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Ever considered taking a river cruise through Sout30/9-18 (13:13)
More Brits are choosing river cruises for an annual holiday: last year saw a 21 per cent increase in people floating down a waterway for their holiday than the year before.

Many of those who have taken a European river cruise are now trying something more adventurous. In particular, bespoke boats along Southeast Asian rivers are all the rage.

It’s easy to see why – it is an extremely civilized way to take in the unfamiliar sights, tastes and smells of the towns, cities and countryside that line iconic rivers such as The Mekong, Ganges, Yangtze, and Irrawaddy.
One advantage of an all-inclusive river cruise is getting to see so much. On a coastal cruise, you’re often crossing miles of open sea with a few thousand other folk and a focus more on the ship than on where you are in the world. Whereas on these smaller riverboats you’re constantly amid a changing shore scene and literally nearer the water and land. Often travellers’ favourite South-east Asian river cruise pastime is sitting on a wooden steamer-chair on deck, passing floating markets, fishing boats, farms, and significant architecture as they glide along.

The scale is so much smaller than an ocean cruise – typically well under 100 guests – so trips ashore are more manageable and engaging with locals and fellow travellers is easier.

The fabled Mekong river is a good place to start. Stretching roughly 2,700 miles from its origin in Tibet, it travels through the Himalayas and southern China, into Southeast Asia and along the borders of Laos, Burma, Thailand and then into Cambodia, reaching the South China Sea via Vietnam. No wonder it's the setting for a number of operators' river cruises.

A popular choice is to fly into Siem Reap, Cambodia, to visit the splendid tangle of ruins and jungle of Angkor Wat, before embarking on a cruise down through Cambodia and Vietnam.

Travelling through Cambodia’s farmland, villages and cities means you’re as likely to hop off for an ox-cart ride – learning how land is farmed and watching local silversmiths at work – as you are to visit the ornate royal palaces, pagodas and Khmer culture of capital Phnom Penh.
In Vietnam, you might visit floating markets and watch water buffalo grazing in this rice-growing region.

In Laos, Singapore Airlines can fly you in to the capital Vientiane, or the country’s ancient Buddhist capital of Luang Prabang, where river cruises can be booked along the Mekong.

Many itineraries allow land travel or internal flights before you take to the river. Singapore Airlines flies direct to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, but equally, it can fly you to Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi, from where some itineraries start.
You’ll often arrive in one country and leave from another, and many operators tack on extras from Thai beach sojourns to additional city exploration from Bangkok to Beijing, offering guides, transfers and meals, either as a tailor-made trip or a set tour.

You then return home from whatever final city you’re in – Singapore Airlines covers the whole of South-east Asia and more.

In Myanmar, as yet unspoilt by mass tourism, Singapore Airlines can fly you into Yangon or Mandalay, where you can pick up a river cruise on the mighty Irrawaddy.

A seven-night cruise to Bagan will take in the city’s extraordinary temples, which can be seen in stunning glory from hot air balloons, as well as the fishermen of vast Inle Lake, who still use ancient fishing methods today.

Whichever Southeast Asian river cruise you pick, the uniting features are of a sense of calm and being able to see the real country. And the beauty is you can fly into one country to begin and leave from somewhere entirely different, giving that satisfying feeling of having been on a journey.

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Bodybuilding competition enters finale29/6-18 (12:21)
Cambodia has already started to reap success on the podium, as the 15th Southeast Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championships and Congress enters its finale in Siem Reap this weekend.

Athletes from across the region have descended on Siem Reap marking the first time the Kingdom has hosted the event.

Cambodia’s Nom Sobin walked away with the gold in the Men’s Athletic Physique Up-to-170 cm, in the Men’s Sports Physique: Up-to-170 cm category, Sambo Sophorn claimed gold, while in the Men’s Athletic Physique Over 175 cm, Keo Samnang, also scored a gold medal. As of yesterday, the hosts have collected three golds among an assortment of bronze.

Organisers are hopeing to show Cambodia as a modern, dynamic country capable and welcoming of international events and tourists.

Mr Rasmey Sokmongkol, President of the Cambodian Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation said he was eager to show the world that the kingdom could host international competition.

“I wanted to show the world that Cambodia can and will host such events, said Mr. Sokmongkol in his opening address Tuesday.

“Cambodia can hold these championships. Cambodia can do it. This was three years in the making and I just want to thank all who has backed us and shown their support. This wouldn’t have been possible without you. Over time, all the other nations promised to bring a big team and I wanted to thank all but especially Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar who have sent big teams to compete.”

While the Cambodian Bodybuilding Federation had previously attracted little support from the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, in recent years the committee has begun to realise the dedication and ability of the kingdom’s growing band of bodybuilders.

It was also announced that next year’s competition will be hosted in Myanmar.

