Given the scores of camera-toting tourists lined up at the artificial lake in front of Angkor Wat waiting for the requisite dawn or dusk money shot, it continues to be a global tourism drawcard.[caption id="attachment_2168" align="alignnone" width="448"] Angkor Wat in late morning sunlight.[/caption] Other temples such as Angkor Thom and Bayon attract similar sized crowds.One income supports a dozen people around Siem Reap, a fact other hoteliers have callously ignored.Among many experiences available to travellers: cultural wonders, food tourism, river boating, beach havens, wildlife and eco-tourism spring immediately to mind, Cambodians themselves inspire hope. Wear blinders or go with eyes open to daily reality.
Sadly, new dams upstream in southern China where the Mekong begins its journey through Southeast Asia present potentially damaging environmental problems in a country that has already experienced more than most.Despite the flooding, the lake level is at a historic low and fish harvests are down.[caption id="attachment_2167" align="alignnone" width="276"] Tonle Sap floating village.[/caption] To recount a Cambodian chronology is to reflect on years of hardship.[caption id="attachment_2187" align="alignnone" width="262"] Guide with Apsara statues at Angkor Wat.[/caption] Landmines scattered around this area have only recently been removed with the help of a German aid organisation.[caption id="attachment_2179" align="alignnone" width="407"] Landmine clearing sign.[/caption] Carried away again by the tomb raiding atmosphere, I completely forget that it’s a jungle out here. [caption id="attachment_2170" align="alignnone" width="448"] Beng Melea is far from Angkor Wat's madding crowds.[/caption] At Bantey Srey, a lovely pink-hued sandstone temple, known also as the ‘Citadel of the Women’ for its delicately carved inlays of village women, we are also alone.