After decades of upheaval, Cambodia has emerged as a poor but peaceful nation blessed with great natural beauty, hospitable inhabitants and some of the most awe-inspiring temple architecture in the world. Travelers who wish to experience contemporary life in Cambodia should spend two or three nights in the French-flavored capital of Phnom Penh. It is not a particularly large city, and most of the major sites — such as the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and National Museum of Cambodia — can conveniently be toured within one day. Siem Reap, the base for visiting Angkor Wat, has become a destination for visitors from all over the world; fortunately, it retains a degree of charm.
Those keen to experience a river cruise on the Mekong, the 2,700-mile artery linking Cambodia and Vietnam, may wish to sail aboard the 40-passenger Aqua Mekong, a member of the Aqua fleet of luxury vessels. The ship follows itineraries of varying durations. Cuisine aboard is under the supervision of Michelin-starred chef David Thompson, formerly of the acclaimed Nahm restaurant in Bangkok. There is also a spa, an outdoor pool and a screening room.
The Aqua Mekong, a member of the Aqua fleet of luxury vessels, has been offering luxury river cruises on the Mekong, the 2,700-mile artery linking Cambodia and Vietnam, since 2014. The 205-foot ship carries 40 passengers in 20 suites and is attended by 40 crew members. It comprises three decks, the first two devoted primarily to the guest cabins, with the rear of the second taken up by a lovely dining room. Cuisine aboard is under the supervision of Michelin-starred chef David Thompson, formerly of acclaimed Nahm in Bangkok. On the top deck, the Mekong has a spacious lounge-bar with floor-to-ceiling windows, a media room and a library. At the stern, a gym provides a selection of aerobic machines, while in the bow, a shaded plunge pool offers an idyllic place to relax.
The ship follows itineraries of varying durations. When water levels are high — usually July through November — you can take a seven-night Expedition Cruise (in either direction) between My Tho port in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Alternatively, you can opt for a four-night Explorer Cruise or a three-night Discovery Cruise. When the water is low (chiefly December to June), choices are limited to trips between My Tho and Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital.
To phone hotels in Cambodia, dial 011 (international access) + 855 (Cambodia code) + city code and local numbers in listings.
Cambodian riel (KHR). Fluctuating rate valued at KHR4,105 = US$1.00 as of October 2020. Note: Our suggested hotels quote rates in US$.
Cambodia’s average year-round high temperature is 90, and the humidity is always high. November-February is the coolest time of year (relatively speaking), and June-October is the rainy season.
Phnom Penh, Tel. (855) 23-728-000.
11 hours ahead of New York (EST). (Time listed is for DST in the West. Difference is one hour more November to mid-March.)