Crazy Trees, Monks and Chicken Curry

When you consider Cambodia, is that the first image that pops into your mind that of a hot and humid jungle of a rustic , sandwiched between Thailand and Vietnam? Maybe you recall Cambodia with its checkered past, or perhaps it's simply a rustic you recognize little or no about. If you or someone you recognize grew up within the 60's, perhaps the primary thought that involves mind may be a war-torn country that's probably best to avoid altogether -- even today. that is the way it had been with this author, until everything changed.

I found myself returning to Southeast Asia because the intrigue surrounding Cambodia simply proved to be an excessive amount of to ignore any more .

The first thing that's easy to note is that the people are happy and quick to smile. Long gone in fact , are the times of the Vietnam War and fortunately so is that the Pol Pot regime with its ugly, inhumane genocidal wave that overran and extinguished the overwhelming majority of the adult population of the country.

But fast-forward to today and one can readily observe those happy, friendly faces that exude tolerance and acceptance. what's also quickly noticed may be a rich culture steeped in scenic beauty sprinkled with the mesmerizing sites of ancient, other-worldly architectural wonders. Finally, there's the fabulous and exotic food of the orient, readily available throughout Cambodia for a fraction of the value that the majority international travelers find elsewhere.

Cambodia is hot and humid three hundred and sixty five days a year with only 2 seasons - dry and rainy. the simplest time to go to Cambodia is during the season which runs from the months of October through April. make certain to require a walking tour along the Siem Reap river that runs through town. you'll find it shaded on each side by huge trees that kindly offer their shade as you're taking the sidewalks along the river towards your destination while enjoying the natural beauty along the way.

The wet or monsoon season comes in May and lasts through October, with the height monsoon season occurring in July through September when it can rain a day . Fortunately, those downpours are short-lived and last only a couple of hours every day .

Most of the time, the river runs very slowly if in the least , and moss are often seen floating in large patches across parts of the river's surface. This phenomenon lends itself to the lazy, laid-back charm that one can feel. do not be surprised if you encounter a monk or two in their bright, orange robes walking along the river promenade. there's a beautifully-ornate Buddhist temple in downtown Siem Reap near Pub Street.

The artwork found along the shaded walls of the courtyard just inside the gate to the temple area is completely magnificent. make certain to bring your camera. the entire area of Pub Street just round the corner from the temple, caters to thirsty travelers and bargain shoppers who congregate from all parts of the planet .

The most popular attraction far and away is Angkor Wat, a UNESCO world-heritage site drawing tourists from the 4-corners of the planet . it's located just north of town by a couple of miles and is definitely reached. Many rise up before dawn to reach the lake, facing Angkor Wat so as to possess a photo-shoot treat as dawn approaches. Sometimes the sky glows yellow and orange with the rising sun filtering through the clouds above the traditional temple.

Since the tour will always get on foot and takes a couple of hours, it's best regardless of what time of year, to enjoy your tour while it's only warm, early within the morning. Do attempt to avoid the warmth later within the day. Advance arrangements are necessary to realize access to the temples (yes, there are quite one) and may be made at any hotel or guesthouse in Siem Reap.

A driver can also be arranged for transportation to Angkor Wat, also as a guide . All one has got to do is ask.Many come to Cambodia "backpacking" so as to sample the exotic culture of Cambodia while on a decent budget, and to tour the sites. The mystery of Cambodia generally , and Angkor Wat especially , drew Angelina Jolie and a Hollywood film crew who came to Siem Reap to film the blockbuster hit, "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" in 2001. you'll recall a scene within the movie featuring the foremost crazy-looking trees you ever saw, growing over and around a number of the temples.

Others come to Siem Reap to undertake their hand at volunteering for an NGO, a non-government organization. To make certain , there are many opportunities for the generous and "big-of-heart" and it's always greatly appreciated by the locals. English is known almost everywhere throughout Siem Reap and also within the capital, Phnom Penh .

One of the incredible treats of Siem Reap is that the cuisine available almost everywhere. One can enjoy authentic "street food" and fresh fruit smoothies for next to zilch from local vendors. otherwise you may prefer to enjoy a cheap sit-down meal at one among the various restaurants in town. in fact there also are bars and nightclubs throughout the Pub Street complex. During the day Pub Street is family-friendly.

Pub Street, is really a gaggle of streets in downtown Siem Reap. If you're easily distracted by the various sights and sounds you'll encounter, you'll end up getting lost among the myriad of outlets , restaurants and pubs. But don't be concerned since almost anyone can steer you within the right direction. Thirsty travelers are bound to find a favourite watering place in record time, as there are many to settle on from. soon , you'll encounter many shops and enormous markets. one among which is that the famous Night Market with its many treasures of the orient which will be had for a song!

One favorite restaurant seems to be the "Red Piano Restaurant and Bar" which has the foremost incredible "Panang Chicken" curry for just $5.00 USD, and it always comes with a frosty mug of local "Angkor brand" beer. The restaurant is definitely found and features outdoor, canopy-covered, comfortable seating along the sidewalk. Or, you'll prefer to sit inside, either on the bottom floor or upstairs. the whole restaurant is "open aired" for easier dining.

Mixed drinks are often found at the Red Piano and almost everywhere else along Pub Street for just $1.50 USD. A mug of can be easily found for just 50-cents to $1.00 US.

With such a lot to ascertain and do throughout Cambodia, it's no wonder many of us come, fall crazy and leave with memories to last a lifetime. Nestled between the countries of Vietnam and Thailand, there's such a lot to explore.

Cambodia may be a fascinating country, while Siem Reap is probably the foremost magical destination altogether of Cambodia, but you will have to make a decision that for yourself.

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