Cambodia is just now beginning its six-month monsoon season. But don’t let that put you off paying a visit. While in November through April, the country is at its sunniest, that’s also when it is most crowded with tourists — and as the sun beats down month after month, conditions can become extremely hot and dusty. It’s still lovely, but dry as a Churchill martini consumed during a Demetri Martin set. With the downpours of the rainy season, which generally last a couple of hours per day, Cambodia’s lush greenery blooms reborn, and many frequent visitors believe it’s at this time of year that the country is most beautiful. Turning the typically unpaved roads into muddy quagmires, rain can make getting around more remote, undeveloped locales quite difficult, however the UNESCO world heritage site of Siem Reap is bitumen-rich and incredibly well kept.
Home to Cambodia’s most famous attraction, the spectacular temples of Angkor Wat — which are radiant during the dry season, and glisten in the monsoon — Siem Reap is also the site of the best hotel in the country, Amansara. One of the Aman group’s most in-demand resorts, the intimate midcentury-modern property was constructed in 1962 as a guesthouse for King Norodom Sihanouk. Here, the Cambodian monarch and prime minister hosted numerous international guests, including Peter O’Toole, French President Charles de Gaulle and Jacqueline Kennedy, before visitors became scarce during the country’s devastating period of Khmer Rouge rule in the 1970s.