The province of Kratie, in the country’s east, is poised to become a priority tourist destination and a national heritage site.Tourism Minister Thong Khon on Monday unveiled plans to turn the province’s capital into a “prime tourism destination” and a “heritage city”.
Prime destinations are important attractions but are not as crucial to the tourism sector as the country’s main tourist draws – the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap and the coastal areas.
Minister Khon said the decision to turn Kratie into a priority destination and a heritage site was based on the city’s many tourist attractions, particularly the dolphins that can be spotted in the Mekong River.“If there are dolphins in the Mekong River, there are tourists; however, no dolphins, no tourists,” Mr Khon said.
Other noteworthy products and sites in the province with great tourism potential include the Koh Trong pomelo, colonial buildings, stunning river beaches, and a slew of eco-tourism sites, the minister said.
He reminded the city’s authorities of their responsibility to boost the quality of these products and sites to meet and exceed tourists’ expectations.
“We must continue improving the quality of services and products in the province and create new tourism products,” he said. “We must work hard to develop Kratie province into a prime destination and a heritage site, organise new events on the beach and in the river, keep the city and the province clean, improve hygiene in public toilets, and protect the environment,” Mr Khon said.
“Tourism officials must also strive to improve tourist boats so that they offer a quality service, and drivers must wear proper uniforms,” he added.Mr Khon told Kratie’s provincial tourism department to focus on revamping infrastructure like tourist booths, parking areas, and public toilets while improving services and products at stores, tourist boats, restaurants, and food courts.
Chuk Chumnor, spokesperson for the Ministry of Tourism, told Khmer Times that the government also wants to turn Battambang and Kampot into heritage sites. He said the ministry is working with Unesco to register these cities as national heritage sites first, and world heritage sites at a later stage.
“We are also working with Unesco to register Kratie city as a heritage site, together with Battambang and Kampot. These three cities boast beautiful French buildings,” Mr Chumnor said.
“We are committed to strengthening the quality of tourism services and products, social order and security as well as improving eco-tourism sites in the province,” Mr Chumnor said.
“To develop these priority destinations, the Ministry of Tourism, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and Unesco, has studied and produced the necessary documentation to register these cities as national heritage cities and Unesco world heritage sites.
“Battambang, Kampot, and Kratie could become world heritage sites, which will draw public attention to them and help develop them in a sustainable manner while preserving their urban and natural heritage,” Mr Sinan said.
Last year, Kratie province welcomed about 349,000 visitors, a 15.2 percent year-on-year increase. 25,990 of them were foreigners, mostly French nationals, according to the Ministry of Tourism.
But 2km south down the Mekong used to sit another bridge fulfilling a similar function, less robust and practical, but exuding an antiquated charm by anyone’s estimation.
Each year, for decades, the island residents of Koh Paen built a seasonal, kilometre-long (1,000m) bamboo bridge for cars and pedestrians to cross the Mekong when the water levels were too low for a ferry. And each year, when the rains swelled the river, the elements would tear it down again.
For local residents, the bridge was a backdrop to daily life since they can remember – only disrupted between 1973 and 1986 with the civil war and emergence of the Khmer Rouge – though the specific history of the bridge remains hard to pinpoint.
Prior to 1973, the bridge was owned collectively by a company established by 14 villagers from the island, according to 74-year-old Nai Seang, speaking to The Post back in 2017. She joined the company in 1964, purchasing two shares for 7,000 riel (approximately $1,500 after adjusting for inflation).
Back then, the bridge was only a foot and bicycle bridge built from locally sourced bamboo, with a 1 riel toll for pedestrians, or 2 riel for a bike (equivalent to $0.19 and $0.37 today, respectively). As the youngest in the company when she joined at the age of 22, she was the sole surviving member.
That the bridge has become a tourist attraction was a strange curiosity for Seang. “I did not know the bridge has become such a tourist attraction. I was very young when I bought my shares, and to me it was just a thing that helps people cross the river, and a business,” she says.
But back in March last year, as the concrete monolith neared completion, for the first time in decades the residents of Koh Paen decided against building their bridge as a river crossing for vehicles.
