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Cambodia – The Happiest Country in Asia

By Richard Chapo

Given the recent history of Cambodia, you might wonder why I refer to it as the happiest place on earth. Well, there is a real reason if you understand what happy means in Cambodian slang.

Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by Thailand to the west, Laos to the north and Vietnam to the east. As you may know, some very nasty things happened in Cambodia in the 1970s and 1980s. During this period, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge ruled the country or were fighting to do so.

Reign of terror is a phrase often over used, but not when it comes to the Khmer Rouge. The group implemented what can only be called bizarre policies and managed to starve and murder roughly twenty percent of the total population of Cambodia. The reign of terror was eventually ended when the Vietnamese invaded and pushed the Khmer into a small, isolated pocket of land in the far north.

A few years back, I had the urge to travel. I get it every two or three years. I get it bad. I usually sell off whatever I have and travel for as long as I can. In this case, I flew into Thailand because I didn’t have a lot of money and the flight from Los Angeles was cheap, cheap, cheap! Thailand was pretty touristy, so off to the wilds of Cambodia I went.

To be honest, Cambodia is not as wild a place as you might think given its recent history. These are some seriously strong people from a mental perspective. If you walk around the major city, Phnom Phen, it looks like nothing happened. In fact, you keep seeing signs for happy this and happy that just about everywhere. I am not kidding. The signs literally say “happy dinner”, “happy pizza” and so on. Gee, these people are happy.

As you might imagine, happy has a particular connotation in Cambodia. Do I even need to tell you? Yep, it refers to that funny tobacco that so many in the hippie generation liked to enjoy. Simply put, the Cambodians mix marijuana with just about any type of food stuff – pizza, cake, shakes, tacos. It is used like a spice, to wit, it isn’t obvious it is in the food. If you don’t know what happy means, you can be in for a BIG surprise an hour or so after eating! It was not uncommon to see tourists giggling and staggering around the sidewalks.

At the end of the day, I found Cambodia to be a great place to enjoy notwithstanding its past and the happy food. Angkar Wat and the surrounding Khmer structures are stunning and definitely should be on your list of things to see. So go ahead and take off to Cambodia, but make a mental note regarding the happy food!

Rick Chapo is with Nomad Journals – makers of journals that are great travel gifts.

Top Reasons Why You Should Choose Asia as a Vacation Spot

Are you thinking of a great vacation? Asia could be the perfect destination. Asia vacation offers a great experience on knowing different cultures and attractions. In recent travel destination reviews, Asian vacation travel reservations were at their peak and still continue to make upward trends to most countries in Asia.

Beach vacations in Asia are more popular to many westerners. When you visit countries in Asia especially in the Southeast Asian region, your vacation would never be complete without surfing and Asian beach party. You will surely enjoy the natural beauty of the white sands which are rarely found in these parts of the world.

An Asia vacation trip would allow you to explore all of its natural beauty. If you are planning a vacation, the countries in Asia would be the perfect destination. You will discover new cultures and will be fascinated how hospitable and friendly Asians are. Here are some very good reasons why you should plan an Asian vacation.

1. It is a great way to spend a long vacation in Asia. You will have a great time in spending your budget. You will have the advantage of the dollar exchange rate. You will have the best time and all the time in the world spending all your money.

2. You will find tours and travel packages that are inexpensive. Travel agencies offer reasonable prices for your whole Asian experience. You will also find many vacation rentals that provide a relaxing experience that you would not forget in your entire life.

3. Asian countries like China and India have great scopes of landmarks that are considered as wonders of the world. Aside from seeing the Great Wall of China and the Taj Majal of India, you will also be educated with the diversity of the regions. You have the option of making your China and India vacation a scenic, cultural, religious or a historical travel.

4. The Southeast Asian region offers travelers with great beaches. Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, and Malaysia have the best beaches in the world. Aside from the beaches, you will also be amazed with the tropical climate of the region. Tourists especially from western countries have experienced great treatment from friendly and hospitable people.

5. Hong Kong is great place to visit. The new Hong Kong Disneyland is a new attraction to the country especially for those who brought their families. You will also enjoy shopping on their markets situated near the Hong Kong River. Their restaurants serve a different taste of Cantonese cuisine that you will surely enjoy.

6. With the natural beauty of its mountains and rivers, Taiwan would be a perfect choice for Asian vacation. The tropical Asian climate is responsible for the beauty and diversity of the continent’s wondrous and abundant forests. Taiwan is also known as a great destination for bird watching especially in the months of September and May.

If you are planning for a vacation, Asia is the best place to go. You will surely have an unforgettable experience. You may search the Internet for reviews about your destination choice in Asia. Pack your baggage now and enjoy the Asian experience.

By Dave Poon, who is an accomplished writer who specialises in Travel and Vacationing.