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SR ranked as the world’s ninth best travel spot


The old market is high on the list of Siem Reap tourism attractions. Photograph: Peter Olszewski/Phnom Penh Post

And rated highly as a drug tourism destination

Siem Reap continues to bask in the glory of being a hip new destination in its own right, emerging from the shadow of the Angkor monuments.

Humble little Temple Town has starred in the 2012 Top 25 Travelers’ Choice World Destinations, which is “based on millions of valuable reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travelers.”

Siem Reap has been rated as the ninth best travel spot in the world in the top 25 listing. It is the only regional destination to rate in the Top 25, so tough luck to Luang Prabang,  Phuket, Samui, Singapore, Vietnam’s Central Coast, Poipet  et al.

Meanwhile Siem Reap’s host nation, Cambodia, has also been getting gongs and “appears to be on the rise as an emerging destination among luxe travelers.”

This is according to the 2012 Virtuoso Luxe Report.  It ranks Cambodia as number three in its five most popular emerging destinations listing.

The report notes this means “those on the cusp of becoming popular, either for the first time or all over again in 2012.”

Cuba and Vietnam topped the list.

Cambodia didn’t even crack it for the top ten in the same category in last year’s report, and Virtuosos comments, “If these results are anything to go by, intrepid luxe hoteliers who have ventured into the Southeast Asian nation will benefit from an increasing interest among high-end travelers hungry for something different.”

The report adds, “Major players are already making their moves.  Park Hyatt for instance is taking over management of the high-end Hotel de la Paix in Siem Reap.”

But one list that perhaps Siem Reap doesn’t want star rating is the ‘drugs-readily-available’ drug tourism list.

In March, The Atlantic in the US published a feature article exploring the “High Lands” where drug tourism is featured.

Writer Eve Turow said, “In Siem Reap, Cambodia, streets are lined with pizza joints baking marijuana under melted bubbling cheese. The establishments are named ‘Happy Special Pizza,’ ‘Happy Herb Pizza,’ ‘Happy Angkor Pizza,’ and ‘Ecstatic Pizza,’ available ‘with added herb or not.’

As a result, finding a way to get high is as easy as placing an order and saying ‘make it happy, please’.”



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