|On the grounds of the Royal Palace in the capitol of Phnom Penh|
Cambodia is a nation with a rich and colorful history. Some of it is distinctly dark and unpleasant, but then so is some of my homeland; none of us are judge and jury, to my way of thinking. If you leave the torture camps and the killing fields out of it much of what physically remains can be breathtakingly beautiful. We'll visit the less-savory places, but they're a reminder to never forget... and not the face of Cambodia today.
|At a memorial site in Choeung Ek, Phnom Penh: the best-known of the areas called the "killing fields"|
The people at all levels of culture are gracious, the food is nothing short of magnificent, the shopping can be varied and quite rewarding, and in almost every instance your travel dollar goes a long, long way.
There's plenty of information already online about the kingdom so there's no need for me to fill space with the same facts re-worded, so I'd suggest a site like Wikipedia for more than enough facts and figures for the casual visitor and observer. Here's the Wikipedia link - just don't forget to come back!
|You can see the yellow mass of metropolitan Bangkok on this map, as well as Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia|
As a very basic overview, the kingdom of Cambodia is a country of nearly 15 million people, covering almost 70,000 square miles (181,000 square kilometers), bordered to the West and Northwest by Thailand, a bit of the North by Laos and along it's Eastern and Southeastern side by Vietnam. You can see their only "free" area is on the Gulf of Thailand, to the Southwest.
Easily reached from Bangkok it's a worthwhile side trip, and a good example in and of itself of a land "same same," but distinctly different. We'll be looking at places in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, including museums, memorial sites, night markets, restaurants, accomodations and more ruins than you can shake a stick at, including Angkor Wat and others in that area.
|Independence Monument in Phnom Penh by available night|
It's not my plan to dive directly into nothing but Cambodia posts - readers have already spoken up with a preference for Thai posts - but be prepared for quite a few in the near future.
|"Kingdom of Cambodia" in 2 Cambodian letterings, both of the Abugida family script, as is Thai|