Cambodia Travel Guide

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Cambodia Information

Population:

Time Zone: GMT + 7

Driving side: Drivers drive on the right side of the road

Languages: Khmer

Religion: 95% Buddhist

Emergency #: Police - 117

Cambodia Popular Destinations

Battambang - This elegant riverside town is the second largest city in Cambodia and is home to some of the best preserved colonial architecture in the country. The network of charming old French shop houses clustered along the riverbank is the real highlight here as well as the number of wats (temple monasteries) scattered around the town. The small museum has a collection of Angkorian-era artefacts and just outside the town, are a number of hilltop temples, a large lake and more wats. Battambang is a bumpy 293km bus or taxi ride from the capital.

Angkor - The celebrated 100 or so temples of Angkor are the sacred remains of what was once a much larger administration and religious centre and were built between the 9th and 13th Centuries to glorify a succession of Khmer kings. Most of Angkor was abandoned in the 15th Century and the temples were gradually covered by forest. In the late 19th Century, efforts were made to clear the jungle from threatening the temples and this restoration works still continues today.

Phnom Penh - Cambodia's capital still has a certain charm about it, with its crumbling colonial architecture set against a backdrop of bustling streetside cafes and a redeveloped riverfront precinct. The city has several impressive wats, the most impressive being the Silver Pagoda, one of the few places in Cambodia where artefacts embodying the brilliance and richness of Khmer culture were preserved.

The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek are a chilling reminder of the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge, with some 17 000 people killed here. The Tuol Sleng museum serves as a testament to the crimes of the Khmer Rouge and few details are left to the imagination at the museum. The Central market is the main centre for budget-travellers, with half-a-dozen or so street markets showing jewellery, antiques and the kramas ( checked cotton scarves).

Moving Around Cambodia

Flying is the quickest, but most expensive. Road travel is a lot safer then before, but the highways are in bad shape. Train travel is cheap, but the journeys are long. Boats also play a major part in travelling around, thanks to the many rivers. Cars can be hired, but with a driver and taxi's are fairly common in the cities.

National festival and holidays

Khmer New Year - brings the country to a standstill with water and talcum powder being thrown around and is a lively festival - 13 April.

Bon om Tuk - celebrates the end of the wet season and is the most important festival in Cambodia - early November.

Early May - Royal Ploughing Festival.

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