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Royal escape to Siem Reap

For the Water Festival, the Amansara invites its guests to majestically celebrate this ancestral annual event, which will take place from November 10 to 12 in 2019, on Lake Tonlé Sap.

King Norodom Sihanouk’s vintage Mercedes-Benz, model 600 Pullman, for connoisseurs awaits you at the airport. Direction the house that the French architect Laurent Mondet had built, in the 1960s, for the guests of the sovereign – think California, James Bond (Sean Connery period), zen and white concrete. In the heart of the effervescent Siem Reap, this sixties design haven is appreciated as a privilege.

Charles de Gaulle, Jacqueline Kennedy and Peter O’Toole stayed in what was then called the Villa Apsara. Since 2002, it has housed a hotel of the Aman group, the Amansara, where Angelina Jolie has her habits. The temptation would be great to stroll all day between the library, the swimming pool, the spa and the restaurant, an impressive circular structure in which Sihanouk liked to watch his collection of films. But Angkor belongs to those who get up early. When the hordes of tourists arrive from the south, the Amansara takes you at dawn, through the eastern gate, skillfully juggling opening times to give you a visit just for you, or almost.

One will never tire of seeing and re-examining Angkor Wat and its staggered incredibly sculpted towers, Bayon and its stone faces oriented towards the four cardinal points, Ta Prohm and its giant roots invading the ruins… almost empty. The magic is total. And to recover from your emotions, traditional breakfast in a wooden house on stilts facing the Srah Srang, a former royal Khmer bathing pool.

Amansara, a haven of peace in the heart of the effervescent Siem Reap. Aman Resorts

A unique phenomenon in the world

On the menu of “amanesque” experiences: a meditation session with monks, a day in a jeep in the Cambodian countryside, a helicopter ride to the Thai border… But also a privileged participation in the Water Festival. Bon Om Touk in Cambodian, which will take place this year from November 10 to 12, heralds prosperity, as the thousands of inhabitants of the floating villages of Tonle Sap will be able to fish again.

Connected to the Mekong, this lake triples its surface area at the end of the rainy season, thanks to the reversal of the course of the river. A unique phenomenon in the world that we would celebrate since the reign of King Jayavarman VII. By the light of the full moon, on the last day, hundreds of multicolored canoes soar on the water, lit with candles and loaded with wishes. From its private pontoon specially decorated for this occasion, the hotel organizes cruises to participate in the party. It reserves exceptional points of view to admire the regattas, invites its guests to make offerings and greetings to the moon, to join in the ceremonies in the pagodas, to taste the typical dishes and delicacies … And mark, forever , the memory of visitors.

Amansara (Aman.com). From € 1,230 for two en suite, with half-board, private visit to Angkor, participation in the Water Festival and private airport transfers.

Phimeanakas, a small Hindu temple in the ancestral city of Angkor. Aman Resorts.

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