Exterior view - Amansara, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Blind Massage at Amansara

Amansara’s spa team spent over a year training four blind masseurs who now perform foot massage as well as any Aman spa therapist and support their families by doing so. Outside guests are welcome to book with the blind masseurs at the Amansara spa.

covered wooden boat with cushioned seating out on a lake

Boat Ride on Tonlé Sap

Indagare can arrange boat rides on the lake via custom traditional wooden boats that enable you to explore the unique Tonlé Sap.

Bophana Center

Founded by acclaimed Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh (whose documentary about “The Missing Picture” was nominated for the 2014 Oscar for best foreign language film) in 2006 to preserve and conserve the country’s pictures, movies and songs from the last 150 years, Bophana is a cinema as well as an audio-visual archive. Check the website for their hours and a listing of current screenings, which are mainly held on Saturdays.

Art at Cambodia Living Arts,Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Cambodia Living Arts

Dedicated to reviving traditional Cambodian performing arts, Cambodia Living Arts trains local artists in music, dance, and theater. Their troupe performs regularly at the National Museum, putting on a different show each night (except Sundays) starting at 7pm. The Children of Bassac (currently performed on Mondays and Thursdays) is a snapshot of Cambodia through dance. Check the website for current schedules and to purchase tickets.

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Indagare Tours: Angkor Temples

Given that the temples of Angkor are one of the top tourist sites in all of Asia, it is difficult to avoid tour buses and crowds. It is estimated that the main temple of Angkor Wat gets an average of 500 tourists at sunset each day and that the crowds swell to 6,000 by 2 pm. Unfortunately visiting these sacred ruins with masses of people is not nearly as profound or moving an experience than walking through them in solitude. There are guides, though, who know how to time visits and arrange entry at lesser known access points to increase your odds of visiting in quiet. They can also put the history into context and steer you to the highlights in each complex. It is best to design an itinerary with a mix of visits to the most famous temples but also to some of the lesser known ones. Indagare members can contact the Bookings Team.

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Bird at Indagare Tours: Cambodia’s Natural Wonders, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Indagare Tours: Cambodia’s Natural Wonders

The Cambodian forests, jungles and countryside are home to incredible flora, fauna and wildlife, including hundreds of butterfly species, rare water birds, elephants, civets and sloth bears. Wildlife experts can take you on a guided walking tour for birding to incredible nature preserves or on short early morning walks to rarely visited temples. Indagare members can contact the Bookings Team.


Childrain at Indagare Tours: Connecting with Cambodian Country People,Siem Reap, Cambodia

Indagare Tours: Connecting with Cambodian Country People

A common complaint among temple tourists is that they leave for home without having seen “the real Cambodia.” These two tours address that concern authentically and with a high degree of sensitivity. Guests join a local family and spend a few hours helping with a harvest, planting rice, weaving thatch or even learning to drive a bullock cart. The full day tour directly helps all villagers providing a sustainable income year round. For those with less time, there is a “walk and talk” excursion to Treak Village, home to around 230 families, many of whom survive day to day.  This pleasant and educational outing is a walk back in time to slower village life not unlike it was in the age of Angkor. Both trips can end at a stunning village house surrounded by rice paddies for an elegant candlelit dinner or back at an exceptionally healing spa retreat surrounded by soaring bamboo.

Exterior View - Indagare Tours: Conservation d’Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Indagare Tours: Conservation d’Angkor

The first archaeologists began trying to preserve the treasures of the Angkor temples in the late 19th century and the work continues today, as it is impossible to keep watch over the vast temple complex, which covers hundreds of square miles. More than 5,000 of the most precious artifacts and statues are stored in this compound, which also houses the dormitories for resident archaeologists. While the Conservation d'Angkor is closed to the public, a few of the storerooms can be visited by special arrangement, and the experience is similar to being able to prowl in a museum warehouse. Shelves of museum-worthy Buddha heads, ancient ceramic pots and spectacular statues, some of which are covered in spider webs, have been gathered over the years. These are the most precious items from the temples stored for safe-keeping so it is best to visit after touring the temples when you better understand the context and also their significance. Indagare members can contact the Bookings Team to arrange.