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Cambodia, The Home of Angkor Vat, has potential to7/6-18 (11:13)
The home of the holy Angkor Vat temple, Cambodia is fast on its way to being developed as the Fifth Dhaam (pilgrim spot) of Hindus. A major initiative in this direction has been taken by Shailesh Hiranandani of SRAM MRAM Ltd., in step with the campaign of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The effort of holding a grand event to promote the cause was lauded by member of the RSS national committee Indresh Kumar, as he witnessed the huge congregation in Cambodia on May 31. Appreciating the efforts made, Kumar said that with a shrine as revered as Angkor Vat & mountain Kulen Cambodia deserved to be the fifth pilgrim spot for Hindus. He also stressed awareness about the glorious heritage and spread of Hindu values.

On the occasion, Founder of SRAM MRAM Ltd. Shailesh Hiranandani said, "Tourists from all over the world visit Cambodia to experience the mystic charm of Angkor Vat temple. There is a lot in Cambodia that defines Hinduism. It is commendable the way support is being extended from various quarters to the initiative of turning Cambodia into the fifth pilgrim place of Hindus."

It is noteworthy that to organise the event that was attended by Hindu followers from a number of countries across the world, 500 acres land had been acquired and 1,008 Shivalingas with different names were installed. Chief guest Indresh Kumar said after the Bhumi Pujan that with such extensive preparation, the day was not far when Cambodia could be recognised as the fifth Hindu dhaam.

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Siem Reap and Kampot among nation’s cleanest2/3-18 (06:16)
The cities of Battambang, Kampot, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap, Kep, Kampong Cham, in addition to Doun Penh, a district of Phnom Penh, all received the top accolade, three romdul flowers, in the second edition of the country’s Clean City Contest.

In total, judges recognized 38 cities, which were awarded either three, two or one romdul flower.

Established in 2015, when the first iteration of the competition took place, the Clean City Contest valuate cities on the basis of cleanliness, waste management, urban planning, as well as public health and safety.

Speaking during the closing ceremony of the Ministry of Tourism’s annual conference yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen highlighted the importance of this competition for the local tourism industry.

“The winners of the contest are not only contributing to increasing standards of service and cleanliness. They are also promoting Cambodia abroad as a top tourism destination,” the premier said.

In his speech, Mr Hun Sen said clean cities are a bridge for cultural exchanges as they are visited by people from all over the world.

He urged attendants to prioritise sustainable development, particularly through the construction of enabling infrastructure, the correct management of buildings and proper garbage disposal.

“All cities must build the right infrastructure and develop the necessary tourism products and services to cater to every tourist, including people with disabilities, old people, pregnant women and children. This is in line with Asean’s ‘Tourism for All’ policy.”

Mr Hun Sen also reminded ministry officials of the importance of developing the aviation sector and increasing the country’s air linkages with neighbouring and distant countries.

“We need to enhance air connectivity and widen the tourism offer. With the expected surge in tourism in years to come, making our cities clean and safe, while increasing cultural amenities and entertainment, is an absolute priority.”

Tourism Minister Thong Khon also lavished praise on the competition.

“The aim of the contest is to prompt local authorities to clean their cities and improve public services,” Mr Khon said.

“The competition will also help us be on par with Asean tourism standards.”

Last month, three Cambodian cities – Battambang, Kep and Siem Reap – received the Asean clean tourism award at the Asean Tourism Forum 2018, held in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Ho Vandy, secretary general of Cambodian National Tourism Alliance and president of World Express Tour and Travel Company, said the Clean City Contest will jolt authorities, private sector and citizens into action.

“It is an alert message to authorities and people in each city. They need to make their surroundings clean and green if they want their cities to develop sustainably,” Mr Vandy said.

“Clean and green cities have the greatest tourism potential.”

Mr Vandy had a suggestion for the government to increase cleanliness standards across the nation.

“I would like to suggest a national day where everyone gets together to clean up garbage from cities, villages, and tourism sites around the country.

“If we all take on the habit of cleaning up our surroundings regularly, tourists won’t be welcomed by dirty streets when they visit our country.”

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China signs new aid agreements with Cambodia11/1-18 (14:10)
Cambodia and China signed 19 aid and investment pacts on Thursday in the latest sign of their strengthening relationship as Cambodia turns further away from Western donors.

China is Cambodia’s biggest aid donor and its backing has bolstered Hun Sen in the face of criticism over what his opponents have said amounts to his destruction of democracy ahead of an election this year.

The agreements, whose value was not disclosed, were signed after talks between China’s Premier Li Keqiang and his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen.

They included one between the Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation and China Development Bank (CDB) for a loan for a new airport in Siem Reap province, and another deal to build a highway from Phnom Penh to the beach resort of Sihanoukville, already a hub of Chinese investment.

