A FLOOD OF CONCERN
Some expats are concerned over a notion that villagers living in and around the Eastern Baray will be forcibly relocated when the baray is re-flooded.
But last week Em Sok Rithy, director of media at Apsara Authority spoke by phone to Insider reporter Thik Kaliyann and said Apsara does not have any plans to relocate villagers who live near or around Baray Resort. He stressed, “We have no policy to relocate people living near or around Baray Resort to another site at all.”
Furthermore there now seems to be some doubt about when or even if the baray will be re-flooded.
Last week, in a rather carefully worded email statement to Insider reporter Paul Kelly, UNESCO culture specialist Philippe Delange said, “At this time there are no clear plans for the re-flooding of the Eastern Baray.”
But the flooding seemed to be confirmed in notes from ICC’s 19th Plenary Session December 2012.
The notes read, “Regarding phase III of the bypass road: The APSARA National Authority has taken into account the forthcoming re-flooding project of the Eastern baray and the recommendations of the ICC made at the Technical Session in June 2012.
The original Korean project planned that once phase II was completed, the two stretches would meet at the end of the new road where it crosses the long existing National Road 67.
“Due to the future project to re-flood the Eastern Baray, we stopped any construction in the baray and suggested to our Korean partners to modify the route."
THE COST OF TRAVEL
Figure that Siem Reap is one of the cheapest places to travel in the region? Not so according to Roger Wade’s online site, PriceofTravel.com aka the Backpacker’s Index. He calculates the daily price of a visit which includes hostel, three meals, three drinks, local transport and a visit to a tourist attraction.
On this basis, he ranks Siem Reap as the world’s twenty-second least expensive city to visit at $26.62 daily.
But Siem Reap is more expensive than Hanoi, Chiang Mai, Ho Chi Minh City, Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Hoi An, Jakarta, and Phuket.
In a copy of the index published in the New York Times international edition on January 30, Yangon was listed as cheaper that Siem Reap – no17 at $24.45 daily. But checking the website on Monday, Yangon had, perhaps rightly, slipped to no26 at $27.14 daily. It’s obviously becoming more expensive that Siem Reap due to grossly inflated accommodation costs, courtesy of the arrival of democracy of sorts.
AWARD WINNING HOTELS
The year has only really just got underway but already annual hotel awards are being posted. Travel+Leisure magazine has published its Top 500 Best World’s Hotels listing for 2014, and Amansara comes out the big winner, being listed as number 35 of the world’ top 50 hotels.
Amansara of course also heads the list of the best Cambodian hotels that feature in the Top 500 ranking, followed by La Residence d'Angkor by Orient-Express, Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor, Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra, and newcomer to the listing, Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa.
Meanwhile the little known Golden Temple Hotel in Siem Reap was named Cambodia’s top hotel inTripAdvisor’s 2014 Travellers’ Choice awards. The Golden Temple, which lists its high season rates as ranging from $79 per night to $129 seems an odd, even unlikely choice – but the voters have apparently spoken.
Siem Reap’s Shinta Mani Club was voted second best and La Residence came third. Not surprisingly, Siem Reap dominated the Top Ten awards, taking eight of the ten places.
In Siem Reap, Lotus Blanc resort came in at 6, Victoria Angkor Resort at 7, Sofitel at 8, Raffles at 9 ( Raffles Phnom Penh was voted fourth best) and Borei Angkor, owned by governor Kim Bun Song, was voted tenth.