Our Travelmood expert Tracy shares advice about where to go in Cambodia
If you’re heading to Thailand or Vietnam, we’d definitely recommend adding on a stint in Cambodia to your getaway. The Cambodian visa is a bargain at a mere $35 and worth every cent. With incredible sights and exciting culture, you definitely won’t be disappointed. Even a few days is enough to get a taste of what this captivating country has to offer! Our Southeast Asian expert Tracy recently hit up the temples, attractions and markets of this wonderful destination. Wondering where to go in Cambodia? Here are her favourite places to visit…
Heaven on earth at Angkor Wat
The main reason Cambodia is high on the travel bucket lists of many people visiting Vietnam, is Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious site. Located only 15 minutes outside of Siem Reap, it’s easy to access the site by tuk tuk. I organised a ride through my hotel and was really impressed with my drivers’ patience and knowledge throughout the day. He knew exactly which temples to check out and gave us lots of insider info, which we wouldn’t have had on a bigger tour.
Believe the hype – Angkor Wat is just as awe-inspiring in real life as you’ve heard! Even with masses of tourists, you can still experience calm and peace among the dramatic towers and temples. Set off early to catch the sun rise behind the main temple and be rewarded with magical lifelong memories. Having a Lara Croft moment in Ta Phrom, where scenes for Tomb Raider were filmed, was another highlight for me. A day pass to Angkor Wat is $20, while a three day pass is $40.
Where to go in Cambodia – Relaxing in Siem Reap
After your day’s activities, you’ll be more than ready to sample tasty Cambodian treats and let your hair down in the many bustling bars of Siem Reap. Chanrey Tree is a really chic restaurant serving up delicious Khmer dishes like fish amok and fresh spring rolls. If you have time, make the effort to go to Sister Srey Café, where 20% of all proceeds go towards supporting local education, health and hygiene. Amazing cuisine with a social conscience – what’s not to love?!
Siem Reap is also a fantastic destination to stock up on souvenirs for loved ones back home. Psar Chaa Market boasts an impressive array of handicrafts, art, carvings, clothing, spices…the list goes on! I also loaded my suitcase with goodies from Angkor Night Market, which takes place every night near Sivatha Street. Indulge in a tingling fish massage and grab a drink on Pub Street after your spree.
Where to go in Cambodia – Reliving history in Phnom Penh
It’s incredible how friendly and open the Cambodian people are given the mass genocide that recently took place in the country. Relive Cambodia’s traumatic past in the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, located 45 minutes outside of Phnom Penh. The experience is fascinating, yet horrifying at the same time. It’s not uncommon to see people sobbing as they navigate around the site and learn more about how over 20,000 Cambodians were killed in the late 1979s. Visiting the Killing Fields gave me a much greater insight into Cambodian history so it is one of my top recommendations to people asking where to go in Cambodia –just have some tissues handy.
Other must-visit attractions in Phnom Penh, include the Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum, which previously functioned as a prison and torture facility, the Independence Monument and breath-taking Royal Palace. After all that harrowing history, you’ll be in need of a stiff drink or two. Head to the waterfront for the best choice of food and drink in the city. The unparalleled views of the sparkling river as the sun sets will be enough to ease all your worries away.
So there you have it – where to go in Cambodia. Step off the plane in Cambodia and be wowed by all it has to offer – opulent palaces, grand temples, vibrant markets, charming towns and exquisite nature.
Make the effort to visit this exotic destination and be rewarded with gorgeous scenery, vibrant history and charming locals. Tracy has fallen in love with Cambodia – isn’t it time you did too?