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Sea View - Indagare Tours: Floating Villages on Tonle Sap,Siem Reap, Cambodia

Indagare Tours: Floating Villages on Tonle Sap

The largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and the fifteenth largest in the world, Tonle Sap, sits about a half an hour drive from Siem Reap, and is home to fishing and floating villages. Whether you choose to drive out to the lake and take a cruise on a private boat or do a kayaking trip, it is fascinating to see how the locals have adapted to the rhythms of the water. In the course of the year, waters rise dozens of feet so there are entire villages built on high bamboo stilts and others where the houses, churches, schools, even gardens float on bamboo rafts. Indagare members can contact the Bookings Team.

Aerial View - Indagare Tours: Helicopter Excursions,Siem Reap, Cambodia - Courtesy of Charles J. Sharp

Indagare Tours: Helicopter Excursions

One of the best ways to get a sense of the vast scale of the ancient city of Angkor is to view the temples and jungles from above. There are two types of tour: a short scenic one that lasts for eight, fourteen, twenty or thirty-six minutes and an Explorer’s Tour, which takes you to remote temples such as Chao Srei Vibol, Banteay Ampil, Beng Mealea, Koh Ker and Preah Khan Kampong Svay where you land and can explore and have a picnic. Prices vary depending on the length of the tour.

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Indagare Tours: Hiking and Biking Adventures

For those who want an active countryside adventure, there are wonderful biking and hiking opportunities in the countryside just outside of Siem Reap. You can bike or hike through rural villages, where the local people rarely see tourists, and arrive to lesser-known temples for a breakfast or lunch with the temple to yourself. More serious adventurers can explore the surrounding countryside on more strenuous mountain bike and kayak adventures with experienced guides. Or go further afield, to sleep in comfy tents along an Angkorian reservoir just a few steps from Prey Veng temple, similar to Angkor Wat’s popular Beng Melea temple, yet virtually unknown.

Statue at Indagare Tours: Photography Visit ,Siem Reap, Cambodia - Courtesy of Uwe Aranas

Indagare Tours: Photography Visit

If you want help capturing the haunting beauty of the temples with your camera, consider booking a half- or full-day tour with an American photographer who has spent years getting to know the many temples as well as the best time of day to avoid crowds and work with the natural light. Indagare members can contact the Bookings Team.

Exterior View - Indagare Tours: Private Temple Dinner,Siem Reap, Cambodia

Indagare Tours: Private Temple Dinner

A private temple dinner can be arranged at most temples in Siem Reap except to Wat Attvea, Banteay Srei and Angkor Wat, which is always, reserved for the government delegations only. The fee is quite high for private use and is generally advised for a larger group or families traveling together who can enjoy the drama of eating surrounded by candles and with entertainment. The booking has to be confirmed at least one month in advance. The fee is considerably higher if the booking is made less than one month prior to the dinner date.

Aerial View - Independence Monument,Phnom Penh, Cambodia - Courtesy of Mao Piseth

Independence Monument

Also known as “Victory Monument,” this Angkor-style tower was designed by renowned Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann to celebrate Cambodia’s independence from foreign rule. Built in 1958, the monument’s distinctive form suggests a lotus flower bud and is adorned with Naga heads (multi-headed snakes), a tribute to the motifs found on the towers of Angkor Wat.

Dance Group at Landmine Survivors Dance Troupe , Siem Reap, Cambodia

Landmine Survivors Dance Troupe

This recent initiative works to counter the one-two punch of landmines: the physical disabling followed by the discrimination suffered by victims. This troupe of around twenty artists, all landmine and polio victims, use drama, comedy, song and dance in surprisingly lighthearted shows that are regularly scheduled around Siem Reap. They can also be organized directly with Tola Soun, the English-speaking Khmer founder. Expect the performance to provoke tears but by the end of the hour, everyone’s smile is genuine.

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Circus Show at Phare Circus  Siem Reap, Cambodia

Phare Circus

This evening under the big top promises a captivating spectacle of traditional and modern Khmer music, dance and acrobatics. The talented troupe was founded some ten years ago by eight Khmer refugees who grew up together in a Thai refugee camp. Though the French-trained troupe travels internationally, they opened this permanent outpost, which is more convenient for visitors to Cambodia. Sit on simple wooden bleachers as young acrobats twist and spin across the stage to the delight of the audience that covers the age spectrum, with some of the biggest grins appearing on the faces of the grown-ups.

