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Have a Holiday in Cambodia that You Won’t Forget

Updated on September 23, 2012
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat | Source
Royal Palace
Royal Palace | Source

Since the brutal Khmer Rouge regime ended and its leaders captured, a holiday in Cambodia has become part of the travel itineraries of millions of foreign tourists from across the globe.

These adventure-seeking tourists who plan to holiday in Cambodia look for exoticism, cultural diversity, and history.

And Cambodia does not disappoint.

Its people, collectively known as the Khmer people, are generally hardworking, gentle, and accommodating of tourists.

Its wonders are its extraordinary sites, fascinating culture, and rich history found nowhere else in the world.

Because of these surprises, a holiday in Cambodia might be really unforgettable.

1. Royal Palace – the First Stop during a Holiday in Cambodia

The Royal Palace or the Preah Barum Reachea Veang Nei Preah Reacheanachak Kampuchea has served as the official residence of the Cambodian royalty since the palace’s construction in 1866.

The royalty has only left the palace’s grounds during the tumultuous reign of the Khmer Rouge.

As a place fit for the country’s royalty, the Royal Palace is a dazzling testament of the Cambodian architecture and was passionately built and rebuilt by the Khmer people over time.

Located in the capital Phnom Penh, the Royal Palace is divided into three main sections: the Silver Pagoda in the northern direction, the Khemarin Palace in the southern direction, and the Throne Hall in the central direction.

Other structures that demonstrate Cambodian architecture that can be found in the Royal Palace complex are the Moonlight Pavilion, Hor Samran Phirun, Hor Samrith Phimean, Damnak Chan, Phochani Pavilion, Serey Monkol Palace, and Villa Kantha Bopha.

Tourists taking a holiday in Cambodia can wander around the Royal Palace, except in the off-limits area reserved for the King’s living space.

This living space of the King measures half of the size of the palace’s grounds and includes architectures such as Khemarin Palace, Villa Kantha Bopha, and Serey Monkol Palace.

2. National Museum of Cambodia – An Important Stop to Learn about Khmer History

Also located in Phnom Penh is the National Museum of Cambodia, the country’s most valuable art, historical, and archaeological museum.

In the museum, one can see about 14,000 historical items related to the country’s pre-historical times as well as its Khmer Empire era.

During this era, the Khmer power covered Cambodia, Thailand and some parts of Vietnam.

3. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Choeung Ek – Historical Stops during a Holiday in Cambodia

Visiting the country without knowing its dark history may be regrettable for the serious travelers taking a holiday in Cambodia.

Thus, it is advisable to visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum or the Hill of Poisonous Trees and Choeung Ek or The Killing Fields.

Tuol Sleng is located in a former high school called Chao Ponhea Yat High School in Phnom Penh and its unassuming exterior makes it difficult to imagine that it was the site of the Security Prison 21 or S-21.

The S-21 was an infamous place where about 20,000 Cambodians and several foreign nationals from Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, India, Pakistan, United Kingdom, France, United States, New Zealand, Arabic nations, and Australia were taken as prisoners, interrogated, tortured, then either left to die or led to be executed in Choeung Ek.

Choeung Ek is also located in Phnom Penh.

The prisoners were captured on allegations of conspiracy against the Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot and his comrades.

While the images of Tuol Sleng and Choeung Ek are disturbing, they offer tourists views of the dark past that Cambodia has now survived.

4. Angkor Wat – A Holiday in Cambodia is Incomplete without It

One of the most remarkable architectures of the ancient world is the Angkor Wat, a majestic site of hundreds of temples nestled deep in the forests of Siem Reap in Cambodia.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angkor Wat was constructed between 802 and 1220 A.D. and survives today as one of Cambodia’s most revered religious shrines and icons of the Khmer civilization.

Angkor Wat is an expansive and enduring testament of Khmer architecture.

At Angkor Wat, tourists can see over 100 temples, in which one can set eyes on thousands of bas reliefs of gods and goddesses.

The daily ways of life in the old Cambodia are also captured and artistically preserved in the walls of Angkor Wat's temples.

This Cambodian architectural masterpiece was once a part of a grand metropolis measuring over 400 square kilometers.

The metropolis was powerful for it was the center of the Khmer power from the 9th to 15th centuries, when the Khmer rulers ruled over a sizeable domain stretching from Myanmar to Vietnam.

Today, most of the ancient buildings, palaces, houses, and public spaces in the grand metropolis have ruined but Angkor Wat has stood the test of time.

Copyright © 2011 Kerlyn Bautista

All Rights Reserved

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    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      @travel_man1971 I think so, too. I also think Cambodia should be in any Asian's bucket list.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      I've never been to Cambodia but this hub of yours will surely entice anyone who's interested for a new adventure.