Since the international airport opened in Cambodia, tourists have flocked to Siem Reap to visit the temples of Angkor Wat. Cambodia is a true gem in Asia. Well, the following list is just 11 of the reasons that Cambodia should be considered for a special getaway!
Without a doubt, the biggest draw to attract tourists to Cambodia is absolutely Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world and this is one of the most amazing sites that you may ever see in your life and is a must for all world travelers for many reasons. Standing at the centre of national pride – Cambodia and Afghanistan are the only countries that bare buildings on their state flag – the religious structure dates back to the 12th century, and it was once at the centre of the glorious Angkor Empire. The sprawling temple complex is an architectural feat and home to a series of stunning structures and religious monuments.
While the masses flock to neighbouring Thailand’s islands, Cambodia’s alternatives are often wrongly forgotten. That makes them unspoilt options, with the majority maintaining their authenticity and remaining off the mass tourism map. Koh Rong holds the crown as the party island, with nearby Koh Rong Samloem boasting pristine powder sands flanked by tropical flora. Other remote jewels include Koh Thmei, Koh Ta Kiev and Koh Totang.
Believe it or not, Phnom Penh is emerging as one of South-East Asia’s most exciting nightlife destinations, thanks to its cheap riverside cafés and innovative bars, such as the tuk-tuk bars you’ll spot in the Bassac Lane area. Despite lacking a national art gallery, the art scene is thriving in Cambodia, with a wave of young contemporary artists leading the way. Galleries sit throughout the capital and Siem Reap, as well as the artistic capital of Battambang and a handful in Kampot.
Cambodians are incredibly proud of their country’s recovery, and are keener than ever to show the wider world that it’s very much open for business. So, mingle with locals where possible, whether it’s by booking a dinner at one of Siem Reap’s many NGO-funded training restaurants, or with a visit to one of the country’s social enterprises. One of the best is Phare, a Siem Reap-based performance troupe and social enterprise set up to offer local youth training and employment.
Cambodia makes the ideal base for an overland exploration of its neighbours – namely Laos, Thailand and Vietnam – and it’s easy to combine all these destinations on a single trip. Many itineraries visit the capital cities of three South-East Asian countries - Bangkok, followed by the beautiful Vietnamese capital of Hanoi and Cambodia’s riverside capital, Phnom Penh. This is also a good way to experience the colourful chaos of a border crossing, when you drive across the border from Vietnam into Cambodia, or into Thailand. Flights will link you too, but nothing beats the excitement of driving overland into a new country.
From Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, bustling markets are found all over the country. Stalls are packed full with everything from sneakers to produce. It's close quarters in most markets -- the corridors are narrow, space is limited, and bodies are everywhere.
Situated on the edge of a plateau that dominates the plain of Cambodia, the Temple of Preah Vihear is dedicated to Shiva. The Temple is composed of a series of sanctuaries linked by a system of pavements and staircases over an 800 metre long axis and dates back to the first half of the 11th century AD. Nevertheless, its complex history can be traced to the 9th century, when the hermitage was founded. This site is particularly well preserved, mainly due to its remote location. The site is exceptional for the quality of its architecture, which is adapted to the natural environment and the religious function of the temple, as well as for the exceptional quality of its carved stone ornamentation. (Source: Unesco.org)
If you are heat seekers, Cambodia will be the best place to get sun-tanned. The temperature ranges from about 25°C to 40°C, depending on what time of the year you visit. There are two distinct seasons – dry (October to late April) and wet (May to late September). Within each season there are variations in temperature, with the final dry months leading up to the wet season (March and April) and the early months of the wet season (May and June) usually being the hottest of the year with temperatures in excess of 35°C at times. It is very humid during March and April while the coolest months are usually between October and December, however what is considered “cool” for Cambodia is far from chilly (avg temperatures 24°C – 26°C). Despite having two distinct weather seasons you can travel in Cambodia all-year-round.
The largest body of fresh water in Cambodia is the Tonle Sap Lake. Merging with the Mekong River via the Tonle Sap River, the lake provides economic resources for nearby residents who fish the waters and farm surrounding land providing food for much of the country. Do not miss a visit to one of the floating villages located at the edge of Tonle Sap Lake. This is an incredible experience and an up close look at the daily lives of some Cambodian residents. Houses, markets, schools and even animal pens are built on stilts rising out of the water, and the only means of transportation are small boats. These floating villages portray a lifestyle few experience. The better known villages are Kampong Phluk, Kampong Khleang and Chong Khneas.
If you love outdoor activities and adventure, Cambodia will be a great place for you to go. You can experience rural life and stunning landscapes filled with rice paddies, pepper plantations in towns like Kampot. You can also do a lot of island hopping. Here you can spend your days snorkelling, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, swimming with plankton, boat trips, lying in a hammock, exploring the jungle, hiking to lighthouses. Inland country, the Cardamon Mountains lie inland close to the South Coast. They are part of a vast wilderness and the last of untouched rainforests in South East Asia. Home to some of Cambodia’s elusive wildlife and a gateway to emerging ecotourism adventures. Last but not least we can not forget the famous Mekong river - the river cuts through Cambodia, and provides a home to some of the rarest animals in the world. The Mekong River Irrawaddy Dolphins. Various scenic tours can be taken from Kratie to help you try to spot one of these species. If you love wildlife adventure, Northwest of Cambodia is the ideal place - home to Cambodia’s ethic minorities and wildlife.