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marches and a white tent at sunset

Quad Biking Tours

Travelers can be picked up at their hotel via quad bike and drive through rice paddies and local villages around the outskirts of Siem Reap.
Interior View - Sa Sa Bassac Gallery,Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Sa Sa Bassac Gallery

Those interested in Cambodia’s contemporary art scene can check out the current exhibition at this commercial art gallery, which is dedicated to supporting local emerging and mid-career artists. Founded in 2009 by American art historian, Erin Gleeson, Sa Sa Bassac presents quality monographic exhibitions with explanatory materials available in Khmer and English.

Exterior View - Smateria , Siem Reap, Cambodia

Shop the Old Market Area

Any tuk-tuk driver will know the way to Alley West, a quaint pedestrian shopping lane where Smateria sells covetable and colorful handbags and home décor crafted from recycled source material including motorcycle seats and milk cartons. If you can’t decide what to buy, you’ll have another chance as Smateria has just opened at the Siem Reap Airport. This pedestrian lane continues as The Passage where Paris reared Cambodian jeweler Ly Pisith returned after designing for the likes of Philippe Starck to open bauble shop Garden of Desire in a 1920s French colonial building. Around the corner, find ultra soft cotton tees and dresses block printed with local motifs like water lilies and fishing boats at Three Seasons (The Lane). Pack new purchases in a quirky carry-on satchel fashioned from recycled Khmer rice sacks sold at Bloom Cambodia, a corner store committed to “making trade fair – one bag at a time.”

art piece with golden elephants and horses

Siem Reap Art Tour

Indagare can arrange an art tour with a specialist guide to take you to Siem Reap’s artisan workshops, modern art galleries and more.

man in a silver helmet driving a tuk tuk

Siem Reap Food Tour

Indagare can arrange a food tour by TukTuk that will take you to some of the city’s best spots in one evening.
Exterior View - The National Museum,Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The National Museum

Next to the Royal Palace, the National museum displays a treasure trove of Khmer art dating from prehistoric times to the present in its distinctive red-sandstone building. Guided tours can be arranged for individuals or groups at the museum entrance. (A one-hour group tour costs $3.)

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Exterior View - The Royal Palace,Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Royal Palace

Built on the site of King Norodom’s Palace, the Royal Palace is now home to the current King (Norodom’s great-great-grandson) and Queen of Cambodia. The palace grounds, which include several glorious Khmer-style golden-roofed buildings and a tranquil garden dotted with lotus flowers and topiary trees, can be visited when the Royal family is not in residence. Topped with a striking four-faced tower, the most impressive building is the Throne Hall, which dates from 1919 and is a faithful representation of Norodom’s original wooden palace. It’s worth taking off your shoes and checking your camera to enter the Silver Pagoda (so-called because of the 5,000 plus silver floor tiles), at the center of which an emerald Buddha statue sits atop a five-tiered dais.

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Aerial View - Tonle Sap Riverfront,Phnom Penh, Cambodia - Courtesy of Werner Pauwels

Tonle Sap Riverfront

The heart of Phnom Penh’s tourist scene hugs the banks of the river, where you will find lots of Western-style bars and restaurants in restored 19th century colonial villas. But locals also flock to the quay for the cool breezes and food stands that set up in front of the Royal Palace at the end of each work day. One of the nicest ways to enjoy the riverfront is to hire a boat for a magical sunset cruise.

Exterior View - Tuol Sleng Genocide MuseumPhnom Penh, Cambodia - 

Courtesy of Clay Gilliland

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

From 1975 until 1979 this former high school was used as a grisly Khmer Rouge prison known as S-21, through which more than 13,000 people passed before being brutally killed. The museum, where visitors can enter the classrooms-turned-cells (some of which still contain the iron shackles used to contain prisoners), is a difficult but important part of any trip to Phnom Penh. The ground floor displays thousands of black-and-white ID photographs taken of victims who passed through S-21.

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Statue at Wat Phnom,Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Wat Phnom

Not far from the riverfront and built on the city’s highest artificial hill, this active wat (pagoda) marks the legendary founding place of Phnom Penh. The current temple was rebuilt in 1926 on the site where, as legend has it, a temple was constructed in 1434 to house four Buddha statues found in a tree on the flooded banks of the Mekong River. Today, in addition to a steady stream of pilgrims, Wat Phnom is home to elaborate shrines, opportunistic fortune tellers, and frisky monkeys. Vendors sell small birds from cages, which are meant to bring good luck to the person who buys and releases them.

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