Home > Angkor Wat, Travel > Feature: Focus on….Cambodia

Feature: Focus on….Cambodia

Enclosed between two countries and sat on a tiny section of the South China Sea, Cambodia has to be one of the most fascinating destinations on earth. Dreadfully poor in places, but always ready to treat you with a smile, the South-East Asian country is currently undergoing a tourist boom, and luxury resorts and boutique hotels are springing up all over. Enjoying a humid and hot climate all year round, it makes a safe romantic holiday destination where you can stroll along the banks of the Mekong or stare in wonder at the fabled Angkor Wat complex.

With some of the most pristine and unspoilt beaches anywhere in the world, charming cultural towns, a frenetic and fascinating capital city, historic sites to take your breath away, and unrivalled opportunities for adventure travel, the country is fast becoming an up-and-coming destination. The civil war is long over, and business and commerce is once again flourishing as the capital gets back to its cosmopolitan roots. So sit back and read our guide to this fascinating destination where the sun never stops shining!

Riverside life

A city-lovers delight, the frenetic capital Phnom Penh is a fascinating place. At times chaotic and mad, the locals are unbelievably friendly, and the weather is always hot! First of all take in the Khmer Rouge horrors of S21 and Cheung Ek. In 1975 the whole capital was evacuated in three days – the population taken to rural locations to live out the communist government’s regime. S21 is a prison where interrogations took place, while Cheung Ek is a large burial ground. Although harrowing, they are a must to understand Cambodian culture. Get a blind massage at Seeing Hands, followed by a jacuzzi treatment in Bodia Spa. Rent a tuk tuk and let the driver take you to the grand Victory Monument as well as other unique Buddhist statues. Do not miss out on the majestic Royal Palace – with its detailed handiwork on numerous gold and white pagodas, it’s very beautiful. With the turquoise Mekong River flowing through the city centre, it’s only natural that numerous restaurants have sprung up along the riviera. A good mid-price option is The Riverside Bistro, which serves local delicacies such as Fish Amok curry. And this can all be washed down with a tasty Angkor Beer (or two!).

Temple Land

No trip to Cambodia can even be considered without a visit to Angkor Wat. This huge temple complex built in the 12th century was forgotten for years until being rediscovered in the 19th century by French explorers. Hire a tuk-tuk or explore on a bicycle, there are wonders to be had here! Get up early to witness the sun rise over Angkor Wat itself, then visit Bayon with its multitude of faces staring at you in all directions. Ta Prohm is the most unique: left as how the French explorers first found it. Huge trees have wound their roots through the stones, and have risen 200 feet up into the air. And culture lovers can rejoice! The town of Siem Reap holds the temple complex together. With its happening bar scene down Pub Street, markets, and unique boutique shops selling art and clothes, it is the place to be at the moment. Heritage Suites Hotel boasts spacious rooms, beautifully decorated around a salt-water pool. Get yourself some souvenirs in Phsar Chas market, and enjoy some European wine at the chic Arts Lounge. The adventurous can feast on a do-it-yourself Khmer barbeque of snake, crocodile, and kangaroo. While the even more adventurous can try a deep fried tarantula!

The coast

Beach-bums rejoice, the south coast of Cambodia offers an unspoilt coastline of inky blue water, with limestone hills jutting out in the distance. Sihanoukville is the most touristy, and so the easiest place to bag a sun-bed! Independence Hotel offers deluxe rooms overlooking a private beach. The almost haunted town of Kep is a two-hour’s drive away. Great for a romantic holiday, the unique statues of the town can be experienced on the back of a moto. The fish market is a brilliant place to feast on the region’s speciality – crabs. Ask how to peel them, and dip the fresh meat in a sweet chilli sauce as fishermen chug by on junk boats.  Knai Bang Chatt is a luxury beach retreat in pleasant surroundings, offering hammock lounging, sailing, yoga, and snorkelling. 

Kampot is a cultural treat, with crumbling French colonial architecture and a pristine river front. About two miles inland, fantastic evening cruises can be taken out to sea, while the falling sun drops below temple-clad mountains. Watch locals exercise communally, and sip a beer in the waterfront setting. Rikitikitavi boasts boutique rooms on the riverside, while most hotels in the area can organise a hike up Bokor. The French hill station now stands 3500 feet above sea level, with unbelievable views of the sea, while the abandoned and lichen-filled casino and hotel of the French colonists stand eerily atop the hill station.

Cambodia is a fascinating destination, truly inspiring. So get here first before every-one else cottons on!
iWant Sun .co.uk

Categories: Angkor Wat, Travel
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: