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The spiritual heart of Siem Reap

Whether it’s the rich religious history of the famous Angkor Wat temple complex, the peaceful countryside vibe of Siem Reap, or the vibrant yoga and healing scene in our little town, there’s little denying that there’s a positive spiritual buzz around here.

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Temple in Siem Reap - photo by Danielle C

If you could use a little calm and a touch more zen in your busy modern life (who couldn’t!?), here’s how to use your stay at Baby Elephant to tap into Siem Reap’s spiritual heart. 

Take a yoga class

Yoga somehow feels like it belongs at Siem Reap, and our little town has no shortage of places to get your pose on, stretch yourself to wellness, and reap the spiritual benefits of mindfulness in the process.

At our Siem Reap hotel, we run a regular schedule of yoga and fitness classes, open to both guests and non-guests, and led by a stellar line-up of travelling and Siem Reap-resident yogis with vast experience from wide-ranging backgrounds. Take a look at our current yoga and fitness schedule here.

Feel the spiritual buzz at Angkor Wat

There’s a reason most visitors to Siem Reap are in town for Angkor Wat – the temples at this expansive, UNESCO-recognised complex are still alive with the spiritual and religious wisdom of the past, and you can truly feel the buzz of this fascinating ancient civilisation.

Angkor Wat, like other ancient sites around the word, is even said to lay along intersecting ‘ley line’ points that form a grid across the globe. These lines apparently mark out where energy is emitted by the earth, which in turn can be harnessed for positive power.

Take a trip to Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Phrom and other famous and lesser-visited temples at Cambodia’s renowned complex – our team can help you tailor your excursion to avoid the crowds, so that you can make the most of the ambiance and spiritual energy, and really soak up the vibe of the place.

Experience a retreat

With all this positive, spiritual energy flying around Siem Reap, it’s the perfect place to take a retreat, and recharge your batteries by escaping the stresses and strains of everyday modern life.

At Baby Elephant, we’ve introduced our Signature Retreats, focussed on helping you achieve wellbeing and balance while exploring Siem Reap’s medieval and modern history and getting a special taste of the Cambodia of today.

You’ll participate in yoga, fitness and meditation classes, enjoy traditional Khmer massage, and be treated to authentically Khmer dishes prepared by our Cambodian chef.

There’s also a visit to one of Siem Reap’s NGO-operated training restaurants for dinner, plus local tours and a trip to the historic Cambodian pagoda at nearby Wat Thmey. It’s all the perfect opportunity to unwind and recharge – click here for more details.

Participate in a water blessing

You don’t get much more spiritual than taking part in an actual religious blessing and, at Siem Reap’s Wat Athvea temple, that’s exactly what you can do. Just a short way out of the city and into the Cambodian countryside, the pagoda hosts the traditional Buddhist practice of receiving a water blessing with the aim of bringing you fortune and good luck.

Accompanied by traditional Buddhist chanting that’s believed to bring good luck, you’ll have water poured over you by monks from the temple. You can then explore the rest of the pagoda in all its beauty, and soak up the natural healing vibe of rural Cambodia.

Learn the art of the lotus flower

The lotus flower holds a special place in daily life in rural Cambodia, and the flower is a traditional Buddhist symbol of determination and accomplishment, in the same way as the flower itself is seen to hold its head above the waters where it grows.

At Siem Reap’s lotus farm – which claims to be the first of its kind in the world – you can discover that there’s more to the humble lotus than you realised. By taking part in one of the farm’s guided tours, you’ll see every step of the lotus’ journey, from harvesting these beautiful flowers to seeing them spun, woven and put to use as fabric or simply as decorative flowers.

It’s difficult not to be mesmerised by the striking beauty and relaxing qualities of this most elegant of flowers – and it’s possible to take home a memento from this sustainably run social enterprise, where the shop sells lotus products ranging from bath salts and balms to fabric, massage oil and necklaces.

Lotus Farm; daily, 10am-6pm; 98 Pithnu Street; 063 63 69 133;

Discover meditation and energy healing

Various healing and spiritual wellness centres in Siem Reap help to demystify the art of meditation, and enable you to make the most of it in order to achieve balance and fulfilment in your life.

Spiritual wellness sessions involve both meditation and healing programmes that empower you on your own personal journey, channel your energies and balance your chakras, while also indulging in massage and reflexology to accomplish total wellness.

Wayist Centre; 66 Wayism Road; 077-804-814;

Where to stay in Siem Reap

Looking for a Siem Reap hotel from which to best explore the spiritual buzz of Siem Reap? Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel is waiting for you – and we’ll be happy to help you arrange activities like these to get the most out of your stay – click here to take a look at our relaxing rooms, all with free breakfast and use of our gorgeous swimming pool.

Which are your favourite spiritual activities in Siem Reap? Do you have another favourite that we’ve forgotten? Let us know in the comments!

Photo by Danielle C.