An Aesthetic And Spiritual Sweet Spot; Hilary Danailova; Jewish Week
As in many warm-weather destinations, November through April is prime travel season in Cambodia. Not because those months are warm — Cambodia is always warm — but because the Southeast Asian country is driest during the winter respite from monsoons.
In travel terms, however, Cambodia is sizzling hot. I put the country on this year’s must-see list primarily due to a newly designated UNESCO World Heritage Site — the archaeological temple complex at Sambor Prei Kuk — but as growing visitor numbers attest, Cambodia is in that tourism sweet spot.
It’s global enough for foreigners to easily navigate: U.S. dollars are widely accepted and English is common in tourist centers. A beguiling rusticity still permeates the jungle-like landscapes, ramshackle fishing enclaves and open-air markets, but the cities — and the well-trodden hot spots — are cosmopolitan enough that you can unwind in wine bars and sleep in boutique-chic hotels, if that’s your speed.
You can even mingle over Shabbat dinner at the eight-story Chabad center in Phnom Penh, where more than a hundred area Jews now gather for holidays and support Cambodia’s first Jewish preschool.