cambodia

When you mention the country of Cambodia, two things tend to spring to mind - one of unspeakable horror and one of awe-inspiring beauty. Today it is the wonder and mystery of Angkor that draws people to this country.

Angkor WatBayon AngkorStatuesTempleTuk TukElephant Valley ProjectTree Ta Prohn

Built as the capital of the Khmer Empire, the Angkor complex at one time housed 750,000 citizens. Today Angkor is a World Heritage Site and will take days to explore. Angkor Wat, the world's largest temple and home to the world's longest bas-relief panels is a must, as is Angkor Thom.

Away from the main complex is the delightful Bantreay Srei. With its pink sandstone walls and delicate and exquisite carvings, it is an architectural delight. Equally delightful, but in a more haunting way is Ta Prohm. Here giant creepers and stranglers weave in and out of the masonry.

Nestled close to all the complexes is the laid back and sleepy town of Siem Reap. Here you will find stunning, state of the art hotels sensitively and carefully decorated using Khmer wood carvings and handicrafts. Complete with landscaped pools and plush spas, a stay in one of these hotels will prove the perfect antidote to temple fatigue. From here, you can make gentle forays into the enchanting countryside including a visit to the floating village at Tonle Sap.

It is possible to go by boat down Tonle Sap to Phnom Penh. Slowly, very slowly, this capital is rebuilding itself to its former glory. As you saunter down the frangipani boulevards against a backdrop of faded ochre coloured buildings you start to get a glimpse of what Phnom Penh was like in the 50's and 60's, when it was as one of the finest cities in the Far East.

But it is for Angkor that one goes to Cambodia. Angkor Wat has become the symbol of the Khmer people and the country and is on their national flag. It symbolises their pride, their history, their rich culture and their grandeur. The Cambodians will leave an indelible mark on you; so proud and fiercely self-reliant as they go about rebuilding their shattered country.

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