A comprehensive three-day tour based around the Angkor Archeological Park, Phnom Kulen Mountain, Tonle Sap Floating Village, and Banteay Srey Temple has been recognized among the “Best of the Best” in luxury tours by TripAdvisor in the 2021 Things to Do Awards.
TripAdvisor is the largest travel guidance company worldwide, providing not only booking and planning assistance, but also offering a comprehensive record of almost 900 million reviews of nearly eight million businesses. These include tour packages, nature sights, hotels, and restaurants.
Each year, the company releases lists of the highest-rated establishments and tour activities based on customer reviews, which ensure a “by the people, for the people” standard in selection.
Renowned business may also feature an actual TripAdvisor sticker around their storefront.
The Things to Do Awards are based on true-to-life recommendations from travelers who were able to visit and experience the sights and activities around the globe. According to the TripAdvisor website, they consider real travels to be the best experts possible.
The recent 2021 listing is an expanded version of the Traveller’s Choice Awards for Experiences, now made to include the highest-ranking activities across 12 subcategories.
Among those, which include Nature and Hiking, Water Adventures, and Family-friendly Fun, the 3-day Angkor discovery tour under Luxury Tours is the only one from the Indochina Economic Region.
It offers a total of 18 stops, promising an exploration of the Kingdom’s rich history and landmarks surrounding Siem Reap. With trained tour guides throughout, the tour ensures understanding of Cambodian culture alongside enjoyment of the sights.
The first day of the tour has its starting point at the Bayon Temple, which stands at the center of Angkor Thom (the capital during the reign of King Jayavarman VII). The route then traces through Baphuon Temple, the Terrace of the Elements, the Terrace of the Leper King, UNESCO World Heritage Site Angkor Wat, and Phnom Bakheng, a seven-level pyramid-shaped temple.
Highlighting the second day is a tour of the Phnom Kulen Park, which hosts the largest waterfall in Cambodia and part of the River of a Thousand Lingas, considered holy among the Khmer people. The Banteay Srey (Citadel of Women) and floating village along Tonle Sap Lake are also on the itinerary.
Tourists begin the final morning at Angkor Wat, followed by a trip through Ta Prohm Temple. Known for the giant tree roots and vines fused with the temple structures and ruins, it was a major location for the 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Afterwards, the route includes Pre Rup, Ta Som, Neak Pean, and Preah Khan. Neak Pean is an artificial, circular island with a Buddhist temple, located in Jayatataka Baray.
For Thourn Sinan, chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (Cambodia Chapter), this global recognition spells a positive impact the Kingdom’s tourism industry, which faced a significant drop over the pandemic.
He said that this accolade has highlighted the tourism potential of Cambodia, thus gearing up the country for a reemergence in the fourth quarter of 2021 as “the Ministry of Tourism is working closely with the relevant ministries to achieve the plan of opening the doors and receiving international tourists again.”
Since the onset of COVID-19, travel restrictions and quarantine measures had been hindering the entry of foreign tourists. Within the first four months of 2021, only 82,839 arrivals were recorded – a 93 percent decrease from the previous record of 1,160,067 within the same time period.
More than $3 billion in revenues have been lost as a result. Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) shared that the Kingdom’s tourism sector would need at least five more years to return to its pre-pandemic vitality.
Nevertheless, tourism authorities and stakeholders are grateful for the recognition from TripAdvisor. Ho Vandy, CATA adviser, lauded TripAdvisor as “a valuable source of information trusted by a lot of tourists around the world.”
“This honor is a boon for Cambodia that will provide a plethora of benefits for the tourism sector, especially after the COVID-19 situation improves,” he added.