By Christina “ICON” Shin, Staff Writer
This month, we travel to Cambodia, a country rich with history and vibrant culture. Cambodians are known to be Asia’s most friendly and welcoming people.
The first place to visit is resort town, Siem Reap, which means “defeat of Siam,” referencing the centuries-old conflict between the Khmer kingdoms and the Siamese. King Ang Chan has given the name in 1549 after he revolted an army sent to invade Cambodia by the Thai King Maha Chakkraphat. Located in northwestern Cambodia, it is the gateway to the world famous temples of the Angkor region. Although it is considered to be a major tourist hub, Siem Reap remain as a secure, amiable and pleasant town with endless places to tour, stay and dine.
About 3.4 miles north of Siem Reap is Angkor Wat or “Capital Temple,” the largest religious monument in the world. The temple was originally built to be a Hindu temple of god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire and was transformed into a Buddhist temple. According to legend, it was believed by some that the temple was constructed in a single night by a divine architect. Angkor Wat is famed for having more than 3,000 unique “apsaras” or heavenly nymphs carved into its walls.
Phnom Penh, the vibrant capital of Cambodia is the junction of three rivers: Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap. The city was once the “Pearl of Asia.” Although it was tarnished by the impact of war and revolution, Phnom Penh has risen to become a bustling city. Phnom Penh is home to the National Museum of Cambodia, The Royal Palace, Wat Phnom or “Hill Temple” and many markets.
- The best time to go is November thru January.
- The currency is Rieis (KHR); one dollar equals 4085.2 KHR.
- You can bargain at many shops.
- You may come across minors selling items. If you buy from them, you may be supporting child labor.
- If you want to support businesses that are noted for supporting Cambodia’s culture and heritage, look for the Heritage Friendly Business Logo from Heritage Watch, an organization that promotes the preservation of Cambodia’s cultural legacy.
- Toilet paper is hard to come by in public areas due to the country’s poor sewage system so keep a stash with you at all times.
- There may also be a charge for using public restrooms. But don’t let this drive you to the bushes because there might be landmines!
What do sisters have to say about travelling to Cambodia?
“Ladies, don’t forget to bring feminine hygiene products! Also bring pain reliever medications. Their strength may be weaker than US products.” -Ging “Ambiance” Peinpicharana, Georgia State University
“Don’t be scared to buy street food as long as it is in a populated area.” -Eng “Serendipity” Ung, University of Central Florida
For more tips, visit www.lonelyplanet.com/cambodia/essential-information.