When it comes to the quest for luxury and splendour, nothing fires the imagination as quickly as royalty. In our feudal past, the ruling houses of empires and kingdoms all displayed a penchant for rich living via the monumental statements that marked their reign. Art and architecture seem to be the most obvious vestiges of their grand existence, and today many surviving royal edifices have been restored and given new leases of life as luxury hotels and tourist attractions.
In Southeast Asia, one of the most enigmatic ancient sites that conveyed a marvellous sense of historic majesty is the Angkor complex in Cambodia. Emerging from obscurity after centuries of neglect when French explorers rediscovered the forsaken temples in 1860, the Angkorean buildings transited into our modern age via a tumultuous era that saw the French colonisation of Cambodia, the ravages of the second world war and several horrendous decades after that, marked by the madness of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.
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