Cambodia is a country that’s packed with historical intrigue and natural wonder. It offers a very different experience to many other countries in East Asia, and consequently holds a unique appeal for tourists in the West. The jungles and the temples might take centre stage on Cambodian tourist materials, but there’s a little bit more to Cambodia. Stay in the country for long enough, and you’ll surely be won over by its many charming attractions.
Cambodia holidays are at their best when they’re informed by a well-planned itinerary. So, what might this itinerary include?
The Temples of Angkor Wat
This incredible temple complex once sat at the heart of a formidable empire – the Khmer Empire. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the Angkor Wat itself sitting right at the centre. If you want to get the most from your visit to this temple, then you’ll visit it just as dawn is breaking. You can either hire bicycles and get there on your own steam, or you can hire a tuk-tuk and be driven there.
The second largest city in the country is a popular tourist destination, with plenty of hotels and world-class restaurants to choose from. It’s not far from Angkor Wat, and thus it makes sense to include it on any tour of the region. While you’re in the area, you might take a cycling tour of the surrounding farmland – at certain times of year, the rice paddies can be quite beautiful.
This is the capital city of the country. It boasts a range of compelling attractions, but several stand out as unskippable. The Wildlife Rescue Centre, just outside the city, provides a home for thousands of rescued animals. For a sobering look at the history of the region, there’s the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, which is actually set in the former high school where the genocide itself took place.
Koh Rong Samloem
For those in search of a white sandy beach and a clear blue sea, then a visit to Koh Rong Sanloem, an island just off the Cambodian coast, is sure to fit the bill. It’s not to be confused with a larger neighbour, the Koh Rong. There are plenty of amazing animals to be found on the island, as well as great opportunities for snorkelling and diving.
One of the most unique ways to travel across the country is via a Bamboo Train, or norry. This is a small wooden frame propelled along a set of tracks by an engine. It covers around seven miles of the countryside in Battambang. What more exciting way could there be to see rural Cambodia?