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Cambodia Destinations

PHNOM PENH

The capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, is located at the confluence of three rivers - the Mekong, the Bassac and Tonle Sap.  The city is divided into three sections - the north, an attractive residential area; the south or the French part of the city with its ministries, banks and colonial houses; and the centre or the heart with its narrow lanes, markets, foods stalls and shops.

Over the past four years, the city has undergone tremendous changes - businesses are springing up constantly and tourism is once again booming.  Cambodia has one of the most liberal investment laws to further boost managed to retain its charm and character - cyclos that weave through traffic with ease, broad boulevards, old colonial buildings, parks and green spaces that reminds one of the country's French heritage, and above all its people who always have a smile for you.

A stone's throw away from the Tonle Sap is the royal Palace built on the site of the Banteay Kev, a citadel built in 1813. The Palace grounds contain several buildings: the Throne Room of Prasat Tevea Vinichhay which is used for the coronation of kings, official receptions and traditional ceremonies; the Chan Chhaya Pavilion which is a venue for dance performances; the king's official residence called the Khemarin; the Napoleon Pavilion and the spectacular Silver Pagoda.  This pagoda is worth exploring.  It owes its name to the 5,000 silver tiles weighing 1kg each which cover the entire floor.  The emerald Buddha sits on a pedestal high atop the dias.  In front of the dias stands a life-size Buddha made of solid gold and weighs 75kg.  It is decked with precious gems including diamonds, the largest of which is 25 carats.  Also on display at the sides are the coronation apparel and numerous miniature Buddha in gold and silver.

 

 

SIEM REAP – ANGKOR

Siem Reap is the small gateway town to ruins of Angkor, located 250 northwest of Phnom Penh and 15 km north of Tonle Sap. Running through the centre of town is the polluted Siem Reap river. Traces of French presence have survived in a small quarter of colonial buildings to the southwest side the rest of Siem Reap was badly damaged by bombing and civil war. In the early 1979-0, during the Pol Pot era, people were fed to the crocodiles in Siem Reap. There is a “killing fields” memorial to victims of Khmer Rouge to the northwest of the town. In 1979the province was the scene of heavy fighting between the Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese Army. Since 1990 the Khmer Rouge have staged sporadic attacks on the civilian population and Cambodian troops around Seam Reap. In 1993 they massacred Vietnamese fishing families at Lake Tonle Sap, precipitating an exodus of the Vietnamese to the Mekong Delta. To safeguard Angkor, the government has stationed troops, ringing the entire zone of ruins. 

Peace has not been easy to come to Seam Reap, but there is normal life around Angkor: farmers transporting goods in oxcarts, village women clad in sarongs cycling to market, Buddhist monks in the flowing orange robe out morning strolls, kids lolling about on the backs of water buffalo in green fields. For tourists this is a chance to see rural life. For local, tourist itself, however small in scale, is seen as return to normalcy after years of savage war and upheaval. A number of new hotels, guesthouses and restaurants have appeared in Seam Reap in the 1990s, catering first to visiting UNTAC troops and later to the Angkor bound tourists who arrived in the wake.

 

 

BATTAMBANG
Cambodia’s second largest city lies in the heart of the Northwest and until the war years was the leading rice-producing province of the country. Battambang did not give way to the Khmer Rouge movement until after the fall of Phnom Penh, but it’s been in the center of the ongoing government Khmer Rouge conflict ever since the Vietnamese invasion in 1979 pushed the genocidal regime out of Phnom Penh and to the Northwest.

Until the surrender deal of Ieng Sary (Khmer Rouge number three man based in Pailin),Battambang was the Khmer Rouge in the region. Earlier history saw Battambang flip-flopping back and forth between Thailand (called Siam before their 20th-century renaming) and Cambodia.

Battambang is the main hub of the Northwest connecting the entire region with Phnom Penh and Thailand, and as such it’s a vital link for Cambodia. Battambang city is a peaceful and pleasant place these days.

The main parts of the city are situated closed to the Sangker River, a tranquil, small body of water that winds its way through Battambang Province. It is a nice, picturesque setting. As with much of Cambodia, the French architecture is an attractive bonus of the city.

