The kingdom of Cambodia is creating an urge among travelers who are interested in exploring ancient history, beaches, temples, and are attentive towards cultural Cambodia tourism. The travelers who are bored of beaches, parties, and commercial travels and need a blended touch of modern and old on their bucket list, Cambodia is the best destination to visit.
Not only takes you back in history with one of the most significant religious monuments and mysterious world of culture not known to many. There are plenty of places to visit in Cambodia, which are magical, charming yet bewildering enough to cast a magic spell on the visitors.
The climatic conditions of the country favor exotic and scenic views that travelers can enjoy. It has a natural warmth and is well known for its culture, history, the hospitality of the locals, and alluring landscapes. You will get immersed in the warm friendliness of the people, the food, and their festivities.
There are two faces of Cambodia: Contemporary and Urban. On your Cambodia travel, you will come across the remains of the Khmer empire in the form of fabled and grand scale temples of Angkor Wat.
Those planning to travel Cambodia will be surprised with the Khmer’s genius architectural marvel, which is still considered to be sublime and matched by only a few selected destinations in the world such as Petra and Machu Pichu. On the other hand, the chaotic yet charming capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, is a part of the cultural renaissance with diverse nightlife and cosmopolitan cafes.
Small History of Cambodia
Cambodia is known as “Kingdom of Cambodia” and is situated in South East Asia. It is bordered by Thailand, Gulf of Thailand, Vietnam, and covers an area of 181,035 square km. Cambodia became independent in 1953. The currency of this country is Riel (KHR). People are often referred to as Cambodians. Phnom Penh is the capital city of the state. Cambodia’s history is well known and quite fascinating. The CPK (Communist Party of Khmer Rouge) took charge of Cambodia in 1975.
Most of the people or frequent travelers visit Cambodia from November to March. If you favor going to the places where prices are low and cheap, then the best time would be from May to October. Cambodia is a warm place with around 20 degrees F wherever you visit.
You can reach Cambodia through the air and get customized packages through different travel agencies across the world. There are two international airports of Cambodia, and they are Phnom Penh International Airport and Siem Reap International Airport.
Because the country is quite famous among tourists, all major flight carriers offer flights to Cambodia throughout the world. In this Cambodia travel guide, you will learn more about some of the popular Cambodia points of interest. It will not only save you time in looking for the list of places, but you can very well start preparing your itinerary in advance. Pack your bags and explore these Cambodia destinations.
May it be a few days or one week in Cambodia, there is certainly a lot of places to discover. Read further and learn more about this beautiful country!
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Table of Contents
Here’s the list of the top places to visit in Cambodia
Cambodia’s biggest tourist attraction is Angkor Wat. It is the most massive and most magnificent religious monument in the world. It is also one of the most prominent tourist sites in Asia. The decays of the temples can be found in the lands and the fields. Angkor Wat consists of temples that have been restored. They give a gratifying sight to the viewers.
The travelers can catch a glimpse of this spectacular site at any time of the day. The sunrise view of the Angkor Wat temple makes it a must-visit in the crack of the dawn. People gather here in a flock to watch the magical sunrise and sunset moments. So, if you want to experience the stunning view of Angkor Wat in all its glory, you can either skip your early morning sleeps or enjoy the sunset.
Phnom Penh is one of the largest cities in Cambodia. It is also the capital city of Cambodia. Phnom Penh was once known as the “Pearl of Asia,” which is still recuperating from the war and the revolution. Phnom Penh is located on the beautiful whereabouts of the Mekong River.
The tourist attraction includes the Royal Palace, National Museum, which provides for Khmer empire artifacts. The tourists can enjoy shopping for items like handcrafted items and souvenirs or experience the local Cambodia cuisines.
Those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city can visit this remote place about 120 kilometers near Siem Reap. Koh Ker once served as the capital city of the Khmer Empire for a long time between 928 and 944 AD. The town includes spectacular buildings and exquisite sculptures. Travelers like to explore the various archaeological sites in this remote northern Cambodia.
Siem Reap has become a famous gateway town and is also the fastest emerging city in Cambodia. It is one of the major tourist attraction hubs for the locals as well as foreign travelers. The major Cambodia points of interest are the Archaeological Park, National Museum, Wat Preah Prom Rath temple, and a lot more. Travelers looking for volunteer opportunities can also connect with local NGOs or tourism department to contribute to the eco-tourism related projects.
