Countryside Life and Dining
Siem Reap, Cambodia
From local villages to monk blessings and from ox-cart rides to fine dining in a paddy field, this is a truly exquisite experience that's perfect for families and couples. It's ideal for those who want to see more of Cambodia than just temples.
Beyond the temples of Angkor lies a rural landscape that has little changed since the days of Jayavarman VII. Many visit Siem Reap seeing little more than temples; this experience offers more by getting you out into authentic villages where you get to meet local families and monks to learn more about rural Cambodia today.
This experience reaches authentic villages and leads you between rice paddies, through woodland and back gardens on foot, by ox-cart and by boat to experience the very best of the countryside.
After a short drive from Siem Reap visit a colourful contemporary pagoda to learn more about the importance of Buddhism in rural communities and seek a blessing from the monks. You will enjoy seasonal fruits straight from the tree, and speak to families who have specialised in baking sticky rice in bamboo for over 30 years.
From here take an ox-cart ride through typical villages followed by a 20-minute easy walk to bring you to the vast Western Baray. An impressive engineering feat, this man-made reservoir was once integral to the complex Angkorian rice irrigation system. You will travel by boat (depending on water level) across this reservoir—an adventure from a slower, more romantic era of travel.
You'll reach Villa Chandara late afternoon; surrounded by rice paddies it's perched across a stream to the north of a village where tourists are rarely seen. This is a wonderful spot to relax in the quiet of the countryside and enjoy sunset drinks (included). The tempo of the Cambodian countryside is absolutely idyllic.
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 meal you can wander across the levees of the rice paddies, look for fish traps, or walk a short distance to a viewpoint over the ancient reservoir, whilst listening to the elegance of traditional Khmer music played by local musicians, before being seated for your gourmet meal.