The following article will give you the top 5 exciting activities visitors should try when travelling to Cambodia, one of the beautiful countries in Southest Asia.
Watch Sunrise at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
You’d be amazed by how many tourists show up at 5:30am. You just have to know how to beat the crowds and where to sit for optimal unobstructed viewing. (Hint – get off the main walkway and sit on the steps of the outpost buildings). Angkor Wat, built over the course of thirty years in the 1100’s as a home for King Suryavarman II after his death, was unknown and undiscovered until France colonized Cambodia in the mid 1800’s. What they uncovered in the midst of the jungle, both overgrown and somewhat well-preserved, is now considered one of the Wonders of the World. A good tour guide will direct you to the magnificent bas-relief walls depicting many levels of heaven and hell – some quite gruesome – and to some of the 1,800 seductive Dancing Maidens carvings.
Eat Artisans Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Watch artisans at work in this trade school for disadvantaged Cambodians, then shop in the colorful store where authentic goods fly off the shelves. We walked out with several ornamental silver-plate boxes ($17 each) and vividly colored silk scarves ($22). You’ll find everything from fashion to furniture and not one bit of junk.
Have lunch at New Hope Restaurant, Siem Reap.
You will not only enjoy one of the best meals you’ll have in town, but you’ll feel good to know that this is a trade school for former sex workers, an elementary school for at risk kids and a local free medical clinic. The former head chef of a Siem Reap 5 star hotel runs the training restaurant,and her expertise shows. Plan to stay for a site tour and to meet the kids. They are so smart and engaging, you just want them to have a better life.
Pub Street and Siem Reap Night Market
An area with the vibe of New Orleans at Mardi Gras. There are plenty of restaurants and “spas”. We dined at The Red Piano, beginning with the lip-smacking cocktail, “Tomb Raider,” and then stuck our feet in one of the many “fish pedicure” tanks out on the thrumming streets. If you are ticklish or in any way squeamish about fish, don’t. You’ll find deals in the Night Market – mostly knock-off Ray Bans ($5), hastily produced oil paintings ($15) and drawstring pants du jour (3 for $10).
Tonle Sap Lake; Take A Boat to the Floating Villages
This is an eye-opening look at the abject poverty and subsistence living in the primitive fishing villages of Cambodia. You’ll pass shacks on stilts (in the rainy season, the lake waters rise nearly to front doors), children paddling with babies in canoes, and livestock in floating pens. Be sure to take lots of fresh fruit or school supplies. When you stop at the Temple (an oasis of flame-colored serenity in the midst of the squalor), barefoot kids will start pouring in from all directions.