Song Saa’s three must-try treatments.
SPACE WALK I was a little intimidated to try underwater meditation. At night. In the ocean. Wearing a weight belt. And using a scuba breathing apparatus that I’d never tried before. Thankfully, the resort’s yoga teacher prepped me with a guided breathing exercise to help slow my heart rate before I went under. With the reassurance that I would only be in shallow water just metres from shore and have a dive master carefully watching over me, I let myself sink to the sandy bottom where I began to breathe in (one, two, three, four) and out (one, two, three, four). I let my arms and legs float freely, and because the water was virtually the same temperature as my skin, I could hardly sense them at all. It felt like I was drifting in space. As I swirled the water with my arms, what looked like galaxies of tiny sparkly stars began to appear— phosphorescent plankton that came from a nearby mangrove forest. To top it off, I could also see the almost-full moon glowing above the water’s surface. Though I couldn’t see the real stars, I knew they were out there. Can an earthbound person really sense what it’s like to float in space? I certainly felt like I was light years away. SOAK IT IN Return to your villa after dinner to find your two-person tub laid out for the Stillness Bath Ritual. Candles, flower petals and pots of lavender oil and coconut milk await. Just add water. DREAM BIG Book the signature Blessing Night Spa Ritual, a series of scrubs, soaks, massages and poultice treatments that together make for the ultimate journey to sleep.
Angkor Wat is one of the largest and most unusual temple complexes in the world—and it’s even more incredible to take in during (and after) an afternoon rainstorm. As I explored the temple of Ta Prohm, just one example of the Khmer architecture that spreads out over 400 square kilometres, the hot, heavy and humid skies burst almost instantaneously with big, warm raindrops. Other visitors quickly disappeared beneath passageways and huddled below some of the gigantic silk-cotton trees that have famously grown into (and in many cases taken over) the sandstone walls that date back to the 12th century. When the rain started, I happened to be standing at one of the most famous tree-wall fusion points (a spot featured prominently in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider), and I suddenly had it almost all to myself—which was especially lucky since I visited on the last day of a busy two-week-long holy festival. As the rain shower sent sweet drops down my back and shoulders, I soaked in the fusion of man- and nature-made magnificence (like a carved rock face perfectly surrounded by a curving tree trunk). As quickly as it came, the rain was gone. Distinct sunrays began to split the clouds and light up the water-soaked ruins, bringing out the intensity of the green mosses that coat many of the crumbling stones and lending an extra sense of peace to a site that has been a continuous place of worship for hundreds of years. STAY Originally built in the 1930s, the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Ankor in Siem Reap is just a 10-minute drive from the temple. Book one of the pool villas—each has a private patio that opens onto a lush courtyard with an expansive swimming pool. Take an evening dip and inhale the scent of the surrounding frangipani trees. n
Bayon temple (right) is one of the most iconic sites at Angkor Wat. Here, the 37 still-standing towers each feature up to four large carved faces—making for a lot of serene smiles to size up.