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TRAVEL &

TOURISM

CAMBODIA

GUIDE

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

PROVINCIAL PROFILES

POPULAR ACTIVITIES

featuring

44 Temples of Angkor

ISSUE 02 | 2018

Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 1


Country

Overview

Map of Cambodia ...........5

Kingdom of Wonder........5

Getting There................ 10

Khmer History.............. 15

Accommodation........... 20

Cuisine............................ 25

Shopping........................ 30

Adventure...................... 35

Eco-Tourism ..................11

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

“From wonder

into wonder

existence opens.”

~ Lao Tzu

6 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 7


Map of Cambodia

MAP OF CAMBODIA

LEGEND

City/Town

Capital City

Provincial City

National Road

Temple

Waterfall

Mountain

National Park/Reserve

Domestic Airport

International Airport

Checkpoint

Provincial Boundary

International Boundary

8 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 9


KINGDOM OF WONDER

Kingdom of Wonder

Be captivated by the ancient art of Khmer traditional

dance, feast on the unique and exotic Khmer cuisine,

enjoy a cabaret show at one of the country’s avant-garde

bar-restaurants, shop for silk and silver or just sit by one

of the lazy rivers which criss-cross the landscape and

relax over cocktails served on the balcony of a French

colonial villa.

The Kingdom of Cambodia offers a huge variety, from

lush rainforests rich in eco-tourism to the magnificent

ancient temples crowned, of course, by the World

Heritage sites of the legendary Angkor Wat, Preah

Vihear and Sambor Prei Kuk.

The white sand beaches and pristine tropical islands of

the country’s south are now linked to the temples by air,

so that you can soak up the glories of the ancient Khmer

culture in the morning and be lulled to sleep by the sound

of waves after a feast of succulent seafood the same

night. There is the capital, Phnom Penh, once called the

Pearl of the Orient, home to royalty and nestled at the

confluence of three great rivers — the Mekong, Tonle

Sap and Tonle Bassac.

For the adventurous, Cambodia offers some of the best

and least visited dive sites in the region and trekking in

areas like the mighty mountains of Mondulkiri province.

Cambodia’s past has captured the hearts of explorers,

artists and such romantics as Jackie Kennedy and

actress Angelina Jolie, and Cambodia’s present is now

capturing those of a whole new generation. It truly is a

Kingdom of Wonder.

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Accommodation

A flurry of new five-star hotels in the three tourist hubs are

vying to attract the most pampered of clients with some

of the most opulent spas, the most tempting swimming

pools and golf courses designed by some of the greatest

names in the game. Cambodia’s main centers of Phnom

Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville offer a full range of

accommodation, from top-end resorts and luxury boutique

hotels to the most basic backpacker rooms.

Siem Reap leads the way at the top end, with the capital

and the beach town not far behind. Resorts are continuing

to spring up in the mountainous areas from east to west

and to many of Sihanoukville’s stunning offshore islands.

ACCOMODATION

Refurbished French colonial mansions offer a special

nostalgia throughout the country. The former hilltop resort

of Bokor has reopened the restored Le Bokor Palace.

Boutique hotels, many with an eco-friendly theme, have

also mushroomed around the country, from Ratanakiri to

Koh Kong.

The humble backpacker has not been forgotten; there are

hostel-style rooms in every major town, such as Street

172 in Phnom Penh (also known as Cambodia’s Khao San

Road), the area around Siem Reap’s Pub Street and Victory

Hill in Sihanoukville.

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Eco-Tourism

Jungle, rivers, waterfalls, forests, islands, beaches,

mangrove lagoons and Khmer villages provide lots of

choice for an eco-experience. On the border of the Kirirom

National Park in an area of forest, waterfalls and rice fields,

Chambok is a community of nine rural villages where

you can experience village-life, and explore the area’s

beautiful natural surroundings. The community-based

eco-tourism project was established in 2002 to provide an

additional income for the local people and help protect the

surrounding forest.

ECO-TOURISM

In Chi Phat, the Wildlife Alliance and the community

members are working together to preserve the environment

while providing exciting and unique experiences for

visitors. Villagers who once roamed the forest, depleting

it of its environmental heritage, are now employed as

guides leading trekking, mountain-biking, camping and

river boat tours through the wilderness surrounding

both communities. Over 200 kilometers of hiking trails

meander through the jungle, leading to natural wonders

in the rainforest, deserted waterfalls, campsites and post-

Angkorian burial jar sites.

The Koh Kong eco-zone has many endangered animals and

protection is essential to the survival of the Indochinese

Tiger, Clouded Leopard, Asian elephant, and Sun Bears

to name a few. The Wildlife Alliance has classified the

Cardamom Mountains as one of the world’s top 25

biodiversity hot spots.

In the north, Stung Treng communities include Preah

Phumkel and Osvay with flooded forests and rare river

dolphins. It’s possible to mingle with the hill tribes in

Ratankiri or Mondulkiri by joining one of many organized

tours. The Mekong Discovery Trail is well marked with

many points of interest.

The forests and floodplains of Cambodia form refuges for

many threatened bird species that have been extirpated

(locally extinct) from much of their former habitat.

There are over 60 rare or endangered species of wildlife

in Cambodia, many of which are now extinct elsewhere

in Southeast Asia, including: the Asian Elephant; Tiger;

Clouded and Common Leopards, Asiatic Black Bear; Asiatic

Wild Dog; Eld’s Deer; Irrawaddy Dolphin; Siamese Crocodile;

Banteng; Bengal Florican; Douc Langur; Pileated Gibbon;

Elongated Tortoise; Freshwater Sawfish; Giant Catfish;

Giant Carp; Grey Ox; Javan; and Sumatran Rhinoceros.

Endangered Sarus Crane

Cambodia’s seasonally flooded forests also provide an

ideal habitat for several highly endangered water birds: the

White Shouldered Ibis; Sarus Crane; and the Greater and

Lesser Adjutant.

24 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 25


PRACTICAL

INFORMATION

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Planning Your Stay ....................... 10

Cambodia Profile .......................... 10

Events, Festivals & Holidays....... 10

Business & Commerce ................ 10

Entry/Exit ........................................ 10

Quick Khmer .................................. 10

Travel & Transportation .............. 10

Direct Flights ................................. 10

Health .............................................. 10

Useful Numbers ............................ 10

“Good fortune is what happens when

opportunity meets with planning.”

~ Thomas Edison

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Planning Your Stay

Cambodia Profile

Visiting Cambodia is as easy as One, Two, Three...

AREA

__________________________

GOVERNMENT

__________________________

PLANNING YOUR STAY

STEP

Choose your travel date.

Things to consider:

- climate

- holidays

- amount of time you

have to spend in Cambodia

STEP

Choose what you want to

see and do.

If it is really important to see or

do something in particular,

this choice will shape your

plans.

STEP

Make reservations.

Choose your transportation

and accommodation.

181,035 square kilometers

WORLD REGION

__________________________

Southeast Asia

GEOGRAPHY

__________________________

1. Western and northwestern mountains

2. Northeastern plateau

3. Central plains

4. Western and southwestern coastal plains

5. Western and northeastern valleys

6. Penninsula

Constitutional Monarchy

ROYALTY

__________________________

His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni is the son of

King Father Norodom Sihanouk (1922-2012) and

Queen Mother Norodom Monineath.

TIME ZONE

__________________________

7 hours ahead of GMT, (6 hours ahead of GMT

during daylight savings time).

CURRENCY

__________________________

The Cambodian currency is the Riel.

CAMBODIA PROFILE

CLIMATE

__________________________

Tropical. The average temperature is 27-28C

(wet season, 20-27C - dry season, 28-35C).

The coolest period is December through January.

There are two seasons: “Wet” — May through

October and “Dry” — November through April.

It should be noted that the wet season rarely

has full days of rain, rather afternoon or evening

monsoon showers.

POPULATION

__________________________

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES

__________________________

The metric system.

ELECTRICITY

__________________________

220 Volts, 50-60 Hz

MAJOR INDUSTRIES

__________________________

Clothing, fishing, footwear, rice, milling, rubber,

shipping, textiles, timber, tobacco, construction,

education, banking and tourism.

16.2 million

ETHNICITY

__________________________

Khmer (90%), Cham, Montagnards, Chinese,

Vietnamese, Indian, Thai, Phnorng, Kuoy,

Stieng, Tamil.

LOCAL CUSTOMS

__________________________

When visiting a Buddhist pagoda, remove your

hat, and remove your shoes when entering the

buildings. Women should be careful not to touch

monks. Ask before taking photos and speak

softly.

RELIGION

__________________________

Theravada Buddhism (90%), Islam,

Hinduism, Christianity.

LANGUAGES

__________________________

Throughout the country, public displays of

affection such as kissing are offensive. Cover

your mouth when using a toothpick. Being

friendly is usually responded to in kind.

Showing anger is considered impolite.

Khmer is the official language. English is used

throughout the country, as well as French

and Chinese.

28 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 29


Travel & Transportation

“Most visitors and quite a few

expats choose to travel by tuk

tuk. It’s a great way to ride in

style and see the city...”

~ Lina Goldberg,

Move to Cambodia,Travelfish

TRAVEL & TRANSPORTATION

BICYCLE

The bicycle is the most efficient

form of travel. Renting from

guesthouses is fine for riding

around town, but for the serious

cyclist, mountain bikes can be

rented at a few adventure tour

companies.

TUK-TUK

One of the most convenient and

safest ways to travel through

urban Cambodia, tuk-tuks are like

cozy covered wagons attached to

small motorcycles. Expect to pay

anywhere between USD 2-5 for

a short trip and upwards of USD

10 for an afternoon or evening.

Metered tuk-tuks are now available

by using mobile apps such as

Grab, PassApp, Ugo711, Uber and

CamGO.

CYCLO

Combination bicyclerickshaw,

cyclos are the most

environmentally friendly way to

travel. They are one of Cambodia’s

identifying spectacles and are

the subject of many photos and

paintings. Cyclos cost anywhere

from 2,000 KR to USD 2.

