The Kingdom of Cambodia, once the seat of the powerful Khmer Empire has taken its time to pop on traveler’s radar. For a few years we have been waiting and watching the country slowly develop its tourism infrastructure beyond its two main draws- Angkor and Siem Reap and emerge from its dreadful Pol Pot regime and the ravages of war.
Today Cambodia is known for its beautiful beaches and gorgeous islands with eco-friendly and sustainable resorts besides Angkor Wat and Siem Reap. The beautiful coast of Cambodia with the French colonial mansions and resorts was destroyed and abandoned during the harsh time Cambodia faced, leaving it dirty and rotting, with safety issues and local communities in shambles struggling to survive.
Some hippie towns started developing and eventually a few enterprising individuals saw an opportunity and started cleaning up the coast literally and figuratively to give us what is today an amazing stretch of fine powder beaches, beautiful marine rich waters and idyllic islands to relax, explore and leave behind all your worries.
While the coast of Cambodia may be the new kid on the block Siem Reap has been popular for many years because it serves as a base to explore the temples of Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat and is a glimpse into the golden era of the Hindu-Buddhist Khmer Empire.
The country also has forests rich in flora and fauna and age old villages by river banks. Then there is the concrete jungle of Phnom Penh which gets ignored by most tourists but is now beginning to make its mark as an interesting Asian city with cool new bars and restaurants, authentic street food, and an interesting mix of colors, flavours and smells and the way it’s going it might just end up as popular as its neighbours Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh.