This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake. It is a unique geographical wonder for its flora and fauna, some part of which can be seen during a visit to Prek Toal. This floating fishing village is located where the Siem Reap River flows into the lake. During the monsoon season, the Tonle Sap swells up to several times its normal size. The best view of the Tonle Sap and the surrounding fishing villages at sunset is from Phnom Krom. Due to its unusual location, the temple has sustained considerable damage from wind and salt since it was built in 910 AD.
A variety of ‘house outings’ and customised Cambodian temple excursions are available as part of the Amansara guest experience. Conducted early morning and late afternoon to avoid the sun and crowds, complimentary house outings focus on the temples surrounding Angkor Wat. Several tours utilise Amansara’s own fleet of remorks (moped-powered trishaws) each with its own Amansara driver and guide.
Tailor-made, off-the-beaten-path excursions can also be arranged to suit individual interests and pace, taking guests deeper into the countryside beyond the Angkor park. For guests wishing to explore places farther afield such as Preah Vihear and its surrounds, close to the Thai border, customised helicopter tours can be arranged. Amansara has English-speaking guides who are well informed on both ancient Khmer history and modern Cambodian life.
house talks and excursions
Angkor was long a seat of Eastern learning. In keeping with this tradition, Amansara works closely with knowledgeable sources in Siem Reap to invite visiting scholars for informal house talks and excursions to places of special interest. These sessions allow guests to have a close-up look at Angkor and Cambodia through the eyes of specialists in subjects as diverse as history, archaeology, architecture, satellite imagery, dance, culture and even puppetry.
Siem Reap is a relatively small, flat town. Its size and informality make it possible to explore by bicycle. Areas to explore could include the Old Market neighbourhood and the closer temples.
art of khmer cooking
Pasa Ler, the Khmer word for big market teams with fresh produce. With one of Amansara’s kitchen brigade as a guide, guests will be led through the labyrinth passage ways of the market. After the market, guests are taken to a noodle shop to watch the preparation of nom ben chok, fresh rice noodles. At Amansara’s Khmer Village House, one of the Khmer chefs will assists guest in the preparation of Khmer dishes in a traditional kitchen. The menu can easily be duplicated at home for family and friends. Guests then enjoy their feast and relax in the countryside.
Together with experts from the field of anthropology, Amansara has put together a directory that lists organizations and individuals that can be trusted and supported. These organizations cover a broad spectrum of social concerns from performing arts, children and women’s health, higher education, de-mining, handy craft, cultural heritage, and the preservation of wild life.
Customised helicopter tours can be arranged for guests wishing to explore places farther afield like Preah Vihar and its surrounds, close to the Thai border. Within the Angkor park certain routes may be done on an elephant. Helicopters Cambodia has created a number of safe flight plans. Some are purely scenic, while others are multi-landing flights that take you to the remote temples of the Angkorian civilisation in a full day of adventure. Guests will land 4 times when they look for the Lost Jungle Temples. This flight includes stops at Banteay Chmar, Koh Ker, and Ben Mealea. The Scenic Flight takes travellers over the surrounding areas, offering a birds-eye perspective of Cambodian life and the full layout of the Angkorian civilisation. Amansara may arrange a landing at the lost temple of Banteay Ompeul for a temple picnic.