Cambodia: The Land of Smiles!

Cambodia:  The Land of Smiles!

Cambodia: The Land of Smiles!

"The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie." - Agnes de Mille

Welcome to the Kingdom of Cambodia!

After two months in Vietnam it was time to say goodbye. Departing from Hanoi I flew into Saigon and then connected onward to Siem Reap, Cambodia, the gateway town to Angkor Wat, the largest religious structure in the world.

Siem Reap is both the tourist and transportation hub of Cambodia. Contrasted against the historical ruins of Angkor Wat (about three kilometers south of the temples), it is a modern town with many western amenities.

“Pub Alley” is the main street in Siem Reap that features Western style restaurants and bars. Every evening the Temple Bar features an Apsara dance show where I photographed this performer. It was very difficult to photograph the show due to the poor lighting.

Apsara dance is the traditional Cambodian dance that was practiced in the royal palaces. This traditional dance almost went extinct during the bloody reign of the Khmer Rouge.

The Khmer dance is characterized by intricate finger and body movements (i.e. flexibility) which usually convey a story or message.

Even though Thailand markets itself as “The Land of Smiles,” I would have to say Cambodia embodies that slogan. Everywhere I went I was always welcomed with a warm smile and gracious hospitality, taking into account the country’s tragic history, I found this truly amazing.

Join me on my photo tour of Cambodia!

Check back for more of my adventures in Cambodia! More photos in the comment section.

Happy Travels!

Text and photo copyright by ©Sam Antonio Photography

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Taken on: 23rd May, 2012. Copyright: All Rights Reserved - See Sam Antonio Photography's page of Flickr

Read more about Angkor

Cambodia's Angkor is, quite simply, one of the most splendid attractions in all of Southeast Asia. Long considered "lost", the ruins of Angkor were never really lost to the Khmers, who have used the monuments as religious sites throughout their history.

The myth of "The Lost Ruins of Angkor" is more suited to an Angelina Jolie film than the history books. The story more or less begins with their being "rediscovered" by Western explorers in the 19th century, beginning with the French botanist Henri Mahout who stumbled across Angkor Wat in 1860. Few remember though that Mahout was led to the site by a Khmer guide and that when he arrived, he found a flourishing Buddhist monastery within the temple grounds.

During the Khmer Rouge period, the ruins were largely left to their own devices.Like most Khmers, even Pol Pot was unable to shake the power of the site, saying in 1977, "If our people can make Angkor, they can make anything."

Never lost, lost then ... Read our complete Angkor travel guide

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