Cambodia’s Royal Group of Companies and China Great Wall Industry Corporation agreed to launch the southeast Asian nation’s first communications satellite. Other deals included soft loans for electricity supply and support for agriculture.

Li and Hun Sen also discussed how to encourage Chinese tourists to visit Cambodia and exports of sugar to China, Eang Sophalleth, an aide to Hun Sen, said.

Li told Hun Sen that China had another aid pledge of more than 1.2 billion yuan ($184 million) for other projects, Eang Sophalleth said.

Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry said bilateral trade would reach $6 billion by 2020.

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Angkor Wat Crowned the Best UNESCO World Heritage 2/12-17 (11:47)
Angkor Wat of Cambodia came out on top of the list of the best UNESCO world heritage sites, according to a news release from TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site.

“Angkor Wat has previously been named the number 1 best landmark in the world list and is the number 1 thing to do in Siem Reap on the TripAdvisor site,” it underlined.

Taj Mahal in Agra, India, won the second place followed by Great Wall, China; Machu Picchu, Peru; Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil; Sassi of Materia, Italy; Auschwitz, Poland; Old City of Jerusalem, Israel; Historic areas of Istanbul, Turkey; and Historic Krakow, Poland.

Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 400 square kilometres, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations. UNESCO has set up a wide-ranging programme to safeguard this symbolic site and its surroundings, listed as a World Heritage Site in 1992.

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Levi’s opens second store in Siem Reap10/10-17 (21:38)
Levi’s recently opened its second store in Siem Reap, and sixth in Cambodia, near the town’s Old Market. Levi’s is distributed by DKSH, a leading global distribution company based in 36 countries with a focus on Asia. It is committed to serving Levi’s customers in Cambodia.

Luxury and lifestyle is a business segment of DKSH’s consumer goods business unit, which distributes and provides market expansion services for Western high-end and lifestyle watches, accessories and apparel, and household luxury goods across Asia.

With consumers increasingly becoming more sophisticated and knowledgeable, the demand for luxury and lifestyle products is on the rise, especially in Asia. DKSH has also been the sole franchisee and distributor of Levi’s products in Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos since 2010, focussing on young men and women.

“Our target customer is aged 20 and up, middle to upper class, and looking for jeans with a great fit and finish,” said Chhor Yi Eung, fashion apparel manager for Levi’s in Cambodia.

On October 5, Levi’s celebrated the grand opening of its first stand-alone store in Siem Reap, located near Old Market Square. The opening marks its sixth store in Cambodia — four in Phnom Penh and two in Siem Reap.

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Coffee giant Starbucks to open Siem Reap store5/8-17 (07:02)
Starbucks will open its first store in Siem Reap this month, with the local franchisee of the US coffee giant preparing to unveil an outlet in the city’s international airport, the company said in a press release yesterday.

The Siem Reap branch will be the sixth Starbucks store in Cambodia and the first to be located outside of Phnom Penh. Starbucks has been expanding its presence in Southeast Asia.

The company opened its first location in Cambodia in October 2016, and has over 1,000 stores in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

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Cambodia to expand World Heritage status18/4-17 (15:35)
18 April 2017: Cambodia will summit a request to UNESCO to consider Battambang, Kratie, and Kampot as candidates for the prestigious World Heritage list by mid-June this year.
Agence Kampuchea Presse reported that the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts confirmed submissions are being finalised that will be presented mid year to UNESCO.
The submissions will be presented when Cambodia hosts the International Conference on Sustainable Tourism and Heritage Cities in Siem Reap, 10 to 15 June.
The State for Tourism secretary, Tith Chantha, was quoted saying the three towns have considerable colonial architecture heritage, and a high potential to attract tourists, but they need preservation.
“The three cities are considered secondary tourist destinations in Cambodia, after Siem Reap, home to the Angkor World Heritage Site,” he said.
Battambang is Cambodia’s second most populous town and a popular tourist destination due to nearby ancient temples, Buddhist shrines and a bamboo railway.
Located in the east of Cambodia, Kratie is a small town on the banks of Mekong River. A stretch of the river north of town is home to a group of rare Irrawaddy dolphins. The dolphins are the town’s main tourist attraction.
Kampot is a quiet riverside town, just a few kilometers from the Gulf of Thailand. It offers plentiful historical and natural wonders to discover and serves as a common gateway to Bokor National Park, the beaches of Kep, the beautiful rapids of Teuk Chhou and other attractions in southwestern Cambodia. It was a provincial administration centre for French colonials, which gave the city its distinct architecture and town layout. Cambodia already has three World Heritage sites on UNESCO lists.

