|Cambodia has had some difficult times as a country, and visitor numbers did suffer as a result. However in recent years stability and security have improved and visitor numbers are again on the up as the many attractions of Cambodia are re-discovered.
Phnom Penh is the capital and largest city of Cambodia and is the main entrance point for visitors flying in to the country. The city is undergoing improvements to infrastructure, cleanliness etc and until these things are drastically improved, Phnom Penh will not appeal to all visitors. That said, there are still some excellent attractions in the city and if you’re coming here to experience the real Cambodia, this is a good place to start!
Walking around Phnom Penh you’ll see a number of temples and other impressive structures. Many of these are not open to the public, but one which is, and is the most highly recommended is the Royal Palace and grounds. Built in the 19th century, the palace has survived the troubles in Cambodia relatively unscathed. In the grounds you’ll find two impressive pagodas – the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Silver Pagoda.
Also in Phnom Penh, and located opposite the Royal Palace, is the National Museum where you’ll find an interesting collection of Cambodian arts and exhibits from the time of Angkor.
Throughout Cambodia there are many ancient ruins of temples, though the most famous and popular of these is Angkor. If you catch a flight to Siem Reap you’ll be very close to the Angkor Archaeological Park, a park which covers a huge area of 400 square kilometres. Unsurprisingly, this very impressive and important area is on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. The Angkor Archaeological Park includes the Temple of Angkor Wat and the Bayon Temple – both remnants of the Khmer Empire of the 9th to 15th century.
Being the most well known of the ruins, Angkor can be quite crowded so if you prefer to get away from the crowds there are other less famous examples of temples which may appeal. If you’re travelling by road from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap you’ll pass through Kompong Thom. Many visitors simply pass through and don’t stop, but Kompong Thom is the gateway to the temples of Sambor Prei Kuk. These are by no means as impressive as at Angkor, but they do pre-date Angkor.
Cambodia is also gaining popularity for its beaches and natural beauty meaning that it’s now appealing to a great many different tastes. Tourism is one of the top industries here, and things like the infrastructure and facilities and services will only improve over the coming years.