MOTODOP

“Moto!” The most popular form

of transportation in Cambodia,

motodops are men (and some

women!) on scooters who will take

you wherever you want to go. Most

motodops wait in front of guest

houses. Due to fluctuating gas

prices, motodop fees range from

anywhere between 2,000 KR to

USD 5 depending of time of day and

distance.

METERED TAXI

Phnom Penh has recently got its

own metered taxis. Global taxi

is the first metered taxi in the

country, followed by Choice taxi

and Great Wall taxi. There are no

taxi stands, but pick-up service is

only a phone call away.

LIMOUSINE & PRIVATE VEHICLES

Executives enjoy Royal Cambodian

Limousine Service for their travel

needs. They are available by

reservation booking through a

concierge.

There are also private vehicles for

rent. The most popular are Lexus

SUVs that can be hired from pointto-point

or, for longer missions.

with a driver and booked through a

concierge.

BUS

One of the most economical ways

to travel the country, Cambodian

buses are a fairly comfortable

way to get from place to place.

Several companies provide service

from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap,

Sihanoukville, Kampot and other

provinces. Night buses are not

recommended for safety reasons.

Phnom Penh has started operating

a public bus service called City Bus.

Download the Stops Near Me app

for route information.

MINIVANS & SHARED TAXIS

For travel in regional areas and

faster transportation between the

major cities, mini vans are a good

option. Often called VIP Vans, these

can vary in price and quality from

overladen green vans normally with

above capacity occupancy to more

luxurious (which is the suggested

option) with comfortable seats and

air-conditioning. Share taxis are

often Camry sedans and you can

book a seat — higher premiums for

the whole front passenger seat or,

if you’re in a pair or trio, it’s a good

idea to book the whole back seat.

BOAT

As a leisure activity in Phnom Penh,

boat trips are extremely enjoyable

and relaxing. If sitting on the rooftop

to enjoy the view, it is advisable to

bring sunscreen. Traveling between

Siem Reap and Battambang is

a lazy way to go, or from Siem

Reap to Phnom Penh is more of an

adventure in the “fast boat.”

AIRPLANE

Domestic flights are available

between Phnom Penh, Siem Reap

and Sihanoukville with several

airlines. Charter flights on small

planes are available for visiting

some provinces. Ask at your

guesthouse or hotel for more

information.

HELICOPTER

Helicopter companies provide

standard tourist packages and

personal helicopter rides. Standard

tours include aerial expeditions

of Angkor Wat. Specialized tours

can be customized to include

Sihanoukville, Ratanakiri,

Mondulkiri and other provinces.

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Direct Flights

AIRLINE

DESTINATION

AIRLINE

DESTINATION

SIHANOUKVILLE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

PHNOM PENH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

AIRASIA ....................................................... Bangkok | Kuala Lumpur

ASIANA ........................................................ Seoul

BANGKOK AIRWAYS ................................ Bangkok

BASSAKA AIR ............................................ Siem Reap

CAMBODIA ANGKOR AIR ....................... Bangkok | Hanoi | Ho Chi Minh City

Shanghai | Siem Reap | Sihanoukville

CAMBODIA BAYON AIRLINES .............. Siem Reap | Sihanoukville

CHINA AIRLINES ...................................... Taipei

CHINA EASTERN ...................................... Kunming | Shanghai

CHINA SOUTHERN .................................. Beijing | Guangzhou

DRAGON AIR .............................................. Hong Kong

EVA AIR ........................................................ Taipei

HONG KONG AIRLINES ........................... Hong Kong

JETSTAR ..................................................... Singapore

KOREAN AIR .............................................. Seoul

LANMEI AIRLINES .................................... Phnom Penh | Siem Reap

Sihanoukville | Hanoi | Hong Kong

MALAYSIA AIRLINES ............................... Kuala Lumpur

QATAR AIRWAYS ...................................... Doha

SHANDONG AIRLINES ............................ Jinan

SILK AIR ...................................................... Singapore

THAI AIR ...................................................... Bangkok

TIGER AIR ................................................... Singapore

VIETNAM AIRLINES ................................. Hanoi | Ho Chi Minh City

AIRLINE

DESTINATION

CAMBODIA ANGKOR AIR ....................... Phnom Penh | Siem Reap

CAMBODIA BAYON AIRLINES .............. Phnom Penh | Siem Reap

LANMEI AIRLINES .................................... Phnom Penh | Siem Reap

SIEM REAP INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

AIR BUSAN ................................................. Pusan

AIR CHINA .................................................. Beijing

AIRASIA ....................................................... Bangkok | Kuala Lumpur

ASIANA ........................................................ Seoul

BANGKOK ................................................... AIRWAYS Bangkok

BASSAKA AIR ............................................ Phnom Penh

CAMBODIA ANGKOR AIR........................ Bangkok | Guangzhou | Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh City | Phnom Penh | Siem Reap | Sihanoukville

CAMBODIA BAYON AIRLINES .............. Phnom Penh | Siem Reap

CEBU PACIFIC AIR ................................... Manilla

CHINA EASTERN ...................................... Kunming | Shanghai

CHINA SOUTHERN .................................. Guangzhou

DRAGON AIR .............................................. Hong Kong

JETSTAR ..................................................... Singapore

KOREAN AIR .............................................. Pusan | Seoul

LAO AIRLINES ........................................... Paske | Luang Prabang

LANMEI AIRLINES .................................... Phnom Penh | Siem Reap

Sihanoukville | Hanoi | Hong Kong

MALAYSIA AIRLINES ............................... Kuala Lumpur

SILK AIR ...................................................... Da Nang | Singapore

SKY ANGKOR AIRLINES.......................... Beijing | Chendu | Chongqing

Guiyang | Hanoi | Kunming | Nanning | Pusan | Seoul

TIANJIN AIRLINES ................................... Tianjin

VIETJET AIR ............................................... Da Nang | Duong Dong | Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh City | Luang Prabang

VIETNAM AIRLINES ................................. Hanoi | Ho Chi Minh City

XIAMEN AIR ................................................ Fuzhou | Xiamen

DIRECT FLIGHTS

Sihanoukville | Hanoi | Hong Kong

38 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 39


PROVINCIAL

PROFILES

Banteay Meanchey........................ 90

Battambang..................................... 95

Kampong Cham............................100

Kampong Chhnang...................... 105

Kampong Speu............................. 110

Kampong Thom............................ 115

Kampot........................................... 120

Kandal............................................ 125

Kep..................................................130

Koh Kong........................................ 135

Kratie..............................................140

Mondulkiri...................................... 145

Oddar Meanchey.......................... 150

Pailin............................................... 155

Phnom Penh..................................160

Preah Sihanouk............................ 165

Preah Vihear................................. 170

Prey Veng....................................... 175

Pursat.............................................180

Ratanakiri....................................... 185

Siem Reap......................................190

Stung Treng................................... 195

Svay Rieng.....................................200

Takeo..............................................205

Tbong Khmum.............................. 210

“To Travel is

to Live”

~ Hans Christian Andersen

PROVINCIAL PROFILES

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BATTAMBANG

PROVINCE

Countryside of

Battambang

BATTAMBANG

INTERESTING FACTS

5

57

5

BATTAMBANG

GEOGRAPHY

The province is included in the Tonle Sap

Biosphere Reserver and is 75% jungles

and mountains with a tropical climate.

ORANGE SELLERS

Battambang is famous for its citrus fruit,

especially its oranges. When they are in

season, people drive from as far as the

capital to buy their fruit from stalls that

line the road at the entrance to the town.

Grapefruit is also another popular product

from this province.

The northwestern province

of Battambang is often

claimed to be the most

beautiful of all Cambodian

provinces. It is the rice bowl of the

country, and also the fruit bowl. In

the fading evening light, the sight of

endless fields of young rice, dotted

with sugar palms and the occasional

limestone rock formations jutting out

of the earth, make it a photographer’s

dream.

A gigantic statue of Ta Dambang

Kra Nhung is on the roundabout at

the south entrance to the city. This

powerful neak ta, or spirit, is the

guardian of the town and gives the

town its name. Battambang translates

to “magic disappearing stick” and

relates to a legend surrounding the

stick he holds which helped him

defeat enemies with invisibility.

The Banan temple is 25 kilometers

south of the town and a fine example

of 11th and 12th century Khmer

architecture. As with Angkor Wat,

the great Khmer King Jayavarman VII

played a key role in the construction

of this enchanting temple, which

some people have called a miniature

Angkor Wat due to its similar 5-tower

structure.

Closer to Battambang town is Wat

Ek Phnom — an Angkorian temple

ruin with a current day pagoda and a

giant seated buddha alongside. It is a

pleasant bicycle ride to the site and

a popular sunset picnic spot for the

locals. There are many food sellers

along the road to enjoy local BBQ and

watch the sun go down.

Battambang was a branching-off

point for several former Khmer

Rouge strongholds, including

Pailin municipality to the west. It

also features a number of ancient

temples and holy sites, including the

striking Phnom Sampov temple on

the road to Pailin, set on a limestone

mountain. This picturesque temple is

both a place of worship and a shrine,

as the Khmer Rouge once used its

underground caves as a killing field

and it is said they forced people

to walk off the cliffs. Another less

sinister cave is the Bat Cave and

around dusk, bats can be seen leaving

the cave in search of their first meal

of the day.

The famous Prek Toal bird sanctuary

is usually reached from Siem

Reap but is actually located on the

other side of the Tonle Sap Lake in

Battambang. It is home to thousands

of birds and proceeds from visits help

to support the more than 20 former

poachers who now actively protect

their former prey.

A visit to Battambang may be deemed

by some as incomplete without a ride

on the Bamboo Train. However, this

popular tourist site is no longer in

operation due to construction on a

train line between Phnom Penh and

Battambang that has interfered with

the running of the train.

Battambang even has a winery! The

winery makes French style wine and

the winery itself has a very pleasant

atmosphere. While not perhaps of the

taste familiar to most westerners, it

is a very enjoyable experience.

Battambang town has a range of

basic to four-star accommodation.

