Relax a little
Siem Reap is home to a broad selection of yoga classes in a variety of styles. The only drawback is that given the largely transient nature of the client base, little is available for advanced practitioners. However, for those in the early or middle stages of their practice, there is much to choose from.
At the top of the range is Navutu Dreams Resort & Spa (Navutu Road, Siem Reap; (092) 141 694; navutudreams.com), which is just over a kilometre out of town. This is a gorgeous garden resort with a dedicated air-conditioned yoga centre, offering three classes a day of hatha flow, vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar and restorative yoga classes, as well as a meditation session on Sunday evenings. Entrance is $8, which includes access to the hotel’s pools and gym as well. Alternatively, you can buy a batch of 10 classes for $60. Their schedule is available online, and a free tuk tuk service leaves from the roundabout in front of the Hard Rock Cafe 30 minutes before each class and brings you back again at the end.
The longest-running yoga centre in Siem Reap is The Peace Cafe (Street 26, Siem Reap; (092) 177 127; peacecafeangkor.org), a lovely garden cafe in between Wat Bo Road and the river. They offer mainly Ashtanga classes at the moment, which are $6. There are two classes a day on Tuesday to Saturday, with one on Monday morning and none on Sunday. The classes are given in a traditional wooden house, with fans to keep you cool. Afterwards, you can let the goodness soak in with some healthy juices or snacks from the cafe downstairs.
A more recent addition to the scene is the Angkor Bodhi Tree (#227, Phum Slor Kram, Slorkram Commune, Siem Reap; (088) 606 5906; angkorbodhitree.com) near Wat Po Langka. This is a guesthouse set in a large Khmer-style villa where they offer Kundalini, hatha and meditation classes for their guests. The afternoon and evening sessions are open to outside visitors and entrance is $6. They also run ‘chill pill’ and stretching sessions for those who might be feeling a little stiff.
Angkor Zen Gardens and Retreat Centre (Svay Prey Village Road, Siem Reap; (012) 808 916; angkorzen.com) offers four yoga and two meditation classes a day in an open sala set in bursting tropcial gardens. The $8 fee includes access to the pool as well. The owner recommends calling in advance if you think you might need directions as this is a little bit out of town, but worth it to feast on all that green.
The ever-popular Siem Reap Hostel (High School Road, Siem Reap; (063) 964 660; thesiemreaphostel.com) also offers twice-daily Ashtanga yoga classes geared towards beginners and intermediate practitioners. The classes are only $5, and the open-sided room looks out on to the grounds of Wat Damnak. This makes it even lovelier for some, though those who are noise-sensitive might not be so appreciative.
An independent yoga teacher offers very gentle Iyengar classes on the rooftop of the Karavansara apartment building on the East River Road. They run at 06:15, and cost $5. The setting gives you panoramic views across Siem Reap under a slowly rising sun, and the soft sound of the monks chanting from Wat Preah Prom Rath on the other side of the river is lovely. There is a Facebook page where the teacher posts details for each class. You will need to let him know if you need a mat.
Much further afield, the Hariharalaya Retreat Centre (Tnal Trung, Bakong, Siem Reap; (071) 463 6028; hariharalaya.com) offers five-day retreats, including a full yoga programme, vegan meals, daily meditation, learning resources and accommodation, for prices starting at $285.
The class schedules at all of the above centres are always subject to change. Check out their websites for more information.
Address: Multiple locations in Siem Reap
Nicky Sullivan is an Irish freelance writer (and aspiring photographer). She has lived in England, Ireland, France, Spain and India, but decided that her tribe and heart are in Cambodia, where she has lived since 2007 despite repeated attempts to leave. She dreams of being as tough as Dervla Murphy, but fears there may be a long way to go. She can’t stand whisky for starters. She was a researcher, writer and coordinator for The Angkor Guidebook: Your Essential Companion to the Temples, now one of the best-selling guidebooks to the temples.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
Our top 10 other sights and activities in and around Siem Reap