Cambodia is Asia fastest growing tourist
destination. After about 35 years of non-stop war, this beautiful country is
finally re-emerging from the darkness. Since the time of the Vietnam War in the
sixties, Cambodia has had to suffer secret carpet bombings by the United
States, followed by the reign of terror of the Khmer Rouge, a Vietnamese
takeover, and a further 20 years of civil war.
After decades of civil strife, Cambodia is on the road to recovery. The almost
total destruction of social and economic institutions and loss of life as a
result of Cambodia’s dark history left the country to begin from ground zero in
1979. The Paris agreements in 1991 marked a significant step forward for
establishing peace and stability throughout Cambodia, the country is now
enjoying a period of stability and new-found optimism.
Many wonders are now open to visitors
PHNOM PENH, Asia Meets Europe
The capital city of Phnom Penh (population 2
million) is a lively place these days. Cars and motorcycles careen through
charming streets lined with many French style buildings dating back to its days
as a French colony in the first half of this century. The center of city life
is the riverfront boulevard, featuring many bars and restaurants with a big
emphasis on French-style food.
One attraction worth visiting (though not for the faint-hearted) is the Killing
Field Museum (Tuol Sleng), a former school taken over in 1975 by the Khmer
Rouge and converted into a torture chamber. The National Museum is less grisly,
with an emphasis on Ancient Khmer history.
The Temples of Angkor The biggest attraction for most visitors are the temple
ruins at Angkor, just a few kilometers from the colonial city of Siem Reap.
Well preserved stone temple ruins dating back about 1,000 years cover an area
of 200 sq. kilometers. Visitors can easily spend several days exploring here,
taking in the thousands of exquisite statues and bas-relief carvings that adorn
the walls of seemingly endless temple buildings and chedis (stone spires). A
cruise on the Tonle Sap - Asia’s largest freshwater lake is also a memorable