Traveling around in 'Land of Smiles'
Five o'clock in the morning, the gates of Angkor Wat open. Visitors pour in for the magical moment, as the silhouette of the grand temple stands out against the orange colors of the first light. Everything comes together in that moment, at the monumental icon that is intertwined with the identity of Cambodia . The country has thousands of - mostly Buddhist - temples and pagodas, visible in the flat landscape or on top of a hill, or hidden in dense forests. The predominant color at the temples is that of the saffron-colored monk's robes.
Even in the cosmopolitan city of Phnom Penh , the pace of a tuk-tuk or cyclo is sufficient for getting out and about, and in Siem Reap and Battambang you can even down a gear. You are invariably greeted with the infectious smile of the Cambodians. This almost makes you forget that the country has endured extremely grim times, people prefer to look ahead.
Outside the cities lies another world. Where it is flat, vast rice fields color the landscape fresh green, the palmyra palms proudly rise above the field. The Cardemom Mountains and the Eastern Provinces are mountainous. Here flow many rivers and creeks, and nature is much less cultivated, rougher. They are the best places for game viewing and long nature walks. The mighty Mekong River meanders through the country from north to south. At least as impressive is the Tonlé Sap Lake , where strongly fluctuating water levels determine life. It is the pulsating heart of Cambodia, with the richest fishing grounds. Fishermen's families live in floating villages or villages on stilts, two extreme solutions to keep their feet dry during the rainy season.
There are beautiful tropical beaches on the Gulf of Thailand. The most beautiful resorts can be found in Kep , Sihanoukville and on the Koh Rong archipelago . Coral reefs, a lukewarm blue sea, swaying palms… the ideal environment to end your Cambodia trip.