By Jenna Jolie
Beyond the magnificent temples, Cambodia is a popular Southeast Asian tourism destination that manages to enchant everyone who visits with the most beautiful places to visit in Cambodia.
Cambodian history comprises both some of humanity's greatest aesthetic feats and the most heinous actions. Most visitors come for the heritage, but this Southeast Asian country has more tourist attractions to offer those who stay longer than a quick temple hop to Siem Reap.
1. Angkor Wat (Angkor Archaeological Park)
The temples of the Angkorian era, accessible from the town of Siem Reap, are so audacious in scale and magnificence of building that Angkor Wat is recognized as one of the world's must-see ancient monuments.
Built between 802 and 1432, this was the greatest metropolis in the world during the medieval period and the massive powerhouse of the Khmer rulers, who sought to outbid their predecessors in the splendor of their architecture.
The city's wooden houses were encroached upon and finally deteriorated by the surrounding jungle, leaving just those towering temples.
The world's biggest religious monument, Angkor Wat, is merely a fragment of the site's entire size, and the huge circuit of temples demands three days to examine if you want to grasp the magnitude of the Angkorian period's architectural achievements.
For those with limited time, the tree-root encircled temple of Ta Prohm (which originally gained international prominence as a setting utilized in the film Tomb Raider), the Bayon Temple with its 216 stone-carved faces, Angkor Thom, and Preah Khan are the primary features following Angkor Wat.
Angkor temple complex is one of the wonders of the world and also a very famous tourist destination of Cambodia
2. Phnom Penh
Cambodia's capital is the nation's hectic heartbeat, a metropolis of chaotic streets buzzing with motorcycles and automobile horns that might irritate at first look.
Phnom Penh, which was abandoned totally during the Khmer Rouge lunacy and allowed to wither and rot, has recovered to become one of Southeast Asia's most active cities.
For visitors, this is Cambodia's most interesting cosmopolitan location, with an unequaled café and restaurant culture in the country.
It also has a number of significant historic sites that serve to untangle Cambodia's present and ancient histories.
The National Museum has a slew of Khmer sculpture that recounts the country's history from pre-Angkorian times to the astonishing splendor of the god-Kings of Angkor.
The Royal Palace is a beautiful example of traditional artistry, while the Tuol Sleng Museum and the Choeung Ek killing fields speak of the horror and brutality that the people of this country endured under Khmer Rouge rule.
Phnom Penh is the largest city and the capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia
3. Otres Beach
This Cambodian beach is part of the Sihanoukville resort area, yet far enough out to provide a more isolated feel. Otres Beach in Sihanoukville is a five-minute moto-taxi journey from downtown or from adjacent to Ochheuteal Beach (the main tourist beach in the area). The sea is cleaner and clearer here, and the beach is flanked by towering casuarina and palm trees rather than resort buildings.
Accommodations on Otres Beach range from tiny boutique hotels and independent resorts to family-run beach guesthouses. The beach is split into two sections, Otres 1 and Otres 2, by a resort. Otres 1 is busier, whereas Otres 2 is less developed and further down the shore.
4. Siem Reap
There is no better place to begin than at Cambodia's most famous destination, Siem Reap. Siem Reap is popular for two reasons: it is the nearest city to Angkor Wat (for the first trip), and it is a backpacker party hotspot. Siem Reap is easily accessible by plane or bus from Laos and Thailand. It is also one of the most economical Southeast Asian locations, with low costs for food, beverages, and lodging.
The city itself boasts a few beautiful views and exciting activities, such as the river and the famed Pub Street. But the primary attraction of Siem Reap is just beyond the city. Siem Reap is an ideal starting point for seeing the historic city of Angkor and its largest temple complex, Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century and is regarded as one of the world's seven wonders. Visitors can visit Angkor Wat on their own or with a guide for one or three days.
5. Sner Beach
Sner Beach is located in Koh Kong province. It has a distinct atmosphere from some of Cambodia's other beaches since it is located on the country's southwestern coast, directly adjacent to the Thai border.
It's one of those fantastic spots to visit in Cambodia where you'll primarily, if not entirely, find Cambodians having fun, as it's not a popular destination for international visitors. The beach is never crowded, the water is typically clean and transparent, and there are covered hammock portions where you can simply rest.
Sner Beach is also an excellent spot to go if you like seafood, since you can get it cooked for you on the beach barbecue pits. Along the beach, there are a few small beach shacks and cafés.
