Finding the feel-good factor in Siem Reap


Siem Reap is fast becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. With TripAdvisor naming Angkor Wat as the number 1 Landmark in the World for the second consecutive year it’s no surprise visitor numbers are on the rise. In addition to visiting the award winning and incredible Temples of Angkor, we’re going to suggest how else to find the feel good factor in Siem Reap including socially and environmentally conscious initiatives, luxury hotels that go above and beyond to respect the planet and off the beaten path tours.

Visit the awe-inspiring circus

Check out the awesome Phare Circus which for us is a ‘must visit’ in Siem Reap. Situated on the edge of town in their very own big top you are in for a visual and sensory treat when you catch one of their breathtaking shows. Featuring a unique blend of theatre, dance, music and arts, the performers are all graduates of the excellent Phare Ponleu Selpak which is a non profit Cambodian association which has been improving the lives of children and young people through arts and education since 1994.

Phare Circus Cambodia 1

Protect the environment

Since 2008 the team behind Naga Earth have been on a mission to protect the environment and improve public health in Siem Reap. They have developed projects that include recycling used cooking oil to produce bio deisel and also a foaming hand soap from the glycerin by-product. For those of you with relevant skills to offer, you can consider their volunteering opportunites. For all others in Siem Reap on vacation, you can support them by dining at one of their many partner restaurants. Our favourites are Haven, New Leaf, and Footprints Cafe who in addition to serving delicious food and partnering with Naga Earth all have their own social and environmentally responsible initiatives.

Naga Earth

Join a bespoke photo tour

With a selection of single and multi day tours, Angkor Photography Tours are considered to be one of the leading photo tour companies in the region. In addition to tour options including ‘Angkor Sunrise’, ‘Lost Temples of Angkor’ and ‘Tonle Sap Lake’ they also offer the opportunity to experience unique and expertly curated tours including ‘Life in the Countryside’ and ‘Cambodia by Rail’. Whether you are a beginner wanting to learn more from an expert, or a seasoned pro who would like guiding to secret locations, rest assured you are in safe and steady hands with your professional and knowledgeable guide.

Angkor Photo Tours 1

Reduce your plastic use

What started as the coming together of like minded tourism professionals in Siem Reap has blossomed into a huge and ever growing initiative to reduce and ultimately end the use of single use plastic bottles by hotels, restaurants and tourism operators in the region. This campaign is called Refill not Landfill and has fast become the benchmark for anyone in Siem Reap and further afield who understands the enormity of the problem and wants to make positive changes. Quite simply, they encourage and work with their partners to offer refillable metal bottles as an alternative to single use plastic bottles; this combined with multiple refill stations where your bottle can be filled for free provide a planet loving solution.

Refill not Landfill

Stay at the best luxury hotel in Siem Reap

Currently number 1 on TripAdvisor the simply wonderful Jaya House River Park is an oasis of calm and the perfect spot to relax and rejuvenate in Siem Reap. This 36 room gem of a hotel is leading the way in service and style whilst at the same time constantly pushing boundaries in an effort to be both environmentally and socially conscious. Responsible for planting more than 750 large trees on the riverside, they are also the first plastic free hotel in Cambodia, founding partners of Refill not Landfill, supporters of Naga Earth and are contributing to a number of local NGO’s. Rest easy knowing that you are choosing a luxury hotel with a huge heart when you choose to stay here.

Jaya Siem Reap pool

Stay at the newest luxury hotel in Siem Reap

The brand new Treeline Urban Resort boasts an enviable riverside location in the heart of Siem Reap and this design led luxury hotel offers guests the chance to feel good in so many ways. Of course, the rooms and suites are beautifully appointed and you can be sure to enjoy the serene spa or the rooftop pool but the real feel good factor comes when you check out their planet saving initiatives. In addition to working with Refill not Landfill and Naga Earth, the guestrooms are 100% plastic free with bamboo razors and toothbrushes upon request, the natural amenities are in refillable ceramic containers and solar heating is used for the water which all demonstrate the ethos of this exciting new property.

Jaya Siem Reap pool

Join a mountain bike adventure

There are few better ways to explore the temples and the surrounding countryside than on a mountain bike, take the chance and experience ultimate freedom whilst being led by industry leading guides from Grasshopper Adventures on one of the many tours they offer. With offices all over Southeast Asia in 14 countries these guys know what they’re up to and you will be sure to enjoy your adventure with them, choose from compact yet enjoyable half day and single day tours to 2 week multi country adventures where you get to explore every corner of this enchanting region. Expect high quality bikes, enthusiastic guides and a support team that will see you through even the toughest of times, whilst rest assured that there will be a tasty meal and comfortable bed awaiting you at each stop.

