“Wonderful natural and cultural qualities (the Mekong River and the French colonial architecture), but indifference from the government has left it a backwater, challenged by pollution, traffic, congestion, poverty, and unmanaged development. It could have been a great stop on the way to Angkor, but most visitors now avoid it.” With a score of only 36 points, Phnom Penh’s historic area is ranked 109 out of 110 destinations rated by the National Geographic.
Among the last 10 places of the ranking, 7 are in the USA. And as for the top 10, Canada, Japan and Argentina are the only non European destinations. Austria and France are ranked twice in the top 10, respectively for Wachau/Melk Abbey (#1) and Graz (#5) and Aix-en-Provence [#6) and Dijon and Bourgogne region (#7).
About Wachau and Melk Abbey, the National Geographic says: “Each village and town seems to try to outdo the others in promoting local heritage while maintaining cultural integrity. The abbey at Melk is well managed and never seems crowded. Tourist zones are low-key and commercial establishments do not intrude on the visitor’s experiences.”
And about Aix-en-Provence: “The market is lovely and really feels like a classic upscale Provencale market. The historic buildings are well maintained. The city provides ample underground parking so Aix still can feel like a pedestrian town. You can get lost exploring the back streets, and barely sense that this is a major tourist destination. It has always been a noble town, and still feels like one.”