Top Ten Cambodian Attractions

 Top Ten Cambodian Attractions

       Cambodia, officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With a population of over 14.8 million, Cambodia is bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest. The official religion is Theravada Buddhism which is practiced by around 92% of the Cambodian population. The country minority groups include Vietnamese, Chinese, Chams and 30 various hill tribes. The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh, the political, economical, cultural center of Cambodia. The kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with Norodom Sihamoni an elected monarch chosen by the Royal Throne Council as head of state. The head of government is Hun Sen who is currently the longest serving leader in South East Asia and has ruled Cambodia for over 25 years. In 802 AD Jayavarman II declared himself king which marked the beginning of the Khmer Empire. Successive kings flourished which marked the Khmer empire’s immense power and wealth, dominating much of South East Asia for over 600 years. Cambodia was ruled as a vassal between its neighbors, until it was colonized by the French in mid-19th century.Cambodia gained independence in 1953. The Vietnam War extended into Cambodia, giving rise to the Khmer Rouge, which took Phnom Penh in 1975. After years of isolation, the war-ravaged nation was reunited under the monarchy in 1993. Rebuilding from decades of civil war,Cambodia has seen rapid progress in the economical and human resource areas. The country has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with economic growth growing an average 6.0% for the last 10 years. Strong textiles, agriculture, construction, garments and tourism sectors led to foreign investments and international trade.

  1. Angkor Wat

           Angkor Wat is a temple complex at Angkor, Cambodia, built for the king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious center since its foundation, first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist. It is the world’s largest religious building. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country’s prime attraction for visitors. Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temple, based on early South Indian Hindu architecture, with key features such as the Jagati. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology: within a moat and an outer wall 3.6 kilometers (2.2 mi) long are three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devatas (guardian spirits) adorning its walls. The modern name, Angkor Wat, means “City Temple”; Angkor is a vernacular form of the word nokor, which comes from the Sanskrit word nagar, meaning capital or city. Wat is the Khmer word for temple. Prior to this time the temple was known as Preah Pisnulok, after the posthumous title of its founder, Suryavarman II.
    Links: Temples, Relieves and Petroglyphs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angkor_Wat,
  2. Bayon

    The Bayon is a well-known and richly decorated Khmer temple at Angkor in Cambodia. Built in the late 12th century or early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII, the Bayon stands at the centre of Jayavarman’s capital, Angkor Thom. Following Jayavarman’s death, it was modified and augmented by later Hindu and Theravada Buddhist kings in accordance with their own religious preferences. The Bayon’s most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and massive stone faces on the many towers which jut out from the upper terrace and cluster around its central peak. The temple is known also for two impressive sets of bas-reliefs, which present an unusual combination of mythological, historical and mundane scenes. The current main conservatory body, the Japanese Government team for the Safeguarding of Angkor (the JSA) has described the temple as “the most striking expression of the baroque style” of Khmer architecture, as contrasted with the classical style of Angkor Wat.
    Links: Temples, Top 100 Busts, Relieves and Petroglyphs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayon,
  3. Temple of Preah Vihear

    Preah Vihear Temple is a Hindu temple built during the reign of Khmer Empire, that is situated atop a 525 m (1,722 ft) cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains, in the Preah Vihear province, Cambodia. In 1962, following a lengthy dispute between Thailand and Cambodia over ownership, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague awarded the temple to Cambodia. Affording a view for many kilometers across a plain, Prasat Preah Vihear has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-centuries-long Khmer Empire. As a key edifice of the empire’s spiritual life, it was supported and modified by successive kings and so bears elements of several architectural styles. Preah Vihear is unusual among Khmer temples in being constructed along a long north-south axis, rather than having the conventional rectangular plan with orientation toward the east. The temple gives its name to Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province, in which it is now located, as well as the Khao Phra Wihan National Park which borders it in Thailand’s Sisaket province and through which the temple is most easily accessible.
    Links: Temples, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Preah_Vihear,
  4. Phnom Penh

    Phnom Penh is the capital and largest city of Cambodia. Located on the banks of the Mekong River, Phnom Penh has been the national capital since the French colonized Cambodia, and has grown to become the nation’s center of economic and industrial activities, as well as the center of security, politics, economics, cultural heritage, and diplomacy of Cambodia. Once known as the “Pearl of Asia,” it was considered one of the loveliest French-built cities in Indochina in the 1920’s. Phnom Penh, along with Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, are significant global and domestic tourist destinations for Cambodia. Founded in 1434, the city is noted for its beautiful and historical architecture and attractions. There are a number of surviving French colonial buildings scattered along the grand boulevards. Situated on the banks of the Tonlé Sap, Mekong and Bassac rivers, the Phnom Penh metropolitan area is home to more than 2 million of Cambodia’s population of over 14 million. The city is the wealthiest and most populous city in Cambodia and is home to the country’s political hub.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phnom_Penh,
  5. National Museum of Cambodia

    The National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s largest museum of cultural history and is the country’s leading historical and archaeological museum.
    Links: Museums and Galleries, Sculptures, Top 100 Busts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Museum_of_Cambodia,
  6. Links: Top Ten Cambodian Hotels, Top Ten Cambodian Restaurantshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambodia,