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The Kingdom of Cambodia sometimes transliterated as Kampuchea to more closely represent the Khmer pronunciation is a Southeast Asian nation bordered by Vietnam to the east, Laos to the north, Thailand to the northwest, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest. Cambodia has had a bad run of luck for the last half-millennium or so. Ever since the fall of Angkor in 1431, the once mighty Khmer Empire has been plundered by its neighbours. It was colonised by the French in the 19th century, and during the 1970s suffered heavy carpet bombing by the USA. After a false dawn of independence in 1953, Cambodia promptly plunged back into the horrors of civil war in 1970 to suffer the Khmer Rouge's incredibly brutal reign of terror, and only after UN-sponsored elections in 1993 did the country begin to totter back onto its feet. Much of the population still subsists on less than the equivalent of US$1 a day, the provision of even basic services remains spotty, and political intrigue remains as complex and opaque as ever; but the security situation has improved immeasurably, and increasing numbers of visitors are rediscovering Cambodia's temples and beaches. Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor, now sports luxury hotels, chic nightspots, ATMs, and an airport fielding flights from all over the region, while Sihanoukville is getting good press as an up-and-coming beach destination. However, travel beyond the most popular tourist destinations is still unpredictable and risky.
It is important to remember that Cambodian history did not begin with the Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot’s incredibly harsh regime has garnered the most attention, but the Cambodians have enjoyed a long and often triumphant history. Anybody who witnesses the magnificent temples at Angkor can attest to the fact that the Khmer Empire was once wealthy, militarised and a major force in the region. Its zenith came under Jayavarman VII, where the Empire made significant territorial gains from the Cham. The Khmer Empire stretched to encompass parts of modern day Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, Laos and Vietnam.
The period following the fall of the Khmer Empire has been described as Cambodia’s dark ages. Climatic factors precipitated this fall, where the Angkorian civilisation harnessed Cambodia’s water for agriculture through elaborate systems of canals and dams. The Khmer Empire never recovered from the sacking by its neighbours based in Ayutthaya in modern day it is called Thailand, and Cambodia spent much of the next 400 years until French colonisation squeezed and threatened by the rivalries of the expanding Siamese and Vietnamese Empires to the West and East. Indeed, on the eve of French colonisation, it was claimed that Cambodia was likely set to cease to exist as an independent kingdom entirely, with the historian John Tully claiming, “there can be little doubt that their (the French) intervention prevented the political disappearance of the kingdom”.
The French came to dominate Cambodia as a protectorate from the 1860s, part of a wider ambition to control the area then termed Indochina which known as Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos nowadays. The French were always more concerned with their possessions in Vietnam. Education of Cambodians was neglected for all but the established elite. It was from this elite that many “Red Khmers” would emerge. Japan’s hold on Southeast Asia during the Second World War undermined French prestige and, following the Allied victory, Prince Sihanouk soon declared independence. This was a relatively peaceful transition as France was too absorbed with its struggle in Vietnam, which it saw as more important to its conception of L’Indochine Francaise.
Prince Sihanouk was the main power figure in the country after this. He was noted for making very strange movies in which he starred, wrote and directed. His rule was characterised at this point with a Buddhist revival and an emphasis on education. This, however, was a mixed blessing. He succeeded in helping create an educated elite who became increasingly disenchanted with the lack of jobs available. As the economic situation in Cambodia deteriorated, many of these young people were attracted to the Indochinese Communist Party, and later the Khmer Rouge.
As the Second Indochina War spread to Cambodia’s border which is an important part of the “Ho Chi Minh trail”, the USA became increasingly concerned with events in the country. The US Air Force bombed Cambodia from 1964 to 1973. During this campaign, which was initially codenamed Operation Menu, 540000 tonnes of bombs were dropped. Estimates of the death toll range from 40000 to 15000. Most of the bombing was done in support of Khmer Republic military forces fighting the Khmer Rouge and North Vietnam. In total, the US dropped 2.7 million tonnes of bombs on Cambodia from 1964 to 1973, more than the combined amount dropped by all the Allies in all theatres during World War II.
