Cambodian people are very warm and welcoming and still suffering from past interference by the French, U.S.A., China, Vietnam and the enemy within: Khmer Rouge. Men and women in their 50’s are visibly missing from the population as more than a million were killed in the 70’s by Khmer Rouge in an attempt to restructure the society.
By the year 2000, Cambodia seemed to have become stable. We took a trip in December 2001, keeping in mind the danger of land mines, snakes and other uncertainties. It turned out to be a fantastic trip. Our main destination was the ancient city of Angkor, so we flew to Siem Reap which is a small town at the edge of the ancient city.
The Angkorian era began around 800 A.D., the Khmer Empire achieved a lot in administration of population (in fact Angkor was the second city in human civilization to reach a population of one million after Rome) as well as brilliance in architecture and sculpture.
There are about 100 temples and palaces in a 600-sq-kilometer area in the city of Angkor. Bayon, Angkor Wat and Thom, and my personal favourite Banteay Srei, are among humanity’s most magnificent architectural achievements.
Angkor city was deserted abruptly around 13th century for no known reason and became a myth, as Lost City of Angkor, until it was confirmed to be real, more than 500 years later in the 1860’s by the French.