Discover Cambodia: Kingdom of temples
Discover Cambodia: Kingdom of temples
There’s a certain magic about this charming yet confounding Kingdom that has the ability to cast a spell on visitors. Ancient and modern worlds collide to create an authentic adventure where history comes to life.
From the wondrous temples of Angkor to the dark legacy of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia is a country that exudes history from every corner. Between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, go on a journey into the provinces, where the heart and soul of the country is found in the smiling Khmer villagers, hidden temples, sun-kissed fields of rice and the country’s traditional culinary delights.
Kingdom of temples
A visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia must include a stopover in the capital city, Phnom Penh, a city that lies near the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. Immediately you are confronted by the vibrancy of the city streets. The sights, sounds, and flavours of a city with its interesting mix of romantic Indo-Chinese influences, modern bustle, and friendly folk who will open your eyes to new experiences and wonderful things seen as the locals make their way around on wheels.
On your journeys through the city, take a trip back in time to the palace complex – and while the private quarters of the Royal Palace, home to King Sihamoni are closed to the public – you can, still visit the Silver Pagoda which lies inside the complex, the most sacred temple in the country.
A visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school which served as a Khmer Rouge torture centre, will offer insight into Cambodia’s tragic past. It’s estimated that more than 20,000 people were held and tortured here. The bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge is a painful but an important part of Cambodian history to confront.
A short trip out of the city to a working monastery affords you the opportunity to meet the monks and hear about their daily life and why they joined the Pagoda. Enjoy a sacred water blessing for good luck and prosperity, receive a red band around your wrist to keep you safe in your travels, and see the pagoda art depicting the life of Buddha and his teachings.
Drive south along National Road 2 through the town of Takeo towards Kampot, one of Cambodia’s most attractive old towns. Here you can take a local riverboat up the Kampot River, and take in the sights of fishing boats returning home and people’s daily life on the banks of the river. As the sun sets over the Elephant Mountain Range, the engines will be turned off so the sounds of rural Cambodia can be enjoyed.
A journey north to Cambodia’s second-largest city, Battambang, (pronounced Battambong), sees an attractive riverside town with traces of French elegance, friendly Khmer people and well-preserved colonial architecture. Here you can hop on a remork (tuk-tuk) and ride into the countryside, and visit the village of Wat Kor, known for its historic stilted wooden houses some of which pre-date French colonial times.
The province also offers the opportunity to visit Prasat Phnom Banan Winery, Cambodia’s first winemaking enterprise, where you can also enjoy a tasting.
As you travel further north to Siem Reap, and into the Cambodian countryside you are introduced to farmers who work with buffalo and cows in the fields, and (season depending) see how rice and other crops are grown. These rural lands are perfect for sampling traditional Cambodian cuisine.
On the outskirts of Siem Reap, the remains of this empire can be seen at the fabled temples of Angkor, monuments unrivalled in scale and grandeur in Southeast Asia. Here you will witness the magic of the legendary Khmer temple complex. Be sure to allocate ample time at the site for in-depth viewing of marvels such as the Bayon, Ta Prohm and the incredible Angkor Wat.
Angkor Thom, the ‘Great Royal City’, is famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone. The impressive Bayon temple is the centrepiece. The famous Angkor Wat is the largest and most complete structure, whereas Ta Prohm, with trees embedded in its stone structure, has a different kind of beauty.
The Kindom of Cambodia is truly something to behold, and a land steeped in history just waiting to be discovered.
Cambodia in Depth
Peregrine offers you the opportunity to discover Cambodia In Depth: Taste and cook traditional culinary delights, witness farmers on their daily rituals and join Buddhist monks in their sacred blessings on this inspiring 12-day journey. A notable highlight of this trip is a 4-night stay at Navutu Dreams Resort & Wellness Retreat will allow you to relax and rejuvenate whilst exploring stunning Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and surrounds.
12 Days from AUD$3035 and NZD$3200 per person, twin share. Click here for more and to book today.