Of all the countries in the region, Cambodia is the one with the most painful recent history. When Pol Pot took control and began his shocking reign of terror, the country lost so much, so quickly. The Khmer Rouge took control of the country in April 1975 and what followed was genocide of almost previously un-witnessed proportions. Know as Year Zero, the Khmer Rouge began the systematic destruction of all culture and traditions. Teachers, musicians, intellectuals and artists were singled out and summarily executed. In the following three years possibly as many as three million people were executed. Up to 20,000 mass graves were discovered in the Killing Fields to the north of Phnom Penh.
That all this happened in our so recent history is hard to fathom, that the Cambodian people have recovered and built this wonderful country to where it is today, is nothing short of a miracle. Tourism has grown from none in the early 90s to an impressive figure of 14.2 million in 2013 and an expected more than 14.5 million in 2014. The average visitor stays for just under 1 week, which is testament to how the Southeast Asian region has developed as a multi-centred holiday destination.
The magnificent Angkor Temples are of course a huge bonus for any country trying to develop tourism. Once seen never forgotten they are the most important Buddhist temple site in the world and the largest temple site of any kind anywhere. However, Cambodia is much more than that. Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Luang Prabang and many more destinations are now pulling huge numbers of tourists in.