There is no better way to explain it. Cambodia is a destination that is being reconstructed and rebuilt from the bottom up. It is not always at the top, or even in the middle, of the pack when people make a list of the destinations they would like to visit. From genocide to monsoons to government upheaval, the country has been through a lot but is starting to turn the corner. The dark days are behind and you need to start giving Cambodia some serious consideration the next time you are looking for a little getaway.
One of the things that makes Cambodia so appealing is the fact that it offers a little something for everyone. Whether you are a fan of beautiful country sides, long stretches of white sandy beaches, thick forests or pristine rivers, this destination has it all. You can find romance, adventure, relaxation and culture all in the palms of your hands. With that said, Cambodia is still only known for two things, the treacherous roads and Angkor Wat. However, here are some of the top attractions that do not always make the front page of travel magazines.
This is the capital city of Cambodia and combines the perfect blend of modern architecture and classical French beauty. There are modern structures that surround old fashioned and historical Buddhist temples and the culture in the city is fascinating. There are not many other places in the world where you will see history, culture and modern facilities mixed together in such a perfect way.
Keep in mind that it is all not fun and pleasure in the city. If you are a history buff then you will be just a few steps away from the infamous killing fields where thousands of lives were ended in the horrific genocide era. Not necessarily a euphoric day trip, but a fascinating one in many respects.
Sihanoukville can be best described as a laid back, lazy and small little village that is quaintly placed on the edge of Cambodia. The beaches are some of the best in the world, thankfully with a lot less of the hype, and thus you can take advantage of the quiet, calm and unspoiled nature. You can find reasonable accommodation for around $10 a night and can even find long stretches of beaches that are completely empty. The feeling is comparable to being on your own private island, depending on the time of year. Anyone looking to work abroad and find a quiet place to write or reflect should keep Sihanoukville high up on their list of priorities.
This is the attraction that most people have heard about, and it is so popular for good reason. The hundreds of temples are simply stunning and each one has its own classical uniqueness. While Angkor Wat is the most famous temple, and the most well kept up, the steady stream of tourists makes it annoying to get around at times. Sticking to the smaller and lesser known temples is a great way to tour the area and still enjoy some tranquility. It is a personal choice, but many people who have been to Cambodia say the temples are more enlightening and awe-inspiring than the Egyptian Pyramids.
Ditch the Cookie Cutter Vacation and Seek Out Adventure
When, and if, you visit Cambodia, you are going to have to be prepared. Search around, do your research, get your hands on a quality travel book and prepare yourself for the treacherous roads. While much of the country has been built up to accommodate tourism, the steady flow of monsoons continues to take its toll on the poorly built roads. With that said, as long as you are prepared, the roads will only be a small memory compared to the exotic, cultural and peaceful experience you can have in Cambodia.
(2005-08-01) Lonely Planet Cambodia (Country Guide), Nick Ray, Lonely Planet, Pa
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