In the evening, locals join on the

riverfront, sipping a Cambodian

milkshake (tuk gro-loc) or a beer.

Popular snacks to go with drinks

include frogs legs and grilled rat.

There are more conventional options

for less intrepid taste buds.

Battambang is the second largest

city of Cambodia. Contrary to that, it

has a very relaxed atmosphere. This

has made it a favorite place to visit

for those wanting a more laid-back

alternative to Siem Reap or Phnom

Penh. There is a variety of westernoriented

bars and restaurants and

plenty of authentic Cambodian

cuisine to sample.

French colonial architecture can

still be found throughout the city.

Recognizing the tourism potential

these buildings can bring, many

owners are choosing to renovate

rather than build new.

Paddy rice

Cassava

Pineapples

Cotton

REGIONAL PRODUCE

Corn

Oranges

Grapefruit

48 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 49


Wat Ek Phnom

Temple ruin

Artist Em Touch

~ at Jewel in the

Lotus Gallery &

Restaurant

BATTAMBANG

Featured Artist: Bor Hak,

graduate of Phare Ponleu Selpak on display at Gallery Romcheik 5

Long-tailed

Macaque

at Phnom

Sampeau

Ta Dambong of

Battambang

“Lok Thom” by Bor Hak

“A1” by

Bor Hak

Sammaki Gallery

& Art Space

Giant

Buddha

at Wat Ek

Phnom

Pagoda

View from

street 2.5

50 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 51


PREAH

SIHANOUK

PROVINCE

Koh Rong Island

PREAH SIHANOUK

INTERESTING FACTS

4

4

3

PREAH SIHANOUK

GEOGRAPHY

The province includes coastland with

white sand beaches and mangroves

bordering the Gulf of Thailand, and the

southernmost edge of the Cardamom

mountain range reaches through its

borders with the name of Elephant

Mountains.

REAM NATIONAL PARK

This unspoiled national park area straddles

both marine and land areas and offers

boat trips down river estuaries populated

by rare pink dolphins, the opportunity to

glimpse rare wildlife on both sea and land,

and white sand beaches fringed with sheoak

trees.

REGIONAL PRODUCT

Preah Sihanouk, or Sihanoukville

as it’s commonly

called (Kampong Som to

locals), has luxury and

simplicity side-by-side. Choose from

opulent hotels and thatched beach

huts and enjoy the freshest local

produce in fine dining style or on the

beach with sand between your toes.

Local hawkers bring the freshest

fruit and hot steamed crabs, shrimp

and barbecued squid via tourist

hotspots, so no need to to leave your

relaxed spot on the beach.

If you like privacy there are relatively

quiet beaches such as at Sokha

Beach Resort or Independence

Hotel. For a vibrant beach scene,

rent a beach chair and laze by one

of the less developed beaches like

Ou Chheuteal, where meeting local

culture and people is as much a

part of the experience as the gentle

lapping of clear blue waves on the

pristine white sand beach.

Sihanoukville is famous throughout

the region for its seafood and this tiny

province offers more than its share

of restaurants. Scampi, crab, freshcaught

fish such as tuna, mackerel

and snapper grace the pages of most

menus. Many of the best restaurants

compliment their cuisine with

beachside seating.

Diving experts rave about the

variety of sea life in the surrounding

waters. Dugong and whale sharks

are known to inhabit the waters off

the Cambodian coast and marine

biologists have claimed the tropical

waters as some of the richest in coral

of Southeast Asia. Snorkeling is also

a great way to pass seaside time.

Eco-tourism enthusiasts can enjoy

the magnificent Ream National Park.

Swim beside rare pink dolphins,

explore mangrove forests, see

wildlife including sun bears or relax

on secluded beaches.

The islands off the coast are many

and some are virtually unexplored.

Several are owned by private

companies developing high-end

accommodation like Song Saa

Resort. However, a simple trip to a

fishing village fringed with coconut

palms and busy with villagers

bringing in the catch of the day may

be the most rewarding experience of

a trip.

Back in nearby Sihanoukville town,

locals definitely enjoy their nightlife

with bars and restaurants offering

karaoke and other fun activities into

the late hours for singing and dancing.

Sihanoukville is sun, sea and sand,

but with a true Khmer touch, which

makes it an unforgettable beachside

holiday.

Fish sauce Black pepper

Palm oil Seafood

Rattan furniture

Pink Dolphins at play

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Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 103


Mangrove walkway at

Ream National Park

Traditional Boat docked on

a Sihanoukville Beach

PREAH SIHANOUK

Beachfront restaurant

Local seafood seller

Popular main beachside

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Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 105


44 TEMPLES

OF ANGKOR

ANGKOR INTRODUCTION

Welcome.......................................... 90

Map of Angkor................................ 95

Tourism Management Plan.......100

Interview with His Excellency,

Sok Sangvar............................... 105

25th Anniversary......................... 110

ANGKOR TEMPLES

Angkor Temples:

South and West.......................... 115

Angkor Temples:

East and North........................... 120

Angkor Temples:

within Angkor Thom.................. 125

“We are opening up

an enormous new

era in archaeology.

Time capsules in

the deep oceans.

~ John F. Lehman, Jr.

44 TEMPLES OF ANGKOR

MORE ON ANGKOR

People of Angkor ........................130

History ...........................................140

Flora and Fauna .......................... 145

Angkor Cultural Activities ......... 150

Pagodas ........................................160

Folk Tales ...................................... 170

134 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 135


Welcome

to Angkor,

remnants of the

most splendid

period of

Cambodian

history.

The first dynasty of Angkor was

founded by Jayavarman II (802-

850). His reign was succeeded by

28 kings, each of them building a

new temple more grand than their

predecessor. Jayavarman VII was

one of the most popular kings of the

period and still thought of today as

the greatest ruler the Kingdom ever

had. His legacy is Angkor Thom with

the grand Bayon Buddhist temple at

its center.

The site of Angkor was rediscovered

by the western world through the

accounts of Portuguese trader

Diogo do Couto (dated 1558 to

1588) and the accounts of French

botanist Henri Mouhot which were

published in French in 1863 and in

English in 1868. In 1863, Cambodia

became a French Protectorate.

The Ecole Française d´Extreme

Orient (EFEO) was founded in 1898

to study the history, language, art

and archeology of the “Far East”,

including Cambodia.

The Angkor Conservation Center

was established in Siem Reap to

conduct archaeological study of the

Angkor civilization and to restore the

various Khmer temples. Cambodia

became an independent state on the

9th of November 1953.

Initiated by the French archaeologists

and architects, the conservation

activities in Angkor were abruptly

ended in 1974 due to the outbreak

of civil war and the establishment of

the Khmer Rouge regime.

After the Peace Agreements of Paris

(1991) and following the first free

general elections, an international

campaign for conservation and

development of Angkor started in

1993.

In response to the appeal of the

late king, His Majesty Samdech

Preah Norodom Sihanouk, UNESCO

committed itself to the safeguarding

and preservation of the monuments

and historical area of Angkor.

Due to the unique situation in

Cambodia at that time, and a special

report presented by Professor

Azedine Beschaouch, chairperson of

the World Heritage Committee, the

Committee of the World Heritage

decided to waive some conditions

required under the Operational

Guidelines of the World Heritage

Convention. Consequently, the

Committee decided on December

14, 1992, in Santa Fe (USA), to

inscribe on the World Heritage List

the Angkor Site with its monuments

and its archaeological zones.

Then, in order to quickly address the

urgent problems of conservation,

the committee inscribed the site of

Angkor on the list of World Heritage

in Danger.

After the inscription of Angkor on the

list, an International Coordinating

Committee for the Safeguarding

and Development of the Historic

Site of Angkor (ICC-Angkor) was

established in 1993. It ensures, until

today, the consistency of the different

projects, defines the technical and

financial standards and raises the

attention of all concerned parties

when necessary. Furthermore, in

December 1992, the World Heritage

Committee requested from the

Cambodian national authorities to

fulfill five conditions, among which

the establishment of an adequate

staffed national protection and

caretaker agency. Thus, the Royal

Decree of February 19, 1995, created

the Authority for the Protection

and Safeguarding of Angkor and

the Region of Angkor (its acronym,

APSARA, is a reference to the

celestial dancers).

Between 1993 and 2003, in addition

of implementing all conditions from

UNESCO, the Royal Government has

successfully implemented the win

win policy in 1998. Therefore, the

World Heritage Committee decided,

in June 2004, to remove the Angkor

site from the list of the World

Heritage in Danger.

Most recently, on November 30, 2017,

the 1954 Convention Committee (the

famous Hague Convention which

protects heritage in case of conflict

and acts to keep the peace), decided

unanimously, to provide Angkor’s

site with Enhanced Protection.

That is to say that the international

community is responsible, on a

universal level, to prevent any action

against the integrity of Angkor and

to avoid harmful conflict situations.

As such, the 1954 Convention helps

Cambodia to protect Angkor and

strengthens the policy pursued by

the Royal Government in favor of

peace and against war.

Over the years, protection,

conservation, management and

development from Apsara National

Authority, support from the ICC-

Angkor and from many countries for

the preservation and conservation

of Angkor enable us to enjoy its

splendor today. It has answered the

call of the Cambodian people, voiced

through His Majesty the King, and

the international community.

During 20 years of activities, Apsara

National Authority has changed the

picture and permitted the gradual

transfer of skills to Cambodian

professionals, keeping active at the

same time the field operations of

the international cooperation. With

its almost 3,000 employees, it is the

first employer of the region. It plays

a crucial role in the management of

Angkor, World Heritage Site, under

the guidance of the Ministry of

Culture and Fine Arts.

To commemorate the 25th anniversary

of the inscription of Angkor

on the World Heritage List, we give

you for the first time a complete

overview of the 44 temples of Angkor

that are accessible to visitors, a

special message from H.E. Sok

Sangvar, Deputy Director General

of APSARA National Authority

and Deputy General of Tourism

Management Plan Group, in charge

of the development of Angkor and a

summary of the incredible work that

has contributed to the magnificence

of Angkor.

Please enjoy.

