After the fall of the terrifying and violent Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1990s, Cambodia has slowly re-established itself as a popular backpacker and off-the-beaten-path tourist destination. As the region stabilizes, more and more travelers are flocking to the area to marvel at the country’s world famous ancient structures and ruins, as well as explore the many virtually untouched beaches and natural wonders. For anyone heading to South East Asia, these are EscapeHere’s top eight things to see and do in Cambodia:
8. Visit Prasat Preah Vihear
Found on the obscure Thai-Cambodian border, visiting the ancient Hindu temple of Prasat Preah Vihear is akin to attending a field study on Cambodian political history. The temple dates back to the Khmer Empire under Yasovarman I (889-910) and has witnessed everything from centuries of Thai-Cambodian tensions to the modern aggression of the Khmer Rouge; the Communist regime that terrorized Cambodians until the late 1990s. Though heavy with the implications of history (the site is still plagued by patrolling military personnel) the temple is a beautiful example of Hindu architecture devoted, as was common for the time, to the deity Shiva. The stunning location atop the Dangkrek Mountain escarpment gives visitors an unparalleled view of the low country, visible some 550 meters below, and various sets of steps edging the complex and seemingly descending into an unknowable abyss make for one of the most hauntingly beautiful sites in the world.