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Cambodia – the Crown Jewels – Part I

A short 36 min turbo prop flight later we landed in the jungle city of Siem Reap- home to Cambodia’s Crown Jewels of Angkor Thom and Wat. Thanks to our expert ground team from A&K, we got picked up and whisked away to the Belmond La Residence hotel in the heart of Siem Reap. 59 rooms of pure architectural bliss in Cambodian teak wood awaited us. The setting is magical and tranquil just a step away from the hustle and bustle of this half-million city. We will call this home for our two night stay here.

A quick lunch later, we left our oasis to explore the largest temple complex on earth, built in the 11th century by the Khmer king Jayavarman VII. Having dreamt about seeing this wonder of the world someday – I was both nervous and anxious at the same time. Will it live up to the hype I wondered.

The simple and unanimous answer is YES. In fact the sheer size and complexity of this long lost capital city exceeds all my expectations. One thing I can say right away, don’t rush it – two days with visits to the two main temples separated by a night sleep is highly recommend. All of the above images are from the Angkor Thom complex with its Bayon temple at the center. We ended the day with a boat ride into the sunset on the 12 mile long hand-dug moat surrounding the ancient city.

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