to see and do
Cambodia is one of the least developed countries in Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, it is a fantastic travel destination which should be high up on your bucket list if you are interested in rural life, stunning temples and culture, wilderness as well as tropical beaches.
• Phnom Penh: The chaotic but charming capital city is situated right on the Mekong River and well worth a visit. A very important part of the Cambodian history is the rule of the Khmer Rouge during the 1970s, an authoritarian regime led by the tyrant Pol Pot that murdered one fourth of its own population. Therefore, a visit to Phnom Penh should include S-21 Prison and the Killing Fields to get a better understanding of the country. Other places of interest are the Royal Palace, the National Museum and the Silver Pagoda.
Tip: Envoy Hostel is a great place to stay.
• Sihanoukville & the southern islands: Sihanoukville is a popular backpacker destination at the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. From here you can easily explore the beautiful tropical islands offshore. While Koh Rong has become more developed, Koh Rong Samloem is still a laidback getaway offering the most beautiful beaches of the country.
• Siem Reap & Angkor Wat: Siem Reap is the main tourist destination because it is close to the world’s largest religious monuments – the Angkor Wat temples. This gateway to Angkor Wat is also a party place where hundreds of backpackers meet at the so-called “Pub Street” every night. A good way to get rid of the resulting hangover is to rent a bicycle and bike southwards out of town towards Tonle Sap Lake. Don’t forget to buy some water at the Siem Reap local market before. On the beautiful way south, you will pass a few temples and very authentic rural life. To visit the breathtaking temples of Angkor Wat I recommend to hire a tuk-tuk in Siem Reap and tell the driver to do a loop tour including the major sites, like Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Prohm (well-known from the movie “Tomb Raider”!) and some more temples. For me this full-day tour was the perfect choice, but you can easily spend three or four days on exploring the area’s numerous temples.
Tip: Share the tuk-tuk with other travelers to reduce costs.
• Sen Monorom & the protected forests: The town of Sen Monorom and the surrounding protected forests are a great destination for nature lovers. One example is the 3000 km2 Seima Protected Forest where numerous species of birds as well as monkeys, bears and wild elephants can be found. Furthermore, the area offers fine trekking opportunities, impressive waterfalls and fun activities such as zip lining or quad biking.
08.09.2019 - Chris