Southeast Asia, Cambodia and Vietnam, bucket list destinations for many. I was fortunate enough to visit both in April of this year. Close to the equator, I was expecting VERY hot, humid weather but was pleasantly surprised. While it was warm, not too warm to enjoy all of the sights and sounds of these diverse countries.
I traveled with a group of luxury leisure travel agents and our leader with Kurtz-Ahlers Representation. Our goal was to experience several 5 star hotels and cultural experiences. We met in Seoul, Korea after the 15 hour flight from various US cities, fortunate enough to enjoy the fantastic business class service on Korean Airlines. We boarded a flight to Phnom Penh, Cambodia heading for Raffles Le Royal Hotel for a one night luxurious stopover.
Early the next morning, a quick 3 hour road transfer to Sihanoukville among hundreds of motorbikes and TukTuks (our driver was professionally trained in defensive driving, speeds ranged from 5 to 85MPH, exciting!). Once we arrived in Sihanoukville we boarded Song Saa Private Island Resort’s private speedboat direct to the resort. The journey took a pleasant 40 minutes from mainland to island (Note: At Song Saa they wind the clock forward by one hour to maximize sunrise viewing. True Island Time!).
We spent three glorious nights on the island. The genuinely welcoming staff (anything you ask for or are thinking about is graciously delivered with a beautiful smile) is the resorts best asset. In addition, the food and wine selection is excellent and available whenever and wherever you wish. The 27 perfectly appointed villa accommodations are private and offer every amenity you need. Prior to arrival we completed a preference form; my favorite cocktail was waiting to be mixed in my refrigerator, right down to the lime slices! A full service spa is set among the treetops offering many wonderful treatments. It is easy to forget you are in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand with all of the amenities and options available. You may choose to spend your day doing nothing, or keep busy with beach visits, snorkeling, kayaking, yoga, scuba or boat hire. I would recommend a minimum stay of five nights on island.
Departure from Song Saa Private Island on the speedboat back to port, 20 minute road transfer to Sihanoukville airport (tiny, immaculate airport with 2 gates). We boarded a flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia en-route for another quick overnight at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor.
The next day, 5:00am departure from the hotel for a sunrise visit at the temples of Angkor Wat with our private guide, Kenya. He was an excellent guide, taking us into the temples via a seldom used gate, thus avoiding the crowds, as well as providing just the right amount of history and quiet time to enjoy these amazing structures. One of the many highlights was tea and a snack served from two teak Tuk Tuk’s in front of a quiet temple all to ourselves. The perfect rest before continuing to explore.
After a full day in Siem Reap we are off to Saigon and The Reverie Saigon, a true 5 star hotel. If there were such a rating it would be a 6 star! I must admit my first impression was questionable, the arrival is interesting! Our Mercedes Sprinter just fit down the short alley to the main entrance which was lit up like a Las Vegas casino!
If you would like to know more about my travels call me!
Marybeth Green Vice President -HCI Travel