Subscribe to win a slow and stylish Siem Reap escape, including a relaxing two-night stay at chic Shinta Mani Resort, a six-course meal at Cambodia’s best restaurant Cuisine Wat Damnak, cocktails and dinner at atmospheric stylish Miss Wong, and an indulgent Bodia Spa massage and Bodia Nature products.

Cambodia’s Siem Reap is an increasingly compelling place to visit. I say that both as a travel and food writer who spends most of her time discovering and writing on this fascinating destination that has become her home, and as a resident who is completely smitten with this low-key little riverside city.

We’ve lived in Siem Reap for over two years now, but the first time we visited was almost five years ago to write a ‘Beyond the Temples’ story for Bangkok Airways’ Fah Thai magazine. Our objective was to uncover the city that most travellers had used as little more than a departure point from which to explore the spectacular Angkor temples.

On that first visit, we stayed at the Bill Bensley-designed Hotel de la Paix (among others); dined on exquisitely creative Cambodian food at Chef Joannès Rivière’s new restaurant Cuisine Wat Damnak, which had only been open a few weeks; sipped lemongrass and rose martinis at atmospheric Shanghai-inspired Miss Wong bar; and used the heavenly Bodia Spa products, the toiletries of choice for Siem Reap’s finest hotels.

On our last ‘trip’ here — the one when we decided we weren’t going to leave — we checked into Bill Bensley’s stunning Shinta Mani Club, and then new Shinta Mani Resort when it opened, and it really hit home how much this little city had blossomed, and I’m not only talking about style, but also about substance.

Shinta Mani is one of the most responsible hotel operators in Siem Reap, if not Cambodia, with a Foundation that not only trains disadvantaged kids to become some of the hospitality industry’s finest employees, but also provides small business start-up loans, hosts the tri-weekly Made In Cambodia Market, and does good work, from providing water filters and wells to building houses in some of the poorest villages.

At Cuisine Wat Damnak, Chef Jo uses only home-grown seasonal produce in the restaurant. His main suppliers are NGOs that are nurturing mostly-organic local growers who are paid fairly. The chef supplements their produce with provisions from Old Market, while inspiring his young cooks to respect and be inspired by Cambodian ingredients. Not as easy as you think in a region where ambitious chefs favour foie gras and caviar.

Likewise, at Miss Wong, Kiwi owner ‘Green’ Dean is a responsible business operator, with some of the most professional and happiest bar staff in Siem Reap, and is a reliable support of local charities and NGOs, hosting fundraising events and actively participating in the community. Many of the spirits used in cocktails are infused with local ingredients while the pan-Asian snacks and dim sum served is made in house.

Bodia is a Cambodian company that not only runs the finest spas in the country but produces its own homegrown products made in Cambodia from natural ingredients such as lemongrass, jasmine, ginger, pepper, and so on that are grown and bought from farmers in Cambodia, or neighbouring countries where ingredients are not available locally.

Since we first moved here we’ve written loads of stories about this ‘other’ side of Siem Reap — a city that is so much more than simply a springboard for discovering the temples, but is the home of creative, altruistic people like those I’ve described who operate and work for businesses that are about much more than making money.

Now that we live here, Miss Wong has become our local watering hole, we dine at Cuisine Wat Damnak regularly, I rarely miss an opportunity to shop at Shinta Mani’s Made in Cambodia market, and my bathroom shelves are jammed with Bodia toiletries.

We’re delighted to be giving away these fabulous prizes, because not only do all these businesses fit with our own ‘slow, local, experiential’ philosophy, we know from firsthand experience that the winner is not only going to have an absolutely fantastic time, but by being here they’re also going to be giving something back to Cambodians, some of the most inspiring and most resilient people in the world.

Our Siem Reap Escape — the Prize:

  • Two nights at the stylish Shinta Mani Resort for two, including a lavish breakfast each morning.
  • Pre-dinner cocktails and six-course degustation menus for two at Cuisine Wat Damnak.
  • Cocktails and dinner for two at atmospheric Miss Wong bar.
  • Bodia Spa package, including a 90-minute classic massage at the flagship spa and a Bodia Nature ‘Green Peace’ Cambodian Cocoon gift pack of spa products, including lemongrass rice body scrub, bath salts, aromatic massage oil, citronella and geranium miraculous balm, lemongrass herbal soap, loofa, and soy wax candles.

How to Win our Siem Reap Escape for Two

  • Subscribe to our mailing list, which we use to occasionally send our Grantourismo newsletter. That’s all – we promise not to spam you nor share your private email address.
  • Sign up by 31 August 2015 when we will use a random name generator to select one winner.
  • The winner will be announced in September 2015.
  • Accommodation at Shinta Manis is for two people sharing the same room and dinner/drinks at Miss Wong and Cusine Wat Damnak for two people sharing a table.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed during Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year and Khmer New Year holidays and must be used by the end of 2015.
  • The prize is not transferable. Once notified, the winner must let us know if they can accept the prize within 10 days. If the winners are unable to use the prize by the end of the year, we will run the mailing list through the random name generator again to choose a new winner.
  • Flights, transfers and visas are not included.

If you need inspiration to enter, see our Siem Reap stories. Click through to read more here about Shinta Mani Resort, Miss Wong, and Cuisine Wat Damnak. A story on Siem Reap’s best spas, including Bodia Spa, coming soon.

If you do win, make sure you let us know when you’re coming to visit – if we’re home in Siem Reap we would love to meet up to share tips over lemongrass and rose martinis at Miss Wong’s.

Pictured above: Shinta Mani Resort and the Bodia Nature products that one lucky person will win.

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UPDATE: the winner of this giveaway was Bangkok-based Chris Wotton. Congratulations, Chris!

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