WELCOME TO ANGKOR

136 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 137


ANGKOR MAP

REGIONAL

MAP OF

ANGKOR

Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 139


Angkor Temples

Ta Prohm Kel

South and West

6

Ring Road

6

3

7

5

ANGKOR

THOM

1

Street 30

Charles De Gaulle

Ring Road

4

2

Apsara Rd

SIEM REAP CITY

Street 60

67

67

6

9

10

11

12

Quietly nestled opposite the north western section

of Angkor Wat, Ta Prom Kel is often overlooked.

However, it is one of just a few remaining hospital

chapel ruins from the time, one more is near Ta

Keo. It is an interesting site with remnants laid

out in their original positions and the chapel itself

has false doors on either side. The devatas are

well preserved, though the temple itself is in a

precarious state.

It was one of the chapels added to 102

hospitals that were built under the reign of King

Jayavarman VII. With its now collapsed tower, this

small sandstone sanctuary stands at the south

of the Angkor Thom city. Besides sculptures of

Lokeshvara and Buddhas, the sanctuary displays

many charming rural scenes carved on the left

and right sides of the doorway.

To get to Ta Prom Kel, turn right when you exit

Angkor Wat (from the front) then cross the road

and you will find it on the left, before the moat of

Angkor Wat reaches the corner.

TA PROHM KEL

63

SIEM REAP

PROVINCE

6

SIEM REAP

TONLE SAP

LAKE TONLE

SAP

LAKE

PHNOM KULEN

NATIONAL PARK

6

64

8

1 - TA PROHM KEL ..........................................................................1

2 - ANGKOR WAT.............................................................................2

3 - PRASAT BEI .................................................................................3

4 - BAKSEI CHAMKRONG ............................................................4

5 - PHNOM BAKHENG ..................................................................5

6 - WEST MEBON ............................................................................5

7 - WAT ATHVEAR ...........................................................................5

8 - PHNOM KROM ..........................................................................5

9 - LOLEI .............................................................................................5

10 - PREAH KO .................................................................................5

11 - BAKONG ....................................................................................5

12 - PRASAT PREI MONTI ............................................................5

DATE: End of the 12th century

REIGN: Jayavarman VII STYLE: Bayon

RELIGION: Buddhist

OPENING HOURS: 7:30 am to 5:30 pm

TOUR: 15 minutes

ANGKOR IS A SACRED SITE. RESPECT ALL TEMPLES BY BEING CONSIDERATE OF

WORSHIPERS AND MONKS, WEARING APPROPRIATE CLOTHING, NOT TOUCHING

OR CLIMBING, NOT LITTERING AND NOT GIVING MONEY TO CHILDREN.

© APSARA

150 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 151


Angkor Wat

Did you go to Angkor Wat yet? This is

the question you will be asked, or if

you need someone to take you there.

Angkor Wat is the primary reason that

two million people visit Siem Reap

every year.

Now you can decide how you wish to

experience this 12th century temple

and its awe-inspiring architecture

and design. The 5 tiers of Angkor Wat

represented the different access that

novices and monks had. The higher

into the temple you were permitted to

go, the closer to the gods you were. It

was built as a Hindu temple to worship

Vishnu, the preserver, of the trilogy

of Hindu gods you will see honored

throughout the temples of Angkor.

The most serene time of day to visit

Angkor Wat is, without a doubt, at

sunrise. Get your ticket the day before

so that you can save time in the

morning. The grounds of Angkor Wat

are vast and, if you choose your path

carefully, you can have a sense that

you’re on your own to contemplate its

beauty and times long past. Or, you

can just breathe in the freshness of

the day before mingling with the crowd

to explore the different levels of this

ancient wonder.

The crowds ease off around lunch time,

so if you can bear the heat of midday

then this may be a good time to visit.

Sunset is also an enjoyable time to

visit with the crickets chirping and the

warmth of the day settling in for dusk.

Built between 1113 and 1150 by

Suryavarman II as his state temple

and capital city, Angkor Wat is, with its

200 hectares area, one of the largest

religious monuments ever constructed.

Its name means ”City which became

a Pagoda”. The most celebrated of all

Cambodia´s monuments is considered

to be the symbol of the nation and its

silhouette appears in the national flag.

This pinnacle of classical fine art was

originally dedicated to the god Vishnu.

In the 16th century, it started to become

a significant pilgrimage site for both

domestic and international adherents

of Buddhism.

Angkor Wat combines two

basic plans of Khmer temple

architecture: the temple mountain

and the later galleried temple. It

is designed to represent Mount

Meru, home of the devas in Hindu

mythology. Within a moat and an

outer wall 3.6 kilometers long

are three rectangular galleries,

each raised above the next. At

the center of the temple stands a

quincunx of towers.

Unlike most Angkorian temples

oriented to the east, Angkor Wat

is oriented to the west. Scholars

are divided as to the significance

of this.

The temple is admired for the

grandeur and harmony of its

architecture, extensive bas-reliefs

and in particular the Churning

of the Ocean of Milk, and for the

numerous devatas adorning its

walls. (See folk tales pages for

more on this story).

© APSARA

ANGKOR WAT

© APSARA

DATE: 1st half of the 12th century

REIGN: Suryavarman II

STYLE: Angkor Wat

RELIGION: Hindu

OPENING HOURS:

5:00 am to 5:30 pm,

7:40 am to 5:00 pm for Bakan.

TOUR: 3 hours

RESTRICTIONS:

For safety reasons, access to the Bakan (central tower of Angkor Wat) is not

allowed to children under 12 years old and to pregnant women. Access to the

Bakan is limited to 100 people at a time for safety reasons and for ensuring

the temple is taken care of. Bakan is a holy place, so check open days before

planning your visit. Respect the proper dress by covering knees and shoulders

and no hats are allowed when visiting.

ANGKOR IS A SACRED SITE. RESPECT ALL TEMPLES BY BEING CONSIDERATE OF

WORSHIPERS AND MONKS, WEARING APPROPRIATE CLOTHING, NOT TOUCHING OR

CLIMBING, NOT LITTERING AND NOT GIVING MONEY TO CHILDREN.

152 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 153


Baksei

Chamkrong

Located in between Phnom Bakheng and the south

gate to Angkor Thom, it’s easy to go straight past

Baksei Chamkrong, but don’t. It’s set only a small

way back from the road and the entrance still has

one remaining lion on guard. The causeway is no

longer intact.

This impressive pyramid temple is gorgeous in the

late afternoon as the setting sun glows brilliantly like

gold on its steep structure. It’s 12 meters high and

the base a mere 28 meters wide, meaning the steps

are extremely steep. It’s quite like climbing a ladder.

The false door on the western side is beautiful in its

detail and the lintels are impressive, featuring the

God, Indra, standing on his three-headed elephant,

Airavata.

This small Hindu temple is dedicated to Shiva and

said to have held a golden image of him. It was

dedicated to the memory of the late King Yasovarman

by his son, King Harshavarman I, and later restored

by Rajendravarman II (944-968). It is one of the first

temples constructed of durable material such as

bricks and laterite and with decoration in sandstone.

Much of the stucco on the surface of the temple has

vanished.

There is an inscription on either side of the small

doorway. It gives, which is rare, the date and hour of

dedication: at 9.40 in the morning on Wednesday 23

February 948.

The view from the top is lovely, peaceful and is a nice

place for sunset. However, it is extremely steep and

without much room at the top — be careful.

Phnom

Bakheng

Phnom Bakheng is a short

distance from Angkor Wat and is

a worthy inclusion on your tour

for the great view it offers over

Angkor Wat, Baksei Chamkrong

and the surrounding areas.

It gives a wonderfully grand

perspective of the Angkor

Archeological Complex. It’s an

easy uphill walk, though a little

slippery in places, and a popular

spot to watch the sunset.

Phnom Bakheng is dedicated

to the Hindu god, Shiva. Shiva

is the destroyer of evil and also

known as the transformer.

This temple is popular for locals

to visit where they bring small

offerings, light incense and say

a prayer. They will take their

shoes off at the main shrine at

the top. Please be considerate

of those using the temple for

prayers.

If you’re planning to go for

sunset, it is important to get

there early. There are only

limited people allowed on

the top of the temple in order

to ensure its preservation.

There are also some viewing

DATE: 10th century

REIGN: Yasovarman I

STYLE: Bakheng

RELIGION: Hindu

OPENING HOURS: 7:30 am to 5:30 pm

TOUR: 1 hour

platforms. Given the popularity

of this site, you may also wish to

consider other places to enjoy

the magical sunset over Angkor,

such as Phnom Krom or Phnom

Bok.

This is the state temple of the

first city in the core of Angkor

— named Yasodharapura —

Phnom Bakheng was dedicated

around 907. Its hilltop location

overlooks the Angkor site with

views over Angkor Wat and the

West Baray.

Its builders erected 44

sanctuaries at ground level,

60 small sanctuaries on

the pyramid steps and 5

sanctuaries at the top, the total

number being in accordance

with the symbolism of the Hindu

mythology.

Take a moment to look at the

main stair entrance which is

now barricaded, this grand,

steep staircase was the original

way to ascend to the temple

above.

You will see the extensive

restoration work that is underway.

Due to the flow of water

and pooling, significant damage

occurred to the corners of the

structure, which poses a risk to

the rest of the temple. Luckily

the central staircases act as a

fortification and the temple is

able to be saved from ruin.

Prasat

Bei

Constructed in the 10th century

during the Reign of Yasovarman

I, Prasat Bei means “The Three

Towers”. It is a set of three small

brick towers aligned south on a

common laterite base. The towers

are dedicated to the Hindu trinity

Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma.

You can access Prasat Bei from the

northern exit of Phnom Bakheng

or from the main road, turning left

after Baksei Chamkrong temple.

You will pass Thma Bay Kaek

along the way. It’s a small temple

that is thought to be the last of

what would have been numerous

of its type that surrounded Phnom

Bakheng back in the 10th century.

