Cambodia – Experience Great Hospitality and Asian Exotica

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Cambodia offers a wonderful mixture of Asian exotica, Indochinese charm and Cambodian hospitality. The western Cardamom and Elephant Mountains region boast magnificent mountain ranges, beautiful gulf coast beaches and offshore islands. Eastern Cambodia is home to the mighty Mekong River with remote rural areas and national parks.

The country is bordered by Laos to the north, Vietnam to the east, Thailand to the north-west and the Gulf of Thailand to the south-west. Phnom Penh is the capital and located in the Mekong Lowlands and Central Plain region.

The beautiful city of Phnom Penh, once known as the Pearl of Asia, is located in the south-central region of Cambodia and on the banks of the Mekong, Bassac and Tonlé Sap rivers. Phnom Penh International Airport is the largest airport in the country and is located approximately ten kilometers west from the city. Public transport is available from the airport.

It is highly recommended to make use of public transport as the city is notorious for its traffic jams and chaos. Even walking in town can be a challenge. It is always a good idea to cross a street with the monks dressed in saffron robes as most pedestrian crossings and traffic signals are usually ignored by drivers.

Royal Palace, Phnom Penh

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Wat Phnom is the Central Point and the oldest structure within the city. This Buddhist temple was built in 1373, and it is to date the tallest religious structure within the city at 27 meters from the ground. One of the main tourist attractions in Phnom Penh is the Royal Palace with the Silver Pagoda situated in Samdach Sothearos Boulevard. The palace is divided into four compounds, the Silver Pagoda on the south side, Khemarin Palace to the north, Inner Court to the west and the center compound consists of the Throne Hall. The palace is an excellent example of Khmer architecture.

The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek is approximately seventeen kilometers south of the capital. This is a former Chinese cemetery where the Khmer Rouge killed thousands of their victims. The site is marked by a stupa with more than 8,000 skulls. The human skulls can be seen through the glass sides of the stupa. If you visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, ensure to wear respectable clothing such as sleeved tops and long trousers.

Ensure to visit the National Museum of Cambodia situated on Street 13, Sangkat Chey Chumneas, Khan Daun Penh. The museum houses an excellent collection of art. One of the main attractions in the museum is the sculpture of King Jayavarman VII. Other exhibits include artifacts from prehistorically burial sites, Hindu gods and ancient tablets. The sculpture of Leper King, or the Hindu god of death, stands in the middle of the courtyard. You can contact the museum at +855 23 211753 for more information.

You can call and text to Campodia for less using 011Now services. Easy dialing and no PIN required. 

Food in Cambodia

3 Cambodian food

Restaurants along Sothearos Boulevard in Phnom Penh are well-known for their exotic treats such as worms, pupae, grasshoppers and crabs. Grilled pig’s ears, chicken feet and gizzards are sold in the Central Market.

Some of the popular cafés and restaurants include:

  • Baitong Restaurant – 7 Street 360
  • Asian Spice Café Pub – 79 Street 111
  • Camory Cookie Boutique – 167 Sisowath Quay
  • Comme a la Maison – No. 13 Street 57
  • Cavern Pub –19 Street 104
  • Home Away From Home – Street 93
  • K. K Tandoor – Sothearos Boulevard
  • La Lotus Blanc – 402 Stung Mean Chey
  • Tom Yum Kung Thai Restaurant –10 Street 278
  • Warung Bali – 3D Street 178

Khmer food is cheap and tasty. Rice is the staple grain and fish from the Mekong River is also an important part of the local diet. One of the popular Cambodian dishes is called amok. This is a curried dish usually made with fish or chicken. K’tieu is a noodle soup and generally served for breakfast. Pork fried with ginger is available throughout the country and is really tasty. Another great dish is Trey Ch’ien Chou Ayme made with fried fish, sweet chili sauce and vegetables.

Explore the Ruins of Ancient Khmer Civilization

4 Angkor Wat Temples

The complexity, beauty and state of preservation of the Angkor Wat are unrivalled. Angkor Wat, located about six kilometers north of Siem Reap, was listed in the World Wonder List. The temple is impressive, beautiful and romantic at the same time. It must be seen to be appreciated.

Angkor Archaeological Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992 and is one of the most important sites in South-east Asia. Angkor Wat occupies an area of more than two-hundred hectares and was built in the first half of the 12th century. It took King Suryavarman II almost thirty years to complete, and it is generally accepted that it was a funerary temple to the king. The symbolism between the setting sun and death confirms this theory.

The temples of Angkor represent one of the most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements, such as the temple mountain and the later galleried temple. This type of architecture was based on early Dravidian architecture. 

Angkor Wat means City of Temples. The temple of Phnom Bakheng, dedicated to Shiva, has 108 surrounding towers, which are considered sacred in both Buddhist and Hindu cosmologies. Ta Prohm has been left as it was found and is the earthly counterpart of the star Eta Draconis

Ta Prohm, Angkor

Ta Prohm, Angkor

The once bustling Buddhist temple that was built by Jayavarman VII in the later part of the twelve century is now in the stranglehold of a tree. There is a strange beauty about the tree and the temple. The temple’s roofs, chambers, courtyard and walls have been repaired to stop further deterioration. The Banteay Kdei is slowly being restored and in the style of Ta Prohm. Across the road from Banteay Kdei is the Sras Srang leading to a pond.

The East Mebon is a large temple crowned by five towers and was originally built by Rajendravarman II in the tenth century. Not far from this temple you will find Pre Rup, a favorite spot among tourists for viewing the sun set. The Roluos Group is ruins from the ancient capital of Hariharalaya. Preah Ko was the first temple to be built here.

Other temples in close proximity to Angkor Wat are the Phnom Krom located twelve kilometers south-west of Siem Reap and the Banteay Srey about thirty-seven kilometers north of Angkor Wat. The temple of Beng Mealea is situated eighty kilometers east of Siem Reap. Souvenirs such as traditional scarves, ceramic works, wood carving, candles and soap are sold in front of almost all the temples.  You can visit Angkor Café just outside Angkor Wat’s entrance for good food and great souvenirs. The Chez Sophea, also outside the main entrance of Angkor Wat, is an excellent restaurant with higher food prices, but higher standards as well. 

Entry requirements for Cambodia

6 Dancers in Cambodia

A passport and visa are required for entering Cambodia. Tourists may purchase a Cambodian visa valid for one month at the airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and borders. Both require a passport valid for at least six (6) months from the expiry date, 01 recent passport-sized photo. A departure tax is charged on all domestic and international flights.

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