Cambodia is a country with history, incredible wildlife and wonders of the world. Bordered by Thailand to the northwest and Vietnam to the east, Cambodia is a must visit whether you are heading straight there, or doing an entire South East Asia tour. Cambodia is the perfect trip for a family, solo traveler, friends or even honeymooners, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
● Angkor Wat: One of the largest tourist attractions in Cambodia, Angkor Wat is a beautiful temple complex outside of Siem Reap. It is considered one of the 7 wonders of the world, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Head to Angkor in the morning to watch the sun rise.
● Siem Reap: Siem Reap is known as a destination to view Angkor Wat but it is much more. This town also has incredible night markets, silk farms, craft shops, beautiful rice paddies, fishing villages and boat tours on Tonle Sap Lake. Also make sure to visit the oldest Buddhist temple in Cambodia, at Wat Bo village, and head to Pub Street for a night out.
● Bayon Temple: Located in Angkor Thom, the Bayon temple is full of rich history. The gigantic face designs on the walls are one of a kind. It is a must visit in Cambodia.
● Ta Prohm: Made famous by Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, Ta Prohm is a temple encapsulated by wilderness with banyan and kapok trees winding through the temple complex. Another must see when visiting Cambodia.
● Banteay Srei: Another sacred place in Cambodia, this place is made out pink carved stone. The designs are intricate and quite impressive.
● Koh Ker: Although less on the tourist path than Angkor Wat, Koh Ker is another temple complex northeast of the Siem Reap town. These temples include t sandstone Neang Khmao temple, Koh Ker temple, the Pram temple, Chen temple, Preng well and the Kuk temple.
● Phnom Penh: The capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh has many palaces and wats. There are also three major rivers, the Tonle Sap, the Mekong and the Bassac river. Although this is more of a modern city with cafes and bars, there are still French colonial houses set beside pagodas.
● Royal Palace: Set in Phnom Penh, many parts of the palace are available to the public. But due to it still being considered an official royal residence, the areas devoted to royal living are closed to visitors.
● Sihanoukville: This is the spot in which the United States fought its last battle during the Vietnam War, but it is now a popular spot for tourists. Here you can relax on the beach, go snorkelling or kayaking. Some people opt to only spend the day here, then head to one of the islands to spend the night and the next few days.
● Koh Rong: This island can be reached from a ferry at Sihanoukville. There are many beaches on this island such as the Koh Toch beach. You can snorkel here and see many different sea creatures such as diamond fish, seahorses, sergeant fish, parrot fish, jumping fish, diamond fish, blue-spotted ribbontail rays, and squid. There is also the option to go diving, zip lining and kayaking here as well. Definitely make sure to visit Lonely Beach and Coconut Beach after dark during a new moon, as you can view the bioluminescent plankton!
● Koh Rong Samloem: Although Koh Rong is known to have wifi, Koh Rong Samloem is for those who would like to get off the grid for a day or two. The island is more underdeveloped, but home to crystal clear water, powder soft sand, and isolated beaches. Head to Sunset Beach for the perfect sunset.
● Ream National Park: Another place that can be reached from Sihanoukville, this national park is a retreat for nature lovers. Many endangered species call this park home. Additionally, there are 155 species of birds, numerous waterfalls, and beautiful greenery.
● Kep: The beautiful white sand beaches of Kep are enough to make anyone want to visit. Grab some seafood from one of the beach vendors or have some crab at the Crab market. Head to Kep National Park to see waterfalls, monkeys, the Stone House and Little Buddha. Finally end up at the Led Zepplin Cafe for good food and live music.
● Killing Fields: Even though it is a very sad site, the Killing Fields are an important educational process. Thousands of people are tortured to death during the time that the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia in the late 1970’s. Around 20000 mass grave sites were discovered around this area, and the statue of Choeung Ek which is still adorned with skulls of the people who died here.
● Phnom Sampeu: This is a hill in Battambang with a tranquil pagoda. There are viewing platforms that show incredible 360 degree views of the area. Around here there are also the macabre Killing caves which is where many were tossed to their death by the Khmer Rouge. If you have had enough education on the genocide after the Killing Feilds, simply head to the Bat Caves at the base of the hill, where each night you can see thousands of bats spiral into the sky.
● Kirirom: Here there are beautiful pine forests known as Cambodia’s Switzerland. Kirirom National Park is only a two hour drive from Phnom Penh. Here the forests have lower temperatures, so during the summer it can be a nice escape from the heat. You have the opportunity to stay in tents, villas, cabins or homestays if you would like a taste of local life. Renting bicycles is common here to visit the waterfalls or to ride and relax surrounded by nature.
Cambodia is a country filled with incredible natural and man made wonders. Khemer food is great, and there are many different culinary influences from all over the world including France and China. Whether you are planning to relax on the beach, party hard, meet local people, or simply explore some history there is something for everyone. Grab your family, friends, partner, or even just yourself, and head to the paradise of Cambodia.