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The Magnificent Siem Reap Seven: Dates

Cambodia is a magical place, and magical places spark romance. So once you feel the first flutters with a special someone, instead of rolling out the usual dinner and a movie combo, why not go on a date that’s truly unique, romantic, thoughtful and passionate?


The Rendezvous:
Try a couple’s massage
The Reason:
What’s steamier than stripping off and winding down?

The Romance:
Couple’s massages have seen a huge rise in popularity lately, and most spas worth their oil list the service. Definitely too hardcore for a first date, this is one for couples looking to spice up their long-time love life. Depending on your relationship, you and your beloved may find the experience sexy, bonding or even a little awkward and laughter-inducing, but whether it’s hot or fun, it will be a date to remember. Choose a reputable, clean, ambient spa for this. The roadside and market massage shops don’t really say “I love you.”


The Rendezvous:
A la carte alone with private dining
The Reason:
Why dine in public when you can dine in private?

The Romance:
Going for dinner is the go-to date, but in Siem Reap, where restaurants are plentiful and food is cheap, it’s not such a novelty. For an utterly special affair, why not arrange a unique mealtime made just for you and your date? Companies like Beyond Unique Escapes and hotels like de la Paix provide VIP dining truly off the beaten track, whether its out in the countryside or a secluded spot on-site. Eating under the stars is romantic, but feeling like you’re the only two people in the world? Well that’s just magical.


The Rendezvous:
Go on an adventure
The Reason:
Nothing gets your pulse racing like a walk on the wild side with the one you love

The Romance:
Whether it’s a first or fiftieth, taking your breath away in the great outdoors is a superb way to make a date. Take a hike, ride a tandem, go horse back, rent dirt bikes, discover remote temples or just get lost for the day. Adventure possibilities in a place like Siem Reap are endless, and showing your date you’re willing to break a sweat and get your hands dirty is well hot.Better still, bring along a picnic to show there’s a softer side to your Dr Jones/Lara Croft persona.


The Rendezvous:
Take sunset stroll
The Reason:
Because it’s cheesy, it’s clichéd, and if you play your cards right, you may catch the sun come up too

The Romance:
Okay, so it may be one of the most overdone gestures on the planet, but for good reason. There is something incredibly romantic about bringing the day to a close with someone special. Take in the sunset at the Phnom Bakheng or Pre Rup temples, view it with a drink atop Soria Moria or the Sunset Bar, or for something more intimate, take a 5pm boat ride on the Tonle Sap: nothing but you, your beau, the water and your, eh, driver.


The Rendezvous:
Taste a cooking class
The Reason:
Because kitchen skill bragging rights are essential to any relationship

The Romance:
Why sit in a restaurant and eat dinner when you can learn how to make your own? Activity dates are always memorable, and a cooking course is a nice way to spend an afternoon while scoping out your date’s amok-making abilities. There are plate-loads of courses to choose from in Siem Reap, so pick one that suits your date’s tastes. Knowing your way around a kitchen is a serious turn on for many, so a few hours spent in one can only lead to good things.


The Rendezvous:
Play with animals
The Reason:
Because even if your date isn’t cute and adorable, the critters will be

The Romance:
Siem Reap is flooded with wildlife, with the Butterfly Centre, Sam Veasna Centre, and the Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity. Animals are not only fun, cute and fascinating, but they create a great talking point should the conversation dry up. And sussing out your mate’s nurturing capabilities is an essential digging point at the start of any romance. Plus, you’re guaranteed a little affection at some point in the proceedings – if not from your date, then at least from the animals.


The Rendezvous:
Just dessert…and some wine too
The Reason:
Because they’re the best part of every meal

The Romance:
Dinner is great. Sharing a meal with someone is wonderful. But sometimes a big, swanky dinner at eight does little more for the libido than leave it bloated, tired and ready for bed (and not in a good way). Next time you pick up your date, tell them to have eaten earlier and bring them to the plushest restaurant you can think of. Swilling some sauvignon and eating cake is far more impromptu and romantic than worrying about garlic breath, spinach teeth and food babies. And should dessert go well, you could be in for afters.

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