Singaporeans are considered to be one of the most frequent travelers in the world. The top places Singaporeans love to go to are Japan, Australia, and South Korea. These are developed countries so it’s not surprising why we are attracted to these places. Taking a different route, my friends and I traveled to a third world Southeast Asian country recently and found the experience just as rewarding. Cambodia doesn’t have any modern architectural triumphs like the Tokyo Tower, Sidney Harbor, and the Seoul Tower. It doesn’t have efficient transportation systems like the bullet trains. And it also doesn’t have four seasons. But despite what it lacks, it’s still worth going to Cambodia. I’ll give you top 3 reasons why.
The Cambodian people
This third world country relies mainly on tourism for its economy. The people earn their living by selling books, souvenir items, and other memorabilia to tourists. Almost all Cambodians know how to speak elementary English. But it’s not just English. They also know a thing or two of other languages. That’s because they earn their living from the foreigners that they get to interact with everyday. For this reason, you’ll find that walking on the streets of Siem Reap will bring you an encounter with a smiling and friendly Cambodian. But they don’t come off as daunting, or someone who may be hiding a bad agenda. Most Cambodian kids will even tell you right away what they want – buy their product if they’re selling one or just you for a dollar. Your memories of Cambodia will be packed with Cambodian smiles and friendly faces.
What history Cambodians have! You’ll have to spend a day or two at historic places such as The Killing Fields, S21, and museums. But make sure you visit on the first days of your visit. You wouldn’t want your last days in Cambodia to be depressing. I’ll warn you in advance that it will be emotionally heavy. But the reason you still need to go and take The Killing Fields and S21 tour is because of the story behind. History reveals a dark side of human nature that was a reality during Khmer Rouge. People need to be reminded of what happened so we can learn from history. The memory will also make everyone appreciate what Cambodia has now.
The Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat is the most iconic tourist destination in Cambodia. It also happens to be the largest religious monument ever built. Angkor Wat is actually just one of the temples you’ll find in Angkor. Angkor used to be an ancient city in the Khmer empire. Now it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. Apart from the Angkor Wat temple, you’ll also get to explore other famous Angkor temples like Bayon and Ta-Prohm. Ta-Prohm is the “Tomb Raider” temple. Yep, this is where Angelina Jolie’s action movie was filmed. Give yourself a total of two days to explore all the temples. Catch your breath – you’ll do a lot of walking around. And because you’ll find the ancient structures breath-taking.