Cambodia

Angkor Wat is why most people visit Cambodia and with good reason. This temple and the other historical buildings at the Angkor complex represent some of the finest examples of ancient architecture anywhere in the world. But also spend time discovering other aspects of the country from the moving history of Phnom Penh to local life in Battambang.

Temples of Angkor

The Temples of Angkor are the main draw to Cambodia and you cannot fail to be impressed by the scale, diversity and setting of this ancient complex. It is thought that Angkor may have been the largest pre-industrial city in the world with up to one thousand temples spread over an area of 400 square miles. The temples were constructed by the Khmer Empire between the 9th and 15th centuries and are today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The principle temple is Angkor Wat which was built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman as his mausoleum. It is very well preserved and is intricately decorated with bas reliefs. This temple is set among trees and surrounded by a wide moat.

One of the most interesting temples at Angkor is Ta Prohm which was made famous as a setting for the film Tomb Raider. This ruin has been taken over by the surrounding jungle and has trees growing over and through the buildings making it a memorable sight.

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia. It is situated on the Mekong River and has a mixture of traditional and French colonial architecture.

Visit the Royal Palace which is the residence of the King of Cambodia and in the grounds see the Silver Pagoda. This houses many national treasures including the Emerald Buddha, a life-sized statue decorated with nearly ten thousand diamonds. Also explore the National Museum which displays a large collection of Khmer art.

Cambodia suffered a cruel episode in the late 1970s at the hands of the Khmer Rouge when Pol Pot’s forces killed and tortured many of his enemies. One of the schools in Phnom Penh was turned into the S-21 prison camp which has now become the Tuol Sleng Genocide museum. There are many graphic displays but visiting the museum is a deeply moving experience. From S-21 many of the prisoners were marched to the notorious Killing Fields which you may visit just outside the city.

Battambang

The charming town of Battambang has some of the best preserved French colonial architecture in the country and there are also a number of temples in the area. Visit Phnom Banan and climb the hill to reach the 12th-century Prasat Bannon Temple. At the top enjoy the view over the surrounding plains. Also visit La Maison de Coco, an organisation that assists underprivileged local families.

Battambang can be visited on the way between Phnom Penh and Angkor for a chance to experience local life in Cambodia. During the high water season (August – February) you can take a speedboat down the Stoeng Sangke River and across Tonle Sap to Siem Reap.

Sihanoukville

With white sand and a laid-back atmosphere, Sihanoukville is a beautiful yet relatively undiscovered seaside destination. Relax on the beaches, enjoy the local cuisine or take a trip to the nearby tropical islands. Snorkelling, scuba diving and fishing are also available. Along the seashore, restaurants and bars provide fun into the night.

Sihanoukville is situated on the Gulf of Thailand, 3-4 hours from Phnom Penh by road. It's a great place for a few days of relaxation at the end of your Cambodia holiday.


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