Cambodia is a poor country and beggars are quite prevalent but the ever-increasing sight of Toyota Land Cruisers belies the fact that there is money to be made as this country reawakens from its nightmare past. For the average Cambodian life, of course, is still a struggle even if the killing fields have been silenced. One area of promise for jobs is the tourist industry which is only in its infancy. Angkor Wat is Cambodia's shining or rather crumbling jewel.
The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.Shirley MacLaine
The temples at Angkor are spread out over some 40 miles around the fast-growing town of Siem Reap, about 192 miles from the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. They were built between the eighth and 13th centuries and range from single towers made of bricks to vast stone temple complexes. There are two main sites where the Khmer temples are located. The first is at Roluos which is about 10 miles southeast of Siem Reap, where only a few of the earlier temples were built. This was the first Khmer capital in the Angkor area. In the late ninth century, Yasovarman I moved the capital to the immediate vicinity of Siem Reap. This is a much larger site, where the majority of the Khmer temples are located. It is officially known as the City of Angkor. There are other temples located in the area, some up to 20 miles away from Siem Reap. Khmer temples can also be found in many other parts of Cambodia, as well as China, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
The temples situated in the vicinity of Siem Reap are located in a large park and this is what most people think of when discussing Angkor Wat. according to our guide the concessions if not the temples themselves are under the control of the Vietnamese government though you may be hard pressed to prove this. There are however many new hotels being constructed in town that are owned by Vietnamese interests. Still this offers employment to local Cambodians who are able to visit the temples free of charge, for the rest of us there is a small feel.