From luxury tourists to backpackers, Cambodia is a naturally beautiful country that continues to attract visitors to not only the iconic attraction of Angkor Wat, but also the stunning architectural feats, untouched jungles, and pristine beaches. Here are ten of the most striking places to visit to Cambodia:
1. Angkor Wat
A visit to the Angkor Archaeological Park is one of the best things to do in Cambodia. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world and built in the 12th century. This legendary temple was originally built as a Hindu temple for the god of Vishnu, but later in the 14th century it had been converted into a Buddhist temple. The temple is rich in Apsaras nymphs or carvings which are entirely unique and well worth checking out. Even though Angkor Wat is the most famous temple, it is far from being the only one worth exploring. There are many other popular temples, such as Bayon, Ta Prohm, and Banteay Srei, as well as numerous other lesser-known temples that showcase early Khmer architecture but with a lot less foot traffic.
2. Koh Ker
Koh Ker was once the Khmer capital from 928AD to 944AD and now a quite intriguing archaeological site. This remote site was for a long time left abandoned and neglected which lead to significant encroachment of wildlife to create a greater sense of mystery. This archaeological site has several spectacular buildings that are easily explored on a day-trip from Siem Reap. The major highlight of the site is the seven-tier Prasat Thom which is a sandstone pyramid-shaped temple. It stands at a total height of 98-ft with a mythical half-bird, half-man figure standing on top. Beyond the beauty of Prasat Thom, there are also a further 42 structures in the local area that are worth exploring.
3. Koh Rong
Koh Rong is a striking island in the Gulf of Thailand with its turquoise-green waters and white sandy beaches that can easily stand up to many of the tropical paradises elsewhere in SE Asia. This island is appreciated for its coral reefs and sandy coves, while the interior of the island is thick with pristine jungle that is dotted with stunning waterfalls and coconut palms. The island's interior is also home to many different species of birds and other wildlife. A stay on this island for a short break is fairly peaceful and relaxing, although there is the opportunity to get involved in activities like trekking, snorkelling, diving and zip lines.
4. Koh Tonsay
Koh Tonsay (also referred to as Rabbit Island) is a peaceful, secluded and untouched island located off Cambodia's south coast. It is easy to reach from Kep with a 20-25 minute boat journey, but still seems to take the travellers completely away from the bustle and bustle of the mainland. This island has several open-air restaurants and rustic bungalows to make a tranquil place to stay with its tree-lined beach and lounging in hammocks. Kon Tonsay is relatively small and possible to walk the entire island in just a day. With no air-conditioning, Wi-Fi or television, a visit to this island on the Vietnam and Cambodia tours is certain to give an island paradise away from modern living.
Kratie was a former base of the Khmer Rouge at an early point in their campaign, which left this part of Cambodia relatively free of destruction. For this reason, this town is rich in striking French colonial buildings that appear along the length of the riverfront. Plus, this charming riverfront area is a perfect place to sit and watch the stunning sunsets over the Mekong River in the evening. Beyond the ability to capture the peaceful and tranquil landscape on the Indochina tours, a visit to Kratie gives a perfect opportunity to see the freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins which are located approx 14km from town.
The sparsely populated and wild district of Mondulkiri is rich in stunning landscape with its valleys, waterfalls, jungles and rolling hills. This province is home to a variety of endangered and rare species, such as the elephants, water buffalo and leopards. Nearly 50% of the local population is made up of the Bunong minority group who continue to use traditional methods to hunt food. The wildlife-viewing opportunities, stunning scenery and cool climate make this part of Cambodia a fascinating place to visit for the trekking adventures.
7. Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is the country’s lively capital city which is blessed with a picturesque riverside promenade and lovely colonial buildings to make a quite beautiful city. From the contemporary restaurants and bars to crowded markets and glittering Royal Palace, a visit to Phnom Penh on the Cambodia tour packages is certain to benefit from exploring this complex city with plenty to see and do.
8. Popokvil Waterfall
Popokvil Waterfall is located in the stunning Bokor National Park and looks its striking best throughout the rainy season. This two-tiered waterfall seems to have an ever-present mist and is surrounded by pretty rainforest scenery. A stop at the waterfall is great for a relaxing swim while in the national park, and for a few lucky travellers, it may even be possible to catch sight of a few of the rare animals that live in this country, such as the Malayan sun bear and pig-tailed macaque.
9. Preah Vihear
Set in the Dangrek Mountains at 1,722-ft, the Preah Vihear is a quite stunning Khmer temple built in the 11th and 12th centuries and gives wonderful views that span across the lowlands of Cambodia. The temple complex stretches over an area of nearly 2,000-ft with many of the buildings featuring intricate carvings.
10. Ream National Park
Ream National Park is a huge area of natural beauty that spans a total area of nearly 210 sq km. It is relatively easy to reach from Sihanoukville with a travel distance by car of 25 km. This park is rich in tumbling waterfalls, coral reefs, a few islands, unspoilt beaches stretching for miles, and mangrove forests. A visit to this national park on the Cambodia travel is perfect for the outdoor activities, such as boat trips, forest treks and birdwatching.