Siem Reap located in Northwestern Cambodia is home to the exquisite Angkor Wat Temple, bearing mute testimony to the greatness of the Khmer civilization. Depicting the mythical Mount Meru, the temple is a marvelous example of Khmer ingenuity. Angkor Tom, also known as the ‘little circuit’ is a complex of many temples and terraces with Bayon being the best preserved. Besides these, the Roulos Group in eastern Siem Reap and the National Museum are worth a visit, as well. Siem Reap has reinvented itself as a world-class food and wine destination offering a wide range of cuisines, luxury accommodation, great shopping, and magnificent spas.
Phnom Penh is the capitol of Cambodia. It is situated at the meeting of three rivers, the mighty Mekong, the Bassac and the great Tonle Sap which is considered the ‘Gem’ of Indochina. Built by the French in the 14th century, it was during its glory days known as the ‘Pearl of Asia’. Today it is better remembered for its recent tragic past under the genocidal regime of the tyrant Pol Pot. The various sobering memorials such as the S21 prison camp and the killing fields associated with this time are an enduring reminder of human brutality. Phnom Penh is also a gateway to an exotic land which has beautiful beaches on the southern coast. The Royal Palace, National Museum, and Wat Phnom are more pleasant sites and definitely worth a visit. There are several market places offering art, silk, gems textiles and even antiques.