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Six Pchum Ben getaways off the beaten track

Pchum Ben – which falls over the weekend of September 20 – offers a much-needed week of rest for the Kingdom’s residents. But with everyone on the move, where should one go?

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Camping AT Banteay Chhmar
Culture vultures ready to splurge can wake up on the footsteps of Banteay Chhmar temple with tour operator Khiri Travel’s luxury camping trips. The Banteay Chhmar temple complex was built by Jayavarman VII in the 12th century. The ruins are some of the country’s most remote and feature intricate bas-reliefs. As part of the custom-made tours, African safari-style tents, with soft beds and bathrooms, are pitched 100 metres from the temple, and local villagers employed by Khiri rustle up home-cooked meals. One night in a tent costs $400.
Contact Khiri Travel to book: 023215970

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Bangkok International Festival of Dance and Music
Bangkok’s International Festival of Dance and Music is being held between September 13 and October 26, and the Pchum Ben holiday provides the perfect opportunity to get over for a few days to check it out. As part of the festival, China’s famous National Acrobatic Troupe will be in town for three nights of dance, drama and acrobatics, September 19-21. The troupe, which was founded in 1950, will perform its world-renowned Cirque Eclipse acrobatic gala. Ticket prices start from $25.
Thailand Cultural Centre, Bangkok. Web: bangkokfestivals.com

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Kirirom Pine Resort
A great getaway spot for those seeking a change of scenery but who don’t want to travel too far. Kirirom National Park’s cool, misty pine forests are unlike anywhere else in Cambodia, and they’re only a 2.5-hour drive from Phnom Penh. Newly opened vKirirom Pine Resort offers accommodation in the heart of the park, ranging from tents ($20 for up to two people) to luxury bungalows ($150 for up to four people). Activities include mountain biking, trekking, cooking classes, volleyball and more.
Kirirom National Park. Phone: 078 777 343. Web: vkirirom.com

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Chamka Pring Park (Soun Soben Chamka Pring)
A popular place for Cambodians wanting to get out of the city for some fresh air, Chamka Pring Park is just north of the city in Phnom Penh Thmey. Set on 15 hectares, the park offers a place to relax, walk, picnic and enjoy the outdoors. There is also a shopping and games arcade and reasonably priced street-style food such as grilled chicken, Khmer noodles, fried meatballs, fried noodles and fried rice. Entry is $0.50 on weekdays and $0.75 on weekends.
Chres village, Sangkat Phnom Penh Thmey (near Samrong Andet pagoda). Open from 7am until 9pm

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Cardamom Mountain Resort
With a wide range of day and overnight tours, you’re bound to be kept busy at Cardamom Mountain Resort. Day trips include jungle treks, mountain biking and drives to Tatai Waterfalls. Multiday trips into the jungle or through the mangroves range from one to three nights. All tours come with a knowledgeable guide, food and water. If that’s not your thing, this is also the perfect place to chill out and read a book in a picturesque setting. Bungalows are $19 a night, visits to the Tatai falls are $23 and overnight jungle tours are $58.
Check cardamommountainresort.com for more details

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Arcadia Backpackers Kampot
Arcadia Backpackers brings the spirit of famous/notorious backpacker hangouts Pai (Thailand) and Vang Vieng (Laos) to Kampot. It’s the kind of place youngsters from around the world come to frolic, often for extended periods of time, in a permissive, friendly atmosphere. Main attractions include the bar and veranda overlooking the Kampot River, a rope swing and a “blob” – a huge floating pillow that launches people into the air when someone jumps on the other end. They also offer tubing down the river. Rates start from $3 for a dorm bed.
Teuk Chhou Road, Kampot. Phone: 0977 455073. Web: arcadiabackpackers.com

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