DATE: 10th century

REIGN: Yasovarman I

STYLE: Bakheng

RELIGION: Hindu

OPENING HOURS: 7:30 am to 5:30 pm

TOUR: 15 minutes

© APSARA

PHNOM BAKHENG

DATE: Beginning of the 10th century

REIGN: Harshavarman I

OPENING HOURS: 7:30 am to 5:30 pm

TOUR: 30 minutes

STYLE: Bakheng

RELIGION: Hindu

© APSARA

WARNING: For safety reasons, access to the hills is not allowed to children

under 12 years old and to pregnant women. There is a maximum capacity of

300 people for preservation reasons and safety, this is especially relevant

around sunset as this is a very popular viewing place. Some parts of the trail

are steep and slippery, make sure you are confident to climb up and back and

that you wear sturdy shoes.

© APSARA

154 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 155


People of Angkor

The living cultural heritage of

Angkor is as significant as its

archaeological sites.

During the height of the Angkorian Empire, it is believed

that 750,000 to 1,000,000 people were living in Angkor.

For its time it was a vibrant and bustling metropolis,

today it’s still home to thousands of people who live

within the Angkor zone.

Angkor’s people are known to be conservative with

respect to ancestral traditions, and a great number of

cultural practices that have disappeared elsewhere

continue to be observed in its villages, making it a

unique part of Angkor and Cambodia’s rich historical

legacy.

There are three distinct village communities in the

Angkor region; an area of several thousand square

kilometers stretching from the Tonle Sap to the Kulen

foothills.

The geographical and environmental characteristics of

their location is reflected in their behaviour, vocation

and cultural norms.

One group consists of traditional subsistence rice

farmers living in small family groups or villages

scattered throughout the Angkor plain, and in

particular those within the Angkor Park. These farming

communities depend on one crop a year of rain-fed

paddy rice. In addition to the paddy, many families

also grow cucumbers, occasionally corn, and other

vegetables.

The second group contains the inhabitants living along

the Puok, Siem Reap and Roluos rivers down to and

including the shore and floodplains of the Tonle Sap

Lake. These people live in concentrated clusters and

have a mixed economy characterized by self-sufficiency

in rice and fish supplemented by seasonal market

produce.

The third community group consists of the “floating

villages” on the Tonle Sap whose inhabitants are

specialized in fishing activities, supplying their own

subsistence needs and selling their surplus catch in

order to purchase other essential foodstuffs and tools.

Settlements existed during the Angkor

period in many of the same locations

where present-day villages are

found, indicating that these human

establishments date back at least

several centuries. The two pagodas

inside the enclosure of Angkor Wat, as

well as those at other Angkorian period

temples such as the Bakong or Lolei,

are undoubtedly also very old: having

a nearby temple is a vital element of

villagers’ lives.

While Angkor’s most visited temples

such as Angkor Wat and the Bayon

continue to be major religious

pilgrimage destinations of national

and international renown, other lesser

sites harbor smaller-scale local cults.

Buddha images are often placed in

ancient sanctuaries, temple remains

are invariably inhabited by local

protective spirits (“neak ta”) to which

villagers make offerings on a regular

basis. Various rituals are performed

at ancient sites, playing an important

role in individual or communal

healing processes and acknowledging

significant dates. In this way, Angkor

remains very much alive.

Between the ninth and fifteenth

centuries, Angkor was capital of the

Khmer empire. Some scholars believed

that the population ranged up to about

one million. The settlement occupation

was scattered in patches throughout

the urban area, far beyond the central

enclosures and temples. During the

Angkor era, people lived along canals

and surrounding temples sites. Most

of the houses were built in timber with

roofs covered by ceramics tiles or

thatched roofs, and raised on stilts, as

they still are today.

The early form of religion in Cambodia

was the belief in Animism or spiritual

forces which are still worshipped in

modern times. Spirits are believed to

live in the trees, rivers, mountains, stone

and earth. Hinduism and Buddhism

came to Cambodia from India and

became the main themes of Khmer art.

During the Angkor period, even though

Hinduism and Buddhism, as favored

PEOPLE OF ANGKOR

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Angkor Temples

East and North

Banteay Prei

On a small side road is Banteay Prei (and Prasat

Prei), this desolate little temple is one for the

explorers and adventurers.

21

66

Phnom Kulen

National Park

The entrance gate is impassable, though the

devatas are still clearly formed and quite

beautiful. You can see how the designers carved

over separate stones to make them as those

stones have now separated in areas over time.

The remnants of the nagas that lined the terrace

are scattered around the area. Inside there is a

lintel on the ground featuring a row of praying

Buddhas/Rishis.

2

1

5

3 4

7

6

8 17

ANGKOR 14

THOM

10 16 15

9

11 13

12

ANGKOR WAT

SIEM REAP

PROVINCE

6

SIEM REAP

67

TONLE SAP

LAKE TONLE

SAP

LAKE

67

18

PHNOM KULEN

NATIONAL PARK

66

64

6

19

66

20

1 - PRASAT PREI ..............................................................................2

2 - BANTEAY PREI ...........................................................................3

3 - PREAH KHAN..............................................................................4

4 - NEAK PEAN ................................................................................5

5 - KROL KO ......................................................................................5

6 - TA SOM ........................................................................................5

7 - THOMMANON ..........................................................................5

8 - CHAU SAY TEVODA .................................................................5

9 - TA KEO ..........................................................................................5

10 - TA NEI .........................................................................................5

11 - TA PROHM ................................................................................5

12 - PRASAT KRAVAN ....................................................................1

13 - PRASAT BAT CHUM................................................................2

14 - BANTEAY KDEI .......................................................................3

15 - PRE RUP ....................................................................................4

16 - SRAS SRANG ...........................................................................5

17 - EAST MEBON ..........................................................................5

18 - BANTEAY SAMRE ...................................................................5

19 - PHNOM BOK ...........................................................................5

20 - CHAU SREI VIBOL ..................................................................5

21 - BANTEAY SREI..........................................................................5

22 - BENG MEALEA ........................................................................5

64

22

Prasat Prei

You’ll arrive first at Prasat Prei (then go to

Banteay Prei). Prasat Prei means ‘the forest

sanctuary’. This very small temple site has a

crumbled gate made from laterite and the temple

building, much more together, from stone. Walk

to the back for the traditional eastern entrance,

then look to the ground for the main lintel which

is now resting gently nearby, it features praying

figures and little else decipherable from the

wearing of time.

Look up high for the figure of a lady and there is

also another small building of laterite.

The carvings that remain are interesting and in

many cases in good condition, though look to the

ground for pediments that are no longer in their

place.

It is situated to the north of Preah Khan Temple

and the Northern Baray. The structure of this

temple built under Jayavarman VII is slightly

different from many others of the same period. It

is built on an axis towards the north-east, owing

to the topography of the site.

DATE: End of the 12th century

REIGN: Jayavarman VII

RELIGION: Buddhist

OPENING HOURS: 7:30 am to 5:30 pm

TOUR: About 15 minutes

STYLE: Bayon

The next gate to the second enclosure is also

blocked in the middle, however you can enter via

the left side window/door. The entire temple is

small, doorways and devatas are quaint, further

inside are even smaller devatas.

The central sanctuary is still in one piece, though

you can’t go inside. The rest of the site is strewn

with the remains of the other buildings, most

likely at least one library, that would have filled

the site. The two large trees are a striking feature,

though the tallest one has now been lopped, so no

longer has any branches.

Situated to the north of Preah Khan Temple,

Banteay Prei is a small and peaceful temple built

under Jayavarman VII. Medallions and devatas

make this temple interesting.

DATE: End of the 12th century

REIGN: Jayavarman VII

RELIGION: Buddhist

OPENING HOURS: 7:30 am to 5:30 pm

TOUR: About 15 minutes

STYLE: Bayon

© APSARA

PRASAT PREI

© APSARA

170 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 171


Preah

Khan

According to scholars, almost

100,000 people populated the

bustling city and university of

Preah Khan, including around

1,000 dancers and another

1,000 teachers. Its original name

was Nagara Jayasri (holy city

of victory), named in honor of

Jayavarman VII’s victory over the

Chams in 1191.

The outer wall depicts intricate

carvings of garuda’s holding nagas,

and the entrance gates all feature

elaborate balustrades of demons

and gods holding a snake (similar

to what you see at the entrances to

Angkor Thom). The main entrance

is to the east so it’s best to start

your visit there. If you get dropped

off on the west there is a trail that

goes around the outside of the

temple which is a nice peaceful

stroll with forest all around.

This is a temple to take your

time. You can enjoy getting lost

or find the order in this complex

and interesting temple. There is a

gopura (gateway) at each cardinal

point (N, S, E, W). When you enter

from the east gopura, you will go

through the Hall of Dancers, and

through to the central sanctuary

which has a large stupa in the

very center. This is a useful

reference point for exploring this

temple. There are dozens of small

sanctuaries neatly slotted into

the courtyard spaces. Many of

which were used for meditation

purposes.

To the north there is the Shiva

Temple and another two-story

building. You can walk via the

central stupa or approach from

the Hall of Dancers by exiting the

hall and going through a small

doorway in the wall that separates

the hall from these two buildings.

To the south is the South Temple

and an unnamed structure. Through

the south gopura is a good example

of the carvings of Rama riding a

chariot, which is featured in each

lintel in the gopuras. It is also

guarded by two headless statues,

which are called Dvarapalas, that

protect the temple.

In the west is the Vishnu temple

and the exit point via the western

gopura.

Some of the best carvings in all

of Angkor are at Preah Khan and

the interesting part of visiting

this site is to explore and locate

some of these carvings featured

predominantly on the lintels around

the site. Remember to look up!

In many places you can see holes

in the walls. According to scholars,

these were likely from mounting

decorated panels that would have

been present at the time of its use,

made from soft stone or copper.

There are also many yonis, though

most of the lingas that would have

made the set are no longer there.

The linga is synonymous with the

worship of Shiva, the Hindu god of

transformation. The yoni and linga

symbols are also representative of

fertility.

