I fell in love with Cambodia. Its history has been both triumphant and traumatic.
Much of the population still survive on less than the equivalent of US$1 a day, the provision of basic services is a ‘work in progress’, and political intrigue remains as complex as ever. However, the security has improved immeasurably and increasing tourism encourages larger numbers of visitors to discover Cambodia’s temples and beaches.
Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkor. With the rise of luxury hotels, nightspots and ATM it is fast becoming a tourist haven; thankfully the French colonial architecture and influences gives the city charm. Independent travel beyond the most popular tourist destinations is still a little unpredictable.
It is important to remember that Cambodian history did not begin with the Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot’s incredibly harsh regime has garnered the most attention, but the Cambodians have enjoyed a long and often magnificent history.
The temples at Angkor can attest to the fact that the Khmer Empire was once wealthy, militarized, and a major force in the region. The Khmer Empire once stretched to encompass parts of modern day Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, Laos and Vietnam.