Cambodia exudes mysticism, from its extraordinary jungle ruins to Khmer villages. Cambodia is a country with a long history, which means there is an endless number of natural wonders to see. Cambodia’s history is both inspiring and depressing, but delivers an wonderful opportunities for adventurous visitors.
Asia has kept a little quiet about this place. Cambodia, a relatively unexplored country compared to its neighbours. Despite having the eighth wonder of the world in its backyard, Cambodia’s real treasure is its people. The Khmers have been to hell and back, struggling through years of bloodshed, poverty and political instability. Thanks to an unbreakable spirit and infectious optimism, they have prevailed with their smiles intact. Do try to get under the skin of the Cambodian way of life; the Cambodians are simply some of the friendliest people in the world.
Cambodia will not fail to captivate. Discover the frenetic motorbike laden streets of Phnom Penh, the verdant jungle protruding from the atmospheric temples of Angkor and the laidback vibes of Kep-sur-mer; this is a country where ancient history meets modern life. There is an abundance of beautiful landscapes, a pulsating culture and a wealth of history to take in, and believe us; it’s worth putting in the extra foot work to find it – who knows what you will discover.
In Angkor’s nearest town, Siem Reap, you can explore the verdant jungle and take tea in a Khmer village house before exploring the noisy riverside bazaars; a great place to haggle. The next morning you must watch the sunrise over the outstanding wonder that is the legendary Angkor Wat temple complex, and roam the mysterious stones of exquisite Ta Prohm where ancient jungle vines coil around the slumbering ruin. It’s also worth exploring the outer lesser-visited temples for serene walks.
The influence of the Khmer Empire can be seen at the magnificent temples of Angkor, which are a perfect fusion of creative ambition and spiritual devotion of former emperors. Built in the early 12th century, this complex is a hallmark of classical Khmer architecture. This World Heritage Site, the famous ‘lost city’ of the Khmers, is one of the most astounding archaeological sites in Asia and undoubtedly one of the world’s great travel highlights. The ancient relics of the Khmer culture and the mellow town centres bequeathed by French colonists co-exist with haunting memories of a generation lost to Pol Pot.
An often overlooked area is Tonle Sap, one of the world’s largest lakes. Home to Vietnamese and Cambodian floating villages with crocodile farms, fish farms, a bird sanctuary, submerged forest and waterborne restaurants, life here continues at the same hectic pace as on land.
The capital, Phnom Penh, is home to the Cambodian Royal Family. A visit to the Royal Palace is essential, with its Silver Pagoda, throne room and religious icons. Wat Pho, the city’s namesake temple, markets and the National Museum are also well worth visiting, while the riverfront is a thriving area full of bars and restaurants. Phnom Penh is springing back to life as an economic powerhouse but still retains a small-town atmosphere, with bustling local markets, streets teeming with scooters and the quieter world of stilted villages lining the river front.
Complete a journey with a stay on one of the 61 islands nestled like natural jewels in the warm sapphire waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Resorts in Cambodia are of the utmost luxury and there are accommodation choices to suit all.
You’re likely to have local children pressing small flowers in your hand and smiling, friendly faces making you feel instantly at home wherever you go.