10 Must See Places in Cambodia

Every year, thousands of visitors flock to Cambodia in search of ancient relics, breathtaking scenery, and cultural charm. From historical UNESCO Heritage Sites to lush jungles, and bustling cities in between, Cambodia has sights for every traveller looking to experience a bit of vibrant Southeast Asia. Below are ten must-see places that are not to be missed during a stay in the magical kingdom.

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1. Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat in Siem Reap is the number one reason millions of tourists head to the country each year – and for good reason. Angkor is the largest religious monument in the world, with a number of stunningly impressive temples on its complex dating as far back to the 9th century. Known for being a picturesque filming location for the blockbuster movie Tomb Raider, Angkor was once the capital of the ancient Khmer Empire. Today, this collection of well-preserved temples showcases phenomenal age-old architecture, carvings, and statues in Cambodia’s jungle.

2. Siem Reap

Fortunately, most people have to pass through Siem Reap to get to the famous and stunning temples of Angkor. Tourists have allowed this area to flourish into a bustling gateway to Angkor archaeological sites with plenty to explore in a laid-back environment. From cozy guesthouses to 5-star hotels, Siem Reap offers a comfortable and easy-going introduction to Cambodian life, food and culture. Speaking of food, Siem Reap is known for offering up delicious and flavourful Cambodian and Southeast Asian cuisine at affordable prices. For the adventurous foodie, head to Bug’s Cafe for an interesting twist on common delicacies in Cambodia.

3. Sihanoukville

Known for being one of the best beaches in Southeast Asia, Sihanoukville has a laid-back, beach-life vibe, appealing to backpackers and the easy-going traveller. Beachside guesthouses and huts are the norm, with both rocky and sandy beaches at your disposal. Staying in Sihanoukville will also give you an ideal location for diving and snorkelling either off its coast or from one of its nearby islands.

4.Koh Rong

Just off the coast of the backpacker paradise of Sihanoukville sits the sought after the island of Koh Rong. Known for being one of the most beautiful islands in the country, Koh Rong’s pristine sandy beaches and sparkling coast makes for a quiet haven in the Gulf of Thailand. Getting there is half the adventure as you’ll be required to take a scenic boat ride from the mainland. If you tire of lazing on white sands, the inner part of the island has lush forests and jungle to explore, where wildlife lovers will enjoy the chance to get a glimpse of the island’s colorful wildlife.

5. Koh Ker

Head back in time to the remarkable archaeological site of Koh Ker. Located just 120 km from Siem Reap, this remote temple ground is home to the towering Prasat Thom, standing at 98 feet. While this sandstone temple is probably the most stunning feature to Koh Ker, it’s among 42 other structures in the former Khmer capital. Koh Ker dates back 928 AD and was once inaccessible for hundreds of years. Expect this site to grow more and more in popularity thanks to a new toll road allowing easier access to this mysterious area.

6. Phnom Penh

The country’s largest and the capital city is not to be overlooked, bursting with energy and culture known as ‘Asia’s Pearl’. The city dates back to the 15th century, combining both Khmer and French Colonial architecture through the temples and buildings found within the country’s bustling core. Phnom Penh is a great place to try Cambodian cuisine with a number of traditional (and delicious) options throughout the city. Plan to make a stop at the National Museum to see antique relics of the country’s past, and don’t forget to stop at the Royal Palace Complex to have your breath taken away.

7. Kratie

Head to the quiet rural town of Kratie along the Mekong River for a bit of serenity in this charming area surrounded by French Colonial buildings. Kratie is best known for the majestic freshwater dolphins (Irrawaddy dolphins) who live in the river, with excursions available to see a few of the 70 dolphins estimated to be inhabiting the area. Backpackers and those on a budget will enjoy the laid-back, no-frills atmosphere of Kratie, with rustic and natural lodgings to host their stay. Don’t miss out on the incredible sunsets over the river, making this region even more captivating for the low-key traveller.

8. Banlung

Wildlife lovers and those with a passion for the outdoors shouldn’t skip on the chance to see the capital of Ratanakiri in northern Cambodia. This lesser trodden area is becoming a popular spot to see monkeys, snakes and other wildlife in their natural environment. It’s best to book one of many tours offered in the region to see stunning areas of Banlung, like Yaek Laom Volcanic Lake. Visiting Banlung will also give visitors the chance to get a glimpse of rural living amidst the number of plantations and crafting facilities in the area.

9. Kampot

If it’s the quiet, rural life you’re after, head to the river village of Kampot, sitting on Cambodia’s coast. While being on the coast might trigger your thoughts of beach life, Kampot offers so much more. Famous for its pepper farms, gourmet cooks and foodies will enjoy visiting the area thanks to it being home to the unique black peppercorn. It’s also one of the best places in the country to feast on crab curries. If you’re headed to Bokor National Park for its lush rainforest, Kampot is your gateway, though scenic boating and rafting trips are offered outside of the park for a picturesque adventure.

10. Battambang

Sitting on the Sangkae River, Battambang is Cambodia’s second largest city by population though quieter than the bustling cities of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. The combination of modern and colonial architecture gives this city a unique charm in addition to the small-town feel this big city has. The trendy coffee culture in this city is super popular, allowing you to get your hands on the perfect latte or cappuccino. Battambang is the main city of this region, and better known for its shrines and bamboo railway that decorate this friendly, contemporary city, with Cambodian beauty.

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