 

 

 

PRASAT PREAH VIHEAR
In the 6th century , king Yasovarmamn I ( 889-900) began work on the original dedicated to Shisa as result of spiritual development, increased political prestige and economic growth was naturally reflected in the Temple undergoing more than 300 years of consultation with deal of remodeling under subsequent King Suryavarman II ( 1113 – 1150) this increased prestige naturally changed the original small sanctuary into one of the greatest Khmer temples of all times. This ranking was the result of the finest in situ carving that depicted the highest standards of unique Khmer architecture.

Under the Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1904 and 1907, the line of frontier between Cambodia and Thai along the Dongrak Mountains followed justice at the Hague officially found that the Preah Vihear Temple situated inside the Cambodia territory.

 

 

 

SIHANOUKVILLE - BEACH RESORT

'Beach town', 'port community', 'fledgling resort destination' - all describe Sihanoukville, Cambodia's premier beach town. Sihanoukville's white sand beaches and warm Gulf of Thailand waters combine with a laid back, beachy atmosphere to provide a great little tropical getaway. Sihanoukville is a place to unwind by the beach, enjoy the fresh from-the-ocean seafood, take in a snorkeling or scuba trip, and generally slow-down, lay back and chill-out.

Sihanoukville has a different look and feel than most Cambodian towns. Constructed as a port city in the late 1950s, the town is much newer, more urban and cosmopolitan than most Cambodian provincial cities. Nowadays, Sihanoukville is as much a beach town as it is a port town, catering to beach-going weekenders from Phnom Penh as well as a steadily increasing number of foreign visitors. Still, the pace of life in Sihanoukville is very relaxed. Cows occasionally wander the main road, outside town foreign faces draw smiles and curious stares, and most of the beaches offer only beach umbrellas, thatched roofed eateries, and a growing number of restaurants, bungalows and hotels.

Sihanoukville has a more than ample supply of accommodations, including a 5-star resort complex on Sokha Beach, several mid-range places downtown and at the beaches, a few 'upscale' three-star hotels, and dozens of budget guesthouses, especially on Weather Station Hill (Victory Hill). Considering the moderate number of visitors to Sihanoukville, the town offers a surprising number and variety of restaurants and bars.

Fresh seafood, especially crab, prawns and ocean fish, has always been one of the town's biggest draws, but there is also a wide variety of places offering foreign cuisines - Australian, French, Indian, German, Sri Lankan, British, Italian, pizza places, a couple of western bakeries and even a espresso coffee shop. And these days Sihanoukville offers a pretty good night life as well with a wide variety of bars staying open well into the wee hours, especially on Weather Station Hill, in the downtown area, and the beach bars on Ochheuteal, ‘Serendipity’ and Victory Beaches.

 

 

 

MONDULKIRI

This province is chock full of natural beauty, with thickly forested mountains, powerful waterfalls and the lush green rolling hills of the western side. Add to that the communities of hill tribe people who are not affected by mass-tourism, as they are in neighboring Thailand, and you have an area that is very attractive to the adventure traveler. The town of Sen Monorom is the best base camp for travelers who want to explore the surrounding areas

 

A quiet but beautiful town nestled into the hills; it has a lot of potential to develop into a center for non-intrusive eco-tourism. At present, it’s very undeveloped, which gives you a feeling of going somewhere off the beaten tourist trail. Also interesting is the variety of languages being used: Khmer, hill tribe languages, Vietnamese and Laos.

 

 

 

KRATIE  HOME OF FRESHWATER DOLPHINS

Is a sleepy Mekong River town situated on the east bank of the mighty river? It’s very picturesque with sandbars and big islands out front and bends in the river. Unlike in many towns around Cambodia, the war years were fairly kind to the French architecture and the roads, at least in the town itself. There are some nice-looking homes of French and Khmer style scattered about, adding to the pleasant feel of the place. The rare freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins make their home in the Mekong River, just north of Kratie. With only around fifteen to twenty remaining, they are worth a visit.

Whether you are just on a trip seeing the river towns along the Mekong or taking a full circuit trip around the east and northeast, Kratie is a nice place to spend a night or two.

 

 

KAMPOT

Is a small town on the Tuk Chhou River, 5km inland from the sea. Fishing and farming are the main activities; durians and melons grow in abundance. To the south end of town is a large dusty traffic circle with three hotels arrayed around it – Phnom Kieu, Phnom Kamchay, and Tuk Chhou.

