Cambodia was not on my bucket list for very long. The moment I thought about Cambodia, I booked my trip.

After a long connection of eight hours I was thrilled to land on a green patch of earth, sunny and open sky so soothingly inviting to lay my body in its indigo lap and get cuddled by the soft and slow breeze blowing on my face. That was my arrival experience from the aircraft to the arrival hall. A well organized airport of Siem Reap welcomed herd of tourists arriving from various parts of the world to explore the architectural and cultural beauty of Cambodia. The most humble greetings and genuine innocent smiles gave me a feeler of how my rest of the days on this trip will unfold. Cambodians are the humblest people on the earth I have encountered so far during my travel. Siem Reap offered me all that my soul aspires to find when I travel. Pristine water bodies around the city, large forest lands, walking around the floating villages, boating on flooded forests, cycling around the town, watching calm sunrises and energetic sunsets satiated the wander lust well within me. It is quite laid back town and pleasantly ideal place for slow traveler like me. French colonial architecture still dominates the street scape at Siem Reap.  Discovery of magnificent remains of the Khmer civilization at Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom  indulged me to spend 70% of my travel time to revel into the history and made me revisit these sites numerous times and yet yearn for more discovery each visit.
Simple, hospitable, helpful and genuine people of  Cambodia definitely are one of the major reason how fast the tourism in this country  is growing year on year. Today Cambodia is on most of the travelers bucket list.
dsc02567Angkor Thom-Bayon Temple

Bayon is a mesmerizing 12th century temple showing vivid scenes of everyday life in  Cambodia. The scenes depicted are from civil war, Khmer circus & Khmer kingdom. The ruined building has numerous smiling faces symbolizing the elegance and dignity.

dsc01970-1Buddhist Monk in Angkor Wat Temple

Monks in their vivid colored saffron robes, provide a striking contrast against the sandstone of Angkor temples, making it an interesting subject for photography. They can be spotted in temples and pagodas by the altars praying. I spotted this one trying to open  a Can of Coke.

DSC02971.jpgTa Phrom Temple

The famous Tomb Rider temple, largely left to the clutches of the living jungle is heavily ruined. With its dynamic interaction between nature and man made art, this atmospheric temple presents a great gopuras -domes intertwined with large roots of sung trees

dsc02797Khmer Child of Cambodia

Those instances when I kept complaining about trivial things that didn’t add to a sum in my normal routine, they vanished when I saw the state of these people. Cambodia makes you realize what’s truly important in life. No wonder Angelina Jolie was touched and adopted a Khmer kid after her movie stint. Witnessing how difficult their life is enough to encourage you to do well on your own.

dsc02324Kompong Phlouk Floating Village

If you want to get out of the touristy Siem Reap then head to one of the nearby floating villages and glimpse into traditional fishermen’s lives. The two closest ones are Kompong Phlouk and Kompong Khleang, the second being the less touristy of the two.

DSC02817.jpgPristine Lakes of Siem Reap

Siem Reap is more than just Angkor Wat. Pristine lakes and clear waters around Cambodia gives you ample opportunities to take renewal breaks from temple walks round the day and enjoy the lazy lifestyle of Cambodian culture.

dsc02643Natural Expanse and lovely sunrise scenes
dsc02900Banteay Srei Temple

A Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, is wonderfully well preserved and many of its carvings are three-dimensional. The temple is believed to be built by a woman as the carvings are supposedly too fine for the hand of a man. A brahman tutor of king Jayavarman commissioned this temple.

DSC02462.jpgOld and strong Trees

Deep in lush jungles of Siem Reap, a massive 700 years old city embodies many such trees in the complex of Angkor Wat that has spread its wings to millions of travelers to rest and enjoy the subtle wind that blows beneath its bosom.

Is Cambodia on your travel bucket list?