There are wondrous sights to behold and things that all people should see. Things that you can do to help, which are perhaps not the first that come to mind and there is a fusion of ancient and modern that you will not be able to leave behind. With research, thought and understanding you will not only change yourself in Cambodia.
The country is still recovering from the ravages of the Pol Pot regime, but the people have risen above and beyond this, to reclaim their cultural heritage that was all but lost under the Khmer Rouge. There are many initiatives you can support, to help revitalise Cambodia’s music, sculpting, craft making, dance, theatre, literature, martial arts and cuisine. Don’t miss ‘The Phare’, the talent and energy of the performers at the Siem Reap and Battambang shows will amaze and enthrall you. By taking in these shows, you’ll be supporting the schools that provide general and arts education, skills and healing to over 1200 students, and eventual gainful employment. You will find the people friendly, courteous and welcoming and be prepared to be treated like a star.
When you imagine a beach, you imagine a strip of white sand separating clear blue seas from jungle vegetation, with palm trees providing shade from the sun, whilst you gaze at high, wispy clouds. The beaches you imagine exist throughout South East Asia but the deserted ones, like Sihanoukville are in Cambodia. Enjoy them whist you’re there and forever in your mind.
When you’ve had your fill of beaches, if that’s possible, the country is full of sumptuous landscape, synonymous with adventure. The jungles are rich. lush and home to a huge range of insects, birds, reptiles and mammals. You can hire a motorbike to explore or choose to walk the dense trails, far from the city, where you will glimpse wildlife and have close up experiences with Elephants, Tigers and Gibbons. The Government is very strict when it comes to shooting and poaching and they go to great lengths to secure these natural wonderlands for future generations. Jungles and temples bought Angelina Jolie to Cambodia in 2001, to film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Angkor was the capital city of the Khmer empire that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries. It was truly a megacity, with a complex water management network used to stabilise, store and distribute water throughout the area. In 2007, an international team of researchers, using satellite photographs and other techniques concluded that Angkor had been the largest pre-industrial city in the world, supporting up to a million people. Angkor Wat is an amazing temple and expression of Khmer genius. It took a combination of creative ambition and religious devotion to build the worlds largest religious building, stunning for both its grand scale and incredible detail. There are three world heritage sites in Cambodia, including Angkor Wat that will have an amazing and everlasting effect on you.
Food and drink
Part of the reason why Cambodia enjoys top rating as a tourist destination is that it has food and drink sufficient to entice enthusiasts from around the world. If you are a lover of seafood and fresh local produce then this place will be heaven for you and you will be able to try a wide variety of delicious dishes at very reasonable prices. Look for the student training restaurants, like Sala Bai and Haven in Siem Reap or ‘Friends the Restaurant’ and ‘Connective Hands Training Café’ in Phnom Penh, where you can enjoy delicious Khmer food, whilst giving give students the opportunity to learn in real conditions, and fund their studies. Drink Cobra whiskey in the ‘Angkor What’ bar in Siem Reap and you will feel such a wimp buying wine in Asda.
If you are planning to visit Cambodia, try to arrange your trip between September and April. This way you will get to see the celebration season here and enjoy the colorful parade of decorations that take place all around the country as people here enjoy their off days and live life to the fullest. It is both exhilarating and enticing at the same time