Cambodia’s Tourist Attractions

March 10th, 2006

The main tourist attractions in Phnom Penh are the Silver Pagoda and the Royal Palace. They sit side by side on the Sothearos Blvd and, being two separate complexes, are though visited as one.

Built in 1866 by the French, the Royal Palace comprises numerous buildings, the Throne hall ranking as the most important. Adjacent to the Throne Hall is a 59 metre high tower. South of it is the Royal Treasury and the Vlla of Napoleon III, built in 1866 and given afterwards as a present to Cambodia.

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Angkor,Cambodia - Places to visit

March 8th, 2006

The tourism industry is the country’s second-greatest source of hard currency in Cambodia after the textile industry. More than 60% of visitors go to Angkor, and most of the remainder to Phnom Penh. Other tourist highlights include Sihanoukville (Cambodia’s only port), whits its popular beach, and the region around Kampot, including the Bokor Hill Station.

The celebrated temples of Angkor constitute the Cambodia’s greatest tourist attraction. The nearly 100 temples represent now the sacred remains of what was once a much larger administrative and religious centre, and were constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries to glorify a number of Khmer kings. The three most splendid temples are Bayon, Ta Prohm and the enormous Angkor Wat.

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A brief historical introduction to Cambodia

March 3rd, 2006

Brief History of Cambodia

The Kingdom of Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy situated in Southeast Asia and counting a population of more than 13 million people. Most Cambodians are Theravada Buddhists of Khmer extraction, but the country is home also to a substantial number of Cham and small hill tribes.

The country borders Thailand to its west, Laos to its north, Vietnam to its east, and the Gulf of Thailand to its south.From the 9th century to the 15th century, Cambodia represented the center of the Khmer Empire, with Angkor as a capital.

The Angkor Wat, the empire’s main spiritual site, is a symbolic reminder of the time when Cambodia was a major powerrulung most of the Indochinese peninsule, and remains the country’s top tourist attraction.
From 1863 the country was a protectorate of France, which lasted until 1953, when the country received independence.

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Cambodia – The Happiest Country in Asia

August 27th, 2005

Given the recent history of Cambodia, you might wonder why I refer to it as the happiest place on earth. Well, there is a real reason if you understand what happy means in Cambodian slang.

Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by Thailand to the west, Laos to the north and Vietnam to the east. As you may know, some very nasty things happened in Cambodia in the 1970s and 1980s. During this period, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge ruled the country or were fighting to do so.

Reign of terror is a phrase often over used, but not when it comes to the Khmer Rouge. The group implemented what can only be called bizarre policies and managed to starve and murder roughly twenty percent of the total population of Cambodia. The reign of terror was eventually ended when the Vietnamese invaded and pushed the Khmer into a small, isolated pocket of land in the far north.

A few years back, I had the urge to travel. I get it every two or three years. I get it bad. I usually sell off whatever I have and travel for as long as I can. In this case, I flew into Thailand because I didn’t have a lot of money and the flight from Los Angeles was cheap, cheap, cheap! Thailand was pretty touristy, so off to the wilds of Cambodia I went.

To be honest, Cambodia is not as wild a place as you might think given its recent history. These are some seriously strong people from a mental perspective. If you walk around the major city, Phnom Phen, it looks like nothing happened. In fact, you keep seeing signs for happy this and happy that just about everywhere. I am not kidding. The signs literally say “happy dinner”, “happy pizza” and so on. Gee, these people are happy.

As you might imagine, happy has a particular connotation in Cambodia. Do I even need to tell you? Yep, it refers to that funny tobacco that so many in the hippie generation liked to enjoy. Simply put, the Cambodians mix marijuana with just about any type of food stuff – pizza, cake, shakes, tacos. It is used like a spice, to wit, it isn’t obvious it is in the food. If you don’t know what happy means, you can be in for a BIG surprise an hour or so after eating! It was not uncommon to see tourists giggling and staggering around the sidewalks.

At the end of the day, I found Cambodia to be a great place to enjoy notwithstanding its past and the happy food. Angkar Wat and the surrounding Khmer structures are stunning and definitely should be on your list of things to see. So go ahead and take off to Cambodia, but make a mental note regarding the happy food!

Rick Chapo is with Nomad Journals - makers of journals that are great travel gifts.