While, the temples of Angkor, deserve every award that is bestowed upon them, there is a lot more to this unbelievable country.
Let’s us give Cambodia the time and interest it should have. Soak up the hazy atmosphere of Phnom Penh where the wild-west meets Asia; enjoy the national forests around Kompot; the privacy to be found on the southern beaches and the magic of the untamed main highlands.
Cambodia is a destination that shot up most visitors list as quickly as the dreadful years of Khmer Rouge had actually ended. Three decades of civil war has unquestionably polluted the land. However, you would never believe it from the optimism and favorable outlook of the people you will meet. To really come to terms with this extraordinary nation and to meet a few of the most enduring people in Asia, you have to leave the beaten track. Why drive from Siem Reap to Anchor Wat when you can take a ten-day trek or bike the dirt trails that lay deep within its borders! You get to explore the less visited temples and meet locals that live among them; they are the best to learn from!
Further south you’ll get to experience the terrors of Khmer Rouge. After years war, the radical Khmer Rouge Party, under its leader Pol Pot, took hold of power in Cambodia and declared ‘year zero’. They immediately abolished money and personal property and ordered the whole population of Phnom Penh from their houses and into the countryside to cultivate the fields. Over the next three years an estimated 2 million Cambodians died, many from starvation and fatigue. Many others were tortured and killed for being suspected ‘enemies of the state’.
You can spend time learning more about these dreadful years, through visits to the notorious Museum of Genocidal Crimes and the ‘Killing Fields’. It is an unbelievably moving experience, but these are two visits you will certainly be thankful to have made. When you visit Cambodia, you will barely meet a single person who didn’t lose a member of their family throughout these years, yet they are all going to talk openly about it with you. They wish you to find out about it and see these places, to make sure that it never happens once more.