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Short Stories

Cambodia
by DeAnne Trompeter Appleby

Cambodia offers a pleasant landscape, friendly people and some fantastic sights.

Cambodia has had its share of grief and unrest, first with the Vietnam War and then the Khmer Rouge. But since 1979, the people of Cambodia have worked diligently to rebuild and modernize their cities, and to establish their country as a productive addition to the world economy and an important tourist destination.

In the capital city of Phnom Penh, the modern buildings and wide, bustling streets demonstrate an up-and-coming city that takes pride in its heritage and culture. The city is well organized with plenty of amenities for locals and visitors.

A trip to the local government center reveals a wonderful array of well-kept buildings constructed in the ancient, traditional Cambodian style.

A visit to the capital city also gives visitors a chance to experience Cambodia’s recent past. A tour of Toulsleng S21, a school converted to a concentration camp during the Khmer Rouge, and Cheuong Ek “Killing Fields,” a short distance from the city, reveal past tragedies experienced by the Cambodian people.

The newly improved tourist city of Siem Reap offers visitors wonderful accommodations to eat, sleep, shop and relax. A visit to Siem Reap should include a tour of the fabulous, ancient temples of Angkor. Angkor is the old capital city of the ruling dynasty in southeast Asia from the seventh to the fourteenth centuries. During that time, kings ordered the construction of hundreds of temple complexes and other important buildings within Angkor. Many of these temple complexes remain intact and can be explored by visitors.




Bayon Temple complex consists of numerous soaring stone monoliths with huge faces carved on the sides. It has a tremendous labyrinth of rooms and hallways in its depths, containing intricately carved pillars.




Ta Prohm Temple complex has been partially invaded by the large, surrounding jungle, and many of its ancient temples and hallways have been engulfed by the roots of huge, towering trees. These trees thrive in the hot, moist environment and continue to send out huge roots to surround and engulf the remaining structures.



At the edge of Angkor is the well-known funerary temple complex called Angkor Wat. This temple complex is wonderfully preserved. It was constructed in a nested pattern of large courtyards, surrounded by a huge moat, and is in the midst of a preserved forest. The inner temples can be reached after navigating through the outer courtyards, which contain fascinating wall frescoes and carved pillars.




Traditionally, a sunrise viewing reveals the main temple perfectly revealed in the huge reflecting pools just outside the main temple walls. In the inner temple courtyard, steep staircases limit access to the upper reaches and the five main temples.













The locals take great pride in their ancestry and the fantastic remnants of that era. Cambodia is a wonderful place to visit and experience these fabulous ruins, and to meet the friendly people.

To view more great photos of Cambodia and Southeast Asia, visit our web site any time at www. applebyarts.com.



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