It is arguable that the most exciting part of a trip is the unexpected journey that unfolds while you are there. For us, the start of all of our collaborations begin without a clear path, just a few ideas and a big dream. While it is far from easy, there is a beauty in the collaboration process and the payoff is always worth it as we see the culmination of a new collection.
Known for its Khmer textiles, Cambodia had been on our minds for quite some time. In order to truly understand the art and people behind each of our collections, it always begins with an exploratory trip. Last spring, we headed on a 20-hour journey to Siem Reap, to see what we could uncover. Of course, we had a little fun as well. Here are our top picks for how to spend your time in Cambodia – where to stay, what to do, and places to eat!
Optimal Trip Time: 7-9 Days
Depending on where you are flying from, we can guess that it is quite the trek across the world. To really make the most out of your travel time, plan to stay at least a week, if not more! We broke up our trip by spending our time in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville to experience more than the capital city.
Siem Reap: 3-4 Days
Stay: Saem Siemreap Hotel. One of the most important factors of traveling internationally is staying somewhere safe and clean. The Saem Siemreap Hotel is exactly that. It has awards from Expedia and TripAdvisor as Top Traveler’s Choice, and has many amenities that you would expect to find in an American hotel. In addition, the hotel has really great location in relation to the rest of the city. Bonus? Rooms are less than $100 a night!
Transportation: We rode tuk tuks all over town! If you aren’t familiar with a tuk tuk, it is basically a three-wheeled motorbike that acts as a taxi in places like Cambodia. There’s a cabin in the back that you as a passenger ride in! Theyare really easy to catch because they are everywhere and its pretty fun to experience a different mode of your normal transport.
Must-see: There is actually so much to see, you’ll want to do it all. Siem Reap is saturated with ancient temples and landmarks that shape their rich culture. There are many different kinds of tours you can take to get a unique experience to see them, but Angkor Wat for sunrise is a must see. Pack a pair of long pants for certain parts of the temple. For a more off the beaten path (and less selfie-stick filled) experience, hit the Phonem Bok Temple in the afternoon. Pack tons of water! It gets hot out there regardless of the time of year.
Eat: Everything! To get a well-rounded taste of the city, we suggest going on a food tour! Not only do you get to try different eats, but you also get the history behind the cultural dishes. This way you get to experience the market street food without fear of getting sick.
Sihanoukville: 3-4 days
Stay: Away from the city hustle and bustle, we decided to spend a few days at the remote Secret Paradise Resort, off the island of Koh Rong Samloem. The resort has private bungalows decked out in beautiful decor and open verandas right on the beach. It was paradise. The absolute best part? In the off season, bungalows are only $70 a night!
Transportation: First, you will need to fly from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville, a short hour long flight. From Sihanoukville, you’ll take a ferry to the island of Koh Rong Samloem. To get to the Secret Paradise Resort, a water taxi is your best option. Once you’ve reached the resort, you’ve officially arrived in paradise. Shut down your laptop, turn off your cell phone, and enjoy the beauty of the ocean.
For us, experiencing the culture of Cambodia in tangible ways helps strengthen our relationships with our artisan partners. Grasping that connection through face-to-face interaction allows us to take a step further in merging the geographical gap which is our intention through each of our partnerships. If you have any recommendations, we would love to hear them for our next trip!