Explore the treasures of ancient kingdoms
Tropical islands, elegant colonial architecture, steamy jungles, relaxing seaside towns: it’s the unexpected variety in a Cambodia holiday that makes it so captivating.
As Cambodia's focus shifts to the rich cultural heritage left behind by the Khmer kingdom, the infectious smiles of the locals reveal a country that’s putting its troubled recent history in the past.
There’s a sense of the familiar in the attractive Parisian-style boulevards of Cambodia’s great French colonial cities. But your journey to Cambodia also means plunging yourself into the unknown as you head into the jungle to discover ruined temples at sunrise, or get a flavour of the sea in the freshly-caught fish served up in the unspoilt coastal towns.
Temples of Angkor
They rank among the world's greatest archaeological sites, and it's not hard to see why so many travellers give the mysterious Temples of Angkor a deserving place on their bucket lists. This UNESCO World Heritage Site covers a staggering 400 square kilometres, a reminder of the fact that this was once the world's biggest city. In ruins since the 15th century, it's best viewed in the golden light of sunrise. Follow your exploration of Angkor Wat, the main temple, with an investigation of some of the site's other enigmatic temples, such as jungle-enveloped Ta Prohm.
It may be known largely for the nearby Temples of Angkor, but Siem Reap has plenty to offer in its own right. Along the colonial boulevards, you'll find a great choice of restaurants in which to get a taste of authentic Cambodian cuisine. Venturing a little further afield, you can explore the Tonle Sap Lake by boat for a glimpse into the lives of the people who occupy its iconic floating villages.
Exploring the quaint cafes and art galleries that line the elegant colonial streets of Battambang, you wouldn't think that it was Cambodia's second biggest city. Built along the banks of the Sangkae river, it's known as 'the rice bowl of Cambodia'. Its small-town vibe makes it a relaxed place to unwind in between venturing into the hills to explore its tranquil temples.
Sweeping Parisian-style boulevards immediately reveal Phnom Penh's French colonial heritage, while the Killing Fields of nearby Choeung Ek are a chilling reminder of the capital city's more recent fate. But given the weight of its history, this is a city with a surprisingly youthful and energetic atmosphere, as you'll soon discover when you sip coffee in the charming cafes that now occupy Phnom Penh's colonial mansions, or take a stroll down the esplanade along the banks of the Mekong River.
A reminder of the days when it served as a seaside escape for moneyed colonists, the blackened ruins of once-luxurious villas now pepper the town of Kep as a chilling reminder of the destruction wrought by the brutal Khmer Rouge. Now famed for its spectacular sunsets and mouthwatering crab, Kep has enjoyed a revival in recent years, making it a popular beachside destination.
The fading grandeur of this once-thriving port town gives it the air of a place time forgot. But you'll soon find that it's all part of the charm of this delightful riverside town, which draws in visitors to experience its slow pace of life and explore its nearby pepper farms. From Kampot, enter the renowned Bokor National Park and discover the ruins of an abandoned French hill station.
A famous resort town, Sihanoukville's many beaches make it one of the country's most popular beachside destinations - a fact reflected in the number of hotels for you to choose from. The town makes a great base for indulging in some well-earned relaxation, but if you're feeling adventurous you'll have fun exploring the local area, in particular spotting wildlife among the mangroves of nearby Ream National Park.
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Sunrise at Angkor Wat
Creep through the jungle in darkness and enter through the eastern gate to watch the sun’s first rays hitting the incredible temples of Angkor away from the throngs of tourists.
Cruising Tonle Sap Lake at sunset
Cruise the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, where entire floating villages are lit by the warm glow of the evening sun.
A Blessing from a monk
Receive a water blessing from a Buddhist monk at the peaceful Tep Pranam pagoda inside Angkor Thom, and gain a deeper understanding of Cambodia’s main religion.
Discover pre-Angkorian temples
The archaeological site of Sambor Prei Kuk was the former capital of Chenla in the 7th century, one of the first states in Southeast Asia. Explore the ruins with their decorative details and sculptures, and learn more about Cambodia's rich cultural heritage.
Experience local life near Siem Reap
Explore the local markets at Dom Daek outside Siem Reap, teeming with local colour that few tourists get to see.
Meet Friends in Phnom Penh
Enjoy a meal at Friends restaurant in Phnom Penh and you’ll be supporting their work in helping youth on the streets.
Try the fried spiders
Be daring and try the local delicacy - fried spiders!
Eat freshly-caught crab in Kep
Watch a traditional seafood market in action and select the best crabs straight from the fisherman’s pot to the fire.
Stay in a local home in Takeo
A unique insight into the real Cambodia, stay in a local home with a family in Takeo.
Visit the circus in Battambang
Phare Ponleu Selpak in Battambang is a collective providing visual and performing arts education to disadvantaged children and young adults. Their most successful program is the circus school. The circus, which performs regularly in Battambang has also performed internationally.
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