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Cambodia

"Kingdom of Wonder"

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Why would Cambodia suit you?

Historical

From 802 up to 1350 Cambodia was part of a big Khmer kingdom, with Angkor as capital city. Around the 15th century, Phnom Penh became the capital city, the citizens of Angkor left their town and the temples disappeared in the jungle. Later, around 1900, a French naturalist discovered the temple complex during his search for animals. Since the mid-20th century Cambodia was often the battlefield of war. During the Vietnam war the country was bombed by the Americans and since 1978 a civil war dominated the country for years. The region where, in the 70’s a lot of innocent people were killed, is now known as the Killing Fields. You can visit the impressive museum here.

Local culture

Due to the many wars on Cambodian territory, a lot of the countries culture has disappeared. However, there are enough Buddha statues, temples, monks in orange robes and friendly locals that show the real Cambodian culture. Besides the famous Angkor temples, you have to visit the Sambor Prei Kuk temple complex. Some of these temples belong to the oldest of Cambodia. If you’re really lucky, a group of monks in their typical orange clothes might walk by.

Religious buildings

Cambodia holds the world’s biggest religious building, temple Angkor Wat. From all of the temples in the region, this one is best preserved. Angkor Wat is probably the resting place of king Suryavarman II and is especially renowned for its intricate decorations. The immense temple consists of different floors and is about 65 meters high. Nearby, you find a lot more impressive temples. One of them is Angkor Thom. You might recognize this temple from the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. It’s fascinating to see how the tree roots slowly overgrow the temple.

More Cambodia highlights ↓

The immense and best-known temple complex Angkor Wat is Cambodia's absolute eye catcher. Though there is so much more to see! Tropical beaches, surprising deserted islands, a mysterious jungle and the uppermost welcoming community. Best way to discover the country might even be on a bicycle!

Tonle Saplake Image gallery
Time zone
In summer +5, in winter +6
Visa
Yes
Vaccinations
Recommended
High season
December – January
Currency
Cambodian riel (KHR)

Where to stay?

Where to stay?

Cambodia is well-known for:

  • Magical Angkor Wat
  • Tropical beaches and deserted islands
  • Friendly, welcoming people
  • Authenticity 

Keep in mind:

  • Cambodia is less developed than neighbouring countries.
  • Due to heavy traffic and bad roads it is advisable not to drive yourself

Alternatives nearby

James Bond Island
Thailand →
Chinese Wall
China →

Cambodia highlights Book now

Killing Fields mass grave, Phnom Penh, Cambodja
Historical

From 802 up to 1350 Cambodia was part of a big Khmer kingdom, with Angkor as capital city. Around the 15th century, Phnom Penh became the capital city, the citizens of Angkor left their town and the temples disappeared in the jungle. Later, around 1900, a French naturalist discovered the temple complex during his search for animals. Since the mid-20th century Cambodia was often the battlefield of war. During the Vietnam war the country was bombed by the Americans and since 1978 a civil war dominated the country for years. The region where, in the 70’s a lot of innocent people were killed, is now known as the Killing Fields. You can visit the impressive museum here.

Buddhist monks
Local culture

Due to the many wars on Cambodian territory, a lot of the countries culture has disappeared. However, there are enough Buddha statues, temples, monks in orange robes and friendly locals that show the real Cambodian culture. Besides the famous Angkor temples, you have to visit the Sambor Prei Kuk temple complex. Some of these temples belong to the oldest of Cambodia. If you’re really lucky, a group of monks in their typical orange clothes might walk by.

Old ruin Ta Prohm in Ankor Wat
Religious buildings

Cambodia holds the world’s biggest religious building, temple Angkor Wat. From all of the temples in the region, this one is best preserved. Angkor Wat is probably the resting place of king Suryavarman II and is especially renowned for its intricate decorations. The immense temple consists of different floors and is about 65 meters high. Nearby, you find a lot more impressive temples. One of them is Angkor Thom. You might recognize this temple from the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. It’s fascinating to see how the tree roots slowly overgrow the temple.

Island Koh Rong Samloem
Beaches

What a lot of people don’t know is that Cambodia has beautiful beaches and idyllic islands. The most renowned resort is Sihanoukville, located at the Gulf of Thailand. Ochheuteal Beach is the most popular beach. During the day you enjoy the warm sun and at night you can go dancing during one of the beach party’s. In the Southwest of Cambodia lay many islands. Koh Rong is a homely one where you can relax on one of the beautiful white sandy beaches or go into the jungle to look for hidden waterfalls. When you want to snorkel, you should go to Koh Tang.

Packed bicycle
Biking

Although you might not expect it, Cambodia is perfect to discover by bike. Due to the varied landscape, biking through the country is nice for both beginners and experienced cyclists. The roads in Cambodia are not always in great condition, but this will be compensated by the beautiful view and green jungle. A nice place to bike is around Angkor. Because of the extensive surface of the complex, it’s easier and faster to bike from one temple to the other. Also small cities like Siem Reap and Battambang are excellent to bike through. The real diehard can compose a bike vacation through all of Cambodia. In Cambodia you generally bike on a mountain bike. 

Local market
Dining

Cambodia is the home of several populations, like the Chinese and the Vietnamese. You can taste this in the local kitchen. Cambodian dishes exist mainly of rice with vegetables, fish or meat, really essential is fish sauce. Also hot spices, chilli peppers and ginger are popular ingredients. With these spices, the Cambodians make dozens of different variations of rice. Sticky rice is consumed a lot as a desert with various kinds of fruit. Next to local food, you can find enough international dishes and restaurants in Cambodia. Food in Cambodia is inexpensive.

The hardest road in Cambodia
Mountainbiking

Although you might not expect it, Cambodia is perfect to discover by bike. Due to the varied landscape, biking through the country is nice for both beginners and experienced cyclists. The roads in Cambodia are not always in great condition, but this will be compensated by the beautiful view and green jungle. A nice place to bike is around Angkor. Because of the surface of the complex, it’s easier and faster to bike from one temple to the other. Also small cities like Siem Reap and Battambang are excellent to bike through. The real diehard can compose a bike vacation through whole Cambodia.

Siem Reap
UNESCO

Cambodia is mainly famous for its immense temple complex Angkor, which is 100 square meters nowadays. Since 1992, when Angkor Wat became a UNESCO heritage site, the number of tourists grew very fast. Which is one of the reasons why the temples are renovated for dozens of years already. Not only Angkor Wat, but also the Preah Vihear temple is the UNESCO list. This temple is well preserved, because of its remote location in the north of Cambodia. It’s mainly special because of its architecture and quality of carved decoration.

Map of Cambodia Book now

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Sources used on this page: Visit Cambodia | Tourism Cambodia | Toeristiek | Shutterstock
Header image: Angkor Wat by Shutterstock