Like most foreign visitors, we went to Cambodia—the second stop on our eight-month 2014–2015 trip through Southeast Asia—to see the magnificent 12th-century temple complex of Angkor Wat. We had the luxury of exploring it in bits and pieces over many days, to avoid the worst heat and tourist crowds. But we also enjoyed our experiences of present-day Cambodia, including festivals, tours in the countryside around Siem Reap, artisans reviving traditional crafts, and vibrant riverfront life in the capital, Phnom Penh.

When we visited

October to November 2014

Major stops

Siem Reap area, Angkor Wat, Tonle Sap Lake, Phnom Penh

Memorable Moment

Riding to Angkor Wat in the dark before dawn in a small, open tuk-tuk and then watching the sun rise over the temple ruins

Did you know?

Relatively few people in Cambodia are the same age as Melissa (born in 1975). Much of her cohort perished in the widespread famine and mass murder orchestrated by the Khmer Rouge regime, which killed about a quarter of Cambodia’s population between 1975 and 1979.

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