No visit to Cambodia would be complete without a visit to the majestic temples of Angkor Wat. However, this amazing country offers so much more that is just waiting to be discovered. We thought we would give you our top 10 places and things to do in your visit to Cambodia:
This is such a culturally rich and diverse country that it is difficult to narrow it down to 10, but here goes:
1) Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem
These tropical sister-islands are a short ferry ride from the coastal town of Sihanouk Ville, and offer something for everyone no matter your budget or style of travelling. Snorkel over beautiful reefs, find a deserted beach, or wander through the rain forests in the hinterland.
If you are looking to party, stay in the many guesthouses in Koh Rong’s main village.
Both Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem have some delightful resorts located on often-deserted beaches away from the crowds. This is a great place to unwind and relax.
2) Koh Kong
Offering everything from the stunning Cardamom Mountains, waterfalls, incredible estuaries to explore, deserted beaches and to the tropical islands to discover, this has to be on your list of places to visit. With much of the area untouched by development, it is starting to be discovered by visitors and with good reason.
Again, there is a range of accommodation options available, from a luxury resort floating on the river, to family homestays. For those looking to escape to nature, then you cannot bypass the
province of Koh Kong.
Located in the northern part of Cambodia, this province is home to stunning jungles, cascading waterfalls and a number of ethnic groups still very much living a traditional way of life. With its cooler climate, it is a great escape and worthy of a few days exploration.
A must do is a visit to the Mondulkiri Project, which is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation centre located in a stunning jungle setting, supporting the local indigenous tribes. Spend the day interacting with the elephants, including bathing and washing them in the stream that runs through this protected natural habitat that they now call home.
Discover this little-known town located by the majestic Mekong River. Located a couple of hours north of Phnom Penh, life in this town revolves around the river. We recommend taking the short river crossing to the island of Koh Trong, and with its flat terrain, you can hire a bike and explore this beautiful island
with its rich fertile farms and traditional houses.
Known best for being the place to spot the rare and endangered Irrawaddy dolphins, Kratie is also home to a number of fine temples, and sunsets on the river are simply divine.
5) Genocide Museum and Killing Fields
It is hard to comprehend that these smiling friendly people experienced such a brutal recent history. To honour those lost to this tragic period, you must visit these two world-class memorials located in Phnom Penh.
The Genocide Museum or Tuol Sleng (S21) was a place of horrific torture where over 15000 people were “processed” before been sent to the Killing Fields. In our Tour of Remembrance (http://www.greenculturaltravel.com/product/tour-of-remembrance/) we follow their final journey onto the Killing Fields which is now a confronting but also tranquil place where so many people lost their lives. In our private day tour, we end with a visit to a local temple for what we would call “a cleansing ceremony” as a way to honour those lives lost.
6) Royal Palace, National Museum, Wat Phnom and Wat Ounalom
If you’re staying in Phnom Penh we have put these four places together as “must do’s” when visiting
this bustling vibrant city. With their stunning architecture, stupors and artwork, they offer a glimpse into the history of this ancient civilisation.
We have included visits to the sprawling Wat Ounalom complex, as it is home to a large number of Buddhist monks and it is a great way to see them go about their daily lives.
7) Silk Island
Being located in Phnom Penh and a short drive from the tourist precinct followed by a ferry crossing on the Mekong, this is really like stepping back in time. With its traditional housing, fertile farm lands and welcoming people, these tropical river islands are a great escape from the bustle of the city.
This place is dear to our heart as it is home to Coconut School, which is a unique school, much of which was built from what many consider “rubbish”, and is playing an important role in providing much-needed support for educating the local children. It is a project we support with a percentage of all online sales donated to help with the running costs and ongoing building works.
8) Kampot and Kep
Located on the south coast and about 25km apart, we highly recommend you include a few days staying in one of these beautiful towns and exploring these provinces.
Kampot is set on a river, and Kep is a coastal town which was the playground of the former king. From beautiful tropical hinterlands with stunning waterfalls, to nearby tropical islands, there is much to do and experience. Sample tropical fruit, take a river cruise, take in the sights of the Bokor Mountain, or visit the pepper farms that Kampot is world famous for.
With accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes, this is a great alternative to the busier Sihanouk Ville.
9) Tonle Sap
One of the few rivers that reverses direction from the dry season to the wet season, it ultimately ends its journey in Phnom Penh. However, it begins as a mighty lake which forms part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This lake in the wet season covers some 15000 km², and with its diverse flora and fauna, plays a vital role to the many people that call this area home.
We highly recommend, when you are in Siem Reap, to visit one of the floating villages to discover a traditional way of life that revolves around and is reliant on this unique body of water.
The second largest city in Cambodia and known amongst other things for its fine collection of French colonial architecture, this is a great place to break your journey from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh.
Ride the bamboo train, take in stunning ancient temples, caves, and so much more. Again, a great alternative to the other busier tourist centres, we think that a few days’ exploring this city and province is a must-do. In the wet season, you can take a boat here from Siem Reap on the majestic Tonle Sap.
So, that is our top ten list for what we think are must-do things when planning your discovery trip to Cambodia. Check out our website at www.greenculturaltravel.com for a great selection of private packages and day tours. We look forward to seeing you when you are ready to visit this vibrant country!