Yung Oun, the owner of the old bamboo bridge, told The Post that it served as a major tourist attraction in the province, for both local and international visitors, so the loss of the bamboo bridge signalled a loss of money for the area too.
To avoid this, last year enterprising locals decided to keep the tradition alive on a smaller scale by building a tourist friendly, pedestrian only bridge as a replacement.
“Last year, our new bridge was only 700 metres. This year, we will construct it up to 800 metres,” said 60-year-old Bun Dara, a former Institute of Technology of Cambodia engineer and owner of the new bamboo bridge.
The bridge, built using more than 20,000 bamboo sticks, was officially opened on December 1. It is open from dawn to dusk, including weekends and holidays.
“On a normal day, I see about 30 to 50 people walking across the bridge,” said Dara.
To cross the bridge, pedestrians cost 2,000 riel, a motorbike costs 5,000 riel, a vehicle or tuk-tuk costs 10,000 riel and a larger vehicle costs 20,000 riel.
Source – PhnomPenhPost
While Vietnamese visitors continued to top the list of international tourist arrivals to Cambodia in 2016, their numbers dipped as the number of Chinese tourists continued to surge and looks set to take the top notch this year, according to newly released Tourism Ministry annual figures.
The data showed total tourist arrivals from Vietnam fell 3 percent to 950,000 last year, while Chinese arrivals surged 19 percent to 830,000 over the same period.
Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), expressed confidence that China would soon overtake Vietnam as the main source of the Kingdom’s tourists.
“Following the strengthening of the relationship between Cambodia and China and the government’s strategy to promote more Chinese tourist arrivals, China will soon be the leader for tourism visits in Cambodia,” she said yesterday.
Sivlin noted that the Ministry of Tourism still needs to increase the number of direct flights to the Kingdom in order to reach the country’s target of welcoming 7 million tourists by 2020, including 2 million Chinese visitors.
“Compared to neighboring countries, the number of international arrivals is still small because the shortage of direct flights is limiting international arrivals,” she said. “The government needs to speed up the process of approving direct flights to reach its tourism goals.”
According to the Ministry of Tourism, total tourist arrivals topped 5 million in 2016, from 4.8 million a year earlier, while total revenue from tourism decreased to $3 billion in 2016, from $3.5 billion in 2015.
Sivlin said one reason for the decline in tourism revenue was a failure to recognise the changes in tourist demographics. She pointed to the high number of souvenir products sold in the country imported from China, Vietnam and Thailand, which were difficult to sell when many tourists came from those same countries.
“We sell souvenir products that are not produced locally, and this is not attractive to international visitors when they know it is from their country,” she said.
Ang Kim Eang, general manager of Great Angkor Tours, said the marginal decline in Vietnamese arrivals had no significant impact on the tourism sector as most Vietnamese visitors arrive by bus and do not spend large sums of money. On the other hand, the higher number of Chinese tourists was good news for Cambodia as they tend to be more prolific spenders.
“Chinese tourism offers great potential for the local tourism sector because they like to spend a lot on entertainment services,” he said.
And with China’s outbound tourists topping 122 million last year, far more than the entire population of Vietnam, government initiatives to attract a larger share to Cambodia are hardly surprising.
“Chinese tourists are one of the main targets for promoting the Cambodian economy,” Eang said.
CAMBODIA Siem Reap – Here you will find influences of French colonial and Chinese architecture. With the Tuk Tuk service to the ancient city of Angkor Thom, to visit Angkor Ta Prohm, one of the famous temples of Cambodia. In the afternoon with a Jeep to the Angkor Wat Temple. MYANMAR Mandalay – After arriving…
White Boutique Hotel offers colonial-style accommodation in the Otres-2 Beach district of Sihanoukville. The hotel features an outdoor natural stone swimming pool and a private beach where views of the sunset can be enjoyed. Free WiFi is available throughout the property.
All rooms are air-conditioned and feature a king-sized bed, while the twin rooms offer 2 single beds. A terrace or balcony are featured in certain rooms. For your comfort, you will find bathrobes and free toiletries.
