The temples of Angkor, built by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD, represent one of humankind's most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements. From Angkor the Khmer kings ruled over a vast domain that reached from Vietnam to China to the Bay of Bengal. The structures one sees at Angkor today, more than 100 stone temples in all, are the surviving remains of a grand religious, social and administrative metropolis whose other buildings - palaces, public buildings, and houses - were built of wood and have long since decayed and disappeared.
The main reason for tourists to visit Siem Reap of course are the world famous Temples of Angkor. And yes, they are a truly 'must see' in Cambodia.
But they're not only a top tourist attraction, they're a sacred, religious site. So, you should know how to behave. Here are a few simple rules (that you would obey in your home country).
Explore River Life in Northeast Cambodia: the Mekong Discovery Trail takes you into the heart of the Mekong where the beauty of the river and the friendliness of the people create unforgettable river life experiences in northeast Cambodia.
The Mekong Discovery Trail is a network of safe, ecotourism journeys through some of the most natural and least populated parts of the Mekong.
The free trail guide provides maps, transport and accommodation options. You can travel on a small part of the trail, or all of it. You can travel alone or with a group. There are many options along the 180 km trail, which runs between Kratie and the Cambodian/Laos border. But remember to allow enough time to go with the flow of river life.
About 1 kilometer north of the place where boats to see the dolphins leave, are the Kampi Rapids where you can relax, swim and enjoy the rapids.
There is a huge picnic spot, very popular with the locals: bamboo structures with a straw roof built out over the river. Some are hundreds of meters long and all are lined with hammocks.
Koh Trong is a beautiful quiet island opposite the riverfront of Kratie Town, an almighty sandbar in the middle of the river. No cars, but carts, smiling peasants, craggy fishermen and a rich soil that man turned into an orchard, Koh Trong is a small paradise. It is a short ferry ride between town life and a slice of Cambodia’s rural ways.
Surrounded 8 months a year by white sandy beaches, constantly refreshed by the river’s breeze, the island of Koh Trong is some sort of an ideal Cambodia. The beaches call out to be lazed upon with a picnic after a dip in the Mekong.
The banner picture you see on the top of every page in the Kampot & Kep section is now history.
The construction of the Sokha Resort on top of Bokor Mountain has led to far more destruction than feared in the once National Park.
It's not only this new resort that is 'under construction': there are at least TEN (yes, 10!) other projects that have or will degrade the 'national park' to a fun or entertainment park.
A treasure lost...
Cambodians call it by its old name – Kompong Som – but to Westerners it’s better known as the beach town of Sihanoukville. The centre of town was built in the 50’s and 60’s and is basically quite an ugly collection of concrete.
Beaches are about 1 km to the south and roughly 2 km to the west of the town centre with the port of Sihanoukville at the northern end of the western beaches. Do not expect wide stretches of sand here, Sihanoukville’s beaches are quite narrow.
The Angkor Wat Bike Race & Ride is an annual cycling event that takes place in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
The Bike Event is now in its 6th year and is held on Saturday 3rd December 2011, in partnership with the Angkor Wat Half-Marathon. The weekend is full of festivities and draws over 400 bikers and 3,500 runners from over 45 different countries.
Participants can choose to take part in any of the three different routes offered: 100km, 30km or 17km. The event attracts both keen cyclists and families from all over the globe.
Nestling in the southern extension of the Dangrek Mountains in the Svay Leu District, 48 kilometres away from Siem Reap rests the Phnom Kulen National Park. One of the most scenic and historically significant locations in the area, the park falls along the journey to Prasat Banteay Srei, making a beautiful natural complement to the intricate manmade wonders of the ancient citadel.
Unfortunately, the waterfalls in the park are ‘owned’ by a businessman from Siem Reap with ‘high’ connections, who charges an outrageous $20 to see this natural resource.
But read on to discover how to avoid this scam.