Although visiting Cambodia is an obligatory inclusion on any serious itinerary to East Asia, relatively fewer tourists make it all the way through to Siem Reap and beyond.
Most travelers fall in love with Cambodia almost straight away but you could be sure that even those who did venture beyond the tourist-saturated Siem Reap are not fully convinced of the true beauty and richness of this fascinating country.
It would be fair to say that many foreign tourists come back to visit again, year after year. This is largely due to the charm of Khmer culture, particularly the stunning Khmer art that exudes throughout the country. There are also many fantastic trekking trips available, as well as excursions into the Angkorian, Thai, and Chinese cultures.
Another reason to visit Cambodia is the beautiful coastline and picturesque stretch of the beautiful Mekong River that run through it. The Mekong runs between Thailand and Cambodia on the east and west and has been a source of commerce throughout much of history.
Today, it is the mainstay of trade between the two countries. On the west side of the river, a long strip of unspoiled natural beauty can be seen stretching out into the Mekong delta. If you want to take your sightseeing to the next level, you should head up into the Angkor Archaeological Complex on the northern side of Siem Reap.
Here, you will find one of the best-preserved archipelagos of Southeast Asia. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to more than 1200 different archaeological sites, which span the period from the Paleolithic to the Modern period.
There is evidence that visitors have lived in the area since the early prehistoric era. There are many fascinating artifacts here that will astound you. It is certainly worth the trip if you are a history buff. Siem Reap is definitely a place with plenty to offer both tourists and backpackers.
However, its true character as an ethnic Thai preserve has kept it relatively isolated from the mainstream tourist trade. As a result, there is a kind of mystique about visiting Cambodia whose primary attractions lie in the fading grandeur of former colonial architecture and the intriguing Khmer influence that pervades the local population.
Most visitors to this part of the country are impressed by the resilience and determination with which the Khmers have managed to hold on to their culture despite so many years of foreign rule.
One of the best things about visiting Cambodia for the preservation of its rich cultural heritage is the widespread use of Khmer influences and Phnom Phen influence throughout the country. Khmer-style architecture owes everything to the Khmer Empire, which governed the area for several centuries up until the time of the French occupation in the twentieth century.
The temples, mosques, and town buildings are often built from Khmer designs, which date back over a thousand years. While some of these structures have been moved to other parts of the country, the majority of the older temples and mosques remain and provide interesting insights into the lifestyle of the Khmer people.
You’ll be able to see evidence of their agricultural and fishing skills as well as their craftsmanship when you tour Cambodia. Siem Reap is also a good destination if you’re looking for an equally fascinating tour of the Angkor Wat.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angkor is the greatest surviving example of the classic architectural style known as Midayk ritual architecture. Though the most famous section of the Angkor Temple complex was destroyed during the reign of Kacha the last king of Cambodia, other sections can still be visited.
Kacha had a strong influence on the construction of the great temple at Angkor, and you’ll find many similar examples of this classic architecture throughout the rest of the country. Siem Reap is also home to one of the few remaining examples of the Khmer architecture of the time, the Wat Bagindhunath.
If temples and old villages are not your kind of adventure, then you might want to look into visiting one of the more remote sections of the Angkor Archaeological Park. Here you’ll be able to take a look at some of the most inaccessible temples in all of Cambodia.
On top of being a good reason to visit, the best part of this trip is that you won’t have to worry about taking a lot of accommodations. Most of the temples are quite high up in the mountains, so you won’t have to worry about being exposed to the sun, rain, or cold unless you plan on visiting at a time when the weather is especially hot or dry.
Another one of the best reasons to visit Cambodia is because of the experience that you’ll get from hiring a remork driver to take you around town. Most tourists aren’t really sure how to navigate the roads of Cambodia, especially considering how many cities are in fact larger than the country itself.
The fact is that the traffic in Phnom Phen is like nothing you’ve seen before. The roads are lined with rows of vehicles, many of which are complete with tour guides who are happy to help you along at your own pace.
If you hire a vehicle and spend a little bit of time exploring Phnom Phen, then you can avoid the overwhelming crowds and find yourself enjoying the beauty of the many temples and other attractions that are within a reasonable driving distance.