In the late 12th century (the

main divinity of the temple

was dedicated in 1191), Preah

Khan (or “Sacred Sword”) was

a considerable city as well as

a Buddhist university. Today, it

is a temple that invites visitors

to meander slowly through and

admire the architecture, decoration,

the famous Hall of Dancers and, of

course, the giant “fromagers” (the

term given by the French architects

to describe the spung trees).

PREAH KHAN

DATE: End of 12th century REIGN: Jayavarman VII

STYLE: Bayon

RELIGION: Buddhist

OPENING HOURS: 7:30 am to 5:30 pm

TOUR: 1.5 to 2 hours

ANGKOR IS A SACRED SITE. RESPECT ALL TEMPLES BY BEING

CONSIDERATE OF WORSHIPERS AND MONKS, WEARING

APPROPRIATE CLOTHING, NOT TOUCHING OR CLIMBING, NOT

LITTERING AND NOT GIVING MONEY TO CHILDREN.

172 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 173

© APSARA


Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm is among the most

popular temples to visit and it’s

because of its unique appearance.

Often referred to as the Jungle

Temple, it is somewhat engulfed

by trees that make it a wonder to

visit. Its attraction is also due to its

association with Angelina Jolie’s

Tomb Raider film from 2001.

However, its popularity goes well

beyond the movie.

The entry to Ta Prohm is a long

dirt path from the main entrance

gate used, through to the central

temple area. The temple has

been recently restored and there

are platforms and walkways

established to make it easy to

walk around and also protect the

temple.

Visit early in the day for the serene

morning quiet, before the majority

of other travelers arrive. It’s also

quite charming to visit in the rain.

Again, this will give you a chance

to explore without big crowds.

If you’re visiting in the early

morning, the best way to enter

is from the east. When you enter

from the eastern gate you will see

four large panels with Buddhist

scenes of Thorani, Mara, Buddha

and Lokeshvara and the Hall of

Dancers, which is currently under

renovation.

In the north-eastern section,

spung trees dominate and

panels tell tales of Buddha being

worshiped by the King of the

Nagas and Garuda.

In the center, devatas and tree

roots vie for your attention, both

intricate and beautiful. In places

there are holes in the walls,

indicating they were previously

covered in bronze panels or

stucco.

Ta Prohm has had several

evolutions, from its original state

to its current state. Connections

were made between sanctuaries

on the western side, decorations

removed, upgrades or additional

carvings added at periods where

the religious dedication veered.

Some original carvings remain,

and some were superseded.

There is also evidence of the

Hindu Reaction, when many

Buddha carvings and statues were

defaced or destroyed.

Its original name was Rajavihara,

the royal monastery. Between the

4th enclosure and the moat there

are 93 monk cells and originally

there was probably one more.

There is a laterite wall separating

the monk quarters from the

temple.

Spung trees (dubbed “fromagers”

by the French owing to their

enormous roots that brought to

mind an oozing camembert) have

invaded this temple, which was

erected in the late 12th century

under Jayavarman VII (dedicated

in 1186). Initially kept more or less

in the state it was when it was

discovered by explorers in the 19th

century, to maintain a romantic

vision of ruins and especially due

to the spectacular trees. But, in

order to avoid damages to the

monument and to ensure safety

for a huge amount of visitors,

consolidation and restoration

works were performed. The

pathway is designed to help avoid

congestion, so keep to the paths

and follow the signs to get the

most out of your visit.

TA PROHM

DATE: 12th century

REIGN: Jayavarman VII

STYLE: Bayon

RELIGION: Buddhist

OPENING HOURS: 7:30 am to 5:30 pm

TOUR: 1 to 1.5 hours

ANGKOR IS A SACRED SITE. RESPECT ALL TEMPLES BY BEING

CONSIDERATE OF WORSHIPERS AND MONKS, WEARING APPROPRIATE

CLOTHING, NOT TOUCHING OR CLIMBING, NOT LITTERING AND NOT

GIVING MONEY TO CHILDREN.

© APSARA

180 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 181


Angkor

Cultural

Activites

Hidden treasures

outside the temples

are yours to discover

around Angkor. Here

are a few favorites

to start your

adventure...

ACCB - Angkor Centre for the Conservation of Biodiversity

The biodiversity of Angkor is unique, take a closer look at some of

the rare and endangered animals living at ACCB to help preserve

the amazing nature. A variety of mammals, reptiles and birds get

the safety and benefit of a stay at ACCB, depending on the time of

day you visit and which animals are under care will determine what

you will see when you’re there.

Bambu Stage

Discover the culture of Angkor

and Cambodia through 3

fascinating performances at

Bambu Stage. Step back in

time through photographs

carefully curated from 150

years of archives, discover

how Hinduism made its way

to Cambodia and its influence

over the temple designs in

Angkor or enjoy a modern take

on the traditional Cambodian

shadow puppets that feature

folk tales and artistic

expression.

Bookings:

tickets@bambustage.com

+855 (0) 977 26 1110

ACTIVITIES INSIDE ANGKOR

More information:

info@accb-cambodia.org / +855 (0) 99 60 40 17

Cambodia Landmine Museum was founded by ex-child soldier

Aki Ra in 1997 as a way to tell the world about the horrors

landmines had inflicted on his native Cambodia. He uses the

proceeds to clear landmines which are estimated to still be

numbered in the millions around Cambodia. He made his own

tools and diffused bombs and landmines then began by charging

tourists just $1 to see them.

Today the project has grown and the museum includes an

impressive collection of diffused landmines and other cultural

artifacts. The museum tells Aki Ra’s story and the recent history

of Cambodia, and it is also home to over two dozen people who

through various circumstances relating to health and family

situation now live in the CLM Relief Centre. They are cared for,

housed, fed, educated and given a future they would otherwise

never have had.

They are also connected with a school development project called

RSVP, providing infrastructure and teachers to rural schools and

recently have begun a farm on site of the relief centre.

More information:

bill@landmine-relief-fund.com / +855 (0) 15 674 163

Apsara Dance

The most authentic experience

of Apsara dance is by far with

the Sacred Dancers of Angkor.

Their training and performance

spaces include the Divine Sala

theater in Siem Reap and

the Conservatory in Banteay

Srei district, though they do

perform outside as well. Their

focus is on spirituality and

the complete authenticity of

the dances from history. This

is truly the preservation of

cultural, intangible heritage

which is presented in its purest

form; to share art and culture

above all else.

Bookings:

contact@sacreddancers.com

+855 (0) 63 964 412

Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre connects responsible tourism

with environmental conservation. Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre

works as a sustainable butterfly farm, providing training for locals.

Some of the farmed butterflies are meant for the centre’s own

gardens, while others are meant for sale and export. You can visit

the butterfly centre to enjoy and learn about native butterflies in

Cambodia.

More information:

mail@angkorbutterfly.com / +855 (0) 978 527 852

190 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 191


Pagodas

There are approximately over 4,000 wats across Cambodia and often

the adoption of the word pagoda is used to describe them. In Phnom

Penh, the most popular pagoda is the Silver Pagoda, which is located

on the south side within the Royal Palace grounds.

Buddhism is a very visible part of daily life in Cambodia and visiting

wats is an important part of family life; to acknowledge significant

dates, make wishes for the future, take blessings from the monks and

make offerings to ancestors.

Wat Thmei

Along one of the roads leading from Siem

Reap to Angkor Wat, Wat Thmei is renowned

as Siem Reap’s Killing Fields from the Pol

Pot era in Cambodia. This pagoda is worth

visiting if you’re interested in war history

and won’t make it to the popular Choeung

Ek Killing Fields site near Phnom Penh. It

may seem morbid to visit such sights, but it’s

also important that we remember history

and appreciate the profound impact this

particular period has on Cambodian people.

Visiting a pagoda in Cambodia can be a very spiritually and culturally

uplifting activity. Make sure to acknowledge that these are functioning

pagodas, not tourist attractions, and the tasks and obligations of the

monks are of the utmost importance. Be respectful by wearing modest

clothing, make sure you’re covered from shoulders to knees – no tank

tops, cleavage or hot pants! Kneel down with your feet facing away

from monks and nuns as a sign of respect. Always remove hats and

shoes before entering the temple.

Within Angkor there are numerous pagodas for the local population,

often “invisible” to visitors to the historic temple sites. For example,

there are seven strategically placed pagodas focused on the Bayon

temple site and another two at Angkor Wat. They are havens for

monks and nuns and for locals that go there for important rituals and

blessings.

PAGODAS

A few pagodas you might see or even visit around Siem Reap include:

Wat Damnak

The biggest pagoda in Siem

Reap, Wat Damnak means

palace, which it also was

during the reign of King

Sisowath (1904-1927). Many

Buddhist Monks live in this

pagoda. It is a well-known

landmark on the eastern side

of the Siem Reap River, close

to the roundabout and behind

the Siem Reap Art Center

Market. It is also home to

various organizations and the

Centre for Khmer Studies,

housing a vast library of

Khmer history and reference

books.

Wat Bo

Wat Bo is very close to downtown Siem Reap

and a beautiful wat to visit. Find serenity and

experience some exceptionally descriptive wall

paintings of daily life from the 18th century. It

is one of Siem Reap’s oldest pagodas and worth

a visit, the monks are very receptive to visitors,

though be understanding if visiting during prayer

or meal times. Wat Bo is a lively wat open and

encompassing the community, at certain times it is

filled with activity.

Wat Preah Prom Rath

Wat Preah Aun Ko Sai (Enkosei)

A little way up the river, out of Siem Reap

center (toward Road 60) is Wat Aun Ko Sai.

Built in the second half of the 10th century,

its monastery is the oldest on record for

Siem Reap. Featuring the Hindu myth of

the Churning of the Ocean of Milk which

also features in many Angkor temples, it is

located on the southern side of Wat Preah

Aun Ko Sai. You can read the tale in the next

pages. The wat has evolved over time with

new buildings being added over the years,

some modifications, as recent as 1988,

include paintings on the inner walls of the

vihara. There is also an artistic portrayal of

the dream of Maya, the mother of Buddha.

This historical wat is a pleasant visit within

easy reach of the town.

