Cambodia’s emergence as a popular Indochina tourist destination has seen people look at both Cambodia tour packages and on the wider front Indochina tour packages. There are obvious images that come to mind when Cambodia is mentioned and Angkor Wat is probably the one that most people think about. Even those who do not recognise the name are very likely to have seen a photograph of this stunning example of Khmer architecture.
There is no doubt that any Cambodia holiday will include Angkor and much more. Here are a few ideas that may well demand you spend some time in Cambodia and perhaps return time and again?
Siem Reap is the gateway to the Angkor Complex but is worth a little of your time as well.It offers exotic markets, a chance to relax on the river. French influence is evident in the architecture while the cuisine reflects the proximity of China as well as the colonial masters. The rural areas around the town are also an education with the chance to see village life an essential part of all Cambodia tour packages.
This Khmer complex was begun in the 9th Century and developed over several centuries. Angkor Wat is one of the most photographed buildings in the world while another highlight is
The Archaeological Park as a whole cover 240 square miles and it would take a week out of Cambodia tour packages to see it all so tour companies select the real highlights for their clients.
Banteay Srei Temple
This temple dates back to the 10th Century and is built in red sandstone which lends itself well to being carved as visitors will see. It is to the north east of the Angkor Complex. It is dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. It was only rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th Century. It has been subject to some theft and vandalism sadly and some of its contents have been taken to Phnom Penh for exhibiting.
The harrowing experience of the Khmer Rouge and the ‘’Killing Fields’’ is a major factor for anyone visiting Cambodia’s capital. The site where so many bodies are buried is near to the city. It is thought there were 1.5 million victims in total. There are museums, one a former prison which tell both the story of Pol Pot as well as the more glorious history and culture of the centuries well before him.
That history includes the Royal Palace.The Silver Pagoda is perhaps the most impressive building within the Complex. There are many precious statues covered in gold and gems. The jade Buddha and the statue of Maitreya with its diamonds are two fine examples.
Phnom Penh is developing all the time and obviously has all the things you would expect of a capital city.
Prasat Preah Vihear
The setting of the 11th Century Khmer Temple, Vihear, is stunning; it is on top of a 500 metre cliff on Dangrek Mountain on the border with Thailand. The site is 750 metres by 400 metres and worth time if you can get there.
This port city and resort on the Gulf of Thailand is a great place to relax. This is a great place to take a break from a hectic programme or perhaps the way tofinish a holiday before returning home. There are sandy beaches both on the mainland and the islands just offshore. The port was excavated just after Cambodian independence but had virtually no activity during the period of the Khmer Rouge but it is now a popular holiday region with plenty of commercial activity as well.
Tonle Sap Lake
This is the largest freshwater lake in the whole of South East Asia. Its size varies enormously with the season. Between November and April is diminishes dramatically. Once the rains then start it grows and grows. It may be only 1 metre deep at the end of the dry season but it expands five times over to cover 15,000 square kilometres at its maximum at a depth of 8 metres. It is a wonderful setting with wildlife, fishermen and villages on stilts.
The Hill Station in BoKor
The French built this station just after the First World War. It was an escape from the temperatures at lower levels in Cambodia. The region is a delight for trekkers who will see the wonderful natural environment. There is the remote chance of a tiger but a better one of wild elephants. The Popokvil Waterfall is impressive, especially during the rainy season. The whole jungle is fascinating
The Black Palace (Damnak Sla Khmao) built in the 1930s is where Prince Sihanouk used to stay and nearby there is a fairly well-preserved Catholic Church.
The Mekong River has a huge presence in South East Asia. Within Cambodia it is navigable, certainly south from Phnom Penh down into the Delta in Vietnam and out to sea. One of the towns on the River within Cambodia is Kratie where the influence of the French can be seen in the architecture. The markets are a great experience and the dolphins playing in the waters a unique attraction.
This was the Khmer Capital in the 10th Century and its pyramid temple is a beautifully carved building surrounded by the jungle. It is in a remote part of the north, not too far away from Angkor and therefore a likely inclusion in Cambodia tour packages.It is hoped that UNESCO will recognise its status in the coming years.
The infrastructure of Cambodia is still developing. It can be difficult to access some of the remote parts of the Country during the monsoon season, especially after a period of sustained rain. It does mean that Cambodian itineraries sometimes need amending but there is something interesting at every turn so it is unlikely that anyone will leave the country disappointed. Some Indochina tour packages provide a quick holiday touching each of its countries. There will always be a reason to return to see each of the countries in more depth. Cambodia certainly deserves that attention.