Light after dark: modern-day Cambodia is carving out a new and exciting identity…
Following the dark years of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia has picked itself up and is shaping a positive new identity, putting the country firmly back on the traveller’s map. The country’s headline attractions remain the same: the ancient temples of Angkor, a Unesco World Heritage Site (also popular with Lara Croft), part of a thriving capital city from the 9th to the 15th century.
Wat Phnom, built in 1373 on top of Phnom Penh’s only hill, is the city’s most revered religious monument. According to legend, an elderly lady named Penh found four golden Buddha statues in a koki tree. To house the sacred relics, villagers built a shrine on an artificial hill, which Phnom Penh is named for. Hopeful locals come here today to pray for academic and career success.
Siem Reap – colourful, chaotic and full of character – has a young and exciting dining scene, plus blissful spas, swish boutique hotels and a sociable, nocturnal energy. Don’t miss Tonié Sap, a fishing village on stilts, where you can learn about cricket catching, rice harvesting and smoking fish. Get immersed in Siem Reap’s burgeoning art scene with a bespoke art, fashion, and shopping experience led by Robina Hanley, the curator of the McDermott Gallery.
If you’re into spices and sour flavours, you’ll love Cambodia’s cuisine, which focuses on terroir – the locality where ingredients are grown. One of the main edible stars is a pungent fermented fish paste called prahok. You might get hooked…
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