Cambodia – 10 best things to do
The tourlina team traveled one month through Cambodia. We found awesome nature, beautiful beaches, great temple architecture, a lively capital, lovely people and insights to the history of Cambodia. Cambodia is definately worth a visit! Here are our 10 favourite places in Cambodia:
1. The Temples of Angkor
Sure, Angkor Wat is one of the most visited sites in the world. Especially around public holidays you’ll find thousands of tourists visiting this place, the main attractions are always crowded. BUT you indeed shouldn’t miss a visit at least once in your lifetime! The architecture of the ruins is simply amazing and they have something “magic”. The main attraction is Angkor Wat, but it is worthwhile to visit some other temples, for example Ta Prohm with its tree overgrown ruins. The temple complex of Angkor consists in complete of more than 1,000 temples and sanctuaries within an area of 200 square kilometers. Besides the main attractions you’ll find also some calmer, nice places. The temples were built between the 8th and 13th centuries; many of them have been restored.
2. Koh Rong Island
You urgently need some relaxation? You dream about endless beaches with white sand, clear tourquoise water, palms and pure nature in the background? Then Koh Rong is the right island for you! The island is about 25 kilometers far away from Sihanoukville. So far, there are no asphalted streets, no cars, no motorcycles, no tuk tuk’s – no noise at all and only some few small hotels and accomodations. Unfortunately there are already road works, the total calmness is going to have an end soon. So, better have a look into the tourlina app, search for some nice female travel companions and take some days off for Koh Rong chilling soon 😉 . Here is your link to the tourlina app.
3. Phnom Penh
Located at the confluence of Tonle-Sap and the Mekong river, Phnom Penh is the lively capital of Cambodia with about 1.5m inhabitants. It’s nice to explore the center of Phnom Penh first with a Cyclo, a traditonal three-wheeled cycle, visiting the beautiful Wat Phnom temple, the Royal Palace and the market hall. In the Tuol Sleng Genocide museum and the Killing Fields you can experience and learn about the dark history of Cambodia. Interesting shops are located in street 240. Read more in “Phnom Penh – A Visitor’s Guide”
4. Temples of Banteay Chhmar
The Banteay Chhmar temples are located in the northwest of Cambodia, 165 kilometers far away from Angkor, close to the border of Thailand. We’ve ranked Beanteay Chhmar as our number 4 because here you can experience completely for yourself, how nature recaptured the ruins. At least at the time we have visited the ruins, there were no other tourists at all. In size and splendor Banteay Chhmar was comparable to Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, it’s a candidate for the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. There are no hotels in this area. We’ve stayed in a homestay in Banteay Chhmar, which is a unique experience. The roads between Siem Riep and Banteay Chmar are new and well-constructed; it’s also possible to visit Banteay Chhmar by car within a daytrip from Siem Reap.
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5. Beng Mealea/ Banteay Srei
Another amazing day trip from Siem Reap by car is the visit of Beng Mealea and Banteay Srei. The Beng Mealea temples are located in a forest, trees are growing out of and in between of the ruins within a subdued light. Banteay Srei is a hinduistic temple complex from 10th century. In difference to the other temples Banteay Srei is made out of pink sandstone decorated with a fine relief decoration.
Sihanoukville is well known for its long and nice beaches. After reading all the enthusiastic articles about Sihanoukville, we expected to have a great beach time. Well, we realised that at least around new year’s eve the beaches are an extremely crowded place with local people as well as tourists. The streets around the beach areas are massively poluted with waste. It’s not a good idea to come to Sihanoukville around this time. We nethertheless have choosen Sihanoukville as our number 6, because we suppose at any other time, it’s a nice, chilling town with nice beaches 🙂 .
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7. Sambor Prei Kuk
Sambor Prei Kuk is a complex of more than 100 temples located in a forest, 30 kilometers in the north of Kampong Thom. It belonged to one of the first temple cities in Asia, which was called Isanapura. Sambor Prei Kuk was built in the Pre-Angkorean period in the 7th century, dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. This archeological site is still off the beaten track, only some few tourists visit the ruins. At some of the temples you can observe the work of archeologists restoring the temples. Sambor Prei Kuk is a candidate for the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.
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8. Koh Trong
Koh Trong is a peaceful island in the Mekong river close to Kratie. So far there are no cars at Koh Trong, only some few scooters and tuk tuk’s. It’s nice to ride by bicycle around the island; you can see a beautiful countryside, farmers working in the field, chicken and other animals crossing your path. Koh Trong is a perfect place for having a chilling break in between your Cambodia roundtrip.
9. Wat Banan
Wat Banan is a well preserved temple on a hill close to Battambang. There are 360 steps from the car park to the site, but it’s worth the effort. On top of the hill you have a great panoramic view. The place is not much frequented and very peaceful.
10. Kep/ Kampot
Kep has a fabulous crab market and is also well known for its sunsets. Kampot is a quiet, lovely town, which has kept a lot of its colonial history. In Kampot you can visit its black pepper farms; Kampot is well known for its pepper. The town is also a good starting point for trips to the Bokor hill.
Skiing in Europe – our suggestion: for skiing in the Alps
Sihanoukville looks amazing. Too bad it’s so busy. Like you said though it might be less crowded during the off season. I still would like to check it out sometime. Thanks for sharing all these great places.