It was Porsche’s Adventure Drive 2016, which took a group of journos, customers and prospects on a memorable road trip in Siem Reap.
The exotic location is perhaps best known for its iconic Angkor Wat temple complex, a world-famous Unesco World Heritage Site and arguably the country’s biggest draw. But Siem Reap is also home to many other temples with equally long and interesting histories.
Said temples are central to the wonderful cultural heritage that attracts curious tourists, who provide a significant source of income for Cambodia.
Porsche’s choice of Siem Reap for its Adventure Drive was unexpected, but the venue’s combination of chaotic urban traffic and challenging rural landscapes was a great way to demonstrate the versatility of the Macan and Cayenne.
This writer had to be versatile, too, because I was supposed to be a “secret agent” in this regional driving event organised around a spy theme. All the “007s” (though I was closer to “000” in looks) were briefed at the dinner party.
We set off early the next morning for Prasat Kravan temple. The 10th century monument, not far from Angkor Wat, is dedicated to Vishnu, one of Hinduism’s major deities.
After our contingent left the hotel, we had to negotiate the messy Cambodian town traffic. It wasn’t long before the city environment ended and the countryside began, and beckoned.
The scenery was dominated by forests and punctuated with humble villages and all-important rice plantations.
Tarmac roads gave way to gravel trails, but the Porsche SUVs handled the transition seamlessly and without missing an engine beat.
As intriguing as these sights were to urban dwellers like myself, the convoy of Porsches proved to be equally intriguing to the villagers who smiled and waved in delight as we drove past them.
Just before we reached our lunch stop, the route became progressively tougher as the forests got bigger and thicker, presenting challenges that only seasoned adventurers on wheels would relish.
The narrow tracks hemmed in by fat trees and the uneven surfaces with occasional steep slopes really put the Macan and Cayenne to the test. They passed, without breaking a sweat or part of the undercarriage, thanks to their raised ride height and adjustable air suspension. We arrived at our lunch stop in good time.
We were made to work for our food, however, as we had to perform a few tasks at the lunch point as part of our “secret agent” mission.
First, we had to start a fire using a given set of materials, which was difficult given that we were mostly city slickers with little experience of the outdoors. Then, we had to answer a short quiz on Porsche trivia, after which we had to record ourselves lip-syncing to Rihanna’s Shut Up And Drive in the Porsches before we were finally allowed on our way.
We were also given the opportunity to take the SUVs out on a short course designed to demonstrate the off-road abilities of the Macan and Cayenne.
There were steep inclines and tricky elevations, but the Porsches’ well-engineered four-wheel-drive systems and traction aids ensured that the drivers remained in control throughout the course.
After lunch and even more exploration through the Cambodian jungle, we continued towards Ta Prohm temple, which was the setting for the blockbuster starring Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Our last task of the day was to find the “hidden treasure” stashed somewhere within the Ta Prohm landmark. The blazing heat made this task even more daunting, but eventually the prize was found – a model of Porsche’s 911 sports car. Finders keepers.
As the event wound down, I reflected on my driveaway experience in idyllic Siem Reap.
Being cars for all seasons, regions and conditions, the Macan and Cayenne were the perfect vehicles to help this “secret agent 000” accomplish Porsche’s special mission in Cambodia.
Related story: Porsche Cayenne GTS review
Related story: Group Test: Porsche Macan 2.0 vs Audi Q5 2.0 vs Range Rover Evoque 2.0