Cities worth seeing in Cambodia
The mysterious and exotic kingdom of Cambodia attracts fans of extreme sports, inquisitive travelers and all those who are eager to explore new worlds full of ancient mysteries and colorful adventures. Modern Cambodia, formerly known in the world as the country called Kampuchea, still occupies the southern part of the Indochina Peninsula, shares borders with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, and promises its guests a kaleidoscope of amazing experiences.
The capital of Cambodia is the city with the ornate name of Phnom Penh, however, the names of other settlements of the Asian state are also not very simple to pronounce.
According to official sources there are 25 cities in the kingdom, of which only a few are of key importance in the complex life of the southeastern country. The significant cities of the kingdom are definitely worth getting to know better.
Whether it's a city or a legend
In 1372 at the confluence of the largest river in the Indochina peninsula, the majestic Mekong and its right tributary the Tonle Sap River, a momentous event occurred. The nun named Pen was having her usual unhurried conversation with the Almighty, praying to heaven for the health and well-being of her loved ones, when suddenly her attention was distracted by a strange object floating on the Mekong's water surface.
Up close, the bizarre wooden complex turned out to be the trunk of a tropical tung plant, hiding Buddha statues in its sprawling branches. The sacred statues turned out to be as many as five. Researchers speculate that four bronze and one stone statue were stolen by the waters of the frisky Mekong River in the temples of neighboring Laos. But no one will ever know the truth about the origin of the nun's miraculous find. In the meantime, Peña arranged for the locals to work together to build a small phnom mountain, which was destined to become the base for the altar and the location of the sacred objects.
Later, Wat Phnom Monastery was built here, and the name Phnom Penh - Nun's Hill - was firmly established for the settlement.
As fate would have it, as early as 1431, Phnom Penh was destined to become the capital of the kingdom during the reign of King Pontia Yat. In the tombs of Wat Phnom Monastery the remains of the royal family are still preserved to this day as a reminder of those ancient events.
But the city could not keep the palm in the affairs of the Southeast Asian country. In 1505, Phnom Penh lost its status as the capital city for many 360 years and only in 1866 King Norodom II of Cambodia commanded Phnom Penh to become the main city of the Asian kingdom again. To commemorate this important event it was decided to build a permanent Royal Palace in the locality, which is still considered to be the most popular attraction of the Cambodian capital.
The loud name "main city" had nothing to do with capital splendor in the European sense. In the XYIII century, Phnom Penh was a real fishing village, the infrastructure of which was far from the benefits of metropolitan civilization. The breakthrough in the development of the city occurred when Cambodia was ruled by a highly developed European state - France. On the territory of the French colony appeared public institutions, social facilities, financial companies, solid residential buildings made of stone. At the same time in Phnom Penh appeared a legendary shopping complex - the New Market of Dog Thmei.
The problem of domestic and international transport links with other countries was solved, a railway line and an airport appeared.
These days, Phnom Penh has a lot to see and marvel at. The religious temple of the Supreme Ruler of Cambodia "Silver Pagoda", the cult monastery Wat Phnom, the royal residence, the monument "Monument of Independence", the museum of national curiosities - this is not a complete list of attractions of the capital of the exotic country.
Battambang is the silver medalist among Cambodian cities
The provincial town of Battambang is the second largest population center in Cambodia. Bright settlement this city can only be called a stretch, tourists are attracted here the opportunity to see the real Cambodia without the embellishments and decorations. Battambang is about 300 km from Phnom Penh to the north-west, its population is a quarter of a million people.
By the standards of Cambodia, the city is considered large, and the locals are mainly engaged in the production of food products from agricultural raw materials. There is also a solid plant for the production of phosphorus-based fertilizers. Etymologists interpret the town's name from the Khmer language as "the place where the magic wand disappeared". Associated with this magical object is an old legend about the hardworking woodcutter Dambang, who carved a powerful wooden weapon from the sacred tree Kranong, giving him unlimited power over people and objects. In a battle with a prince in whose domain the ancient events took place, the woodcutter's mace fell to the ground in a foreign land that was granted an eternal rich harvest of rice. In the place where the magic tool fell, the city of Battambang was born.
Tourists from all over the world come to the city to experience the unhurried provincial charm of Cambodia up close. The Psa Nhat agricultural market is known throughout the country, offering a large assortment of plant products straight from the fields of the fertile land.
The White Elephant Pagoda of Wat Damrai So, the residence of the ruler of Siam, built by Italian craftsmen, will be a delight for lovers of architectural masterpieces.
Fans of French charm enjoy visiting small bakeries and cafes that preserve the secrets of baking the legendary croissants and other culinary products of French bakers.
