A magical kingdom lies within this extraordinary country, once ruled by
the Khmer Empire between the 9th and 15th Century.
Emerging from the jungle, the ancient city of Angkor unveils its
true magnificence to those who explore it. Cambodia has its origins
in Funan, a small port southeast of Phnom Penh used by merchants and pilgrims travelling between China and India from 300 to 600 AD.
The French colonial presence is still recognisable in the capital, where the charm and sophistication of the people is clear to visitors.
Throughout the nation the influence from other lands is apparent, none more so than from India and this cocktail of cultures is reflected through the written word, religion, dance and architecture.
WHEN IN CAMBODIA WHY NOT…?
Sample delicious seafood overlooking the black sands at Kep. Once one of Cambodia’s main beach resorts, Kep was destroyed in fighting decades ago, and today it is an intriguing place where you can explore the remains of the town before enjoying a fresh seafood lunch overlooking the beach and the Gulf of Thailand.
Discover little visited Mondulkiri. This beautiful, unspoilt region of north east Cambodia is reached overland, but at the end of the journey you will be delighted by this sparsely populated province. You will discover endless thickly-forested rolling hills, hill tribes and waterfalls and the best way to get around is on the back of an elephant.
Travel overland from Phnom Penh via Kompong Cham, Kratie and Stung Treng to Banlung. You used to be able to reach the north east only by boat or plane from Phnom Penh to Stung Treng and Banlung. Now the road to Kompong Cham is a dream and even onwards to Kratie, home to freshwater dolphins, Stung Treng, a backwater with a fascinating market and Banlung, the base for visits to hill tribes and Virachey National Park, the road has improved dramatically.
Be adventurous and take the boat across Tonle Sap Lake from Siem Reap to Battambang. The boat from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh is on everybody’s itinerary but few take the 4-hour boat journey to Battambang, much across vast Tonle Sap Lake. Battambang is a pleasant riverine town with colonial buildings and some little-visited Angkorian temples. From here you can drive south of the lake to Phnom Penh or cross the border into Thailand.
Can’t get enough of temples? If temples are your thing, once you have exhausted Angkor you can take in more Angkorian-era temples south of Phnom Penh - Phnom Chisor, Tonle Bati and Phnom Da. The area around Battambang is also rich in temples including Wat Banan, Phnom Sampeau and Wat Ek Phnom.
Visit the deserted hill station of Bokor. Abandoned because of the fighting many years ago, the remaining buildings of this once popular French-built hill station are an intriguing place to visit. The road up is in a state of disrepair, but worth the effort as at the top you will discover an eerie array of villas, a church and a hotel and casino. Wander through the old casino and the experience is almost surreal - you can almost hear the roll of the dice, the tinkle of glasses and the laughter of the gamblers.
Discover Preah Vihear. This spectacular 11th century hilltop temple, in northern Cambodia, is more easily reached from the Thai border, but the adventurous will relish the overland journey from Kompong Thom. This is a chance to see remote areas of Cambodia, topped by ending up at this most
magnificent of temples.