Even though we only had a couple of days to spend in Cambodia, there was a lot about this charming kingdom that cast a spell on us…
Contemporary Cambodia is a successor to the powerful and prosperous Khmer empire that during the Angkor period held sway over much of what are now Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. The remains of this empire, that encouraged the development of arts and spiritual culture, can now be found in the temples of Angkor, unrivalled in their splendor in SEA.
But there’s no doubt Cambodia is much more than just temples. The main treasure of Cambodia is its people who got through the years of civil war that involved bloodshed, starvation, deceases and poverty under the rule of the cruel Khmer Rouge.
Despite being short of time we managed to go outside touristic Siem Reap and explore its surroundings on the way to the floating village of Kompong Phluk – a remote wondrous place on the bank of the Tonle Sap River.
Wherever we went, we felt these positive vibes coming from Cambodians, their hospitality that we couldn’t have predicted; they were always smiling and didn’t mind our taking pictures of them. They seemed to love it!
And we still can’t believe it’s just been less than 10 years since the end of the war and the country remains the poorest in Asia, one of the most corrupt in the world, still politically unstable and mine-studded and you can’t even go off the beaten track without a fear of being blown by a land-mine, but the people’s strong will, unbreakable spirit, hope and pure optimism is what helps them get over it all.
Wherever we went it was sunny, warm, peaceful and quite like in the countryside. We fell in love with this mysterious kingdom at once, we felt we belonged there and didn’t want to leave…well, maybe that’s a little exaggerated, but we wanted to stay longer for sure and explore the whole country, its inland jungles, white-sand tropical beaches (almost undiscovered by tourists yet!) and old settlements with French colonial spirit. Cambodia’s unique charm and authentic beauty won’t leave any traveller indifferent but will rather leave everyone deeply impressed and enchanted by this enigmatic land.