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Ankor Wat11/3-17 (10:38)
Länge har jag väntat och planerat detta besök så förväntningarna var skyhöga. Men Angkor Wat levde upp till detta och mycket mer. Att templet är imponerande kan man se från alla bilder men att uppleva dess faktiska storlek tog andan ur en. Ett av dessa ställen i världen som man bör se för att kunna förstå vilket enormt rike Khmer riket varit medan Europa knappt byggt upp sina nuvarande storstäder. Ta god tid på dig, promenera runt, sätt dig ner (det finns alltid ett lugnt hörn bortom turistmassorna). Titta riktigt noga på de enorma relieferna längs väggarna som beskriver mycket av historien runt Ankor såväl som vardagslivet runt templen.

Att se soluppgången med Ankor Wat i förgrunden är en upplevelse.
Man behöver inte var där när det fortfarande är mörkt som det beskrivs i många reseskildringar. Solen går upp 06:30 och lyser upp templet men själva solen visar sig först vid 07:05.
Det som imponerade på mig var den precision som stenblocken staplats med. passningen mellan blocken syns knappt och man får inte ens in ett tunt papper eller nagel emellan. Att stå i kö för att klättra upp till högsta punkten är väl värt mödan.
Utsikten i alla väderstreck är slående. Kuriosa är att alla byggnader i Siem Reap är byggda så att de inte får bli högre än Ankor Wat.
Notera också att den kostnad för besökspasset som man stött på vid sökningar på nätet inte stämmer.
En dagars pass kostar 37$ och tre dagars 62$.

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Angkor Wat11/3-17 (10:27)
Länge har jag väntat och planerat detta besök så förväntningarna var skyhöga. Men Angkor Wat levde upp till detta och mycket mer. Att templet är imponerande kan man se från alla bilder men att uppleva dess faktiska storlek tog andan ur en. Ett av dessa ställen i världen som man bör se för att kunna förstå vilket enormt rike Khmer riket varit medan Europa knappt byggt upp sina nuvarande storstäder. Ta god tid på dig, promenera runt, sätt dig ner (det finns alltid ett lugnt hörn bortom turistmassorna). Titta riktigt noga på de enorma reliferna längs väggarna som beskriver mycket av historien runt Ankor såväl som vardagslivet runt templena

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The Can’t-Miss Culinary Attraction 28/1-17 (10:43)
Imagine a crispy, fried spring roll. It has that characteristic crunch on the outside, a nice, firm salad inside with something else, something a little nutty, and then—pop!—a quick note of acidity that brings the flavors together. It’s delicious. This is not my first time eating red ants, or weaver ants, in Cambodia, but it is by far one of the best uses of the brief acidic explosion one gets upon eating them.
I am at Bugs Cafe in Siem Reap, Cambodia, a popular restaurant near the night market. I am sitting with the co-owner outside right as the restaurant opens for the evening, and immediately a family with three children in primary school enters. Then another family with children in their teens. Then a few women in their thirties come in together. The success of this restaurant is immediately clear, and I dig into the interview to find out more about what makes this restaurant touting entomophagy so popular that I had been receiving tips to go eat there from the time I entered Asia in early November.
Bugs Cafe was born when co-owner Marjolaine Blouzard was working at a nearby hotel in Siem Reap. The hotel patrons kept asking her for restaurant suggestions where they could try eating insects, popular in Cambodian cuisine. At the time, there were no restaurants catering to this kind of need. (Cambodians tend to cook and eat insects at home instead of eating them at restaurants.) While the night market has a selection of vendors selling deep fried insects, the tourists wanted something more traditional: insects in a meal, not as a greasy snack on the roadside.
Marjolaine joined forces with her cousin David Blouzard, and they set off around Cambodia, looking for suppliers and tastes that they would want to incorporate into their restaurant. Marjolaine and David found a Khmer chef, Seiha Soeun, who was interested in cooking for the restaurant, and Bugs Cafe was opened in July of 2014.
The flavors on the menu reflect the different nationalities of the co-owners (French) and the chef (Cambodian). You can order Cambodian spring rolls stuffed with ants, like I did, or try them in a Mediterranean Feuillete (a flaky pastry puff roll). This gives customers the chance to try insects in a way that is familiar and Western if they so desire or to try for more traditional Khmer flavors.
David is proud of his Bug Mac, which took work to get the ratios just right. This is a bug-patty that has the same consistency of a hamburger. His favorite item on the menu, though, is the deep-fried tarantulas. As I trail him when he introduces his guests to their meals, he assures them the tarantulas taste like soft shell crab. His top suggestion to tables of hesitant backpackers is the discovery platter, which features a variety of different insect tapas for groups to sample.
I sit down with a group of travelers to ask them what they think. It is a group of mixed nationalities, from the United States, Canada, and France. For every person in the group, it is their first time trying insects. One member says she still isn’t ready to try yet, while her friends cut a fried tarantula thorax in half and record video while they eat. Down the table, one of the travelers, Oscar, is delicately cutting legs off another tarantula and popping them into his mouth, and he tells me that eating insects is, “kinda crazy. I don’t feel the taste, mostly the texture.”
At Bugs Cafe, the insects and non-insect arthropods (including tarantulas and scorpions) are sourced from farmers in the countryside, who catch the arthropods themselves in their rice fields or in the forests surrounding where they live. These are insects they themselves eat at home. When I ask about the famous ant eggs I keep hearing about but haven’t been able to get my hands on, co-owner David laughs and says that he also has never seen them at the market, mostly because he believes they are such a delicacy that farmers do not sell them but rather eat them themselves.
Because of the seasonality of insects, at some times the restaurant cannot serve certain bugs. I am disappointed to find that grasshopper season has just ended, as I had eaten some exceptional grasshoppers in Laos a few weeks prior and wanted to try them again in Cambodia.
While David and I are talking, a Cambodian woman comes up with a tote bag full of tourist maps, which feature Bugs Cafe on them. Besides some small side advertising, like the map and an advertisement in a local flyer, Bugs Cafe is predominantly marketed online through reviews. When I sit down to talk to a table of customers, a woman doubtfully eyeballing her tarantula thorax informs me they came after seeing the restaurant on TripAdvisor.
David and I come back around to the main question: How did this restaurant become so popular? As David points out, the restaurant feels familiar in that it has Western décor and appears modern. As we are seated outside, he also jumps up frequently to chat with prospective clients who are flipping through the menu set up on a podium outside. He has a practiced spiel that is friendly and informative but not overbearing, which presumably also helps customers feel welcome. I chat with an expat named Thomas from France who comes by the restaurant frequently, and he corroborates: “[Bugs Cafe] makes more complete food than street food. … [It] has a good environment.” As we look around the packed restaurant, it is pretty clear that entomophagy is gaining ground in Cambodia, one ant spring roll at a time.
Laura Kraft is a recent graduate from the University of Georgia who is taking a year off to travel the world before returning home to start a Ph.D. program in the fall of 2017.

