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

Facebook | Google + | Twitter | Pinterest | Photography Blog

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

Read more about Siem Reap

Set in northwest Cambodia, Siem Reap is best known for being home to the incredible Angkor ruins, a sprawling World Heritage-listed complex of ancient temples with the magnificent Angkor Wat as the focal point.

While the Angkor park is surely one of the globe's most amazing historical sites, Siem Reap province is also home to an array of other ruins, such as Beng Mealea, Bantaey Srei, and the holy mountain Phnom Kulen. So if ancient temple ruins are your thing, this province -- an expansive piece of mostly flat land, covered in rice fields and brush -- must be explored fully. It runs along the north shore of the Tonle Sap, Cambodia's "Great Lake", and north to Oddar Meanchey province, where Pol Pot met his end. Few visitors get around to the fringes, even though they are becoming increasingly accessible after many improvements to Cambodia's roads.

The ... Read our complete Siem Reap travel guide

More images

Angkor Dawn Wood Catholic Church, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Main Angkor temples at dawn School along Tonlé Sap, Siem Reap Hidden Apsara at Ta Phrom Apsara Bas Relief Ta Phrom Apsara Cambodia Siem Reap Cambodia kompong khleang Cambodia kompong khleang Cambodia kompong khleang Cambodia kompong khleang Cambodia kompong khleang Cambodia kompong khleang Cambodia kompong khleang Cambodia kompong khleang Cambodia kompong khleang Cambodia kompong khleang Cambodia kompong khleang 365.359/ Pre Rup 365.358/ Boys at Preah Khan 365.357/ Ta Phrom 365.353/ The Bayon 365.342/ Khmer Boy Thốt nốt giữa đồng [ Palm trees within Rice farms] “Just the Two of Us” - Beng Mealea Temple, Angkor Wat, Cambodia Angkor What? Ancient guardian statues at Banteay Srei in Cambodia Cambodian Angkor Air Pre Rup meaning Break time in a hideous corner in Angkor wat An inspired story for photographer [ii] Siem Reap downtown _ A place to gather. 365.273/ Pre Rup 365.272/ Artist at Bayon 365.271/ Prasat Banteay Kdei Candle or soap leaf bucket A view from Upper gallery at Angkor Wat Nokor Wat (នគរវត្ត) Dog is a human being best friend. The child vendor at Srah Srang Temple Jasmine Rice, Siem Riep, Cambodia. A modern Khmer Buddha Head for sales. Moss covered Apsara dancing in stone carving Siem Reap overview 365.205/ Guardian Lion, Pre Rup 365.203/ Couple at Bayon 365.202/ Angkor Wat Lotus Pond 365.201/ Apsara at Preah Khan