The archaeological site of Sambor Prei Kuk, “the temple in the richness of the forest” in the Khmer language, has been identified as Ishanapura, the capital of the Chenla Empire that flourished in the late 6th and early 7th centuries AD. The property comprises more than a hundred temples, ten of which are octagonal, unique specimens of their genre in South-East Asia. Decorated sandstone elements in the site are characteristic of the pre-Angkor decorative idiom, known as the Sambor Prei Kuk Style. Some of these elements, including lintels, pediments and colonnades, are true masterpieces. The art and architecture developed here became models for other parts of the region and lay the ground for the unique Khmer style of the Angkor period.
Steung Saen is a municipality, also a district within Kampong Thom Province, in central Cambodia I’m. According to the 1998 census of Cambodia, it had a population of 66,014. Steung Saen means “river of soldiers” in Khmer. Steung means river in Khmer, while Saen is derived from the Sanskrit word Sena, meaning “soldier” [read more].
Samraong is the capital of Oddar Meanchay Province in North-western Cambodia. Samraong is a regional hub that travellers in northwest Cambodia will pass through or use as a base. It is the Cambodian town nearest the O’Smach/Chong Chom border crossing with Thailand. The town in small and nondescript. Notable reference points are the tall, grey Acleda Bank building on the main street and, to its south, the market. See the town on foot. Motodops are willing to drive to the border for about US$10 after haggling. The town offers little except a glimpse of provincial Cambodian life. Heading north on the main street one will come across a pagoda, which is of modern construction, but pretty and set in a traditional square moat. Slightly further north is a lake, which can provide activities such as loafing and swimming for those who don’t need sterile water and chlorine. There are several guesthouses and hotels on the main street near Acleda Bank [read more].
Phnom Penh, at the confluence of the Mekong and the Tonle Sap Rivers, is the capital of Cambodia and its largest city. Despite being liberated from the Khmer Rouge by the Vietnamese in 1979, Phnom Penh has long remained a bit rough. Things are improving, though roads remain shabby, traffic chaotic, and electricity strained. The city is slowly gaining high rise buildings and traffic lights. The beauty that made it a “Paris of the East” before 1970 is unfortunately well hidden, though a few French colonial buildings remain. The wide boulevards and promenades envisaged by the French have become parking spaces and market stalls: pedestrians are not in favour. The most pleasant strolling is to be done along the park-like river front, which hosts cafés and restaurants aplenty. Standard tourist sights are few, which makes the city a place to watch the street life and absorb the local colour. Phnom Penh is a worthwhile destination for those who enjoy an “edgy” experience and can brave the downsides of reckless driving, noise, dust, and perennial theft [read more].