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Festival of India in Cambodia8/1-17 (09:13)
A Festival of India is being organised in Cambodia from January 10 to February 16, 2017. The activities of the Festival include Ramayana Performance, Rajasthani Folk Music and Classical Dance by Dance Group plus Manganiyar Group.

A Buddhist Mahotsav – Exhibition titled Dhamma Darshana - to explore the life, teachings and important events connected with Lord Buddha and Photo Exhibition on Buddhist religious/heritage sites in India will also be hosted. To complete the experience, a Food Festival will also be held.

The Festival events are being showcased in three cities of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang in Cambodia.

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Domestic Tourism Nearly Doubles in 10 Years30/12-16 (08:23)
DECEMBER 30, 2016

Growing steadily at a rate of 5 to 7 percent a year, the number of domestic tourists has nearly doubled over the past 10 years, new statistics from the Tourism Ministry show.

Home-grown tourists are estimated to reach about 10 million this year, boosted by travelers making multiple trips, according to preliminary data collected by the ministry’s statistics department. That is an increase of about 7 percent compared to last year.

Siem Reap—which draws millions of visitors annually to cultural landmarks such as Angkor Wat, Tonle Sap lake and the Cambodian Cultural Village theme park—was one of the top three destinations for locals, along with Phnom Penh, which hosted the Water Festival last month, and Sihanoukville, the site of last week’s Sea Festival, said Kong Sopheareak, the department’s director. The ministry counted about 5.8 million local tourists in 2007.

Kim Sereiroth, director of the tourism department, said increasing development and diversification of tourist attractions, as well as better infrastructure and accessibility to sites, had contributed to a boom in local visitors.

“In the past, there were fewer local tourists traveling. But with more nature parks and other tourist sites developed, people like to travel outside of their own provinces more and more,” he said, adding that Phnom Penh residents made up a majority of the burgeoning local market.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said rising incomes and public safety had whetted Cambodians’ desire to travel.

“Stable economic growth leads to better incomes. Therefore, they want to explore more of their own country,” she said.

She also said that most residents like to travel independently, but domestic package tours were popular for company trips or for garment workers who wanted to travel in groups without having to arrange their own accommodation.

Though comparable data estimating numbers through the end of this year are not available for international tourists, growth in the domestic market contrasts with a slowdown in international tourism.

The number of international visitor numbers continues to grow, but the annual increases have become smaller. In 2012, the number of international visitors saw 24.4 percent year-on-year growth, a figure that has steadily dropped, reaching 6.1 percent last year.

The number of international visitor numbers continues to grow, but the annual increases have gotten smaller. The increase in 2012, for example, was 24 percent less than the increase the previous year. For the 12 months through October, about 4.9 million foreign tourists visited the country, a growth of just under 6 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.