In March 1970, while overseas to visit Moscow and Beijing, Sihanouk was overthrown by Lon Nol and other generals who were looked upon favourably by the United States. Sihanouk then put his support behind the Khmer Rouge. This change influenced many to follow suit, he was, after all, considered a Boddhisatva. Meanwhile, the Khmer Rouge followed the Vietnamese example and began to engender themselves to the rural poor. Between 200000 and 300000 people died in the civil war including the United States air campaigns.
Following a five-year struggle, Communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh in 1975 and ordered the evacuation of all cities and towns. Over one million people (and possibly many more) died from execution or enforced hardships. Those from the cities were known as "new" people and suffered the most at first. The rural peasantry was regarded as "base" people and fared better. However, the Khmer Rouge's cruelty was enacted on both groups. It also depended much upon where you were from. For example, people in the East generally got it worse. It is debated whether or not the Khmer Rouge began "crimes against humanity" or a protracted "genocide". There are claims that there were a disproportionate number of ethnic Chams killed, and the ethnically Vietnamese also suffered persecution.
Nonetheless, the Khmer also suffered often indiscriminate mass killings. A 1978 Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside and ended 13 years of fighting (but the fighting would continue for some time in border areas). As a result of the devastating politics of the Khmer Rouge regime, virtually no infrastructure was left. Institutions of higher education, finance, and all forms of commerce were destroyed in 1978, so the country had to be rebuilt from scratch. UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy, as did the rapid diminution of the Khmer Rouge in the mid-1990s. A coalition government, formed under pressure of the losing party following national elections in 1998, brought renewed political stability and the surrender of remaining Khmer Rouge forces. Many leaders of the formal periods kept important positions. They often adopted more liberal views as long they could extract personal profit of the situation. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) put Leng Sary, Pol Pot’s brother in law, on trial for ‘crimes against humanity’.
Phnom Penh is the capital, just south of the geographical centre of the country. While Banlung is far north-eastern provincial capital located near some great waterfalls and national parks and Battambang is the second biggest town of Cambodia. Kampot is the town between the capital and Sihanoukville and gateway to the Bokor National Park. Next, Koh Kong is a small border crossing town near the Thai border. Kompong Thom has access to less well known and less crowded ancient temples and other sites. Besides, Kratie is a relaxed river town in the north-east on the Mekong, and an excellent place to get a close look at endangered river dolphins and Siem Reap has the access point for the Angkor Wat. Lastly, Sihanoukville is the seaside town in the south, also known as Kompong Som.
Furthermore, all visitors except citizens of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam need a visa to enter Cambodia. The official price for a “tourist visa (T) is 41 SGD or 48 SGD for an “ordinary visa (E)” also known more commonly as “business visa”. Staff may try to charge more at some land border crossings. Hold out for the official price, particularly at major crossings, but do not be upset if you have to pay 2 to 3 SGD extra. The major difference between a tourist and an ordinary/business visa is that a tourist’s visa can only be extended once, for maximum two months of stay in Cambodia, whereas an ordinary/business visa can be extended for periods up to a year or more. Visas can be obtained at Cambodian embassies or consulates. Visas are also available “on arrival” at both international airports, all six international border crossings with Thailand, some international border crossings with Vietnam, and at the main border crossing with Laos. You. should have one passport photo with you to get a visa on arrival otherwise extra cost 3 SGD. Tourist visas all are valid for one stay of up to 30 days. Those issued in advance expire 90 days after issue. In Phnom Penh or elsewhere via agencies, tourist visas can be extended only once, allowing an additional 30 days at the cost of around 41 SGD. Next, Visa-E, ordinary or Business visa. This is the best choice for those wishing to stay for over two months with multiple entries, as a business visa can be extended approximately 212 SGD per six months extension and have multiple entry status when (and only when) extended. Most Phnom Penh travel agencies process the extensions. Foreign nationals of some countries from South Asia (including India) and Africa are recommended to apply for a Business visa at the Cambodian missions in their own countries as the conversion process from a Tourist visa to a Business visa within Cambodia can be expensive and annoyingly burdensome (c. 200 SGD for conversion from Tourist visa to Business visa and another 285 SGD for a one-year extension). There is always some more commission involved if you are travelling from a developing country to the range of 30-40 SGD. However, once you are in possession of a long-term Business Visa, travel into and out of the country is very convenient and painless. Citizens of most nations can apply for an e-Visa online on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation website, through a service provided by a private Cambodian company (CINet). This is a normal Tourist Visa but costs 36 SGD instead of the normal 30 SGD. The visa arrives as a PDF file by e-mail within three business days. The application requires a digital photograph of yourself (in .jpg or .png format).
