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Tourist travel to Cambodia has steadily increased in recent years, due to its attractive temples, its unique culture and its exciting yet moving history. If you’re keen on changing your life with an amazing South East Asia holiday package, these following highlights will ensure that you experience the best of what Cambodia has to offer.
The capital of Cambodia, also known as the Pearl of Asia, is a mandatory inclusion in your Cambodia holiday package. Located in southwest Cambodia, it features the Independence Monument, which signifies Cambodia’s historic independence from France, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the site of the infamous Security Prison 21 set up by the Khmer Rouge.
The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are also popular attractions in Phnom Penh, constructed over a century ago and which today still hosts events for the King’s visitors. Inside the palace, travellers can marvel at the Throne Hall and the Moonlight Pavilion before moving onto the Silver Pagoda, which is home to many gold and jeweled Buddha statues including the Emerald Buddha and the life-sized gold Maitreya Buddha, which is decorated with over 9000 diamonds.
If you’ve been dreaming of the ancient temple complex of the Khmer civilization, Angkor Wat, then the city of Siem Reap is your starting point. Lying just 5.5 kilometres north of Siem Reap, Angkor Wat was built in the early 12th century in dedication to the Hindu deity Vishnu, and in the 13th century it became a Buddhist temple. Large-scale scenes depicted in intricately carved bas-relief friezes covering multiple temples make Angkor Wat one of the most amazing sites in the world.
Gateway to Angkor, Siem Reap is a destination in itself. Cambodia’s history is marked by the rule of the Khmer Rouge regime and by the subsequent Vietnamese occupation. One unforgiving artefact of these decades of conflict is the millions of land mines still clandestinely littering the landscape. The Cambodia Land Mine Museum in Siem Reap was founded by a former childer soldier and is a must-visit for a sobering experience that will leave you with a real and compassionate understanding of the country.
Prasat Preah Vihear Temple
A world heritage-listed site, the Prasat Preah Vihear Temple is situated in the Dangrek Mountains in the far north of Cambodia, acting as a border monument between Cambodia and Thailand (the two countries subsequently fought over ownership until 1962, when the temple was awarded to Cambodia).
Offering visitors a magnificent view of Cambodia’s northern plains and surrounding Dangrek Mountains, the 800 metre-long temple is distinguishable by its many, varied architectural styles, thanks to its alterations by many past kings. Inside, one inscriptions depicts the Khmer king Suryavarman ll conducting sacred rituals and celebrating religious festivals.
If you’re heading into northern Cambodia, the Angkorian destination of Koh Ker, just three hours from Siem Reap, is also a must-see and has only become a tourist attraction in recent years. Once the capital of the Khmer Empire from 928 to 944, this site contains an impressive collection of almost 100 temples, most of which were built by King Jayavarman IV and his son. The greatest of all, however, is the Prasat Thom Temple, which rises up 30 metres above the surrounding forests and leads to the overgrown Prang pyramid temple.
Never heard of it? While Cambodia is predominantly known for its incredible temples, it also has a range of beautiful beaches. Cambodian beaches encompass soft sands, crystal clear waters and amazing sunsets. The waterside resort town of Sihanoukville features approximately eight gorgeous beaches alongside various resorts, hotels, restaurants and bars and is a great alternative to the more popular Koh Rong destination spot. Swimming, fishing and scuba diving are common here, as are day trips to explore the mountains, the temples and the national parks.
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