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Water Festival4/11-16 (17:12)
This year’s Water Festival is set to be slightly scaled back, says Siem Reap’s provincial deputy governor, Kim Chhaihieng.

Last year, Siem Reap’s celebrations drew more than 80,000 visitors from across Cambodia, including those unable to attend the Phnom Penh events, which Prime Minister Hun Sen cancelled, citing drought. This year, Siem Reap will hold a two-day festival – on November 13 and 14 – to allow people in other provinces to spend the third day in the capital.

“This year, I think the number of visitors may be much less,” Chhaiheng says. “Even so, we still have people from the provinces around us.”

The Siem Reap festivities – which were last cancelled in 2013 due to flooding – will not be affected by water levels, he adds.

The provincial authority is already hanging up decorative lights around town in anticipation of the arrivals. Siem Reap hosts 30 boats that carry racers from Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey and Oddar Meanchey provinces, as well as a fireworks show. The event will require the mobilisation of about 500 provincial and military police.

“The process of the celebration is the same no matter where we celebrate it,” Chhaihieng says.

Siem Reap’s festivities will include three additional ceremonies: illuminated boats (loy pratip), the moon salutation (sampeas preah khe), and a traditional meal of freshly harvested rice served with banana or coconut juice (ork ambok).

At about 7pm on both nights – after the races – the illuminated boats will float down the river, equipped with thousands of flashy neon lights arranged in different colours and patterns – many representing state institutions.

Chhaihieng recalls the festival’s rich history: it is celebrated each year to honour the victory of the Angkorian navy over Champa during the reign of Jayavarman VII. But it also represents something simpler, he explains.

“The festival also shows the gratitude toward the water for its fish, and for [fertile] fields,” he says. “And for giving happiness to our people in their livelihood.”

It’s certainly true for Hul Bopha, the mother of three girls. She says Water Festival is not only an important family tradition, its a serious economic boon to Siem Reap.

“My children told me they can see these views only once a year, so they’re always excited,” she says. “It really helps to refresh their mood.”

“It is also a good occasion for the sellers: they can earn a lot more money selling things during the festival,” Bopha adds

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Concert to benefit humanitarian work2/11-16 (06:35)
"Colors of Autumn…a concert for Cambodia" is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, Caldwell United Methodist Church, 8504 Caldwell Road, Mukwonago.

Celebrate the season with a mix of familiar and contemporary texts in traditional and modern musical settings spanning English, Italian, Hebrew and Native American songs. Free admission. A freewill offering will be taken to help fund Wisconsin residents' ongoing community development and humanitarian projects in Siem Reap Province, northwest Cambodia.

In 16 years, the church has built 97 wells and 39 toilets, and provided piglets and pigpens, fruit tree seedlings and vegetable seeds, domestic hygiene and sanitation education and training, and first aid supplies and first aid training, and funded 12 students to university.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to shop imported Cambodian items such as silk, jewelry, carved wood and stone and novelty items.

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Oktoberfest in Siem Reap7/10-16 (12:45)
From now until October 31, visitors to Siem Reap can please their taste buds with delicious beer while enjoying live music daily from 7pm till late for Oktoberfest.

This year The Ten Bells, Banana leaf and The Grey are proud to bring a part of German culture to Cambodia with Oktoberfest. This festival, dedicated to beer, is the largest folk festival in the world.

Every year the event attracts more than six millions visitors to Germany, including many foreigners who wish to celebrate in good spirits and drink a good glass of Oktoberfest beer. Since 2000, tourists come increasingly to Oktoberfest in traditional Bavarian clothes – Lederhose for men and Dirndl for women.

During the month of October, locals, expats and foreign visitors to Siem Reap are welcome to celebrate this famous festival and benefit from special promotions with two selected beer brands: San Miguel and Oettinger.

Everyone is welcome to celebrate with beer at:

The Ten Bells: West Alley corner of Sivutha Blvd, Siem Reap. Reservation [+855] 12 863 064.
Banana Leaf: Street N8, Pub Street. Reservation [+855] 63 964 813.
The Grey: King’s Road Angkor Village. Reservation [+855] 78 486 940.

