or so long off the tourist trail, visitors began to return to Cambodia in the late 1980s, but were restricted to the capital, Phnom Penh, and a few of the temples of Angkor near Siem Reap. It would be many years before the whole of the country was safe to travel around. In 1999, the remaining Khmer Rouge troops defected to the government side.
The temples of Angkor literally rise out of the jungle and are a magnet for visitors to Cambodia. Angkor Wat is the largest and most famous of the temples, and visitors could easily spend a week exploring the hundreds of other exquisite structures. Phnom Penh is a bustling city, often overshadowed by glamorous Angkor. It is a city of contrasts with fine colonial architecture side by side with ramshackle streets.
Elsewhere, few visitors take the time to discover the hill tribes around Banlung, the unspoilt countryside around sleepy Sen Monorom and the charming riverine town of Battambang with its faded colonial architecture. Those looking for relaxation make their way to Sihanoukville with its lovely sandy beaches and laid-back lifestyle.
With the road network little by little improving, so much more of this delightful country is open to visitors who take the time to discover the Cambodia beyond the temples.