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AseanAffairs Magazine July - August 2010

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NagaWorld” (www.nagaworld. com) is the newest hotel in Diamond Island City and is a first-class hotel and casino entertainment complex. It is quickly becoming a key landmark in the heart of Phnom Penh, overlooking the mighty Mekong River.

Siam Reap

I received an invitation from the Organizing Commission of the Trail of Civilization (TOC) and Performance 2010 to participate in the April 28 opening event at Bayon Temple, Siem Reap Province in Cambodia and decided to reach Siem Reap overland from Chiang Mai.

I left the northern Thai town of Chiang Mai on April 25 at 4:15 p.m. with a VIP bus from Nakhon Chai Air to Surin (893Baht). On its long way to the northeast of Thailand (I-San) the bus stopped in Lamphun, Lampang, Denchai in Phrae Province, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok (for dinner), Chaiyaphum (for breakfast), and Buriram to reach Surin at 6.30 in the morning. About 20 minutes later, a minibus left from the bus station to the Chong Chom/O’Smach international border of Thailand and Cambodia (60 baht). I went across the border, where there is a visa on arrival service (US$20 for a tourist visa).

While walking into the Cambodian casino of O’Smach, I was approached by a taxi driver to take me directly to Siem Reap, 220kilometers away.

At 9 a.m., we left O’Smach on a dusty road along the Dang Rek mountain range to Anlong Veng, 80 kilometers away, where a sealed asphalt road heads towards the south. The landscape looked like a desert with only a few houses along the road, as the country was in the midst of a drought. At 11 we reached Kbal Spean, where mountainous terrain allows a sacred spring to originate the Siem Reap River. We passed Banteay Srei to reach Siem Reap just before midday.

I checked in at the Sokha Angkor Resort, strategically located in the heart of Siem Reap on National Road No.6 in walking distance to the Old Market. The five-star internationally luxury resort offers 276 rooms and suites. I was luckily invited to a complimentary room with a private balcony overlooking the Khmerstyle saltwater swimming pool featuring a cascading waterfall. Other services of the resort include wireless Internet access, the Lotus all-day fusion cuisine restaurant and Le Chanthou fine dining restaurant, Takezono Japanese Restaurant, Champa Lounge and Irish Pub.

The resort is recommended for its superb meeting and convention facilities, including the 16-room Jasmine Spa, a gymnasium and beauty salon ( www.

The highlight of TOC was the performance of the great Buddhist tourism festival of Visakhbochea Day (Buddhist Era 2554) at Angkor’s Bayon Temple on the full moon night of April 28. Presided over by H.E. Mr. Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minister,

Minister of Interior, and Lok Chumteav Bun Rany Hun Sen. The Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom was completely lighted with monks and nuns holding candles in front. The art performance included scenes from the life of Prince Siddharta.


Phnom Penh

I visited Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh at the beginning of May 2010 to survey hotels, which will be hosting buyers and international media during the upcoming Asean Tourism Forum (ATF) Jan. 15-21, 2011.

ATF is a co-operative regional effort to promote the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region as one tourist destination. This annual event involves all the tourism industry sectors of the 10 member nations of Asean: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia,

Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. The hosting of ATF is rotated among the member countries each year. ATF2011 marks the 30th anniversary of this event since its inauguration in Malaysia in 1981 and will be under the theme of “Asean - A World of Wonders and Diversity.”

It is projected that Cambodia will welcome more than 1,600 delegates, including 400 international buyers and 100 international media. There has been a lot of development in infrastructure and facilities since then and TRAVEX (Travel Exchange),

the main happening during ATF, will be held at the newly built Diamond Island Convention and Exhibition Center.

Located along the Mekong-Bassac River, in the heart of Phnom Penh, “Diamond Island” covers an area of 100 hectares. In 2006, the Khmer-Canadian Oversea Cambodia Investment Company signed an agreement with the government of Phnom Penh to develop and manage the island.

Diamond Island will consist of not only tourism areas, but will also have shopping malls, five-star hotels, an Expo center, villas, flats, offices, schools, hospitals and an impressive 333-meter high tower, providing a 360-degree panoramic view of Phnom Penh.

“NagaWorld” ( is the newest hotel in Diamond Island City and is a first-class hotel and casino entertainment complex. It is quickly becoming a key landmark in the heart of Phnom Penh, overlooking the mighty Mekong River and Samdech Hun Sen Park, within easy access to the Royal Palace, National Museum and the Independence Monument. With a multi-faceted eightstorey wing dedicated to entertainment,

such as public gaming halls and karaoke lounges, the hotel complex offers 525 deluxe rooms and suites in its 14-storey hotel wing and a dedicated spa, where it is possible to get a real Khmer traditional massage. In an annex building behind, there are plans to have a five-storey car park with a rooftop swimming pool. 


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