Top things to do in Cambodia



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Even though Cambodia has not yet completely recovered from the bleak Khmer Rouge regime, the nation has become more prosperous and more welcoming to tourists with every passing year. The number of annual visitors to Cambodia topped the two million mark in 2007. Tourism and textiles are now the national economy's two main pillars.

Cambodia's most visited tourist attraction is not its national capital, Phnom Penh, but the majestic Angkor Wat temple and its surrounding Angkor Archaeological Park. Angkor Wat has a prominent place on both Cambodia's national flag and in the hearts of many of its citizens as the main symbol of the country's Khmer Empire. The Khmer Empire extended from Vietnam to Thailand between the 12th and 13th centuries.

Angkor Archaeological Park and its closest major city, Siem Reap, are both located in northwest Cambodia not far from the Thai border. Tourists will notice the land getting flatter and more fertile the further south they travel to the region's other well-known landmark, Tonle Sap. Southeast Asia's largest freshwater lake is also famous for its floating villages where residents fish, live, attend school, and even play basketball surrounded by water.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia's national capital and most populous city, is where Tonle Sap meets the Mekong River in the Mekong lowlands. Visitors who explore beyond Phnom Penh's rougher edges and perpetually hot and humid climate will find some of the picturesque landmarks which once earned the city such nicknames as 'the Pearl of Asia' and the 'Paris of the East.'

Phnom Penh's most scenic corners are its Royal Palace, riverside Sisowath Quay, and National Museum of Cambodia. Cambodia's national capital is also where visitors can travel back to the country's harrowing Khmer Rouge regime at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. Only eight of the over 14,000 people who were tortured at this former school turned S-21 Prison were able to survive. Many of these prisoners were transported 17kms south to meet their final fate at the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, where over 8,000 human skulls are displayed at a Buddhist stupa.

The seaside community of Sihanoukville ranks third behind Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh on Cambodia's list of most famous tourist attractions. This beach resort on Cambodia's southwest coast once hosted Jacqueline Kennedy during its 1960s glory years, but fell on hard times after Cambodia's 1970s civil war. Nowadays, Sihanoukville is slowly returning to its former splendour and was named the continent's next trendsetting beach by none other than the New York Times.

Visitors who venture away from Cambodia's well-trodden tourism paths should keep their eyes peeled for landmines which were first planted during the Khmer Rouge regime. However, the former French colonial retreats of Kep and Kampot are safe, sleepy, and growing in popularity. Kampot and Kep are both situated south of Bokor National Park, whose main attractions include the Old French Palace and a hill station which stands over 1,000m above one of Cambodia's coolest regions.

Hidden Paradise of Southeast Asia that You Need to Discover

Posted on 22 July 2016

Our world is filled with lovely places that we're yet to uncover. Clear ocean waters, majestic mountains, and the smell of earth and leaves while following a trail on a nature hike. Come on, get your backpack, and go to the hidden paradise of Southeast Asia that you need to discover.

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