Dis­cov­er­ing the new Cam­bo­dia

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - OVER 50S TRAVEL -

AF­TER a tu­mul­tuous and of­ten vi­o­lent past, Cam­bo­dia is re­dis­cov­er­ing it­self to be­come a premier tourist des­ti­na­tion.

Peo­ple trav­el­ling to the heart of In­dochina will ex­pe­ri­ence a taste of the Kh­mer cul­ture, cities bustling with re­newed en­ergy and life and the warm, wel­com­ing Cam­bo­dian peo­ple.

The cap­i­tal Ph­nom Penh stands at the con­flu­ence of the mighty Mekong, Bas­sac and Tonle Sap Rivers. Once con­sid­ered a charm­ing French-built city in In­dochina, it has re­turned to its roots and been re­vived with side­walk cafes, river­front beau­ti­fi­ca­tion schemes and open air restau­rants.

A visit to the Royal Palace re­veals the beauty of Kh­mer ar­chi­tec­ture with mag­nif­i­cent halls, pago­das, pav­il­ions and chofahs ( bird-like or­na­ments) and the Sil­ver Pagoda with shim­mer­ing floors re­flect­ing 5000 sil­ver tiles.

But the epit­ome of any trip to Cam­bo­dia must surely be Angkor, one of the fore­most ar­chi­tec­tural won­ders of the world, and built at the height of the Kh­mer civil­i­sa­tion as a ma­jor ad­min­is­tra­tive and re­li­gious cen­tre.

At Ta Prohm vis­i­tors can see how the re­main­ing stone struc­tures are en­tan­gled within and, in fact, sup­ported by the mas­sive roots sys­tems of fig trees. Angkor Wat is un­doubt­edly the most im­pres­sive and well-pre­served mon­u­ment in this com­plex of an­cient struc­tures.

Asia Quest Tours op­er­ates two fully in­clu­sive tours to the re­gion, a 28-day Won­ders of In­dochina hol­i­day from $ 5380 per per­son, twin share, and a 23-day Mys­tic In­dochina trip to Cam­bo­dia and Viet­nam from $ 4880 per per­son, twin share.

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