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Adventure Travel Cambodia, a Shocking History and Smiling Faces

A Bamboo Train in Battambang Cambodia Cambodia is well known as the country of the Khmer Rouge. But it is amazing how the Cambodian people have refound their happiness. Besides that, there are a lot of Adventure Travel opportunities in Cambodia.

Even if you have seen the movie the Killing Fields, only if you visit this country you realize the horror of the Khmer Rouge, that kept Cambodia in its power from 1975 to 1980.

In earlier history, Cambodia was the center of power in South East Asia. The Khmer empire included Birma, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, it's center was the city of Angkor in North West Cambodia.

Remnants of both era's are very visible in the Cambodia of today. The Angkor Wat temple conplex is the largest and best archeological site in the world. But it is the recent history that has more impact: everybody older than 30 has lost family members in the war.

Yet, it is amazing how happy the people are. It is in the nature of the Cambodian people to enjoy life, and be grateful for what they have. Even the temples have smiling faces.

There is a lot to see and do for the Adventure Traveler in Cambodia. The infrastructure is bad, so it is still untouched by tourism, apart from Angkor Wat.

In a hurry? Click here to move down to What's on Offer in Cambodia

Experience the contrast between horror and happiness in Phnom Penh

Mass grave at the Killing FIelds, Cambodia We arrived in Phnom Penh by boat and road from Vietnam. After enjoying the easy pace in one of the back streets, we found out about the horror that took place here nog so long ago.

We visited the Tuol Sleng prison and the killing fields, and watched the movie Killing Fields again in the hostel. Phnom Penh to us was a shocking, but amazing experience, since the Cambodian people are so great.

From Phnom Penh, we take the primitive Cambodian Train to Battambang. We do that to avoid the bad roads, but the railroad isn't much better...

The countryside around Battambang

Battambang is the second largest city in Cambodia. It is not often visited, since it is difficult to reach, and most tourists prefer to stay on the Phnom Penh - Angkor Wat route.

But we get to know Battambang as a nice, laid back place. We explore the city and the countryside. And again, we are confronted with the civil war, when we see the killing caves and hear the stories from our guide.

Yet, the beauty and friendliness of Cambodia are dominant here as well.

Siem Reap and the Angkor Wat Temples

Tree growing on temple in Angkor Wat

From Battambang, we took the boat over Tonle Sap lake to Siem Reap.

This little town is a tourist haven, because of the vicinity to the Angkor Wat temples. But there is much more of interest here.

The landmine museum for instance, another remnant of the civil war. But also a butterfly garden, and other sights.

But as everybody else, we visit Siem Reap especially for the Angkor Wat temples. And we are not disappointed by them.

From the large temple of Angkor Wat itself, via the monastries which are overgrown by the jungle, to the remote decorated temple of Banteay Sprei, everything is beautiful.

If we have to mention one downside, it would be that it's just too much. After three days of visiting temples on the back of a motorbike, we still didn't see everything.

Adventure Travel offers in Cambodia

Because of the bad infrastructure, Cambodia is not an easy country to explore. It may save loads of time to book you adventure travel tours upfront.

Therefore, we have collected some of the best tours available on the web:

GAP Adventures has a number of adventure travel trips in Cambodia, although most of them are a combination with other surrounding countries. But especially the Discover Cambodia 12 day trip is good value, visiting Battambang, Sihanoukville and Kampot besides the obvious Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat. Check out the GAP Adventure Tours in Cambodia.

At Kumuka, check out Cambodia Uncovered, a tour that includes visiting waterfalls and spotting the rare fresh water dolphins in Kratie. They also have a cycle trip in Cambodia, and some other trips. All of the trips visit Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat. You can find an overview of their tours here.

Responsible Travel searches for inspriring holidays from different tour operators, often local. The common denominator is that the tours need to make a difference to the local people and/or the environment. Their selection of responsible tours in Cambodia can be found here.

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