WITH ANGKOR WAT - ONE OF THE WORLD'S WONDERS
was not left untouched by the tragic history of the area in recent
years, caught up in the US-Vietnam War and culminating in the infamous
"Killing Field" of the Pol Pot slave state during the late
Cambodians welcome visitors and investors to their kingdom, where
the cities and markets are again vibrant with colour and activity.
Once a French colony, wide tree-lined boulevards and French colonial
architecture offer the charm of a by-gone age, while traditional arts
and classical dance, an crafts in silk, gold and silver once again
flourish in an artistic renaissance.
From the Angkor temples to a choice of coconut-fringed beaches on
the Gulf of Siam the visitor will find many areas of interest in the
country's past and its natural beauty. Scented flowering trees in
the capital attract a vast array of coconut of colourful butterflies,
while oxcarts loaded with pottery make their slow way to market on
rural roads, as they have many centuries ago.
The home and the Buddhist temple wat are still the mainstays of Cambodia
society, whose original inhabitants are thought to have sailed from
the South Sea island back in the mists of time, to be joined by Thai,
Lao, Vietnamese and Chinese arrivals over the in more mountain areas.
Located on the mighty Mekong River, Phnom Penh is a city of elegant
boulevards and busy markets. Once known as "The Paris of The
East", the forced evacuation of the population by the infamous
Khmer Rouge in 1975 left it a ghost town for five years.
Today the city has revived, while retaining its pre-war charm. Motorbikes
and transport for the populace, and a leisurely ride in pedicap (called
"cyclo") is a relaxed way to get acquainted with some of
the many highlights of this once beautiful city, whose classic villas
and parks are being restored. Taxis are available for short excursions.
Siem Reap and Angkor Temples
The majestic temples of Angkor in the Northwest Cambodia belong to
the classic period of Khmer art and civilization. Today, a millennium
after they were built, they awe visitors with their perfection and
From the 15th century, the temples were abandoned, forgotten by the
world until "rediscovery" in 1861 by French naturalist Henri
Mouhot. The jungle setting and silence enhance the mystery of the
temples. Many of the temples remain in surprisingly good condition.
Others are under restoration, and visitors can get a first-hand look
at the painstaking efforts underway to preserve the relics. Architectural
historians from a variety of countries including France, India, Japan,
the United States, Indonesia and Hungary in the past few years have
contributed their expertise to preserve the temples.
The ruins cover an area of 400 square kilometres in the province of
Siem Reap. The area contains more than 100 monuments, including two
dozen major temples. Some of the temples, such as Angkor Wat and Bayon,
merit repeat visits at different times of days, as the reflections
on their walls and labyrinthine interior spaces are transformed by
Reap and Angkor Temples