Expat Holidays Thailand

Siem Reap holiday 2014 – guests’ review

IMG_9334

Written by one of our guests after a holiday in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Shinta Mani was exactly the type of hotel we like to stay in. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful and we enjoyed watching the ladies as we passed spending hours a day folding the lotus flowers for the hotel.

At the entrance foyer bottles of cold water were given to us as we left, and cold flannels to refresh when we arrived back. Small points but of great comfort.

IMG_9177

As our guide said in the van from the airport that first evening to the hotel, the Shinta Mani is not too big and it’s not too small, it’s just right.

We enjoyed the layout which was bright and breezy the rooms all laid out over looking the pool. Comfortable and easy walk back and forwards to the restaurant and main entrance to the hotel.

Apparently there are 3.3 million visitors expected in Siem Reap this year, so there are huge cavernous hotels having been built to accommodate the bus load of tourists pouring in. Most on the main road from the airport to the town.

IMG_9183

This was on the ceiling of the main entrance way, we liked the interesting decor of the hotel it was eclectic rather than modern (although was that as well). You felt that you were staying somewhere that had someone had put some thought into.

On our early sunrise trip to Ankor Wat we collected in the foyer at 4:30am and enjoyed a quick coffee and juice plus pastry on the way out. Nice touch having that available as I’m sure most days folks head out at that early hour.

IMG_9184

Our guide was Sophy Chhay (Richard) from Angkor Local Guides and he was very good. He soon realised that we wanted to see fewer temples and quieter ones away from the throngs of bus loads of Chinese and Korean tourists. We went to the quieter gates of some of the temples and were happy to see smaller less significant views if it meant more “alone” time.

Here we are heading out in tuk tuks for the first day, that was a great fun thing to do, having the three of them to take us around rather than the bus.

IMG_9195

Photo of our room with interesting chalk board scribble, was a spot on place for our family to stay.

We noticed that there were a lot of Europeans also at the hotel, English, French and Scandinavians.

IMG_9300

View from our room of the pool, with kids swimming. Rooms were made up during the day whilst we were out and then they had a turn down service in the evening which is always a treat when you come back from dinner.

IMG_9310

During the ATV ride we asked if there would be a chance to meet local kids so we bought noodles and visited an orphanage about 10 miles outside of Siem Reap.
We spent some time there looking around and meeting and talking with the kids. Our kids taller ones at the back. We enjoyed this experience and the interaction with them all.

IMG_9331

The ATV riding was with Siem Reap Quad Bike Adventures, we did a 2 hour sunset tour and it was absolutely brilliant. A great way to see the countryside and stop and “chat” to the villagers and buy water and ask to take photos.

With three teenagers 17, 15, & 13 they had a blast. We were at first all taken by a guide to see if we were OK to ride solo and then after that followed two guides out to the countryside. We were given helmets and plastic bags over our shoes to keep a little cleaner.

IMG_9334

The two guides here checking one of the ATV’s which had a minor mechanical problem after going through some water. They were in uniform, and were very smooth at helping us cross roads whilst still in Siem Reap stopping the traffic so we could all get across.

Then when out in the paddy fields one was always in front and one behind to check up on us.

IMG_9345

On the way back from the jungle temple our guide let us stop again and explained to us how they make palm sugar, the process of getting it off the trees and helped us ask questions with the ladies there cooking it.

We then off course bought some fresh which was delicious even though it’s raw sugar. No preservatives though!

IMG_9455

The hotel had organised for the local visiting circus to do a short 30 min performance in the entrance of the hotel for the Saturday night. The circus came to us, literally. So we sat curb side to watch.

There was also a craft fair adjacent with all locally produced goods and wears which was interesting to wander round.

IMG_9515

OK so bad picture but of us at the restaurant across the road at The Shinta Mani Club on the swinging bed/lounger. The first night we ate at The Shinta Mani Resort restaurant, the menu was small but extremely good and very well and tastefully presented. The second night having forgotten to book (again) they were full with a large party so they escorted us across the road to the restaurant at the Club.

We ate in the restaurant, again a super meal, well presented and with a very thoughtful menu. We then headed outside for dessert and wine to enjoy the evening, where they happily swung us when needed.

Funky place which made the evening even more special to end our trip with.

If we go back to Cambodia would definitely stay here again, and use the same guide.

IMG_9529