Jungle chic and animal magic: How a new wave of luxury hotels is transforming Cambodia

It started with a zip line: 1,050ft long and 130ft above the ground.

“I promise I won’t let you go until you’re ready,” said Sangjay, the young general manager of Shinta Mani Wild, the much-admired tented camp by designer Bill Bensley, set deep in the wilderness of Cambodia’s Southern Cardamom National Park.

As he edged me ever closer to the drop, murmuring assurances of safety, the distant roar of the waterfall urged me on and adrenalin, getting the better of jet lag, carried me off over the rainforest canopy.

Minutes later, thoroughly exhilarated, I swung in (literally) to the Landing Bar to be handed an ice-filled goblet of home-made pineapple and bay leaf syrup, topped with soda water and a generous splash of tequila.

It was the sort of arrival you would remember… and the same could be said of Shinta Mani Wild itself. The camp opened at the end of 2018, the second in the Bensley collection and hard on the heels of Shinta Mani Angkor – Bensley Collection, in Siem Reap.

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