Villas&Golfe Angola
· Tourism Sector
· · T. Joana Rebelo · P. Rights Reserved


The country of stone with a heart of gold

PMmedia Adv.
In Southeast Asia, there lies a country marked by Buddhist temples, rice growing, thousand-year-old ruins and a people who are generous with their smiles. This is Cambodia, a portrait of social contrasts and deep wounds, pummelled by the madness of the Khmer Rouge. A story to be told, ahead. But for now, let’s get to know the small country with a big heart, rich in culture, history and biodiversity. We will take you to visit only the best sights, glimpse the best sunsets on idyllic beaches, taste the most delectable dishes and admire the most sublime landscapes. As the Buddha would say, "life is not a question to be answered. It is a mystery to be lived”. Let us embark, then, together on a symbolic journey.
Cambodia captivates from the moment your plane lands in Phnom Penh, its capital. Authentic are the smiles that welcome you, warm and always ready to help. It is no coincidence that the famous sculptures at Angkor Wat recreate gods with a smile on their faces. It is part of that people, who hide the suffering past in the pits of their faces. History tells us that in 1972, the head of state Sihanouk was deposed by Lon Nol, who was a dictator. It didn’t take long for Cambodia to plunge into an anti-communist drift, which was interrupted by a coup by Maoist revolutionaries, who installed a climate of veritable terror. Four years had passed and the Khmers were enroute to massacring a quarter of the population, leading to foreigners fleeing given the army’s ferocity against the civilian population. Today, the chaos and dread are represented in the Tuol Sieng Museum, a place that functioned as a detention and torture centre during the authoritarian regime. In it, you will be able to see torture instruments, confessions and photographs of thousands of imprisoned men, women and children, moments before they were taken to the Choeung Ek extermination camp. This tourist spot is also included in the tour, you just have to walk to the tuk-tuks parked at the edge of the building to take you there.

Welcome to the city of the gods
After delving into Cambodia’s sinister past, take time to discover the country’s capital, a place that combines Khmer architecture with colonial vestiges and modern complexes. Colourful markets, select restaurants, peaceful terraces and charming little hotels make Phnom Penh charming and vibrant. There, the past can be felt wandering among the streets and alleys. Every period of national history has been reconstructed over the capital, hoping to erase that which the people most want to forget: fear. Having seen the Royal Palace and the imposing Buddhas too many to count, it’s time to journey towards the peak of Hinduism, where Cambodian spirituality vibrates. The destination is Siem Reap, which stands 320 kilometres from the capital. Until you get there, the biodiversity is fascinating, distracting the eyes from a journey that will surely take its time.

Prices for all kinds of budgets
Angkor. That is where we are heading. Welcome to the city of the gods, swallowed up by jungle and animal life. Credit is due to French explorer Henri Mouhot, who rediscovered a sacred site, the famous Bayon temple, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The first second you see it, you are immediately reminded of something. Or, probably, it’s just a sudden sense of déjà-vu. But both options are plausible, since the mystery surrounding the place served as inspiration for the setting of the Tomb Raider saga. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Riddle solved. It turns out that it took six centuries of Khmer empire for the temples of Angkor to be completed and, in fact, they truly are the secret ingredient to bring about your most striking moments in Cambodia. The Bayon temple boasts 49 towers of Khmer baroque style, all filled with eye-catching faces and oblique eyes and eyebrows that stare at visitors laughingly, if petrified, due to the stone they embody. If you look closely, represented are the faces of Avalokiteshvara, who is the bodhisattva of compassion, and also the king. But be warned, try not to wander too far around the architectural wonders and magnificence of nature that surround you, because there are creatures walking around that are deceiving with the loving faces they display. It’s true. The city is overrun by kleptomaniac monkeys, who rob to ensure their survival. In search of bananas, they are capable of making your phone disappear, so you can’t be too careful. Back to business, Siem Reap will take you at least three days to visit thanks to its rich historical and cultural heritage. 

Beaches of white sand and crystal-clear waters
In the surroundings you can develop your palate and your taste for handicrafts. At night, we recommend the restaurants located in the city centre, illuminated by neon light and romantic candles. With prices for all kinds of budgets, you can also venture out on a river excursion to the places between Siem Reap and Battambang, floating through the canals cutting through the vegetation. 
And because time flies, the last stop on our journey ends in Sihanoukville. Let’s leave the endless miles of jungle behind. Welcome to splendid beaches of white sand and crystal-clear waters. Located in the southern peninsula, these small pieces of paradise prove the diversity of landscapes and qualities that Cambodia contains. There are beaches to suit all tastes. More solitary or bustling. Whatever you choose, just make sure you enjoy every minute, because places like this are only once in a lifetime.
It seems we bid farewell to the exoticism of Cambodia, with a smile from ear to ear and one word in mind: ZEN!
T. Joana Rebelo
P. Rights Reserved