Royalty has been beating a path to Siem Reap this month, with the King visiting on January 10 to inaugurate the new library at the Khmer Centre for Studies.
This week saw a visit by Her Royal Highness Bopha Devi, together with her daughter Keo Chinsita Forsinetti. The pair flew into Siem Reap early on Tuesday morning and were then whisked out of town to Banteay Srey.
There they witnessed a special dance ceremony hosted by Lady Ravynn Karet-Coxen, the founder of the NKFC Conservatoire Preah Ream Bopha Devi dance school, a component of the Siem Reap-based NGO the Nginn Karet Foundation for Cambodia (NKFC), of which Coxen is chairman.
The Princess, a former Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, is the Conservatoire’s patron and takes a special interest in dance, following her own brilliant career.
At age 15 she became the premiere dancer of the Cambodian Royal Ballet and at age 18 was granted the title of prima ballerina. She then toured the world as principal dancer.
She danced for General de Gaulle on the terrace in front of Angkor Wat when she was 23.
She also performed for Jacqueline Kennedy, Princess Margaret, General Tito, China’s Chou en-Lai and President Sukarno, who apparently wanted to marry her.
The Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap is gearing up for more celebrations on January 30, marking its 11th anniversary.
The day starts at 8am with an introduction about Angkor Hospital for Children’s projects followed by speeches. Later that morning there will be dance performances from local children and the awarding of service recognition certificates.
The day will wind up at 5pm with an anniversary party at the Angkor Mondial Restaurant.
The genial Japanese photographer Kenro Izu, who founded the hospital in 1999, will participate in proceedings along with a host of heavyweights from the Japanese and American boards of Friends Without a Border, the hospital’s fundraising arm.
Three Siem Reap hotels were the only Cambodian sleep factories to make it on to leading travel website TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Hotels for Asia List 2010.
Coming in as number six in the Top 10 Hotels for Families is the Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa. Ranked number four in the Top 10 B&Bs and Inns is Journeys Within.
The Pavillon d’Orient boutique hotel gets two gongs, coming in at number five for Best Service and number six on the Top 10 Bargain Hotels line up.