Cities with centuries-old history always get my heart beating a little bit faster, and a few months ago we celebrated a very good friend’s milestone birthday in Siem Reap, Cambodia, which turned out to be a really laid-back city with loads of old-world charm.  What surprised me most about Siem Reap was how relaxed the city was amidst these lush jungles and majestic, jaw-dropping temples.

While their history is well-preserved, their ties with France were evident in the pretty colors and shuttered windows of the houses scattered along the roadside villages and in the Old French Quarter. The lack of supermalls, billboards, and neon signs also added a lot to the rustic charm of the city, where you could go around in a tuk-tuk and still hear the sounds of jungle birds or monks chanting in prayer.

I think it says a lot about a city when it can preserve its traditions and way of life while still welcoming in progress…

Loved the pretty packaging of all the teas, coffees and spices!

Infectious beats of this street band got everyone dancing

The lovely Heritage Suites Hotel (where Ito & I got a surprise upgrade!  Thank you, Magnus & Jam! :))

Meals were a delicious & healthy mix of Khmer & continental cuisine made from fresh, local ingredients

Just 10 minutes away from Angkor Wat, this charming hotel is a member of Relais & Chateaux

Beautiful Bayon temple carvings showing the Khmer people’s rich history

Locals going about their business in the temple grounds

Famous “Lara Croft” temple ruins of Ta Prohm

Chanting monks in mustard & saffron colored robes added an air of serenity

The intricacy and color of the temples at Banteay Srei were one of my favorites

Ito photographing the amazing Angkor Wat complex

Many of the figurines in the temples were defaced due to years of conflict, but luckily not this one

Taking an elephant ride before catching the sunset atop Phnom Bakheng

Traveling back in time to celebrate good friend Carmina del Rosario’s birthday


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