Travel to Phnom Penh and witness the transformation of Cambodia before your eyes. Rapidly developing Cambodia after the French Colonial and Khmer Rouge reigns is sure to dazzle visitors desiring a unique cultural experience.
Any visit to Cambodia should include a tour of Phnom Penh's Royal Palace and its surrounding French colonial buildings, which date back to the 1870s. Known as 'The Pearl of Asia', you'll be fascianted by the area's complex history, yet saddened by the struggle of Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia. The Cambodian people exude amazing compassion and happiness, which is truly a cultural inspiration you will experience when traveling around Phnom Penh.
As Cambodia is a devoutly Buddist nation - with only 5% of the nation practicing another religion - the site of monks robed in traditional dress is a common practice. You'll feel overcome with a serene wave of zen around Phnom Penh, and you'll notice a sense of humility with ordinary civilians. The peaceful nature of the Cambodians may be a result of their turbulent past and a lasting feeling you'll remember long after leaving this wonderful country.
Within the Royal Palace compound is the extravagant Silver Pagoda, also known as Wat Preah Keo or Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Feast your eyes on an incredible view of the 2,000 sparkling diamonds that adorn the Golden Buddha, as well as ancient golden sculptured objects dating back to the 14th century, when Phnom Penh was founded!
As you walk through the vibrant streets, you'll find that people move at a quick, hurried pace, as Cambodians are advancing their nation. Modern skyscrapers now overshadow French-designed shop buildings that are over 120 years old. Devastated after the systematic genocide inflicted by the Khmer Rouge regime, one cannot leave Phomn Penh without learning the history of the Tuol Sleng Museum, which serves as a testament to the crimes of the Khmer Rouge. If time permits, a visit to the National Museum of Cambodia is highly recommended.
Before leaving Cambodia, travel to Siem Reap to see the Thommanon Temple. Located in Angkor, 200 miles north of Phnom Penh, this Hindu temple was built in 1,130 AD. Surrounded by forests, the temple has brilliant carvings of Devatas, the female divine carved figurines, and other amazing statues. Standing there in the deep forest growth and in-front of the tall temple, there is an aura of beauty and a spiritual presence that attracts tourists to Siem Reap.