Flanked by Thailand in the west and Laos & Vietnam in the east, Cambodia, officially the Kingdom of Cambodia is a sovereign country located in the southern portion of the Indo-China peninsula in Southeast Asia. Phnom Penh is the capital city as well as the political, economic and cultural center of Cambodia. This erstwhile Khmer Empire is one of the most visited tourist destinations of Asia as it boasts of stunning landscapes, exotic temples, rich culture, fascinating history, and pristine beaches. Because of its famous historical sites, Cambodia is the better options for travelers who are bored with the beaches of Thailand or the natural wonders of Vietnam.
Here is the list of 10 amazing places to visit in Cambodia as part of Cambodia Tour Packages here.
Temples of Angkor, Siem Reap
Situated near Siem Reap, the Angkor Archaeological Park is an UNESCO World Heritage site in Cambodia. Encompasses more than 400 Sq. km, the Angkor Park is home to the magnificent Angkor Wat Temple, Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom and several other ancient ruins of Khmer Empire. It is one of the most significant architectural ruins in Southeast Asia and one among the greatest tourist attractions in Cambodia. Constructed between the 9th and 12th century AD, many of the temples at Angkor have been restored now as it attract millions of foreign tourists all through the year.
Built in traditional Khmer style of architecture, Angkor Wat Temple is considered to be the oldest temple as well as the largest religious monument in the world. Regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, it was originally constructed as a Hindu temple under the Khmer Empire in the early 12th century, but transitioned into a Buddhist temple later. Surrounded by a huge rectangular reservoir and a 3 km long outer wall, the temple consists of three tiered galleries and five towers shaped like lotus buds. The walls of the temple feature a series of stone carvings depicting scenes from the Hindu epics Ramayana and the Mahabharata. One can also visit Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia near the town of Siem Reap.
Must Read: 7 Interesting Facts about Angkor Wat
Located at the confluence of Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap Rivers, Phnom Penh is a vibrant bustling city and also the capital of Cambodia since French colonial days. Earlier known as ‘the pearl of Asia’, Phnom Penh is considered one of the prettiest French built cities in Indo-China peninsula. Though still recovering from war and revolution, the capital city of Cambodia attracts huge number of tourists as it is home to some magnificent palaces and exotic temples.
Built in Khmer style of architecture, the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh still serves as the royal residence of King Norodom Sihamoni. At Phnom Penh one can also visit National Museum, Silver Pagoda, Tuol Seng Genocide Museum and Wat Phnom. Just outside of Phnom Penh are the Killing Fields where millions of people were tortured to death during the notorious Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia which lasted from 1975 to 1979 CE.
Flanked by an almost uninterrupted string of beaches and tiny islands, Sihanoukville is the most popular Cambodian beach resort on the Gulf of Thailand. Named after a former king, Norodom Sihanouk, Sihanoukville has great history as this was the place where the United States fought its last battle in the Vietnam War. Also known as Kampong Som, Sihanoukville has both sandy and rocky beaches. If you’re looking for a place to party, then Sihanoukville is the place to go while in Cambodia Trip as this seaside resort town offers a pretty good night life with a wide variety of bars open until late night.
Sokha Beach, Independence Beach, Brash Ochheuteal Beach and the Serendipity Beach are the popular beaches in Sihanoukville. The Sokha Beach and Independence Beach boast the luxury hotels while Brash Ochheuteal Beach and the Serendipity Beach are the popular backpacker party areas. For a much quieter scene, you can head to less-trodden Otres Beach nearby.
Related Tours: Popular Honeymoon Tour Packages
Battambang, the former capital of Monton Khmer, is the second-largest city in Cambodia and also the capital of Battambang Province. Until the war years, Battambang was the leading rice-producing province of Cambodia. The lush countryside and the quirky cafes make Battambang one of the top places to visit in Cambodia especially visitors who are interested in Cambodian history. It is home to many Angkor-style temples, French colonial buildings and Buddhist shrines. The most popular things to do here is Bamboo Train ride between Battambang’s east bank and the tiny village of O Srav. Other attractions include the bat caves at the base of Mount Sampeau, where over 1 million bats depart the cliffside cave every evening. One can also visit nearby temples of Phnom Sampeau, Phnom Banan, and Wat Ek Phnom.
Koh Rong & Koh Rong Samloem
Just off the Cambodia’s south coast lie a handful of islands just as beautiful as their Thai counterparts but less visited by tourists. Compared to popular islands of Koh Samui and Phuket, Cambodia’s islands are a slice of relaxed tropical paradise where sun and sand take center stage. Of all the islands, Koh Rong Samloem and Koh Rong are the most beautiful islands in Cambodia which can be accessed only by boat from Sihanoukville. These islands offer everything from clean white sand beaches to mesmerizing sunsets, palm groves, resorts and hotels for a pleasant beach vacation.
