Thousands travel to Siem Reap each year to visit Cambodia’s most famous temple, Angkor Wat, and natural wonders such as the Phnom Kulen waterfall. Avoid the chain hotels by staying in one of these sustainable ecohotels, bookable with Culture Trip.
With such a huge influx of tourists annually, it’s no wonder that sustainability is a hot topic in Siem Reap. Back in 2016, the town launched a successful “Refill Not Landfill” movement to tackle plastic waste. Meanwhile, the popular Made in Cambodia market champions the work of up-and-coming Khmer artists. Play your part and protect the local environment by staying in one of these socially conscious hotels and homestays.
This elegant boutique hotel is just a stone’s throw from Shinta Mani’s other Siem Reap properties, Shinta Mani Shack and Shinta Mani Siem Reap. All three hotels work closely with the Shinta Mani Foundation, which offers hospitality training and employment to underprivileged locals. Green-minded guests will also be pleased to know the hotel has a rooftop garden that cultivates herbs for use in the restaurants and bars at the three Shinta Mani properties.
Tropical flora hides 33 unique living spaces at Templation, one of Siem Reap’s most luxurious boutique hotels. Most suites come with their own private pool. As an environmentally conscious hotel, Templation was built with a green roof to absorb storm rainwater, while excess is collected to irrigate the gardens. Inside, air-conditioning is minimised by the use of natural airflow in the building’s design. Solar panels provide electricity to the hotel. Unwind at the onsite spa, where natural oils for treatments are inspired by local Khmer traditional healing methods.
Luxury and sustainability can go hand in hand, as this upscale resort demonstrates. With just 28 Mediterrennean-style rooms and suites spread across the property, you’re afforded greater exclusivity and personal service. As part of its plastic-free policy, you’ll be provided with refillable glass bottles and biodegradable bags for takeaway food. The dishes served in the restaurant are sourced locally as much as possible, so you can enjoy an authentic farm-to-table experience.
This minimalist, modern hotel is set in the middle of thick jungle. It offers an alternative bed for the night in the form of luxury camping. The canvas villas are made from a fabric that resembles the sailcloth of a yacht and contains no traces of vinyl or plastic. All cooking ingredients – where possible – are organic and sourced onsite or from local farms. RThere is features an impressive infinity pool suspended five metres (16ft) above ground, so you’ll feel like you’re swimming above the treetops.
Phnom Krom Eco Resort | Courtesy of Phnom Krom Eco Resort / Expedia
Located at the foot of Phnom Krom mountain and close to Tonle Sap Lake, this rustic accommodation is surrounded by four smaller lakes and is part of a designated Unesco biosphere reserve. Here, you can enjoy activities such as fishing, boating or – depending on the season – helping to plant or harvest rice in the nearby paddy fields. Wholly owned by Cambodians, the hotel employs mostly local villagers who live around the area, which helps diversify livelihoods and reduce poverty.
Phum Baitang, which translates as “green village”, is a luxurious sanctuary sitting on the outskirts of Siem Reap amid lush paddies, tropical gardens and lemongrass meadows. The eight-acre site is home to 45 stilted villas, each with a private pool or terrace, crafted from sustainable materials. The hotel adheres to strict environmental policies; the onsite Cambodian and international restaurants source produce from local farms where possible. Elsewhere, the hotel minimises single-use plastic by producing its own drinking water.
Located about 50 minutes from the heart of Siem Reap and home to the eponymous Banteay Srei temple, this district offers an intimate look into life in the rural Khmer countryside. There are 13 homestay experiences available, from private villas to bunking in with a local family in their home. During your time here, take part in fun-filled activities such as trekking through the area’s forests or trying your hand at ox-cart riding.
Talk about upcycling. Sala Lodges comprises 11 traditional stilted wooden houses that were built between the 1950s and 1980s. They were then dismantled in the countryside and rebuilt into the chic and contemporary resort it is today. The entire compound was designed to maximise natural air flow, minimising the need for air-conditioning, and ecofriendly light bulbs are used to reduce energy consumption. You will also be provided with refillable metal bottles and bamboo straws for drinks, plus all bathroom amenities are locally made using only natural ingredients.
Rokkha River Resort | Courtesy of Rokkha River Resort / Expedia
This 23-room hotel takes its environmental commitments seriously, with a firm zero-plastic policy. Additionally, the staff – and anyone willing to volunteer their time – take part in a weekly litter pick from Preah Enkosei Bridge to Spean Neak (Naga Bridge). As you wander the grounds of the hotel, you’ll notice how they’ve taken care to leave as many pre-existing trees untouched as possible, with the architecture being built around old native trees. This proliferation of greenery adds to the tranquil vibe, making you forget the city centre is just 10 minutes away.