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About Cambodia

 

The Kingdom of Cambodia, like many countries in the region, has had rather a turbulent time in the latter half of the 20th century but now, once again it is at peace and is set to take its place as one of the most fascinating and rewarding of Southeast Asian destinations.

Without a doubt the major draw for visitors to Cambodia is Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer Empire, considered to be one of the ancient wonders of the world. The town of Siem Reap at the northern edge of the great Tonle Sap Lake is the gateway to Angkor and the base for visiting the temple sites. Only rediscovered by French archaeologists in the 19th century, many of the temples in the mystical 'lost city in the jungle' have had to be reclaimed from the lush tropical vegetation. There are over 400 structures in total built between the 9th and 13th centuries and scattered over a large area. The best-known temples are the truly awesome Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, the Bayon and the wonderful Ta Prohm, still embraced by the roots of enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers. Tonle Sap, the Great Lake of Cambodia, is the largest body of fresh water in Southeast Asia and many fishermen make their living on the lake. A boat trip on the lake is the best way to appreciate its tranquil beauty.

 

The capital of Cambodia and the place of arrival for most visitors to Cambodia is Phnom Penh. Once considered one of the most beautiful cities of the Orient, Phnom Penh still retains much of its original charm with the exotic roof lines of Khmer temples contrasting with some fine old colonial architecture. The Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, Wat Phnom and the National Museum with its extensive collection of Khmer sculpture are highlights of a Phnom Penh city tour. Just over 230km south of the capital is Sihanoukville a beach resort with sandy beaches, blue skies and a cool sea breeze. For the more adventurous visitors, the northern mountain areas of Mondulkiri, Rattanakiri and Stung Treng with virgin rainforests and little-known hill tribes, are opening up to visitors.