Cambodia: Past and Present
Images & Words by Marta Tucci
Located in the southern region of the Indochinese peninsula, life in Cambodia is dictated by the rhythms of the Mekong River and Tonle Sap, the world’s largest freshwater floodplain and the beating heart of the “Kingdom of Wonder”.
Despite being smaller than its neighbouring countries, Cambodia’s unique Indian-influenced Khmer culture – rooted in Buddhist tradition and spirituality – has remained very much intact throughout its magnificent past and darker period under the Khmer Rouge.
While many are drawn to Cambodia for the architectural legacy of the Khmer Empire, the beauty of this small country extends far beyond the ruins of Angkor Wat. From remote jungles in the northeast and virgin white-sand islands of the south to the colonial capital of Phnom Penh and relaxed village life in between, Cambodia’s diverse landscapes, fascinating history and friendly people make this changing place one of the most enigmatic countries in South East Asia.
Cambodia is permeated by a subtle beauty hidden within quiet moments of daily life, away from the main tourist attractions. Uncover the charm and century-old superstitions of early morning markets or embark on a sensorial culinary journey through the slow-paced village life of the countryside. Delve into spiritual practices of Buddhism with tangerine-robed monks and meet local artists striving to keep ancestral handcrafting traditions alive.
The vastness of Angkor allows for many ways to travel back in time to the heyday of the Khmer Empire. But it’s most fascinating to witness how life unfolds today, in the fleeting moments where the past and present exist in perfect harmony.