The Cambodian language is Khmer, which is inherited itself - and advanced in education with application of Indic languages Pali and Sanskrit from India. Also, the Khmer language is influenced by spoken and written Thai. Some technical languages are borrowed from French. However, English is commonly communicated in hotels and business compounds at present days. English and French are popular second languages, and Chinese’s is the third.
While not the strongest link in Southeast Asia's chain of delightful cuisine (due to the Khmer Rouge era, Khmer cuisine were nearly wiped out), Khmer food is filling and cheap. Rice and occasionally noodles are the staples. Unlike in Thailand or Laos, spicy hot food is not the mainstay; black pepper is preferred over chilli peppers, though chillis are usually served on the side. Thai and Vietnamese influences can be noted in Khmer food, although Cambodians love strong sour tastes in their dishes. Prahok, a local fish paste, is common in Khmer cooking and usually takes some getting used to. Kampot pepper is reputed to be the best in the world and accompanies crab at the Kep crab shacks and squid in the restaurants on the Ou Trojak Jet river.
Cambodia has international airports at Phnom Penh. The tourists who came from Singapore that wants to get to Cambodia, they need travel there by plane. They need to take a flight from Singapore Changi Airport and can choose for transit flights or straight flights to Phnom Penh. The ticket price per person will be around 948.50 SGD to 798.50 SGD. However, the price of the ticket will be increased at the peak season which is during the public holiday and school holiday season. The main airport in Cambodia will be at Phnom Penh International Airport. The journey from Singapore Changi Airport to Phnom Penh International Airport will be around 1 hour 55 minutes. Once they have arrived, they can grab a taxi and go straight to their place to stay.
Holding the title of the world’s largest religious monument, glorious Angkor Wat is a spectacle to be seen whatever time of the day it may be. However, watching the sun peek from behind the temple’s iconic towers is a pretty special experience and well worth waking before the crack of dawn for. But don’t expect to have the temple to yourself, as this is peak time when tens of thousands of other early bird’s flocks to the temple to capture this magical moment.
There’s something truly special about watching a city twinkling below. Thanks to the recent addition of Rosewood Phnom Penh to the capital’s hotel scene, the city can now be viewed from sky high. Perched on the 37th floor of the 39-storey Vattanac Capital Tower is the five-star hotel’s Sora skybar, which offers unparalleled panoramic views across the rising capital and beyond. Open from 5.30pm; guests can take in the sunset and watch Phnom Penh light up before their eyes. Simply stunning.
Beach bums are doing themselves an injustice if they miss Koh Rong Samloem. Why? Because the relatively undeveloped tropical island is home to isolated beaches that are postcard-perfect, soft powder-white sands, and breathtaking crystal-clear waters. If you’re looking to kick back with sundowner cocktails, then for the best sunsets head to – yep, you guessed it – the aptly named Sunset Beach.
Being at one with nature in the heart of the tropical jungle is another pretty amazing, and unique, experience to treasure. As Southeast Asia’s largest remaining rainforest, the Cardamom Mountains are also home to a swathe of rare and endangered flora and fauna that make any visit here special.
Perched atop Phnom Sampeu in Battambang is a quaint pagoda and viewing platforms that boast exquisite panoramas of the province – dubbed Cambodia’s rice bowl – sprawling below. The site is also home to several other spots, such as the macabre Killing Caves, where thousands were tossed to their deaths through a hole in the ceiling by the Khmer Rouge. The bat caves also sit at the base and are a must-see at dusk when hundreds of thousands of bats spiral into the sky.
