If you want to see South-East Asia at its most beguiling, you need to head to Cambodia. Go to watch dawn break over the jungle temples of Angkor (It would take weeks to see all the sights of Angkor), and for the authentic traditions of its villages and laidback capital, Phnom Penh. But also go for its immaculate beaches, and for a new resort that is leading the way in sustainable luxury.
The temples of Angkor have lured travellers to Cambodia for centuries. Watching the sun rise over Angkor Wat, the most impressive of them all, stands alongside viewing the Taj Mahal by moonlight or a dawn visit to the giant rock of Uluru in Australia, in a catalogue of global must-sees.
In the Angkor temples, the two worlds meet. Exuberant carvings depicting scenes from the great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, stand alongside statues of serene bodhisattvas; plinths that once enclosed lingas (phallic representations of Shiva) now support images of the Buddha. Apsaras, the ‘celestial dancers’ of Hindu mythology, have crossed the divide to become a prime element of Khmer Buddhist temple architecture – and indeed something of a national symbol in modern-day Cambodia.