Cambodia has a huge amount of amazing and incredible places to visit but here is your list of must-sees on your visit to the Kingdom of Wonder.
Koh Rong and Koh Rong Saloem
Imagine a beautiful beach with crystal clear waters without the crowds of tourists you find in neighbouring countries such as Thailand. Welcome to Koh Rong. In Cambodia’s best island resort you will find a laid-back atmosphere and chilled out vibe. Snorkelling, diving and trekking trips to the lush jungle interiors can easily be arranged, and there are enough facilities to ensure an enjoyable trip. This is an island that remains relatively undeveloped, which means you won’t find luxury resorts or facilities here, but if simple, natural beauty is what you’re looking for, this is definitely for you.
Sihanoukville and Otres Beach
Sihanoukville or Kampong Soum is a coastal town and province in southern Cambodia. The town was developed to accommodate the country’s first deep-water port in the 1950’s. A few years later, it had already become Cambodia’s number one seaside destination. Unlike other coastal towns, Sihanoukville can accommodate every traveller, from the backpacker to the luxury resort seeker. This explains why the jet-setters -from the capital head there on the weekends. Sihanoukville is also home to a good nightlife scene and has an increasing amount of satellite resorts opening up all the time, such as Otres Beach (10 kilometres from Sihanoukville) being one of the most popular.
Kampot and Kep
Kampot is a quiet riverside town is also famous for being the pepper capital of the world and has recently gained geographical protection. The impressive range of riverside restaurants and tucked away bungalows make Kampot an ideal place to relax in. Kampot also provides a great base for those wishing to visit and explore Bokor National Park and its French colonial hill station.
A 30-minute drive down the road from Kampot and you will find yourself in Kep. Kep was once Cambodia’s most popular beach town, but the years following the Khmer Rouge saw the town being slowly abandoned. However, its former splendour remains evident everywhere.
Sidewalks are wide, impressive statues line the waters and the remains of huge French villas are dotted around the town. Unlike the white sand beaches in Sihanoukville, here it is mainly rocks and mangroves which dominate the coastline.
However, Kep town centre has a soft sand beach and the lesser visited Angkoul beach just outside the town offers some pristine white sand. Seafood is tasty and cheap, and the picturesque island of Koh Tunsay is easily accessible from the pier with regular boats. Finally, don’t miss out on Kep National Park which offers many trails all offering treks through the virgin jungle with breathtaking views over the Gulf of Thailand.
Phnom Penh is a beautiful example of a city which was successfully and totally rebuilt after a war. The capital of Cambodia and known as the Pearl of Asia, Phnom Penh never fails to amaze visitors with its scenic riverside promenade, shiny Royal Palace and many temples, colourful local markets, fancy international restaurants, and much more.
Kratie is a small Cambodian town with a fascinating market, beautifully preserved French colonial buildings and traditional Khmer buildings. Kratie, located on a pristine stretch of the Mekong River, is an old favourite among visitors who travel there to see Cambodia’s endangered and beautiful Irrawaddy dolphin. Estimates suggest that there are still around 70 dolphins still living in the area. In Kratie, travellers can simply relax and enjoy the best of what rural Cambodia has to offer.
Tonle Sap is Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake. Although not officially a town, you will find many people living in houses on stilts above the water in this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which plays a major role in Cambodia’s ecology as a whole. When you are done visiting the nearby ruins of Angkor Wat, make sure to take a trip along the picturesque lakeshore and see the many incredible stilted business’ and communities.
Siem Reap in northern Cambodia is most famous for being the gateway to the ancient and magnificent temples of Angkor, and it is easy to see why when you see the sunrise views against the backdrop of the stunning temples.
However, Siem Reap town itself has started gaining in popularity recently with its tree-lined boulevards, small shops, popular bars and colourful markets. Siem Reap is also home to a range of cultural experiences, including stunning dance and circus performances and delicious street food.
Located in Koh Kong Province, deep within the Cardamom Mountains, Chi-Phat is a commune consisting of four villages and an estimated population of around 3000 people. The residents live mainly off fishing, agriculture, and now ecotourism. A visit there offers a genuine glimpse into authentic rural and provincial life in Cambodia. Facilities are few, nature is pristine and life is beautifully simple. Visitors trek, kayak, cycle, and see how the locals get on with their everyday lives. This is the ideal place for the more intrepid travellers who are avid to stay in a village where the villagers themselves control tourism, protect the environment and act as guides.
Battambang is the second-largest Cambodian city and also a province in its own right, which boasts a unique countryside scenery and laid-back nightlife. Many people like to visit this colonial riverside town to unwind and take in the beauty of Cambodian nature and rural life. There are many cafés, artsy boutique hotels and independent restaurants.