Read more about Siem Reap:
Sihanoukville is named after the king Norodom Sihanouk. It is located on the Gulf of Thailand and has the most famous beaches in Cambodia. This seaside town offers some of the best known Cambodian beaches famously known as Snooky among foreign visitors. You can explore Ochheuteal, Sokha, Victory, Serendipity, and many other beaches in this region.
The adventure lovers who want to experience different activities in Cambodia can start in Sihanoukville. Rent a kayak and row around the mini islands, go for scuba diving, enjoy jet skiing. There are plenty of in-house activities, and visitors can enjoy all these beaches.
Located in the northeastern province of Cambodia, Kratie is a remote town which is surrounded by old French-style colonial building. The rare Irrawaddy dolphins which reside in the Mekong River are the major tourist attractions. The best place to watch these dolphins is at Kampi village, which is 15 km north of the main Kratie. You can also spend your time bird watching, kayaking, and be visiting a Turtle sanctuary.
Kampot is again a small town known for it’s relaxing riverside setting where the majority of visitors enjoy their time exploring the countryside area. The prime economy drawer for Kampot is Salt and Pepper production, fruits, fishing, and of course, tourism being the significant contributor.
Some of the delightful places are famous Bokor National Park for rare and exotic animals, pepper farms, Secret Lake and Buddhist Wats, etc. While you explore your ways in and out of the town, don’t forget to enjoy the local cuisines like famous crab curry.
The second most populated city in Cambodia is Battambang, which is also considered as a famous tourist hub because of the presence of many ancient nearby temples. There are shrines, a bamboo railway, and a perfect blend of the modern city with old colonial architecture.
Often compared to Thailand’s famous Chiang Mai, the city is a refreshing change from other remote areas. Enjoy your cup of latte while taking a walk around the Buddhist shrines, a full-day bike tour, or the Bamboo train. There are also plenty of volunteering options for travelers to engage in.
While traveling towards Eastern Cambodia, one can discover Banlung, a small town and also the capital city of Ratanakiri Province. Banlung is famous for the thick forests and is home to twelve ethnic minority tribes who are mostly engaged in the plantation of cashews, oil palms, and rubber.
The town is slowly growing with the new roads being built that would help local tourism. There are plenty of places to see from 700,000-year-old Yeak Laom Volcanic Lake, rubber plantations, to Virachey National Park.
Kep is one of the famous seaside small towns which is established as the famous Khmer holiday destination. The place lost its history to the 1960s civil war period. It is now slowly being re-energized by the travelers who are gaining momentum due to its beautiful white sand and extensive coastland.
The travelers can enjoy the lovely walk on Kep beach, Angkaul beach, or can click pictures of Colonial Villas against the beautiful laid back setting of an old town. If you are a seafood lover, there should be no excuse for you to taste some delicious crab snacks and other delicacies.
Things to do in Cambodia:
While there will be plenty of places to visit in Cambodia, remember there are still a few adventurous yet straightforward things to do in Cambodia, which one must experience.
– Cycle away in Cambodia: Travelers can explore lush greenery, quiet and pristine temples, as well as various sightseeing places by bicycle. It is one of the favorite things to do in Cambodia. It gives breathtaking natural views and pleasures from the crowded and busy roads.
– Khmer presentation in Cambodia: The traditional Khmer dance is exclusively created for the people who love art, theatre, and variety shows. It is one of the premiered things to do in Cambodia. The Khmer dance includes storyline of the performers who act through their attractive and beautiful attires.
– Cruise in the Mekong: You can spot the dolphins and the exquisite sunset on the traditional boat. It is one of the refreshing and revitalizing things to observe various aquatic mammals and dolphins.
– Enjoy Cambodian Food: Cambodia food is one of the topmost attractions of the visitors. A Cambodian meal consists of rice and fish items. One must go for Fish Amok, which is a coconut fish in the leaves of banana. Also try for Samlor Machu Trey, Nom Banh Chok, Nam Anksom Sach Chrouk.
– Visit the National Park: People who are not interested in temples can visit National Park and wildlife sanctuaries and see flora and fauna rare species. It includes places for people who love adventures and are nature seekers. Virachey National Park and Ream Park are the most popular parks in Cambodia. It includes various species of birds and animals like elephants, bears, and tigers.