The second country I visited during my trip abroad was Cambodia, specifically the cities of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Siem Reap is home to the most beautiful temple I have ever seen – Angkor Wat. Waking up before 4 am has never been so rewarding, as shown in the picture above!

The incredible ancient architecture of this temple is truly breathtaking. It was built by ancient kings originally as a temple for the Hindu god of Vishnu, but because the rulers of the time switched back and forth between the Hindu and Buddhist faith, the temple also transitioned back and forth several times before becoming completely Buddhist as it is today. This flip flopping means there is influence from both religions on the temple that makes for a compelling walkthrough.

Outside of Angkor Wat, we visited several other ancient temples in Siem Reap as well as travelling to the local markets to see how business is conducted in this region before travelling on to Phnom Penh.

As the capital city, Phnom Penh was more developed and populated than Siem Reap. Here we met with a local social enterprise group called SHE Investments to learn more about how these women empower entrepreneurs to succeed. On a sobering note, we also toured what was once a death camp for Cambodian people during the genocide that took the lives of over two million people from 1975 through 1979.

Visiting Cambodia was one of the most impactful experiences of my life, and I am excited to return in the future.