What to see in Cambodia?
In the south of the Indochinese peninsula there is an incredibly picturesque country with a rich historical and cultural heritage - sunny Cambodia. Many centuries ago travelers from the distant Chinese Empire noticed that the territory of Cambodia resembles a huge cauldron formed by four mountain ranges - Cardamom, Elephant, Dangrek and Kontum. Only on the southern side of Cambodia opens its doors to the outside world, washed by the great Mekong River, which, branching into various channels, flows into the freshwater sea, also known as Tonle Sap Lake.
Cambodia's tourist attractions attract millions of travelers every year. What places are worth visiting in Cambodia? What to see in Cambodia on your own, especially if you come here for the first time?
What to visit in Cambodia?
Sihanoukville, also known as Kampongsaom, is Cambodia's main seaport and home to some of the country's most picturesque beaches such as Victory, Hawaii, Sokha, Ochheuteal and Otres Beach. These secluded sandy shores are often considered the real gem of the province.
To get a closer look at the wildlife of this Asian country, you can visit Ream National Park. It is home to rivers, two islands, wild and mangrove forests, providing unique natural opportunities.
Another interesting place to explore the local nature and color is Monkey Island, known for the legend of the strongest monkey that ever lived on the island. Here you can admire waterfalls, wild beaches, cozy bungalows, rent equipment for snorkeling and kayaking.
For lovers of ancient artifacts, there are also the temples of Wat Leu and Wat Krom in this region.
Royal Palace (Phnom Penh)
The city of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, is home to the Royal Palace, which is one of the significant landmarks of the country. This palace serves as the residence of the head of state and is considered an important symbol of Cambodia.
Today, the Royal Palace is the first and foremost place to visit in the capital city. Its history dates back to 1866 and since then it has been the residence of many kings of Cambodia. You can visit the palace from morning to evening, except for a lunch break.
It is worth noting that the Royal Palace was built twice: the first time was in 1434, but after the capital was moved to Phnom Penh, King Norodom ordered a new palace building to be erected.
The entire palace complex is located on the banks of the Tonle Sap River and covers an impressive area of 402 by 435 meters. It is surrounded by unique gardens, including not only green lawns, but also numerous flower meadows, where trees and shrubs of different species are planted in pots, which can be rearranged in various combinations to create new landscapes.
Angkor Wat Temple Complex
The Angkor Wat temple complex is considered Cambodia's greatest jewel and the country's main attraction. The image of this temple adorns not only the national flag of Cambodia, but also its coat of arms. This is not surprising, as many consider Angkor Wat to be one of the most impressive places on the planet!
The discovery of this lost in the dense jungle temple complex, built between the IX and XIV centuries AD, occurred only one hundred and fifty years ago. In 1868, French explorer Henri Mouillot, wandering through the forests, stumbled upon the stone structures and soon realized that he had made an incredible archaeological discovery. This event marked the beginning of a brilliant era in Cambodia's history - the era of the Angkor civilization. Centuries ago, during the reign of Jayavarman II, the Cambodian empire began to flourish with the creation of the magnificent Angkor Wat temple dedicated to the god Vishnu.
Angkor Wat, the largest temple of this temple complex, is located in the very center of a huge temple complex of about two hundred temples. This temple is surrounded by a moat, which fills with water during the rainy season, and a massive wall. To get inside the temple, you have to pass through the main gate. But the real treasure for visitors and explorers is the amazing carvings on the walls of the temple. On these walls for many kilometers are carved images that tell both the events of Indian mythology and real historical events.
Mount Bokor (Elephant Mountains)
Mount Bokor, also known as the Elephant Mountains, is one of Cambodia's national natural gems, confirming the richness and diversity of the country's natural and historical attractions. Cambodia has 23 national parks, and the largest by area, Bokor Park is a must-see for tourists. It is located in the picturesque Elephant Mountains and covers an area of about 1400 square kilometers. Kamtjai Peak, also known as Mount Bokor, is the highest point of this mountain plateau, rising 1076 km above sea level.
The first interesting place you will come across on your way is the former Bokor Casino. After visiting its abandoned premises and climbing up to its roof, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Gulf of Thailand. Moving further up the mountainside, you may encounter local fauna such as monkeys, parrots, bears and sometimes even jaguars and lions. It is especially important to be careful in the morning hours, when predators become more active and come out to hunt.
On your way to the top of the mountain, you will see the dilapidated Black Palace, which once served as the residence of King Sisowat Minowong. But the most mesmerizing attraction of the park is the two-tiered Popokwil Waterfall. Its beauty is hard to put into words, and visiting it will be a real adventure for anyone who decides to visit Bokor National Park.
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