Cambodia has some of the most incredibly sad and interesting history. Yet despite the horrific events of recent years, this country is home to some of the most incredibly kind and generous people that you will ever meet. Their appreciation for being able to live happy and free is inspiring and there are many things to be learned here from the locals about graciousness. Tourism only began to pick up here in the mid to late 1990s as the entire country was under the treacherous rule of the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979 and suffered a genocide of approximately two million people in the space of those four years.
If you visit the capital city of Phnom Penh, you will find an abundance of hostels to stay in. The hostel can help you arrange a tour to the Tuol Sleng prison, an old school converted to a prison and torture house during these years. They can also arrange a trip to the Killing Fields for you where many of the Cambodian people were slain and buried by the Khmer Rouge. They have some interesting cultural shows and dancing to lighten the mood after the very sombering experiences had here.
The most popular of all attractions to visit are the famous temples at Siem Reap. There are more hostels in Siem Reap than there are pretty much everywhere else in the country combined due to the popularity of these incredible temples. Explore the famous Angkor Wat. The temple will take you around a half a day to a full day to appreciate properly. It has stunning architecture and carvings throughout the building and is totally massive. Make sure you take in either a sunrise or a sunset here. Other famous temples to visit are the Bayon Temples which are famous for the many faces they have throughout the temples and Ta Prohm. Ta Prohm, also known as the jungle temple, was not fully repaired to its original state and many of the trees that grew in and around the ruins have been left there. It is famous for being the setting for such movies as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
After all of your historical fixes of Cambodia, it is time to go and check out and relax at the beach. Sihanoukville is one of the most popular beaches here and is a great town. Many people explore the islands around here as well and go snorkeling. If you have the time, head over to Koh Rong and get a hostel for a couple of days. It is raved about by most backpacker that have been on the south east Asian travel circuit and is a place that is not to be missed if you have the time. Make sure you book your Koh Rong Island hostel before you arrive to ensure that there is space for you given the small number of hostels on the island for the popularity that it is gaining as a destination.
Getting around Cambodia is mostly by bus or boat. Your hostel should be able to help you organize transport for you or point you in the direction of where to get on a bus to your next destination.
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It took us nineteen hours from Bangkok to get to Siem Reap because the so-called roads became rivers! We were taken in a minibus luckily (some group's minibus had broken down, so they had to go in the back of a pick-up truck). The next morning we decided to visit Angkor wat and the minibus driver and his friends took …