Spas & Spirituality In Siem Reap

World Travel|December-January 2020

Spas & Spirituality In Siem Reap
From enlightenment-giving to shaman-inspired rituals, these inspiring spa resorts are elevating their experiences from historic to holistic.
Angela Goh

Cambodia’s spiritual centre, Siem Reap, steeped in a cultural blend of Hinduism and Buddhism, has a magnetism that draws you to its mystical charms. The magnificent temples of Angkor take your breath away as you look in awe of its splendour. Amidst this backdrop of grandeur in a homage to the Gods, the lure of Angkor is eternal as a spiritual paradise of peace and tranquillity.

Siem Reap is where wellness and spirituality mingle naturally, encapsulating the essence of the mind and soul in a journey of discovery.

Those seeking “enlightenment” should head for Anantara Angkor (anantara.com) which lays out one of the most immersive holistic spa journeys in Cambodia. Anantara Spa’s wellness packages are themed on Buddhism’s Seven Ways of Enlightenment (mindfulness, self-realisation, energy, joy, peace, focus, equanimity). Each of the seven spa pathways (indulged as a four- to five-hour package or strung over a couple of days) comprises massages (one treatment uses the seed from the angkuhn tree, found mainly around Angkor Wat), body treatments (the Golden Silk Cocoon facial takes inspiration from the silk weaving tradition) and activities (incense stick making, monk’s blessing at a pagoda).

Touring the Angkor temples incurs a lot of walking and climbing, and you will be glad to have a traditional Khmer massage beforehand. Good for loosening the muscles, it was used to reinvigorate monks after prolonged periods of meditation. Akin to traditional Thai massage (oilfree) but with longer, smoother strokes and less stretching, this massage forms a component in the third path to enlightenment, focusing on energy healing.

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December-January 2020