Best for ancient kingdoms
The former seat of the Khmer Empire, Angkor is probably one of the world’s largest ancient cities, and why peoples flock to Cambodia. Indian travelers in particular will feel quite at home here – Indian influences are rife at this citadel’s architectural marvels, from garudas and nagas sitting guard atop structures to lingams sitting in the occasional nook in temples. Though once a Hindu state, the temples in Angkor were converted into Buddhist shrines when beliefs changed, leading to a somewhat curious juxtaposition of Hindu symbolism and idols with Buddhist ones.
Any visit to Angkor must start at the Angkor Wat – if only to beat the crowds that throng this site daily. Built as a tribute to Vishnu, it’s reminiscent of the temples you find all across South India, although a whole lot larger. You could spend a day wondering about its corridors and not see all Continue reading “Angkor & Siem Reap, Cambodia!” »
Best for a history lesson
Cambodia is a country of many contrasts. The population is largely young and carefree, but they carry the burden of painful memories. Poverty is a huge problem, but that hasn’t stopped the capital city, Phnom Penh, from blossoming into a well-organized, cosmopolitan (if small) city. They’ve taken the remnants of all the invading cultures and cobbled together a city that’s completely Cambodian in essence. Walk around Phnom Penh and you’ll see ritzy hotels, sprawling bungalows and wide avenues, but also seedier corners and more run-down eateries and cafes. There are also constant reminders of just how recent Cambodia’s rehabilitation has been – it’s not unusual to have someone maimed in the war approach you for alms, not something that you’ll find in Siem Reap.
To understand the country that Cambodia has become, it’s important to understand the country that it was, and Phnom Penh is perhaps the best place to do it. It isn’t the easiest choice to make – and you can definitely spend a Continue reading “Phnom Penh, Cambodia” »