Top places to visit in Cambodia
While Cambodia might not be the first destination to spring to mind when considering a Southeast Asian adventure, it certainly holds its own in terms of rich history, cultural heritage, and natural beauty. With the number of tourists only a fraction of those flocking to neighboring Thailand and Vietnam, it offers an authentic experience untouched by excessive commercialization. Despite its tragic past, the nation has emerged with a renewed spirit, showcased by its resilient and hospitable people.
A wealth of attractions awaits the discerning traveler in Cambodia. Phnom Penh, the capital city, offers a blend of French colonial charm and bustling local markets. Siem Reap serves as a gateway to the ancient wonders of Angkor, where thousand-year-old temples stand testament to the architectural mastery of the Khmer Empire. Battambang provides a glimpse into rural life with its serene rice fields and timeless village scenes. The island of Koh Rong offers pristine beaches and crystal clear waters, while Preah Vihear, home to a majestic mountaintop temple, promises breathtaking views.
Culinary enthusiasts can explore the unique flavors of Cambodian cuisine, with its subtle spices and distinctive sour notes. The country's artistic traditions are equally captivating, be it the graceful Apsara dance or the intricate designs of Khmer crafts.
In this guide, we will delve into these remarkable cities and sights, introducing you to the heart and soul of Cambodia. Through its pages, you will gain an understanding of what makes this country earn its reputation as The Kingdom Of Wonder.
Contrary to perceptions of being little more than a stopping point en route to the world-renowned Angkor Wat, Phnom Penh holds its own with an array of compelling attractions and an authentic culture that is very much alive.
Phnom Penh sits at the confluence of three rivers and boasts a waterfront lined with parks and restaurants. You can witness the splendor of the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, a testament to Cambodia's rich history, or explore modern-day Cambodian life in the city's markets where local artisans sell their wares.
Cambodian cuisine is a draw in itself, with Phnom Penh providing ample opportunity to savor local delicacies. Fish amok, a curry dish steamed in banana leaves, is a must-try, as is kuy teav, a noodle soup commonly eaten for breakfast.
While Phnom Penh's charm is evident, it's essential for visitors to be aware of its tumultuous past. The Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum serve as stark reminders of the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge era. These sites provide a sobering insight into Cambodia's history but are crucial for understanding the resilience and spirit of its people today.