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More tourist flock to Angkor6/10-16 (11:39)
SIEM REAP, 5 October 2016: Cambodia’s Angkor Wat Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, welcomed 1.56 international tourists, January to September, this year, improving 2.57% over the same period, last year.
Khmer Times quoted figures released by the state-owned, Angkor Institution, which handles all ticket sales at the World Heritage site.
The report claimed the country earned USD44 million from ticket sales for the first nine months of this year, up 2.5% compared to the same period, last year.
The largest sources of foreign tourists to the site were from China, South Korea, and Japan.
Angkor Institution official, Chung Sokkhemra, was quoted saying international tourists were keen to visit Angkor Wat temples and other ancient temples in the park, especially if it was there first visit to the country. Ticket for one-day passes were the top seller.
The entrance fee to the Angkor Historical Park costs USD20 a day (foreigners only), USD40 for a threeday visit and USD60 for a week-long visit.
The new entrance fees are due to take effect 1 February 2017.
The new fees are: one-day pass costs USD37, three-day pass USD62, and seven-day pass USD72.
The Angkor Archeological Park is the top tourist attraction in Cambodia, considerably ahead of the coastal resorts in and around Sihanoukville and ecotourism sites in the northeast part of the country.
The park was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1992 and is now the country’s largest cultural tourist destination. It is located in Siem Reap province, some 315 km northwest of capital Phnom Penh.
Siem Reap the main town close to Angkor Wat has recently opened more hotels with at least one offerng extensive convention facilities. The destination hopes to diverse its tourism business to include hosting events and incentives groups, now there are more direct flights from mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur
But despite those bold aspirations over 90% of travellers to Siem Reap are there to visit Angkor Wat, probably Asia’s best known World Heritage site.

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Cross-country rally23/8-16 (19:42)
Thais on top after Siem Reap finish
Thailand’s four-wheel specialists Natthaphon Angrithanon and his co-driver Peerapong Sombutwong drove their Isuzu D-Max to victory in the 2,400km Pattaya to Siem Reap Asia Cross Country Rally, which ended in the World Heritage city at the weekend.

Familiarity with the tough circuit and their vast rallying experience stood the Thai pair in good stead as they went through nine special sections in the elite T1D class, stretching across Thailand and Cambodia over six days.

Japan’s Tadamitsu Niihori and navigator Chupong Chaiwan in a Toyota Hilux finished second, ahead of Thailand’s Wongwirot Palawat and Thanyaphat Meenil in an Isuzu D-Max in the T2D section.

Cambodia’s Phal Sopheng and Kim Houth Vong, driving a Toyota Tacoma in the T1G class, rolled in 17th out of the 20 contestants.

After the Pattaya-Chanthaburi sector in Thailand, the rally passed through Koh Kong, Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh and Kampong Thom before crossing the finish in front of Angkor Wat.

In the motorbike category, Thailand’s Jakkrit Chawtale on a Yamaha WR450F emerged as the winner from the field of 45 riders, beating Sweden’s Dan-Olov Olle Ohlsson riding a Husqvarna FE501.

Yoshio Ikemachi of Japan on a Yamaha WR450F was third.Cambodia’s Koun Phandara on a KTM EXCF 450 got home in seventh spot, three places above his compatriot Daravuth Chan on a Suzuki RMXS450.

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Visitors to Angkor temples must dress properly11/7-16 (07:58)
Visitors who dress immodestly will not be allowed to enter Cambodia's famed Angkor temple complex, the agency that oversees the site said Thursday.

Long Kosal, a spokesman for Apsara Authority, which oversees the archaeological complex, said that beginning Aug. 4, local and foreign tourists will be required to wear pants or skirts below the knees and shirts that cover their shoulders. Those not dressed appropriately will be required to change their clothes before being allowed to enter the temple site in northwestern Cambodia.
Long Kosal said the ban was implemented because "Wearing revealing clothes disrespects the temple's sanctity."

He said that his organization had advised tour agencies, hotels and airport officials last December that all foreign visitors should be aware of what type of clothes they should wear when they visit.

Illustrations of what is considered inappropriate clothing and behavior are being posted on the organization's website, an English version of which is still under construction.

Angkor Wat, the spiritual center of the Khmer empire that dominated the region from the 9th to 15th centuries, is Cambodia's biggest tourist attraction, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a symbol of national pride that is emblazoned on the Cambodian flag. About 2.1 million foreign tourists visited last year.

Immodest dress is not the worst breach of modesty the temples have suffered. Early last year there was a small spate of Western tourists who posed naked for snapshots, and those who were caught were fined and deported.

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Cambodia Named Best Destination for Beauty, Safety17/6-16 (20:02)
A tourism trade group in Europe has named Cambodia this year’s Best Tourist Destination, citing the country’s natural beauty and excellent safety.

“Cambodia is a perfectly safe and outstanding destination that will forever mark your heart,” Anton Caragea, president of the Bucharest-based European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT), is quoted as saying in a report from the Indo-Asian News Service.

Made up of 27 European tourism unions, the council saved special praise for Siem Reap’s “unique Angkor Archaeological Park.”

But while the council encourages tourists to “Travel Safe! Travel Informed!” Cambodian authorities have acknowledged that foreign tourists are too often targets of crime in the country.

Petty theft has long plagued popular tourist destinations such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap City and Sihanoukville, and both expatriates and tourists have also been the victims of violent crime including shootings, stabbings, rapes and murders in recent years.

