Once known as the Khmer empire, Cambodia is perhaps best known for its monumental temples, especially that of Angkor Wat – finalist in the election of the new 7 wonders of the world in 2006. It is without doubt a country of incredible beauty, scattered with these temples, fertile rice fields and a rich and interesting history. For this reason it is unsurprising that Cambodia has taken a firm place on the tourist map. Having been a protectorate of France for almost 100 years, the country gained its independence in 1953. Following this however, Cambodia experienced years of civil war, turmoil and political corruption, as well as suffering from its involvement in the Vietnam war. Despite holding this dark history, Cambodia really is an extraordinary country and has prevailed due to what has been described as the unbreakable spirit of the Cambodian people. The people here are known for their friendliness and their smiles.