Siem Reap, Cambodia is known for its historical temples, scenic views and bustling streets. To find a resort like Phum Baitang located in the midst of its dusty madness is a surprise. Simply take a small detour from the main road and you’ll reach what David Ashworth, the property’s director of operations calls ‘a village within a village’.
The description of a lush and intimate setting is an understatement. Just the view from the lobby alone rendered us speechless except for a few ‘wows’ from the group and the sounds of our phone camera clicking away. Spread across the resort is eight acres of lush gardens, lemon-grass meadows and rice paddies — which explains why the name is in fact, ‘green village’ in Khmer.
Phum Baitang is located fairly close to the Siem Reap International Airport so the journey to and from the resort is a breeze — that’s a big yes in our book because that also means extra pool time. You’ll get to enjoy the resort’s facilities a tad bit longer as the ‘leave for the airport 3 hours before flight’ rule does not apply here. The airport is just a 15-minute drive away — however, the drive may be quite a bumpy one as the roads heading in and out from Phum Baitang are newly built just for the property, which is surrounded by the countryside of Siem Reap.
45 stilted villas — 25 with private terrace, and 20 with private plunge pool. Each of them houses the same earthy and neutral tone aesthetics as the entire resort — if not amplifying it even further with its Khmer-style houses, wooden panels, timber structures. You’ll feel right at home may be a saying that is said too often but the exteriors and interiors of the villas are intentionally designed to create that authentic Cambodian experience. We had the privilege of staying in one of the terrace villas and it was, without a doubt of comfortable stay, we’ve fully utilised every corner of the room, including the oversized egg-shaped bathtub.
Like any other 5-star luxury resort, facilities are also not lacking. While Phum Baitang’s slight downfall is that there are no entertainment outlets within walking distance from the property (but the friendly concierge are able to book tuk-tuks for you), the facilities make up for it so you can and laze within the resort entirely during your stay.
Two restaurants, Bay Phsar situated in front of the 50-metre outdoor infinity pool and Hang Bay with the resort and towering palm trees in view. Both offers elegant dining experience but completely opposites when it comes to dining options. Bay Phsar uses locally sourced ingredients to create the most vibrant Cambodian flavours while Hang Bay’s menu is leaning towards fusion international cuisine.
Laze around the pool on their daybed and order light meals and refreshing juices from the Pool Bar. Go to Cigar & Cocktail Lounge for drinks and specialised cocktails. Here’s our tip: have pre-drinks before dinner and watch the sunset from here.
Despite being in the middle of the countryside, being in Phum Baitang feels like a city on its own with its complete facilities. In fact, there’s no need to explore entire Cambodia for that authentic experience when you’re staying at Phum Baitang (unless temple exploring is a must on your to-do list). You have plentiful dining options, attentive staff and even spa services at their Spa Temple. Just relax, cycle around the resort with the bicycles provided or read a book by the terrace or the pool and watch the sunset or buffaloes ploughing the fields.