CAMBODIA – Why is it so popular with tourists?

Cambodia and Vietnam have both been amongst the most visited Asian countries in the last few years but why is that. Today I want to show you a little of Cambodia.

The most visited and well known of UNESCO sites in Asia is the temple of Angkor Wat dating back to the 12th century and at over 812 years is full of stories through the ages and introduces us to the many changes that have taken place over that time.

Cambodia dates back to Jayavarman VII who reigned between 1181- 1218. The Khmer Empire stretched forth to encompass parts of modern day Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, Laos and Vietnam and was colonized by the French in the 19th century.
    
 Life through religion was one of order and peace for many centuries under
 successive rulers of the Jayavarman dynasty. During the 1970s Cambodia suffered
heavy carpet bombing by the USA leaving the many unexploded bombs that are still
present today. After a false dawn of independence in 1953, Cambodia promptly plunged
back into the horrors of civil war in 1970 to suffer the Khmer Rouge’s incredibly
brutal reign of terror. Only after UN-sponsored elections in 1993 did Cambodia begin to
scramble back onto its feet. Many would still remember the persecution of the despised
leader Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime.

    
     Much has changed to transform Cambodia into a hive of activity in not only the historic areas but in places like Pub Street in Siem Reap. Here you will find genuine Khmer cooking and everything from French cuisine to a genuine English pub. Many Australians call Siem Reap home due in part to their love of the Cambodian people.

   Strolling beside the river you will many more markets that will delight the most avid
shopper. The night markets are very safe and it is not unusual to see shoppers there until a late hour.

 Phar Circus and the Apsara Dancers top the list as a great way of introducing the culture of the Khymer people. Combining either of these activities with dinner will leave you feeling fulfilled in every sense of the word.

     
 Tonle Sap Lake reveals the poorer side to a struggling country. I am so fascinated by their life on the water, everything from a crocodile farm and textile shop, the local school and church all contribute to this bustling community. The infectious smiles will soon have you feeling more like a friend than a tourist.

To the south is the capital Phnom Penh. Here you will witness the sadness that thepast regime created. However it is also the gateway to beautiful seaside resorts and a playground for the wealthy. To experience Cambodia is definitely to an experience of the good the bad and in some ways the ugly. You will come away with a sense of awe from the decaying temples to the wonderful food. Every turn you take in Cambodia has a surprise waiting.

HOW TO GET THERE. : Fly from Singapore into Siem Reap or Phnom Penh with Silk Air.
WHO TO TRAVEL WITH: APT OR Scenic for organised tours including cruising
Trails of Indochina or EXO travels for land tours
Foot note: Private tours can also be arranged with local guides

Contact me on 0411 682 577 or email dscanlan@mtatravel.com.au