A bountiful country often overshadowed by its tragic past, Cambodia is today a nation under restoration. Following the brutal and devastating rule of the Khmer Rouge, whose reign brought with it the destruction of the country, its accomplishments and its people, Cambodia is now in the process of undertaking a structural restoration of its unique architectural marvels, while at the same time restoring a social balance. The tragedy of the country's past is only compounded by the fact that despite its wealth of attractions and beauty, Cambodia often only remains synonymous with the infamous deeds of the Khmer Rouge.
The Khmer civilization flourished from the 9th century to the 13th century after the collapse of the Indianized states of Funan and Chenla, and, having incorporated religious and political aspects of Indian culture, went on to dominate Southeast Asia, and leave their indelible mark on Cambodia. Nowhere would Khmer culture and achievement be more evident than a tour to the magnificent temple of Angkor Wat, which is unquestionably the zenith of Khmer architecture and stands as a testament to the dedication, ambition and architectural genius of the ancient people. Though undoubtedly the most unforgettable monument in Cambodia, and arguably in Asia, Angkor Wat is but one of many such structures that have stood more than just the test of time through Cambodia's torrid past.
Since there exists no accommodation at Angkor Wat itself, the nearby Siem Reap has been developed to cater to visitors to the site, and is complete with full amenities for the traveller, such as banks and cyber-cafes. For those who prefer to get closer to nature, to the south of Siem Reap is to be found a crocodile farm.
From taking a tour exploring the striking colonial buildings at the country's capital Phnom Penh, or to the Royal Palace, built by the French in 1866 and which houses the 17th century statuette 'The Emerald Buddha,' history enthusiasts will remember Cambodia and its abundance of varied monuments long after their trip has ended. For those willing to venture to reach memorable sites, Kbal Spean lies about 50km from Siem Reap and near the foot of the Kulen mountain and a trip here would reveal images of various gods carved into the rocks of the riverbed, but it is an attraction only accessible by hiking. And for those looking for something even more energetic, the water festival Bonn Om Teuk - the annual boat rowing contest which draws over 10% of Cambodia's population - and the popular sports of kicking a sey, which is similar to hacky-sack, as well as soccer provide adequate exercise and entertainment.