Wat Preah Prom Rath

is one of most beautiful and visible pagodas in

Siem Reap. It is located on the river side near the

Old Market (Psar Chas) and its bold orange and

gold walls are very noticeable. The monastery has

many fine, colourful wall paintings and you will

find many modern statues inside. Often, you will

see monks in the early morning or late afternoon.

They follow Buddhist courses and English classes

in this pagoda. The temple is said to be the oldest

and reveres a story around a ship, of which there is

a replica inside and a reclining Buddha statue.

194 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia

Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 195


Things To Do

THINGS TO DO

Kingdom’s Capital...........5

Eco-Tourism.................. 10

Ancient History............. 15

Arts and Culture.......... 20

Nightlife.......................... 25

Indulgence..................... 30

Sport and Recreation.. 35

Sun and Sand................40

“Traveling –

it leaves you

speechless, then

turns you into a

storyteller.”

~ Ibn Battuta

212 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia


Eco-Tourism

Cambodia has several eco-tourism sites across the

region. The unspoiled virgin jungles and wildlife

such as the rare Irrawaddy dolphins, elephants

and endangered bird species, make it a mecca for

birdwatchers and animal lovers. Trek through remote

Mondulkiri, renowned for elephant sanctuaries and the

chance to observe some of the precious elephants of

the region. It’s possible to stay a night in a traditional

village to experience true rural life. Hiking, rock

climbing and mountain bike tours also exist. Areas like

Virachey National Park in the far north remain virtually

unexplored, and the beautiful Cardamom mountains

shelter one of the largest tracts of rainforest in the

region.

Eco-friendly hotels have sprung up to meet the demand

of modern tourists to care for and protect the precious

resources Cambodia offers. Many eco-tourism projects

give local villagers a way to earn a living without

depleting the natural wonders around them, so travelers

can help a community and the planet at the same time

while reveling in delights unique to Cambodia.

“It wasn’t just the beauty of seeing these magnificent animals in their

natural habitat that moved me. It was the passion with which the

park rangers and guides spoke of preserving this incredible gift for

generations to come, and the way locals spoke of eco-tourism as

their hope for a better and brighter economic future.”... Green Global Travel

Koh Kong Mangroves

Cambodia’s coast has several pockets of mangrove swamps which nurture

thriving ecosystems within the twisted masses of their roots and leafy

canopies. Koh Kong is home to one of the richest of these pockets, and you

can explore the maze of small channels by boat, seeking out unique bird and

animal life abundant under this cool, shaded sanctuary. Stretching up to

700,000 hectares, Koh Kong’s mangroves offer the opportunity for literally

days of exploration.

Cardamom Mountains

Yak Loam Lake

This volcanic crater lake appears

like an oasis out of the forest,

just a short ride from Ratanakiri’s

capital Banlung. A sacred place

for local hilltribe people, its depth

gives the quiet waters the intense

color of onyx. Shaded by trees,

it is a very popular local picnic

spot, and the remains of one of

King Father Norodom Sihanouk’s

holiday villas can be seen on its

shores.

A small museum nearby is worth

a visit to better understand the

cultures of the many hilltribes

which call the surrounding areas

home. It’s a pleasant walk around

the perimeter of the lake.

Waterfalls

ECO-TOURISM

Floating Villages

At the mouth of Siem Reap’s port is the country’s most famous floating village

of Chong Kneas. Here an entire community lives on floating homes, running

shops, businesses, restaurants and bars. There is even a floating school. These

people are mostly fisherfolk and rely heavily on the Tonle Sap Lake for their

livelihoods. Boats are available to tour this impressive community, and several

fish farms double as restaurants. Birding tours also visit areas of this unique

ecosystem to see some of the most unique native birds of the country. Sunset

tours are a relaxing way to end the day as things quiet down for the evening.

During or after rainy season is the best time to visit when the Tonle Sap Lake

is at its fullest (up to five times the size in dry season). It’s magnificent size

resembles an inland ocean.

Kirirom National Park

Just over 100 kilometers from

Phnom Penh, on a 700-meter

high mountain, sprawls the

magnificent Kirirom National

Park. Pine trees and orchids are

hallmarks of the forest here,

and its rich birdlife attracts

birdwatchers from around the

globe.

Cambodians flock to its cool

waterfalls and streams on

weekends to picnic, or even

to stay overnight at the resort

accommodation nearby. The

name translates as ‘comfortable

mountain’, and the place was

always a favorite of King Father

Norodom Sihanouk, who once

kept a holiday villa there, the ruins

of which can still be seen.

Mondulkiri Elephants

Exotic Mondulkiri province is home

to many elephant sanctuaries. After

centuries of being used by local

hilltribes, then impacted by tourism,

there is finally peace and a haven for

local elephant populations to roam

free. Elephants (domrai in Khmer)

are the largest land mammals on the

planet and, within these sanctuaries,

it is possible to have an up close

experience without impacting negatively

on their lives.

Irrawaddy Dolphins

This vast area of jungle is an ecotourist’s

paradise, with elephants,

deer, monkeys and gibbons being

just a few of the species known

to inhabit its pristine wilderness.

Scientists are regularly discovering

new species in the rainforests

of this region, which, until very

recently, was relatively unexplored

and remains unpopulated.

Rolling across several provinces,

the heart of this unique sanctuary

is best reached from Koh Kong,

near the Thai border, where guides

can help you plan hiking trips. With

waterfalls and rivers abounding,

there are ample opportunities for

swimming.

Kratie province in the dry season is the best place to view these amazing

creatures. The stretch of the Mekong River near the town offers deep holes

that the dolphins love to play in and a viewing platform has been set up for

people to get a close-up view of this endangered species as they go about

their everyday lives. Boats are also available. Snub-nosed, docile animals, the

Irrawaddy dolphin has a unique charm and visitors to its peaceful home in the

pristine wilderness of Kratie’s Mekong rarely fail to be enchanted.

Cambodia is rich in waterfalls

and it is rare for a province to

lack a favorite. They provide an

excellent opportunity to meet

the locals, who flock to them to

cool off during Cambodia’s hot

summers. From the magnificent

three-stage Bou Sra waterfall in

Mondulkiri to the rapids of Teuk

Chhu just outside of Kampot

town, most of these remain

virtually undeveloped but for a

few picnic stands, where vendors

will ply visitors with local fruits,

barbecued meats and traditional

sweets.

216 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 217


Arts & Culture

When you visit

Cambodia, get

a feel for its

ancient arts and

traditions.

Art galleries, showcasing both

traditional and more avant-garde

paintings and sculptures by exciting

young artists, have sprung up all over

Cambodia. Several cafes, restaurants

and other venues regularly hold

exhibitions.

The Royal University of Fine Arts

has several campuses scattered

across the capital, teaching, amongst

other things, the complex art of

traditional dance. Many organizations

are working to protect and preserve

music, film and other vestiges from

the golden years of the 1960s. Places

such as Wat Ounalom in Phnom Penh

have salvaged ancient pali scripts

written on leaves and painstakingly

preserved them.

Concerts and music festivals are held

regularly at various venues around the

country, including a nightly cultural

music and dance performance at the

National Museum.

Cambodian Living Arts supports the

revival of traditional Khmer performing

arts and inspires contemporary

artistic expression. CLA

supports arts education, mentorship,

networking opportunities, education,

career development, and incomegenerating

projects for master

performing artists who survived the

Khmer Rouge as well as the next

generation of student artists. They

work with the vision that by the year

2020, Cambodia will experience a

cultural renaissance so dynamic that

the arts will become the country’s

international signature.

Traditional Theatre

Art Galleries

© Bambu Stage

Ancient forms of Khmer colorful theatre can be seen at various venues

and restaurants, where the unparalleled Cambodian dance, Apsara, adds

a cultural touch to the meal. Sophaline Arts Ensemble is a dance troupe

which performs on occasion both at home and internationally. Amrita

Performing Arts blends traditional and contemporary dance forms.

The Sacred Dancers of Angkor are revered as the elite dance troupe to

experience traditional Apsara dance with in Siem Reap. Sovanna Phum Arts

Association performs traditional shadow puppet shows and Bambu Stage

also has traditional and contemporary shadow puppet performances.

There are galleries dotted

throughout the main towns in the

kingdom, offering everything from

the intricately carved hardwood

sculptures of Battambang to

unique modern pieces from private

galleries, both foreign and Khmerowned.

In the capital near the

National Museum, Street 178 is lined

with small local galleries where

you can purchase everything from

watercolors and oil paintings of

exotic Apsara dancers to renderings

of the Buddha and scenes from the

Ramayana. In Siem Reap, the main

galleries are located near the Old

Market and offer yet more variety.

Battambang is known as the center

of arts in Cambodia and Kampot also

nurtures their local artists.

Khmer Architecture

Cyclo Tours

There are few more authentic

and relaxing ways to take in

Cambodia’s marvelous modern

architecture from 1953 onwards

than by cyclo — a Cambodian

version of the pedal rickshaw

which itself transports visitors

back in time. Tours are held

regularly and guides are expertly

trained and speak English. The

tours take place around the

capital’s fine examples of French

colonial architecture, Khmer New

Architecture (designed by the

pioneer architect Vann Molyvann)

and traditional buildings.

Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus

Artisans Angkor

Artisans Angkor is a school-towork

transition for young craftsmen

and women that have been trained

through its other programs. The

skilled artisans are organized

into a self-sustaining handicraft

network. It employs 1,000 artists

who provide a range of high quality

products including stone sculpture,

wood carving and silk painting. By

purchasing a souvenir from Artisans

Angkor, you are helping young

Cambodians find work in their home

villages which can then be marketed

through the organization and helps

fund the training of other young

Khmers in the future.

Circus is an ancient Khmer craft, depicted on the walls of Bayon temple.

There are training centers and performances in Siem Reap, Battambang

and Phnom Penh. Techniques include acrobatics, juggling, fire dancing,

trapeze, contortionists, balancing and much more! The foremost organization

promoting both performances and training is Phare Ponleu Selpak, which

means “the brightness of the arts.”