6. Koh Russey
Koh Russey, popularly known as Bamboo Island, has a beautiful mile-long private beach. The very gently sloping beach is backed by a series of giant mangroves and palm trees that provide shade during the day.
The exquisite Koh Russey Villas & Resort is located on this Cambodian island. It's all individual villas and pavilions at one of Cambodia's most incredible resorts (and part of the Small Luxury Resorts of the World series). They are all wonderfully designed and equipped and contain one, two, three, or four bedrooms. The resort also offers a full-service spa and some fantastic dining. The resort's own ferry takes you off or picks you up at a wharf near Ream.
The island's interior is mostly rainforest, which may be explored by pathways.
Battambang is a peaceful town that lacks the energy of other Cambodian cities, but don't overlook the beauty of this verdant countryside!
With its varied eccentric cafés and serene atmosphere, Battambang has rightfully earned its spot among the greatest places to visit in Cambodia. You may ride your bike among the creeks and rice paddies. You may also go kayaking along the tranquil Stung Sangkae River.
Visit the Well of Shadows as well; it is not for the faint of heart. It serves as a memorial to those who perished during the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror.
Wat Phnom Sampeau is in the west of Battambang which is a Buddhist temple
Kampot is a riverine town where you can wind down in its old-world ambience and enjoy the easygoing, laid-back atmosphere. This charming town used to be a major trading port during the French Colonial era, and it has several buildings from that time.
Pièce de résistancelies of Kampot is the Durian roundabout which is a landmark traffic roundabout. You can explore the main market of Kampot, also famous as ‘Old Maket’. Its shops range from clothing and jewelry to fruits, meat, vegetables, etc.
You must explore Rabbit Island, Preah Monivong National Park, as well as the Kampot Salt fields, and Phnom Chhngok Cave Temple.
Also, you have to try the delicious crab curry, a local specialty of Kampot.
9. Tonlé Sap Lake
Tonlé Sap is Cambodia's largest freshwater lake and a major source of food and irrigation for the country's inhabitants. It has also been recognized as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO due to its great biodiversity.
It offers an intriguing local community and the major reason for the tourist attractions—it has a floating Village!
Its expansive villages of Kompong Luong on Tonle Sap's western shore and Chong Kneas near Siem Reap make it a must-see for a day of exploring.
10. Koh Kong
Koh Kong is another stunning spot to visit in Cambodia, stretching inside the Cardamon Mountain range. It boasts a deep jungle, breathtaking waterfalls, and rivers that you may explore on a trek or by joining a boat excursion.
It features a few boutique eco-resorts along the Tatai River that provide guests with activities such as kayaking. Chi Pat village, an eco-tourism center, is located farther south. It provides lodging as well as various tourism activities such as animal viewing and multi-day treks.
Sunset at one of the beautiful beaches of Koh Kong province
Trip to Cambodia advice
When is the best month to visit Cambodia?
The best month to visit Siem Reap and Angkor Wat in Cambodia is between December and February, when temperatures fall into the high 20s, and humidity levels are manageable.
During peak season, popular destinations in Cambodia have higher prices, larger crowds, and more expensive airfares. Consider arriving in March or early April for a less expensive trip.
This is also an excellent time to visit Koh Rong, Cambodia's most popular beach destination.
Where are the best backpacker destinations in Cambodia?
For backpackers, the best places to visit in Cambodia are Kampot, Mondulkiri, and Kep.
Is Cambodia safe for a solo trip?
Yes, a solo trip to Cambodia is completely safe. This country is the safest place to visit, whether you are a man or a woman.
Is Cambodia cheap?
Cambodia is one of the most affordable Southeast Asian tourist destinations. If you are on a tight budget, you can visit all of Cambodia's tourist attractions within a reasonable time frame.
How long is enough for a vacation in Cambodia?
A 4 to 5 days vacation is ideal for seeing all of Cambodia's main tourist attractions.
What should I pack for Cambodia trips?
Cotton clothing, sunscreen, comfortable shoes, a hat, and sunglasses are all recommended. Bring appropriate clothing when visiting temples.
Travelers should look for advice before traveling to Cambodia
To summarize, Cambodia should go on your bucket list if you want to see authentic cultural heritage through its ancient ruins. With its archaeological riches, floating villages, and a tropical adventure in its rainforests and gorgeous, clean beaches, all of the most beautiful places to visit in Cambodia deliver an unmatched experience. Everything is so inexpensive in this country; it is the ideal vacation location for anyone on a tight budget!
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