VIRTUALLY DECIMATED DURING THE FRIGHTENING ERA OF POL POT, CAMBODIA HAS A NEW FOUND CONFIDENCE IN THE MODERN WORLD AND REJOICES IN ITS PROFOUND ANCIENT HISTORY, ONCE AT THE CULTURAL HEART OF ALL SOUTHEAST ASIA

From a visitor perspective, Angkor Wat, situated in Siem Reap province, close to the town of the same name, is easily Cambodia's star attraction which, together with its numerous neighbouring temples of similar splendorous wonder, between them draw over two million tourists annually from all over the world to touch the ancient past and unlock its mysteries.

Evocative and otherworldly, these temples are just a fraction of the bewildering array of impressive ancient monumental buildings strewn across this land. At its height, Angkor was the world's largest pre-industrial city, home to over one million inhabitants, and in its time the ancient capital of much of southeast Asia.

Because of its widespread cultural appeal, the area naturally also boasts many premier hotels and international standard golf courses, catering in style to the profound influx of international guests.

South of Angkor lies the enigmatic Tonle Sap Lake, a visibly fascinating example of the complexities of natural climactic rhythm, and the largest lake in South-east Asia, teeming with fish and supporting many floating communities. The lake provides a great and culturally satisfying excuse to enjoy pleasurable waterborne day trips and is also home to Prek Toal water bird sanctuary.

Further downriver, the Tonle Sap merges with the majestic Mekong River, their confluence the site of Cambodia's capital city of Phnom Penh, once known as the pearl of Asia after its oriental charm, has been restoring and re-inventing itself to health after its almost complete decimation by the Khmer rouge during the early1970’s.

In spite of the damage wrought to the city in those dark times, there are still many worthy sights in the city to captivate the visitor, including the splendid Silver Pagoda, Royal Palace and the city’s many Wats. Like its neighbours, Laos and southern Vietnam, the motion of life here is governed by the mighty presence of Mekong River, upon which one can easily take a cruise to nearby attractions or for further onward travel.

To the south, close to the beautiful Ream National Park, coastal Cambodia’s main tourist beaches are centred in the southwest of the country, around the town of Sihanoukville, and its scattering of offshore islands in the Gulf of Thailand.

Whilst some resorts have been developed, many of Cambodia’s very finest beaches are entirely unspoilt and lacking in facilities, a situation which is inevitably rapidly changing, but where this is the case, most are accessible for a pleasant day trip.