© Paul Boomfield

Bophana Audiovisual

Resource Center

The Bophana Audiovisual Resource

Center is best known for

collecting and preserving the

images and sounds of Cambodia

and making them available to a

wide public, training Cambodians

in the audiovisual professions

by welcoming foreign film

productions and by its own artistic

projects. The center is named

after a young woman who became

a victim of the S-21 torture center.

Visitors can watch or listen to

archives at the center.

Concerts, Music, Movies

and More

Cambodia’s main centers have

a flourishing concert and music

scene, and there are regular film

and music festivals scattered

throughout the year which are

usually well publicized. Modern

cinemas have opened in Phnom

Penh and Siem Reap with VIP

seating a fraction of the cost in

other countries.

Live music performances can be

found every night of the week

at bars, clubs and galleries. The

Phnom Penh Players produce four

plays each year and a Pantomime

in November.

ARTS & CULTURE

220 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 221


Suave restaurants,

cabaret, traditional

dance performances

and pubs are plentiful

in Siem Reap and

Phnom Penh.

PUB STREET, SIEM REAP

Pub Street

Nightlife

In Phnom Penh, Street 172, is the hub of the capital’s nightlife for foreigners. A

string of bars of various sizes cater to everyone’s taste. There are even café de

wheels-style fast food trailers selling hotdogs, French fries, kebabs and other

street food. From quiet, small bars to the rowdy dance scene of the famous

Heart of Darkness on St. 51, every mood and need for late night fun is covered,

and several bars are open 24 hours a day, meaning the fun doesn’t need to

stop before sunrise. In Siem Reap, Pub Street near Psar Chas is where the fun

keeps going until the early hours of the morning. The dominant clubs here are

Temple Bar and Angkor Wat?, though many a night sees people dancing in the

street between the two as each venue tries to be louder than their competitor.

Slightly less frenetic are Alley West and The Alley, two small lanes either side

of Pub Street with boutique style bars and restaurants aplenty.

A multicultural hotchpotch of Aussie, English, German and French

bars, sports bars and late-night haunts where dance goes handin-hand

with a local or international brew, variety is the order of

the day here.

Cabaret has made a big impression on the night scene lately, and

flamboyant shows complete with feather boas and sequins might

be going on in one bar, while down the street diners are enjoying a

meal of Cambodian cuisine and a floorshow of traditional Khmer

dance.

Full moon parties on the beaches and, occasionally, other venues

such as the former French hill resort of Bokor, have developed a

cult following amongst young travelers and locals. Karaoke is also

a runaway hit with locals, who often team it with a barbecue meal

in one of the country’s cavernous beer gardens or KTVs.

Dining

Cambodia’s pride is its magnificent

seafood, often brought live from

the coast to restaurants around the

country, ensuring it is at its freshest.

The Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers

provide abundant feasts, while

the coast yields sweet crabs. The

French colonial influence can still

be seen in many of the country’s

top restaurants, but Thai, Chinese

and Vietnamese culture have

also left their marks. Cambodian

and international chefs make use

of the country’s abundant fresh

ingredients, including the best

pepper in the world.

PHOTO: FISH AMOK

Riverside District

The river is where most expatriates

choose to either wind

down or kick off their big night

out. Many people say a visit to the

capital is not complete without

enjoying a happy-hour cocktail at

the magnificent French colonial

building which is home to the FCC,

There’s also a range of smaller

bars on the street below, offering

everything from pizza to Mexican

food, and the drinks are cheap.

Set along the banks of the Tonle

Sap River, the river district offers

a beautiful view over beverages

and is the perfect place to sit and

watch life in the capital unfold

before your eyes.

Karaoke & Dancing

Karaoke is a national obsession

and, although most of the songs

are in Khmer, English is a popular

language and revelers are likely to

find locals more than willing to join

in with foreign hits, making for a

great night out and the perfect way

to find new friends. The country’s

burgeoning middle class also loves

to dance and several modern dance

venues have opened up in recent

years, so boogie the night away to

cutting edge Cambodian music and

English and French classics.

Full Moon Parties

For the young and young at heart, full

moon parties on a tropical beach are a

fun way to celebrate this lunar event.

The beautiful white sand beaches

of Sihanoukville, with their waters

glowing with fluorescent plankton,

provide the perfect setting to dance

and trance the night away. Some top

DJs have made the kingdom their

home, meaning the music competes

with anything on offer in the London

or New York club scene.

Happy Hour

Happy hour is an institution amongst

Cambodian expatriates. Sip a twofor-one

cocktail inspired by Jackie

Kennedy’s 1967 visit to the kingdom

at one of the Raffles hotels in French

colonial opulence, or gaze across the

Tonle Sap River from one of the many

rooftop bars. Backpacker areas such

as Pub Street in Siem Reap or Street

172 in the capital also offer rich

happy hour pickings with a Bohemian

setting. Some of the large hotels also

offer tantalizing happy hour specials

in the hope of luring customers into

staying for their sumptuous buffets.

Casinos

All along the borders and in the

heart of Phnom Penh, casinos

owned by various international

companies have sprung up,

trying to recreate the glamour

of Las Vegas. Casinos provide

the lifeblood of the Thai border

town Poipet, and some of its best

accommodation. Even remote

border towns such as O’Smach

offer luxury casinos, as does

Pailin, Bavet and the seaside

resort of Sihanoukville. Play some

blackjack or spin the roulette

wheel. There are tables for those

just seeking a few hours of fun or

the highest of high rollers.

Cabaret

Although it is an outwardly

conservative society, Cambodia

is also a very tolerant one, and

Cambodians love nothing better

than a good show. Several

nightspots now offer flamboyant

dinner shows, complete with

feather boas, sequins and some

good old-fashioned cabaret. For

those seeking a more Cambodian

flavor to their dinner shows,

check out one of the country’s

beer gardens, where diners are

treated to song and dance acts

by performers dressed in formal

Khmer gowns, often including

original numbers by the nation’s

own Elvis, Sin Sisamouth.

PHOTO CREDIT: ROSANA BROADWAY

NIGHTLIFE

222 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 223


The kingdom has

become a fresh

new frontier for

many fans of

adventure sports

– rock climbing,

extreme

mountain biking

and trekking to

name a few.

Sport & Recreation

As tourism has grown, so has the sheer variety of

activities. Golf fever has gripped the country with the

greatest force. The Prime Minister even lists his golf

scores on his website and all the prestige resorts

want the honor of having the greatest names in the

game design their new courses.

There are plenty of activities for the kids and some

international schools also offer school holiday

courses in things like horseback riding or water

sports which may be booked in advance to give the

adults time to relax and do their own thing while

the kids have their own fun. Tennis, miniature golf,

bumper cars, bowling, ice skating and roller skating

are all available in Cambodia.

Kayaking has become available in many areas to

visit flooded forests, mangroves, floating villages or

mountain rivers. They can also be rented to see the

endangered Irrawaddy dolphins in Kratie.

Rock Climbing

Cambodia’s jutting limestone

karsts dot the landscape, especially

in the provinces southward toward

the sea. The soaring cliffs make

ideal rock climbing conditions

for both experienced and novice

climbers. Rock climbing teachers

and schools are available for

beginners and expert guides can

organize trips of up to a week in

duration. Discover hidden caves

and ancient mountaintop ruins and

relics. This wild country promises

experienced climbers trips to areas

never before explored in some of

the most beautiful and unspoiled

forests in Southeast Asia.

Trekking

Cambodia has waterfalls and treks that few outsiders have ever seen before

in the protected Cardamom Mountains and the wilderness provinces of

Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri. Guides are keen to show you their jungles which

cover much of the country and are the largest untouched wild forests in the

region. Trek alongside elephants through Mondulkiri or solo along one of the

Cardamom’s mighty rivers. Some less strenuous treks involve a boat trip to

the wetlands of the Tonle Sap Lake to see some of the rare cranes and other

pockets of endangered birds protected by various organizations.

SPORT & RECREATION

In Sihanoukville and Kampot, Stand Up Paddleboarding

is on offer and a great way to explore

nature.

Mountain Biking

& Motorbike Tours

This could be the perfect green

holiday — biking through the

countryside with a guaranteed

friendly smile and wave from

locals. Several companies offer

organized mountain bike trips

through the kingdom’s many

national parks for various levels

of rider. Those more inclined to go

off-road can explore the furthest

corners of the country, from the

north-eastern jungle provinces

of Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri to

Kratie, home of the Irrawaddy

dolphins.

For Kids Young and Old

Malls have reached Cambodia,

and several of them offer fun for

kids, including ice skating rinks

and arcades. Local amusement

parks have sideshow alleys where

bumper cars and rides provide

amusement. These carnivals

make it to even the most remote

parts of the country during

festivals such as Khmer New Year

in April. Go-kart tracks are on

offer just outside of the capital,

and ATV tours can be arranged in

most of the country.

Horseback Riding

Horses are important to Cambodian

culture and horse-drawn carts can

be seen around the nation, hauling

goods to market as they have for

centuries. Cambodia Country Club

on the outskirts of the capital is home

to the nation’s equestrian center. In

Siem Reap the Happy Horse Ranch

has packages for learners and

experienced riders. Kirirom Mountain

resort offers a luxurious way to take

in some of the most stunning scenery

in the kingdom from horseback, as

does Sihanoukville.

Golf Resorts

Cambodia is providing more and

more options for a round of golf.

Enjoy a few holes at the Phnom

Penh golf course just outside

the city, and you may even find

yourself rubbing shoulders with

royalty. Siem Reap has a number

of courses, and most of the nation’s

best hotels either have built or are

building courses. Driving ranges

are available in the major cities.

Fishing

Deep-sea fishing can be arranged

off the coast of Sihanoukville or it’s

possible to hire a local fisherman

and his boat for the day in coastal

areas such as Kep and Koh Kong

to experience a day of true Khmer

life. Bream, snapper and flounder

have been known to cruise the

rich seas, and the Tonle Sap and

Mekong Rivers sustain the nation

with their amazing stocks of

exotic freshwater species.

226 | Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia Travel & Tourism Guide Cambodia | 227

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