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Cambodia

Cambodia

The Kingdom of Cambodia can be symbolised as a phoenix rising from the ashes of its tragic history. After decades of war and violence the country is now enjoying peace and political stability and is fast becoming the place to visit in Southeast Asia. Of course it is the land of wats or temples, but its dreamy Indo-China atmosphere offers so much more than just one of the world’s most impressive human feats of engineering.

Any trip to Cambodia should include time at Phnom Penh, one of Asia’s most laid-back capitals nestling on the banks of the Tonlé Sap River. Here, there is much to explore including crumbling French colonial architecture, the dazzling Royal Palace with its silver pagoda and the haunting Killing Fields – a stark reminder of Cambodia’s recent troubled past.

For trekkers, the Cardamom Mountains are a great draw. These little-visited mountains cover about 12,000 square miles of southwest Cambodia and are formed from gentle peaks lined with trees and lush vegetation. It is a relatively recently opened area where the walking trails have been developed through the lush forested landscape, past waterfalls and alongside caves. The area is renowned for its bio-diversity and is home to silver langurs, long-tailed macaques, greater hornbills and other forest creatures.

The grand finale of any holiday to Cambodia will undoubtedly be a visit to the temples of the huge complex of Siem Reap including that of Angkor Wat – one of the largest religious structures in the world, hidden until recent years by the jungle and the political upheaval in Cambodia. It’s a place that until you have witnessed it you cannot imagine how vast and impressive it is and truly one of the Wonders of the World. Close to Angkor Wat there are many other Khmer ruins well worth a visit including: the intricately carved pink sandstone structure of Banteay Srei; Kbal Spean, the river of a thousand lingas; and the photogenic Ta Prohm temple, succumbing to the embrace of the jungle.

For a more luxurious holiday in Cambodia, a stylish Mekong river cruise from Saigong to Angkor Wat in Style is one of the best ways to discover both the main cultural sights and the varied delights of the countryside including floating markets, picturesque villages and the rare Irrawaddy dophin.

But it’s not just the landscapes and monuments that make Cambodia so memorable.  The people are as colourful as the land itself. Whether conversing with saffron-robed monks going about their daily rituals, watching farmers tending their rice fields and mango groves or sharing a meal with the friendly villagers of Chi Phat, it’s the overwhelming charm and hospitality of the Khmer people that make Cambodia a place that will stay in your heart.

Bordering Thailand and Laos, Cambodia is perfectly located to be enjoyed as part of a holiday encompassing the highlights of all three countries on our Indochina Experience cultural tour.

View our holidays here