Photo credit: DeeMakMak
Traveling to Cambodia will change your life. Many travelers have already added a visit to Angkor Wat to their bucket lists, but they don't know that a trip to the Kingdom of Cambodia may change the way they travel and see the world entirely. In just a 1-hour-long flight from Bangkok, you could be experiencing the land once known as the Khmer Empire.
The following four ways that traveling to Cambodia could change your life are just a few of the many reasons to consider the Southeast Asian country for your next travel adventure.
Money Doesn't Buy Happiness
The phrase "Money can't buy happiness," is thrown around all of the time, but the Cambodian people are a personification of that phrase. The moment you arrive in their country and hop aboard a tuk tuk to your hotel or guesthouse, you'll be greeted by smiling faces. Ninety-three per cent of Cambodians are Theravada Buddhists, a branch of Buddhism that's doctrinal core is based on the oldest Buddhist texts developed over thousands of years through interactions with diverse cultures. The open-mindedness of the Cambodians you meet will make you feel less like an imposing tourist and more like a long-time friend.
Poverty holds an overwhelming presence in Cambodia, but you'll find it hard to believe when you experience the hospitality and generosity of the Cambodian people. Don't be afraid to get to know your tuk tuk driver, your restaurant server, your bartender, local shop owners and those who simply call this magical country home.
It's Okay to Be a Tourist
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Traveling throughout Southeast Asia can make you feel like an experienced adventurer. Many like to call themselves "travelers," not "tourists." However, it's okay to gawk at the majesty of ancient Angkor Wat, one of the largest religious monuments ever created. It's okay to record a video of yourself bobbing down the street in the back of a tuk tuk, and it's okay to feel shocked when you hear about Cambodia's recent and painful history of mass starvation and execution under the Khmer Rouge. The best way to experience Cambodia is to put your ego aside and immerge yourself in the dramatic history and culture of one of the world's most underrated travel destinations.
Plans Don't Have to Be Followed
If you have a set travel itinerary for your visit to Cambodia, burn it now. Cambodia is a country that encourages you to go with the flow. Some travelers prefer to spend an entire week taking in the majesty of Angkor Wat, while others will wander for a couple days and hop a bus to Cambodia's idyllic beaches or the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh. It's impossible to stay on schedule in Cambodia, so use the advice of the friendly locals and your fellow travelers to guide you toward a spontaneous and unforgettable experience.
Travel Isn't All About You
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Every trip you take doesn't have to be perfect. Sure, you spent a lot of money to get to Cambodia, took time off work and may not have another travel experience of this caliber for a while. But in Cambodia, you have the opportunity for your trip to have a huge impression on someone else. Decades of corruption and war have taken their toll on the country, and visitors can give back in countless, not-so-time-consuming ways. A number of volunteer companies, like GlobalTeer and Projects Abroad, offer volunteer programs for visitors.
If your visit to Cambodia is too short for volunteer work, simple gestures, like buying a Coca Cola for your tuk tuk driver or packing some old clothing to give away, can make a big difference in someone's life.
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