From temples to Tomb Raider
Cambodia quick tips
Top 10 destinations
As determined by reader views on Travelfish.org.
What not to miss
Survey the World Heritage listed ruins of Angkor Wat. Take a sunset cruise off Phnom Penh. Visit the remnants of the Khmer Rouge regime. Eat fresh crab at coastal Kep. Trek through the jungle in remote Rattanakiri.
When to visit
The most popular time to go is between November and February. There is little rain and it isn't too hot. The wet season runs from May to October and isn't the best time for a Cambodian beach holiday. The wet does keep the crowds at bay and Angkor is wonderful in the wet season, so it isn't all bad. April is scorchingly hot.
At least 1.7m Cambodians, or around one fifth of the population, died as a result of policies or actions taken by the Khmer Rouge regime of 1975-79.
For decades off limits to all but the most intrepid tourists, today Southeast Asia's Cambodia is a popular destination for all kinds of travellers: from independent backpackers who roam far off the beaten track to explore the stunning sugar-palm dotted hinterland to luxury tourists who stay in style and see Cambodia's main drawcard of Angkor Wat between massages and exquisite French meals.
The ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat is Cambodia's national treasure. The nearby city of Siem Reap has developed dramatically since the days Angelina Jolie filmed Tomb Raider here and fell in love with the nation.
While some lament the discovery of Angkor by the masses, the site is still breathtaking and Siem Reap offers all the comforts one could wish for on any budget.
Many do simply holiday at Angkor and travel no further, but Cambodia has a lot more to showcase. Consider as well a break on the lazy whitesand beaches of Sihanoukville, a stay at a stylish resort in resurging coastal Kep, or a tour to the atmospheric, mist-shrouded Bokor Hill Station for a taste of Cambodia's 1960s heyday.
Many write off Phnom Penh, yet it's a beautiful city, with a stunning colonial heritage, a gorgeous riverside promenade featuring a glittering palace, and a great selection of restaurants and bars.
Shopping here has taken off: trawl the stalls of the Russian market for "antique" finds, wispy organza fabrics and chic ceramics, stop in a few boutiques for home-grown designer clothes and get some leather shoes handcrafted at a bargain price at one of the city's skilled cobblers.
The reminders of the horrific genocide perpetrated by Cambodia's Khmer Rouge make for harrowing but essential viewing: do see Tuol Sleng and make a trip to the Killing Fields just outside the city for a sobering aside to your travels as you pause to remember the atrocities humans are capable of committing.
Further afield, Battambang offers travellers a taste of laid-back rural life. Stop to see Cambodia's first winery and tour isolated Khmer temples, some of which pre-date Angkor.
The former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Anlong Veng is another key stop for the more intrepid and adventurous traveller, where the grave of Pol Pot serves as another reminder of the history Cambodia is struggling to overcome.
Travelfish shows you how to make the most of the popular destinations, points you in the direction of Cambodia's best-kept secrets and equips you with the knowledge you need to make up-to-the-minute decisions throughout your trip to Cambodia.
Why you should stay longer in Siem Reap
While two or three days might have been an adequate amount of time to spend in Cambodia's Siem Reap five years ago, you’ll be doing the town and yourself a disservice if that's all you spend here these days. We could fill your time for a month, given half a chance. So whether you're into nature, culture, adventure or shopping, here are some ideas for why you should definitely be adding a couple of more days to your trip.... Read full story
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