Temples, Tuk Tuks & Tranquility: My Business Travel Experience in Siem Reap

Cambodia, whose tourism slogan is “Kingdom of Wonder” is home to over 15 million people.  Siem Reap is one of the more popular destinations in Cambodia, made famous because of Angkor Wat – the famed temple complex and largest religious monument in the world, on a site measuring 162.6 hectares.

The famous Angkor Wat

Siem Reap is one of the more popular destinations in Cambodia, made famous because of Angkor Wat

I was recently in Siem Reap for business as my company was engaged in training a global athletics brand who were having a retreat there. My husband and I decided to both go so we could service the client and squeeze in some sight-seeing.

Tourism is booming in Cambodia, and air traffic for Cambodia’s three international airports increased by 23% in the first 6 months of this year

According to latest statistics, tourism is booming in Cambodia, and air traffic for Cambodia’s three international airports increased by 23% in the first 6 months of this year, compared to last year. These numbers are bolstered by more business travellers to the country. As roads and infrastructure modernise,  Cambodia is attracting more interest as a business travel destination.

On the way to Siem Reap

The profile of business travel is changing, according to a recent press release by Booking.com – gone are the days when business travel meant executives staying in predictable hotels. Due to the changing demographic of the workforce – (by 2025, millennials will represent 75% of the global workforce), today’s business travellers want more flexibility and customisation.

Do I agree with that statement? Mostly, yes – I’m a millennial who travels for business a lot, and I’ve personally never liked large, boring, hotel chains. I have always preferred boutique hotels for the unique experiences I get.

When it comes to booking hotels, I personally prefer to use travel fare websites, rather than the hotel website directly, as I like to compare ratings, and reviews of rival hotels before I book … to me, its the fastest and most efficient way of researching where to stay.

For this business trip, I filtered a selection of hotels’ ratings, and budgets – and after reading through the reviews of several hotels, I settled on the Shinta Mani Angkor as it suited my budget, had a trendy design, and was close to Angkor Wat — a must-see for me as a first-time visitor to Siem Reap.

Early check in, and late check out

Shinta Mani Angkor is a 5-minute walk from the Old Market and Pub Street. It is a 10-minute drive from Siem Reap Airport and the Angkor Wat temple complex. This made it ideal for what I was looking for.

 

I requested an early check-in, and the hotel gladly obliged. They had also sent me an email prior to my arrival, asking if I required an airport pick-up – nice and organised!

As our car pulled up to the hotel entrance, staff at the front of the hotel greeted us with “Welcome Home”. They also handed us fragrant wet towels that were soaked in the aromatic scent of jasmine water.

Cheers!

The staff took our bags, and my husband and I were greeted with a glass of sparkling rose. The staff also informed us that our room was also available on time, and we managed to check in by 1:24pm, even though it was earlier than the standard check-in time.

 

Before being shown our room, we were given a tour of the hotel by a member of the staff, who showed us the hotel features such as the pool, the bar, and the restaurant.

Our room, a Superior King with Garden View, had a very trendy, black and white design.  I appreciated little touches such as having music on the minute we walked in, and also having the air-con already cool the room, thus making us feel more comfortable.

 

Other design touches I liked include a painting on the ceiling of a temple overcome by tree. To me it looked like the famous tree of Ta Prohm – a temple in Angkor Wat, reminding visitors of nature’s power and ability to overwhelm man.

I also loved the small outdoor garden leading up the room, which made us feel like we were part of nature, and not in a stuffy hotel room.

Fish Amok, one of the most popular dishes in Cambodia, comprises of fish steamed in banana leaf with a mixture of spices and coconut milk.

Fish Amok and Angkor Wat

Fish Amok, one of the most popular dishes in Cambodia, comprises of fish steamed in banana leaf with a mixture of spices and coconut milk. The taste is like a creamier, richer, version of the Balinese Pepes Ikan.

Mad about fish amok!

Shinta Mani’s Kroya restaurant serves both classic Western dishes and Cambodian dishes. I tried the Fish Amok and it did not disappoint –it seemed to have the perfect balance of spices, fish, and coconut milk.

Of course the perfect business trip also comprises of having some time to see interesting sights, so I had also asked the hotel to arrange a trip to Angkor Wat, arguably the most famous attraction in Siem Reap, and also made famous due to its protected status, and depiction in Hollywood movies such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

The hotel had their own tuk-tuk driver, who spoke a good amount of English, wore a smart-looking uniform, and came armed with a cool box

This reservation was organised seamlessly by the hotel. The hotel had their own tuk-tuk driver, who spoke a good amount of English, wore a smart-looking uniform, and came armed with a cool box storing wet towels and mineral water bottles for the journey.

I requested for a late checkout to reduce the time I spent at the airport, and the Shinta Mani came through yet again.

This made the trip to Angkor Wat more pleasant. Seeing Angkor Wat in its splendor was like taking a journey back in time.

After seeing Angkor Wat, we were greeted by our friendly tuk-tuk driver, who got us back safely, and even allowed us to make an additional stop – to get some pills from the pharmacy as I wasn’t feeling well. Again, a nice touch of customer service, seeing that he could have asked us for more fare to cover the extra distance.

I requested for a late checkout to reduce the time I spent at the airport, and the Shinta Mani came through yet again.

My verdict? Its funky design, thoughtful customer service, and convenient location made this a great choice to experience the best of Siem Reap.

For this, I give the Shinta Mani Angkor, 4.5 out of 5 stars.

 

 

 

 

Know any great hotels for us to review? Contact liyana@ladyboss.asia. 

Written By

Liyana is a Co-Founder and Editor of LadyBoss. She is also Co-Founder of Anagram Group, a corporate training company which serves over 100 MNCs and government clients in Singapore, Asia, and the UK. She also advises SMEs on their marketing communications strategy through her communications consultancy, Anagram Communications. Prior to Anagram, Liyana was Head of Communications for Singapore's largest foreign chamber, and Content Editor of Singapore Business Review. Outside of work, Liyana enjoys travel and spending time with her husband and baby twins.

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