend their entire lives on the lake, which features floating shops, churches and schools.