Siem Reap - custodian of the Khmer Empire's heritage
In every country of at least slight interest to tourists, there is a place that must be visited by all travelers. In Cambodia, the city of Siem Reap has become such a corner. The main highlight of the settlement - the National Museum of Angkor.
The colorful Asian state respects the history of its country. The fact is that during the feudal era, the four states of Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos were one.
From the ninth to the sixteenth century, Cambudjadesha ruled the ball in these Asian countries. The powerful Khmer empire was grouped around the town of Angkor, so here to this day found "traces of bygone days". All artifacts are carefully collected and brought under the roof of the National Museum, which found a home in the city of Siem Reap. The iconic museum has 9 rooms, the main exhibition - products and objects of the "golden age" of the Khmer Empire.
The treasury of Angkor is not the only attraction in the city. The Buddhist temples of recent construction and the colorful Neakma Mosque and Madrasah are easily found in the city. On the wave of tourist interest from all over the planet Siem Reap is growing and developing rapidly. It operates properly an international airport in the city built a whole collection of fairly luxurious and fashionable hotels.
Siem Reap on the map of Cambodia
Sihanoukville is a maritime harbor on the shores of Kampongsaom Bay
The relatively young city of Sihanoukville was named after one of the supreme rulers of Cambodia, King Sihanouk. When the king fell into disgrace and was deposed from the throne of Cambodia, the city briefly became Kampongsaom. Either someone did not like the new name or it was decided that it was better to leave the name only to the bay, but the town was called Sihanoukville again.
The reason for the construction of the city in this corner of Cambodia was the decision to build an important seaport for the country. The capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, is separated from the sea coast by 200 km, the settlement is located in a south-west direction from the main city of the Asian state.
Since its founding, Sihanoukville began to develop simultaneously in 2 directions - as a sea transport hub and as a comfortable beach resort. The impetus for the growth and development of Sihanoukville served as an influx of foreign capital. In 90-ies of the twentieth century, one of the cities of the "Asian pearl" of Cambodia became a tidbit for investors who rushed into the country in search of interesting life.
The main investments were made in the development of the tourism industry, in Sihanoukville, like mushrooms after the rain, appeared more and more new catering establishments, tourist centers, hotels and places of entertainment.
The young resort is connected to Phnom Penh by freight and passenger rail service. Foreign visitors can get to the settlement using the services of the international airport.
Small towns are big and different opportunities
In the western part of Cambodia, almost on the border with Thailand, there is a provincial town Poipet. This settlement is a kind of Mecca of gambling in southeast Asia.
The kingdom of gambling in the city is devoted to a great number of institutions, casinos are adjacent to gambling houses, 200-meter street is given to the full possession of the adrenaline lovers at the tables covered with green cloth. Some tourists call Poipet the Cambodian Las Vegas.
Although on the scale of the battles taking place here, the city can hardly be compared with the world capital of gambling or even with the French city of Monte Carlo.
On the banks of the full-flowing Mekong is the third largest city in Cambodia. Kampong Cham. The town has the tacit status of the provincial capital of the state, characterized by the diversity of the national composition of the inhabitants and buildings in the spirit of French architects, of which Kampong Cham has preserved a great number. The city has a legendary bamboo landmark - a monument to the eternal struggle of man with the indomitable elements. It is a bridge made of bamboo that is patiently built every year by the inhabitants across the Mekong River.
During floods and full floods, the river stubbornly knocks the bridge from its rightful place, but the locals still do not give up and build it again. The structure should not be considered too flimsy, during calm periods cars can easily cross the bridge. The city's prestigious hotels are better to look for on the waterfront, and tourists will be rewarded with rooms with all amenities and scenic views of the Mekong.
Fans of national parks and nature reserves love to travel to another provincial town with the name Kampot.
The Bokor Nature Reserve annually gathers lovers of exotic animals and plants on its almost wild plantations. Underground lovers can swap their excursion to the nature park for a tour of the limestone caves.
This region of Cambodia is famous throughout the country for its unseen crops of tropical fruits, among which especially stand out juicy mangoes, bright durians and fresh coconuts with dense and delicious snow-white flesh. Kampot has also earned world fame in the market of exotic spices and seasonings; it is the home of the world-famous special variety of pepper.
Experienced chefs at the best restaurants in the world dare to claim that the Capote pepper is able to give a dish a completely unique and exquisite taste, but you need to handle the fragrant spice skillfully, so as not to spoil a culinary masterpiece specific smell of an outlandish spice.
Each city of Cambodia is full of its own charms and its own flavor. A trip to this Asian country will be remembered for a lifetime by avid travelers. Even a meticulous tourist statistics takes the liberty to assert that by the number of attractions and wonderful finds per 1 square kilometer, Cambodia will give up many countries in the world.