Yet the country has been steadily climbing in various tourism rankings, with Angkor Wat named as the world’s top tourist destination in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist 2015.

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Medieval Cities Hidden Under Cambodias Angkor Wat17/6-16 (19:59)
Archaeologists near Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia, have used lidar technology to find medieval cities and waterways surrounding the temple that was built during the Khmer Empire.

The technology, which combines light detection and radar to survey areas, found a 734-square-mile area around Angkor Wat that previously served as home to sophisticated medieval cities, water structures and smelting areas.

Damian Evans, whose discovery was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science last week, told Guardian that the technology has allowed him and other archaeologists to get a better idea of how Southeast Asia functioned 900 to 1,400 years ago.

The advanced survey technology made it possible for researchers to uncover the ancient medieval cities buried around Angkor Wat, a large temple complex in Cambodia.

Evans told The Guardian that the discovery is likely as large as the countrys capital of Phnom Penh.

"We have entire cities discovered beneath the forest that no one knew were there — at Preah Khan of Kompong Svay and, it turns out, we uncovered only a part of Mahendraparvata on Phnom Kulen … this time we got the whole deal and its big, the size of Phnom Penh big," Evans told The Guardian.

Evans told the AFP that thanks to the lidar technology, researchers were able to get a clear view of the area surrounding Angkor Wat.

"We always imagined that their great cities surrounded the monuments in antiquity," Evans said. "But now we can see them with incredible precision and detail, in some places for the very first time, but in most places where we already had a vague idea that cities must be there."

"The lidar quite suddenly revealed an entire cityscape there with astonishing complexity," the researcher added.

In his recent journal report, Evans wrote that an especially interesting aspect of the ruins surrounding Angkor Wat is the existence of mysterious geometric patterns that some researchers believe were medieval gardens.

Equally enigmatic are the geometric rectilinear patterns made from earthen embankments and variously described as coils, spirals, geoglyphs or gardens, Evans wrote in his report. Excavations of these linear features at Angkor have also revealed little of archaeological interest, and their function remains unclear

According to the History channel, the recent find also sheds light on Cambodian history and the fall of the Khmer Empire in the 15th century.

As the media outlet reports, the discovery contradicts the previously-held belief that thousands of Cambodian inhabitants were forced to migrate from Angkor Wat in the 15th century, as there is no evidence indicating a mass migration.

There have been other important archaeological discoveries in Southeast Asia, including the Sungai Batu archaeological site in Malaysia, which researchers determined to be 2,000 years old, making it one of the oldest archaeological sites in the region.

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Cambodia wants more flights from China30/4-16 (11:25)
PHNOM PENH, 29 April 2016: Cambodia has asked China to ease the way for direct flights from southwestern Guizhou province to promote trade and tourism.
Khmer Times media claimed the Minister for the Office of the Council of Ministers Sok An made the request to the province’s Communist party secretary, Chen Minér, during a meeting in Phnom Penh, Monday.
“In order to increase Chinese tourists to Cambodia, we want to attract direct commercial flights from Guizhou to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap,” Sok An reported.
“Cambodia would encourage multiple visas for Chinese visitors. This means that Chinese need just one visa, but they can visit our country several times a year.”
Guizhou province, located in the southwest part of China has many covered bridges, called Wind and Rain Bridges. These were built by the Dong minority people many centuries ago.
The southeastern corner of the province is known for its Dong minority culture. Towns such as Rongjiang, Liping, Diping and Zhaoxing are scattered amongst the hills along the border with Guangxi province.
Last year, Cambodia attracted 4.77 million international visits compared to 4.50 million in 2014. Chinese arrivals ranked second with 694,712 visits in 2015 up 24.0% from 560,335 visits in 2014.
Cambodia should welcome as many as 2 million Chinese tourists to the kingdom by 2020.

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Amazing historical place!14/4-16 (11:33)
Angkor Wat is an amazing and full of historical and religious stories. I highly recommended joining a tour to Angkor Wat as the guide shared those stories which definitely made the trip more impressed!

There are some tips to who are planning to visit Angkor Wat:
1. You can buy three days pass for accessing not only Angkor Wat, but also Angkor Thom;
2. If you are planning to visit in March or April when are the hottest months in Cambodia, so you may go there early to see the sun rise or later to see the sunset. (I went Angkor Wat at noon, it's really really hot and I almost suffered heatstroke)

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Go see the sunrise14/4-16 (11:32)
Get there early enough to beat the crowd and ensure you get a good view (if you're getting up that early, an extra 20 mins can't hurt), and take a flashlight to navigate in the dark. Pond to the left of the walkway has the best view, as the water reflects the gorgeous sights.

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Press here to get in touch with us Local Cambodian time: 01:27
Family Guesthouse, No19, Mondul 2, Khoum Svay Dangkom, Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia
Phone: +855 926 484 62,,