Koh Rong, the bigger of the two, is backpacker paradise packed with enough kickback party hostels and bars while Koh Rong Samloem, just a 45 minute boat ride away from Koh Rong, is undeveloped and offers something more peaceful atmosphere for its visitors. Both islands have exceptional stretches of white sand, especially Saracen Bay on Koh Rong Samloem and Long Beach on Koh Rong. Those looking for adventure, these islands also offer a lot of activities like snorkeling, diving and kayaking.
Prasat Preah Vihear
Built during the period of the Khmer Empire, Prasat Preah Vihear is an ancient Hindu temple complex in the Preah Vihear province of Cambodia. Sitting atop a cliff in the Dangrek Mountains, Prasat Preah Vihear is originally dedicated to Lord Shiva. Having the most spectacular settings, this UNESCO world Heritage Site is considered as one of the top historical temples in Cambodia and among the must include in Cambodia Packages.
Situated on the edge of the Cambodian-Thai border, this outstanding masterpiece of Khmer architecture is quite different from the other traditional Khmer temples as it was constructed along a long north-south axis, rather than having the conventional rectangular plan with orientation toward the east. The temple has a series of sanctuaries linked by a system of pavements and staircases. Witnessing the marvelous carved stone ornamentation and the picturesque view of surrounding plains from this temple is an amazing experience for every traveler.
Kratie is a little charming town spread along the banks of the mighty Mekong River in Cambodia and also a popular stopover between Cambodia and Laos. Though there is no large scale tourism but Kratie is thronged by plenty of backpackers during peak season as it is the best place to see rare Irrawaddy dolphins that are estimated to be nearly 86 dolphins in the Mekong River. Dominated by a central marketplace surrounded by old, French colonial buildings, Kratie is also the place where one can enjoy blissful sunsets along the Mekong River. It is also considered as an excellent base for exploring the river and the surrounding areas, including the pretty Koh Trong, a 3 km long Mekong River island.
Often called as the land of black peppercorns, Kampot is a scenic town on the banks of Preaek Teuk Chhu River in Cambodia. This quaint riverside town boasts some excellent colonial architecture as this was the former retreat for the French aristocracy during colonial times. Kampot is also the gateway to the abandoned French hill station of Bokor National Park, among the most famous tourist places in Cambodia. Kampot area also offers several other attractions including Kep Beach, Rabbit Island, pre-Angkorian ruins and caves, and pepper plantations. View ancient ruins at the Kampot Kampong Trach caves, river cruising and jungle trekking are the popular things to do in Kampot as part of Cambodia Tour.
Situated in the eastern part of Cambodia, Mondulkiri is a rising destination for nature & Ecotourism. The vast and quiet province of Mondulkiri has abundant natural beauty with thickly forested mountains, multiple waterfalls and the lush green rolling hills of the western side. The Bou Sra, Sen Monorom Waterfalls, Romnea Waterfall and Memang Gold Mines are the must see tourist places in Mondulkiri. Considered as the largest waterfall in Cambodia, Bou Sra is a three-tiered natural waterfall but only the first two tiers accessible to public view.
Besides, Mondulkiri is also boasts of several elephant & wildlife sanctuaries and conservation projects like Mondulkiri Project and the Elephant Valley Project. Sen Monorom, the capital town of Mondulkiri, is the base for travelers who want to explore the elephant projects and nearby waterfalls.
Situated near Siem Reap, Koh Ker is an ancient temple complex in Cambodia. Once the capital of the Khmer Empire from 928 AD to 944 AD, Koh Ker is the largest ancient temple town outside Angkor and among the most remote historical places in Cambodia. Earlier called as Chok Gargyar or Lingapura, Koh Ker complex is about 3 km long that consists of a number of temples.
The most important structure here is Prasat Prang, a 98 feet tall temple pyramid. Another remarkable structure in Koh Ker is Prasat Thom which is one of the very few Khmer temples with a linear layout. The Pram temple, Chen temple, the Preng well, Kuk temple and Neang Khmao temple are the other important structures to see in Koh Ker Temple complex.
Most Popular International Tours
Santhi is an avid traveler and primary contributor to the blogs at Trawell.in. She has explored most of the states in India and gained vast knowledge on tourist destinations in India and abroad. She also contributes content to other travel websites.