From the property, it is 11.2 km to arrive at the city centre of Sihanoukville. It is a 26.9 km drive from the hotel to Ream National Park and 16 km to Sihanoukville Airport. Phnom Penh takes a 4-hour drive and Siem Reap is an hour’s flight away.
Airport transfers and shuttle services can be arranged upon request at an additional charge.
The on-site restaurant serves European and Khmer cuisine, and offers homemade lemonade and jams.
This property is also rated for the best value in Sihanoukville! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.
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Blending luxury with old-world charm, Raffles Hotel Le Royal features accommodations with private balconies offering pool or garden views. It also boasts a spa and 7 dining options.
Located in the heart of Phnom Penh, Raffles Hotel is just a 20-minute drive from Phnom Penh International Airport. Royal Palace and the National Museum are one kilometer away.
Spacious air conditioned rooms at Raffles are equipped with a TV with cable channels and a minibar. Private bathrooms come with a hairdryer. 24-hour room service and Wi-Fi access are available.
Guests of Raffles Le Royal can take a dip in the outdoor lap pool, relax in the sauna or exercise in the fitness center. Other facilities include a business center and a tour desk.
Restaurant Le Royal serves modern French and Khmer dishes, while The Conservatory features sandwiches, pastries and drinks. Both venues offer live classical music in the evenings.
Café Monivong features all-day dining with a buffet and a full dining menu. Le Phnom offers books and Cambodian souvenirs, along with tea-time snacks. Drinks and light snacks are served at Writer’s Bar, Elephant Bar and Poolside Terrace.
Daun Penh is a great choice for travelers interested in markets, museums and sightseeing.
This is our guests’ favorite part of Phnom Penh, according to independent reviews.
This property is also rated for the best value in Phnom Penh! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.
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True to the meaning of its name “green village”, Phum Baitang offers quiet accommodation nestled amidst private, lush gardens and rice fields. Phum Baitang features a 50 m outdoor infinity pool, a spa and wellness centre and a barbecue area.
The property boasts 45 spacious wood-and-stilt villas and is equipped with a children’s playground. Guests can enjoy meals at one of the two in-house restaurant or have a drink at the bar. Free private parking is available on site.
Phum Baitang is 3 km away from the vibrant Pub Street. The renowned Angkor Wat is 7 km away, while Angkor Night Market is 2.7 km from the property. The nearest airport is Siem Reap – Angkor International Airport, is a 6 km-drive. The property offers complimentary airport transfers and shuttle services.
Some villas offer a private terrace while others are fitted with a private plunge pool. Villas are fully-furnished with traditional Cambodian decor. The rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Certain units feature a seating area to relax in after a busy day.
Enjoy a cup of coffee while looking out at the pool or garden. Each room comes with a private bathroom fitted with a hot tub. Conveniences include bathrobes, slippers and free toiletries. The hotel offers free WiFi throughout the property.
Guests can indulge in Spa Temple’s variety of massages and treatments or participate in yoga classes. The 24-hour front desk offers currency exchange, tour arrangements and ticketing services. Bike hire is also available.
One of the property’s two in-house restaurants, Bay Phsar serves up authentic Cambodia cuisine and encourages guests to choose from an array of locally-sourced ingredients with the help of the chef, while Hang Bay specialises in fusion cuisine.
This property is also rated for the best value in Siem Reap! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.
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Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel is a luxurious 5-star property offering elegant bedrooms and suites, an outdoor pool and restaurant. Offering a fitness centre and spa, it also features complimentary private parking.
Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel is 7 km from Royal Palace Phnom Penh, 1.2 km from Riverfront Park and 6 km from Wat Phnom. Phnom Penh International Airport is 13 km away.
Each air-conditioned room and suite is equipped with an electric kettle, minibar, flat-screen cable TV and safe. Private bathrooms include a bathtub, shower, hairdryer and free toiletries.
Free WiFi is accessible in the hotel’s common areas. A 24-hour front desk, currency exchange and laundry services are available.