This #FridayFunday we are taking a look at all the things to see and do when you visit Cambodia! After slowly recovering from the horrors of the Khmer Rouge‘s reign of terror which left most of this country in devastation, Cambodia has now become a very popular tourist destination and welcomes visitors with open arms. This bewitching land has so much to offer; ancient temples, packed forests, delightful beaches and a wealth of culture and history. Its amalgamation of wonderful people and cuisine will make your holiday truly unforgettable.
Undoubtedly one of the main tourist attractions are the stunning Temples of Angkor which are located in Siem Reap. Rising up out of its jungle surroundings and can only be described as both breathtaking and magnificent in appearance. Angkor Wat (meaning City Temple) is easily the most beautiful and largest of all Angkor Temples and this ancient temple complex is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Bayon Temple is another part of this world famous destination worth seeing. It features a sea of over 200 huge stone faces looking in all directions. Built in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII, many people believe the smiling faces represent a portrait of the king himself together with the Great Buddha. Banteay Srei located 15 miles North-East of the main group of temples is a separate attraction although it is officially part of the Angkor complex.
Silhanoukville also known as Kampong Som is Cambodia’s premiere port city and beach resort on the Gulf of Thailand. With beautiful white sandy sun-kissed beaches and several undeveloped tropical islands sleepy towns and spectacular national parks, it makes an ideal place to stop and unwind for a few days before or after touring around. Be sure to make stops at Koh Rong and Kampot for more beautiful and exotic beach escapes!
Koh Ker was the capital of the Khmer empire for a short time during which some very spectacular buildings and colossal sculptures were constructed. This site is dominated by Prasat Thom, a temple standing 30 metres tall rising high above the surrounding jungle. A giant Garuda (mythical creature half man, half bird) is carved into the stone blocks and still guards the very top, although it is partially covered now.
Kratie is a small town located on the banks of the Mekong River and is governed by a central market place surrounded by ancient French colonial buildings. It is worth a visit just to see the rare Irrawaddy dolphins living in the river Mekong in unfortunately, ever decreasing numbers.
Bokor Hill Station near Kampot was built by the French in the 1920’s to be used as a retreat from all the trouble in Phnom Penh. Abandoned twice first in the 1940’s when the Japanese invaded Cambodia and again in the 1970’s when the Khmer Rouge engulfed the country, it is now a desolate building with an eerie ghost-town feel. The only access to this mysterious, deserted building is through organised hiking tours arranged locally. Well worth a stopover during your travels.
Located within the Royal Palace compound in Phnom Penh, the Silver Pagoda is home to many national treasures which include gold and jewelled Buddha statues. The most precious pieces are a 17th century baccarat crystal Buddha (the Emerald Buddha of Cambodia) and a life size gold Maitreya Buddha decorated with 9584 diamonds!!
Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and is very important to Cambodia. The lake expands and shrinks depending on the season. From November to May, Cambodia’s dry season, the Tonle Sap drains into the Mekong river at Phnom Penh. When the heavy rains start in June, the flow of the river changes direction and forms an enormous lake. Around the lake, you will find many ethnic Vietnamese and Cham communities, living in colourful floating villages. A pictorial illustration of how they live their day to day life, and a sight definitely not to be missed.
Lastly, tour the capital Phnom Penh, a beautiful city that exudes charm. Here you will experience a true oversight of the marred colonial ancestry which juxtaposes the historical tragedy taking place at the fascinating and humbling Killing Fields.
So whether you want a first class beach resort, an amazing adventure or an historical story shown in a traditional style come and visit Cambodia. Call Just Love Travel and speak to one of our experienced travel consultants.0