Gateway to the ruins of Angkor, the seat of the Khmer Kingdom from the 9th–15th centuries. Angkor was built as close as possible to the seasonal floodplain of the Tonlé Sap and the royal court supported by this dependable rice surplus. Today the province’s cuisine is most famous for fermented fish paste and rice noodles.
Thailand annexed much of north western Cambodia in 1795, including the temples of Angkor and the provinces of Battambang and Siem Reap. In 1907 Battambang was ceded to be a part of the colony of French Indochina. Today the town is famous for its artists and as the main producer of rice and fruit in the country.
With its Mekong River location and relatively close proximity to Phnom Penh and Vietnam, Kampong Cham has always been an important trade and transportation hub. The area remains predominantly Muslim rather than Buddhist and is the main producer of beef in the country.
Cambodia’s capital sits at the junction of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers as a hub for both the Khmer post- Angkorian Empire and French colonialists. This large trading city has offers a wide variety of cuisines intermingled with choices such as steaks, ribs and duck always available.
KEP AND SIHANOUKVILLE
Glamourous Kep City was the preeminent seaside resort in all of French Indochina until razed by the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s and is now a sleepy backwater with an outstanding crab market. Sihanoukville, on the Gulf of Thailand, is a jumping off point for tropical islands with crystal clear waters and white sand beaches.
An important border crossing into Thailand at the northern edge of the Cardamom Mountains Pailin is only lightly visited by mainstream tourists. Reputed to have some of the finest gemstones in the world and still heavily land-mined. The food is heavily influenced by Thai cuisine and is generally spicier than other Cambodian regional foods.