Into Khmer Land
    Category: Forbes Life By : Erza S.T. Read : 616 Date : Thursday, March 01, 2018 - 23:25:02




    Erza S.T.  for Forbes Indonesia

    For the last decade, the interest of global travelers has slowly shifted to Southeast Asia, making it into a unique contender when competing with other destinations. While Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines enjoy their fair share of travel fame, now the focus is shifting to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Siem Reap in Cambodia, the home of the famous Angkor Wat temple, has always been on my bucket list to experience this beautiful icon of the Khmer dynasty.

    It is quite comfortable as an Indonesian to visit Siem Reap, as Cambodia is part of ASEAN and therefore doesn’t require a visa. However, it is inconvenient to fly there as there are no direct flights from Indonesia to Cambodia—one must transit through Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok or other hubs to reach Siem Reap. Including the transit time, the journey to this city from Jakarta could take up to six hours, depending on the airline and the hub. Nevertheless, it is worth the hassle.

    Siem Reap as a resort town in northwestern Cambodia preserves that quaint charm that will immediately capture your heart. A mixture of colonial and Chinese-style architecture found in this small city makes one feel as if one had traveled back in time. The city’s popularity started when French explorer Henri Mouhot rediscovered Angkor in the 19th century. Ever since, visitors have been flocking to Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat, a UNESCO world heritage site, and all the historical temples of Angkor Thom.

    Since the end of Khmer Rouge regime in mid-1990s, Siem Reap has been transforming itself into a tourist destination, and in recent years, the city has regularly ranked in the top ten for best destination from the likes of TripAdvisor, Wanderlust magazine, and Travel+Leisure. The combination of a unique architecture, tasty food, beautiful traditional craftsmanship, historic sites and genuine hospitality from the locals are definitely a winning recipe to make Siem Reap to be one of the must-visit destinations in the region.

    Historical Journey

    History is without a doubt one of the highest attractions in Siem Reap. The charm of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom remains one of the world’s most impressive historical sites. As the remains of the once-great dynasty of the Khmer civilization, Angkor Wat is an ancient grand design, ornate with intricate carving depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. You can do a three-hours highlight around this massive site, or literally spend a whole day to check the entire remains. It is a definitely a heaven for architecture aficionados.

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