Grasshopper Adventures Cambodia 1

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our various ways to find the feel good factor in Siem Reap. Of course you will want to visit the temples and rightly so, they are mind blowing in so many ways but with our suggestions you can also feel good, get fit and make a positive impact during your Siem Reap travel adventure!

Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest. Vegan Food Quest have become luxury vegan travel specialists as they continue to find, eat and write about the best vegan food in the world.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.


Comments (20)

  1. Ed says:

    Being the Number One Landmark in the World has benefits but it also brings responsibilities too. It’s good to see that Siem Reap is trying to be as green and environmentally responsible as possible.

    • Paul Eyers says:

      Thanks for your comment Ed.

      You are so correct that the tourism industry must consider the impact they are having on the environment and the communities.

      It is so refreshing to see the above organisations taking this seriously in their ongoing efforts to ‘do the right thing’in Siem Reap.

      Paul

  2. Aaron says:

    It’s been so long since I’ve been to Siem Reap, which of course is just about to see Angkor Wat. A lot has changed since then I see. The new hotel for one, and I haven’t heard of the circus. Maybe it’s time to revisit the country.

    • Paul Eyers says:

      Dear Aaron, thank you for your comment.

      Siem Reap has changed dramatically in recent years and currnetly shows no signs of slowing down. Therefore, having organisations that are going above and beyond to have a positive impact is so important.

      Phare Circus is outstanding and a ‘must visit’ for anyone coming to Siem Reap in my opinion!

      Paul.

  3. Colm says:

    Nice piece. Informative. Not actually been to Jaya house yet despite living here for over 4 years. Must do so!

    • Paul Eyers says:

      thanks for the comment Colm. Jaya House is a great spot, the food is delicious (including a very good vegan burger) and the rooftop bar for sunset and cocktails is perfect!

  4. Joni Aker says:

    Great article, thanks so much for including us Paul. Feeling very proud and lucky to be part of such a supportive community with so many like minded businesses and organisations doing good and trying their best to look after our precious environment.

  5. Ian Croft says:

    Great article on responsible travel! I hope to find more of these to help me plan my trips. Hoping that social and eco-responsibility feature more in people’s minds and that informative articles like this one can help everyone make the right choices!
    Thank you A Luxury Travel Blog on this comprehensive guide!

    • Paul Eyers says:

      Thanks Ian. It’s so important to shout as loud as we can about those organisations that are taking social and eco issues seriously. They deserve all of our support in an effort to ensure they flourish in an industry that often chooses to overlook these issues whilst only caring about $$$.

  6. Dean says:

    Great article, thanks so much for including RefillNotLandfill and for supporting us from day one! Let’s keep the campaign growing!

  7. Tim Waterfield says:

    Great article about some really excellent projects. So nice of you to highlight some of the good work going on in Siem Reap

    All of the organizations listed here are doing quality work. Nice to see them getting recognized.

  8. Georgia says:

    Absolutely brilliant article, extremely accurate in my opinion.
    Living and exploring Siem Reap, I confidently recommend all of the above.
    Very interesting and informative read.
    Their is more to the Reap, that meets the eye!

    Thank you Paul, for highlighting a few of these and helping others to choose
    more compassionate choices on their travels!

    • Paul Eyers says:

      Many thanks for your commnet Georgia

      Siem Reap has so much more to offer than the temples which it is famous for…

      It’s a great place to call home!

  9. Georgie says:

    Brilliant article highlighting that travellers don’t need to compromise on quality to enjoy a more sustainable and ethical holiday. In time this will hopefully become the norm for most businesses. Keep up the great work!

    • Paul Eyers says:

      Thank you for your comment Georgie! As travellers demand sustainable and ethical travel this will become the norm, i’m sure. In the meantime we will continue to support and promote those that are ‘doing the right thing’…

  10. Sam says:

    I feel very ignorant as I hadn’t even heard of Siem Reap before. It’s good to read there are environmentally friendly initiatives and lots to do there. I can see a bespoke photo tour being very popular! It’s lovely to read more about the culture and what’s on offer, so it’s easy to see why it’s such a well loved destination. The Jaya House River Park sounds like an incredible place to stay, and the ‘huge heart’ is something that’s very appealing, especially as being environmentally responsible is increasingly sought after and expected from destinations and hotels. It’s wonderful that Siem Reap is doing its bit and it’s certainly somewhere I’d love to be able to visit in future.

  11. Paul Eyers says:

    Thank you for your comment Sam!

    Siem Reap is a wonderful destination and certainly offers a diverse range of activities…

    We love the fact that there are so many like minded organisations that strive to become more conscious of the impact that tourism has and make positive changes.

    You should visit for sure!

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