Auriole Potter shares her memories of slow travel in Cambodia
Some of the best places to visit in Cambodia
It’s easy to group Cambodia in with Vietnam – and even Laos – when considering a trip to Asia. However, this is doing the country a gross disservice. Cambodia, as I discovered recently, is very much a destination in its own right.
As I travelled the length and breadth of the country, I discovered the best places to visit in Cambodia; not only the fascinating history and colourful Cambodian culture in the two major cities, Siem Reap and the capital Phnom Penh, but also lush jungle, beautiful beaches and the gentler pace of rural village life.
I started, as many do, in the temple town of Siem Reap. I was surprised at just how much there was to see beyond Angkor Wat itself, with many of the other, smaller temples just as fascinating and made more enjoyable by the fact that we had many of them almost to ourselves. This was made possible by my expert guide who had a knack of knowing just what time we should depart one temple to avoid a bus load of tourists, and when to arrive at another to miss a noisy group of school children. I spent a morning with the German Apsara Conservation Project which provided further insight into the temples and the restoration process.
I discovered just how much there was to do in Siem Reap beyond the temples and would strongly recommend at least four nights here. There are the peaceful waters of Tonle Sap, flat as a millpond, with diverse bird life and lively floating villages at its fringes. There are explorations of the surrounding countryside, where time stands still, and ox carts are more common than cars. Families will enjoy encounters with elephants, awe-inspiring acrobatics at the circus and adventurous food tours, while those looking for a culture fix can delve into the city’s burgeoning art scene.