Hiring a kayak and lazily making your way along the network of tributaries and waterways off Kampot River comes with many rewards. Kayak through mangroves and pristine countryside and past small fishing communities and temples to get a glimpse of rural Cambodian living and be amid calming nature.
Kingfisher Angkor Hotel is located in area/city South Nikom. The hotel has a very good location, also near the Siem Reap International Airport (REP), which is only 7.85 km away. There are plenty of tourist attractions nearby, such as Angkor Trade Center within 0.6 km, and Wat Preah Prom Rath within 0.68 km. Splendid service together with a wide range of facilities provided will make you complain about nothing during your stay at Kingfisher Angkor Hotel. Have an enjoyable and relaxing day at the pool, whether you’re travelling solo or with your loved ones. Get the best deal for the finest quality of spa treatment to unwind and rejuvenate yourself. The 24-hour front desk is available to serve you, from check-in to check-out, or any assistance you need. Should you desire more, do not hesitate to ask the front desk, we are always ready to accommodate you. Savour your favourite dishes with special cuisines from Kingfisher Angkor Hotel exclusively for you. Kingfisher Angkor Hotel is a hotel with great comfort and excellent service according to most hotel's guests. With all facilities offered, Kingfisher Angkor Hotel is the right place to stay.
Billabong Hostel is a hotel in a good neighbourhood, which is located at Boeing Reang. The hotel has a very good location, also near the Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH), which is only 8.62 km away. Not only well positioned, but Billabong Hostel is also one of the hotels near the following Sorya Shopping Center within 0.2 km and Central Market Phnom Penh within 0.4 km. Splendid service together with a wide range of facilities provided will make you complain about nothing during your stay at Billabong Hostel. Have an enjoyable and relaxing day at the pool, whether you’re travelling solo or with your loved ones. The 24-hour front desk is available to serve you, from check-in to check-out, or any assistance you need. Should you desire more, do not hesitate to ask the front desk, we are always ready to accommodate you. Savour your favourite dishes with special cuisines from Billabong Hostel exclusively for you. Billabong Hostel is a hotel with great comfort and excellent service according to most hotel's guests. With all facilities offered, Billabong Hostel is the right place to stay.
Onederz Hostel Siem Reap is a hostel in a good neighbourhood, which is located at South Nikom.
The hostel has a very good location, also near the Siem Reap International Airport (REP), which is only 7.5 km away. Not only well positioned, but Onederz Hostel Siem Reap is also one of the hostels near the following Angkor Trade Center within 0.54 km and Wat Preah Prom Rath within 0.57 km. Have an enjoyable and relaxing day at the pool, whether you’re travelling solo or with your loved ones. The 24-hour front desk is available to serve you, from check-in to check-out, or any assistance you need. Should you desire more, do not hesitate to ask the front desk, we are always ready to accommodate you. Onederz Hostel Siem Reap is a hostel with great comfort and excellent service according to most hostel's guests. Onederz Hostel Siem Reap is a wise choice for travellers visiting South Nikom.
Staying at Tara Angkor Hotel is a good choice when you are visiting South Nikom. The hotel has a very good location, also near the Siem Reap International Airport (REP), which is only 6.87 km away. This hotel is very easy to find since it is strategically positioned close to public facilities. The hotel’s fitness centre is a must-try during your stay here. Have an enjoyable and relaxing day at the pool, whether you’re travelling solo or with your loved ones. Get the best deal for the finest quality of spa treatment to unwind and rejuvenate yourself. The 24-hour front desk is available to serve you, from check-in to check-out, or any assistance you need. Should you desire more, do not hesitate to ask the front desk, we are always ready to accommodate you. Tara Angkor Hotel is a hotel with great comfort and excellent service according to most hotel's guests. Get precious and unforgettable moment during your stay at Tara Angkor Hotel.