Discovering The Secrets of Cambodia
Besides Angkor Wat, Khmer Rouge and the world’s freshest water lakes there is plenty to know and things to see when in Cambodia. The famous ancient temple of Angkor Wat stands proud and tall. It has five lotuses like towers rising at about 65 meters towards the sky. Not less than the UNESCO World Heritage has included this temple on their list since it would be a crime to deprive future generations of this great temple. It is considered as one of the ancient wonders of the world. Most visitors stay in the modern day Siem Reap while visiting this area.
Phnom Penh Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda was built in 1866 to serve as the residence of the King and foreign dignitaries. Court ceremonies and elaborate rituals were performed in this palace. The Silver Pagoda was originally made of wood but was later reconstructed by King Sihanouk by ordering the use of 5,000 pieces of solid silver tiles as flooring. The most sacred image of the Silver Pagoda is the Emerald Buddha made out of Baccarat crystal. The Silver Pagoda and Royal Palace are open every day unless there is a decree from the King in residence to have it closed.
The actress Angelina Jolie is considered as a goddess by Cambodians. They even gave her citizenship in 2005 after her movie the Tomb Raider was featured in the Siem Reap. She has given $5 million as a gift for the wildlife sanctuary preservation of this country. She has also adopted a Cambodian child. Ta Prohm is the site where the Lara Croft movie was shot. It is a series of dark galleries and pillars. Its walls are covered with sensuous celestial nymphs. In the olden days this temple is where pearls, precious stones and golden dishes were kept.
Battambang is one of Cambodia’s popular tourist destinations. It has Buddhist shrines and the infamous bamboo railway. Battambang is luxurious resort which looks like a version of paradise. Believe it or not Cambodia, has the Bamboo train. Each of a section of this Bamboo train is made from long wooden frame covered with slats of ultra light bamboo. A small number of about 10 to 15 people or about 3 tons of rice can be crank about while this cruise on the rails. Only one track runs this way. When another train stands in its path, one car is quickly disassembled and set on the ground while another train passes by.
Food lovers would love a taste of Cambodia’s authentic dishes when visiting Kampot. Cambodian dishes are well known for their pepper rich content. Kampot is a small town with colonial buildings and guest houses where a tourist can take a tour in the Bohor National Park. Some visitors say that crawling in the cave with a small lamp can be a cool experience. Some will like the boat excursion trip along the rivers of Kampot. Blind masseurs can offer soothing massage when in Kampot.
For tourists who want to spend a slow lazy, day he can head towards Kep. Kep is famous for its crabs and beaches. Kep covers 5,000 hectares of land. Kep boost of abundant wildlife and its pristine untouched beauty. Along the Vietnamese border there stands an isolated pagoda which offers breathtaking views of the surroundings. The views are especially good during sunset. For those who like seclusion head towards Kep’s Rabbit Island. Bungalows can be rented out along this beach. A guest will only pay $5 to $7 which gives him a bungalow with a private bathroom for the night.
On the mountains of Kampong Thom lies Phnom Santok where Buddha statues are carved from the rocks of the mountain. Each of these Buddhas is about 10 meters in length. Bird lovers would enjoy the 400 hectares Bird Sanctuary of Boeng Chmar. Koh Rong can be reached by taking a ferry ride from Sihanoukville. A bench on both sides of the boat and the middle portion for luggage is basically what the ferry is all about. Do wear a hat and sunglasses when taking a ferry ride. Bring along snacks and water since these are not sold during the ride.
The untouched jungles of Koh Rong can be a good challenge for those who want jungle adventures. Diving and snorkeling would be an excellent way to spend along the beach. Koh Rong’s best attraction is its phosphorescent water which sparkles when it is disturbed that looks like twinkling stars. Koh Rong is lightly polluted which invites the growth of these phosphorescent plankton to grow. This can clearly be seen during the night. Internet is good especially near the pier. One of the best accommodations in this area is the Cocos Bungalow.
Go dolphin watching at Kratie along the banks of the Mekong River. Rare Irrawaddy dolphins can be seen in this place. To date there are about only 66 to 86 of these dolphins in existent in Cambodia. Visiting the Killing Fields during the Khmer Rouge’s reign might be a turn off for some tourist but it is worth visiting in order to understand the Cambodian culture better. A museum was build that features the history behind the hapless killings. Khmer Rouge is the communist guerilla group led by Pol Pot. He and his group forced residents into the countryside to work in labor camps. It took about 3 and half years in order for Cambodia to get out from its “darkest days”.
Cambodia is slowly recovering from its tumultuous past during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror. The reconstruction process of healing is on its way and is felt even as a tourist visiting this country. Sihanoukville or Kampong Son is a beach resort located in the gulf of Thailand. It is a good place to relax and unwind. Cambodia thankfully is blessed with Asia’s simpler weather system hence it enjoys a fairly good weather all year round. There are more opportunities to come back for another visit to see the other secrets that Cambodia is waiting to reveal to anyone who dares to visit this country.