NEW RESORTS AND HOTELS IN CAMBODIA…
TRY YOUR LUCK!
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.
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. sokhahotels.com).
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.
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” (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 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.For one night, I tried a guestroom on the 10th floor and was overwhelmed by the superb view over Chaktomuk, the four faces of the Mekong River, as well as the low profile of the city.
The room had modern facilities, such as broadband Internet access, in-room safe, LCD TV, and a convenient bathroom. The hotel offers five restaurants: the Bistro Romano Italian, Korean Grill, Chopstick Noodle House, Le Gourmet French, and the Pangea Fusion Restaurant. Also, there is the Aristocratic Wine & Cigar Bar and the sophisticated Darlin Darlin Club Lounge.
There is a state of the art ballroom, which can accommodate 1,600 people, an auditorium and five fully equipped meeting rooms. My next stop was at the 410-room Phnom Penh Hotel (www.phnompenhhotel. com), which is also an official hotel of ATF2011 managed by Thailand-born Khun Pheerasit Kanthiwang.
The hotel is located at No 53, Monivong Boulevard, and in walking distance to the important landmark of Wat Phnom. Also within walking distance are a myriad of French colonial mansions and a wealth of shopping places and markets. At the moment, the hotel is in the midst of a renovation that will swallow more than US$100,000.
It is famous for its daily food and beverage activities, such as the Palm View Cafe for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Hugo’s Grill offering a wine and steak promotion, Coffee Corner with bakery or pastry, and Pool Side with a sandwich promotion. Last but not least, Zenith Lounge features a popular Philippine music band entertaining the guests until midnight. There are also massage and spa facilities and a modern health club. Finally, the Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra will be blending Asian and European design elements, when it opens in October.
The 202 rooms and suites will lavish one with luxurious and high-tech facilities. When I left Phnom Penh again on May 5 for Siem Reap by bus, I was very upbeat about the speed of developments in Phnom Penh, which is not only the biggest town along the mighty Mekong River in Southeast Asia but also a cosmopolitan metropolis to come. Back in Siem Reap, I checked in at the palace-like Borei Angkor Resort and Spa (www.boreiangkor.com), which is nestled along National Road No.6 leading to Phnom Penh and is surrounded by a lush tropical garden. Its 188 spacious rooms feature wooden floors and private balconies overlooking the 30-meter long swimming pool.
Each room is equipped with a high-speed Internet connection. Alternatively, you can use the business center in the lobby for Internet services. Cambodian culture dominates and a taste of Royal Khmer Cuisine is a must. Other facilities in the resort offer the separate Mutita Spa, Borei Cafe for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Bakong Lounch, Horizon Blue Pub, as well as the elegant Bokor Ballroom for weddings and MICE services.
About 170 delegates, including 20 media representatives, from the public and private sector met at the Angkor Century Resort and Spa in Siem Reap on May 7-8, to revive the spirit of the Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF). The six participating Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) countries were: Cambodia, China (Yunnan and Guangxi), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. For further information, please contact GMS Media Travel Consultant Reinhard Hohler by e-mail: sara@cmnet. co.th.