Each has its own restaurants; Tuk Chhou offers a seedy nightclub. Also on the circle is Prachummith Restaurant, close by is Amar Restaurant.  To the south near the river is the GPO and telecommunications building. At the north end of town, about 1.5 km away, is the Central Market, with foodstalls. All Kampot transportation is concentrated within range of the market-cycle, motors, taxis, trucks, and buses. The railway station lies farther north. There’s zero of interest in Kampot except to walk around town and look at crumbling French-built blue-shuttered shop fronts. Previously Kampot was a stepping-stone to Bokor and Kep. You can reach Kampot by irregular plane service from Phnom Penh. It’s not advisable to get there by car. It takes about 5 hours to cover the 150 km from Phnom Penh to Kampot.  From Sihanoukville it’s 105 km to Kampot by a jumping and dirt road. The train from Phnom Penh to Kampot takes seven hours. It used to be a frequent target of the Khmer Rouge - in a 1994 ambush, three foreigners were captured by them.

 

 

 

KRONG KEP

Kep is a seaside tourist city located 173 Kilometers south west of Phnom Penh. Visitors from Phnom Penh take National Road 3 via Kampot province or National Road 2 via Takeo province. In addition, the train from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville stops at Damnak Chang Eur Station, about 7 Kilometers from the city. Foreigners coming from Vietnam can enter Cambodia via the Ha Teang Prek Chak border checkpoint, about 40 Kilometers from Kep, or they can travel by boat from Vietnam or Sihanoukville to the Kep City Port.

Kep is a small city. The beach, which is suitable for swimming; it only 1,000 meters long, and the sand is not white as in Sihanoukville. However, Kep is a big seafood market.

The city was founded in 1908 during the French colonial times. It was renovated into a beautiful seaside resort in 1960s during then-Prince Norodom Sihanouk’s Sangkum Reastr Niyum regime. The name Kep is derived from the French words le cap, or cape in English. A cape is a point of land that just into water, especially a headland significant for navigation.

Khmer legend offers another explanation for the name. There once was a prince named Sakor Reach who possessed great magical powers. One day, Sakor Reach used his magic to hypnotize a commander of Angkor Thom before stealing the commander’s horse and escaping to the southwest part of the country. While Sakor Reach was relaxing at the seaside, the commander’s troops caught up with him. Nervous, the prince suddenly hopped on the back of the commander’s horse. The horse reared back, however, and fell on the prince losing its saddle1 in the process. The prince got back on the horse and rode off, leaving the saddle there. Hence, the area was called Kep Seh. Later it was shortened to Kep

 

 

KAMPONG THOM PROVINCE

 

‘Kampong Pos Thom’ was the original name of the present call ‘Kampong Thom’. Because originally long time ago, at the dock of Sen river next to a big natural lake, there was a big cave with a pair of big snakes inside. The people living around this area usually saw these big snakes every Buddhist Holiday. Time after that, the snakes disappeared, and the people of that area called Kampong Pos Thom

Then, only short words ‘Kampong Thom’. During the French colony in Cambodia, the French ruled and divided Cambodian territory into provinces, and named them according the spoken words of the people called ‘Kampong Thom Province’ until now.

Kampong Thom is a province located at the central point of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The province has a total land area of 15,061km2 divided into 8 districts, 81 communes and 737 Villages. The total population is 576,805 people (110,334 families, women approximate 51%). The province has road network which links from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap on National Road 6, and separates to Preah Vihea province National Road 64 in a distance of 126 km.

 

 

 

RATANAKIRI(BANLUNG)

Ratanakiri became a province of Kingdom of Cambodia in 1960 under King Norodom  Sihanouk's reign. Banlung is the capital city of Ratanakiri, situated in the highland, along the National Road No 19 from Ou porng Moan to the Vietnam border about 200 km. ( Ou´ porng Moan-Banlung is about 120km, Banlung-Vietnam 80k.m)

Ratanakiri is situated on the north - east plateau , 636 Km from Phnom Penh. It is bordering Vietnam on the east, Laos PDR on the North, Steung Treng on the West and Mondul  Kiri on the South. There are two rivers crossing the province ( Sre Pork and Sresan River )

A sparsely populated province, it is renowned for its unique natural beauty and wealth of natural resources. The physical and environmental characteristic of the province forms an impressive range including undulating hills and mountains, a level plateau, watershed lowlands, crater lakes, rivers and waterfalls. Forest cover varies from area to area, from the dense impenetrable forest in the northern reaches, which are still rich in wildlife, to the drier and sparser forest, found in the southwest. Similarly, the soil types present range from rich volcanic soil to the sandy soil found near rivers.