Replete with history and lore, it is tragic, violent past having left it with on uphill struggle towards stability Cambodia is a beautiful study in charisma and strength. The country has grown rapidly over the last few years, showing residents’ eagerness to re-build their homeland and be at one with the world. Cambodia is shaped like a heart, and you can feel the beat everywhere
Cambodia: At a Glance
- Capital: Phnom Penh
- Currency: KHR/Riel (4,000 Cambodian Riels is about USD 1)
- Population: 15.25 Million
- Language: Khmer
- National Flower: Rumdul
- GDP (PPP) Per Capita: USD 2,402
- Official Tourism Website: http://www.tourismcambodia.org/
- Wikitravel Travel Guide: http://wikitravel.org/en/Cambodia
Experience the Best Attractions of Cambodia
- Temple Trails: The ancient city of Angkor and its archaeological marvels are Cambodia’s biggest draw, and with good reason. Base yourself at bustling Siem Reap and prepare yourself for a whole lot of walking and gawking. You could spend days exploring grand Angkor Wat, which was built as a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, as well as other ruins like Bayon and Ta Phrom (fun fact: the Angelina Jolie-starrer Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was shot here).
- Two Wheels Good: For a very different perspective and a completely new holiday experience, sign up for a bicycle tour. You can choose from set routes or customize an itinerary that includes everything you would like to see, and then just pedal away! You’ll get a chance to experience Cambodia’s countryside, interact with the locals and taste food as it is eaten at home here, and take in the iconic sights, all on two wheels. Trust us; there is no better way to do it.
- Lessons in History: Gain an insight into Cambodia’s history at the beautifully maintained Choeung Ek War Memorial. At the site of the Khmer Rouge’s notorious ‘killing fields’, this memorial tells the stories of the regime’s victims, and is a must-visit for a well-rounded understanding of this country and its tumultuous past.
- Float Away: Discover the life of a different kind of nomad, and visit some of the unique floating villages that can be found on Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in South-East Asia. Just a half-hour’s drive out of Siem Reap will have you at the jetty where boats wait to spirit you off to see the Chong Khneas floating village, with its medley of homes, shops and fisheries.
- Dive Under: Head to the south of the country and relax on gorgeous, secluded Koh Tonse Island, just off the coast at Kampot. Surrounded by the azure waters of the Andaman Sea, this is a perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling or just perfecting that tan as you stuff yourself silly on the fresh seafood available at the shacks on the beach.
- Make Some Friends: Head to the sleepy town of Kratie, nestled on the banks of the mighty Mekong River, for a chance to spot the Irrawaddy dolphins that are occasionally seen here. These rare freshwater dolphins are worth making the excursion for, and the untouched pockets of Khmer and French colonial architecture that survive here only sweeten the deal!
- Go Back in Time: Step back into another era and explore the best of Cambodia’s French colonial architectural heritage at Battambang. A town that can be visited for a day or over a longer stretch for a more leisurely experience, here, you will find classic examples of life at that time in the grand old houses.
- Get Drenched: Make the most of the Cambodian outdoors and visit the Mondulkiri province. This verdant region is perfect for intrepid travelers, with thundering waterfalls like Boo Sea and Sen Monorum to cool down at, and hill tribes to interact with.
- Running Amok: Fish amok is one of Cambodia’s best-known dishes, though variations are available in neighboring countries. Cambodians use an herb known as slok ngor, which has a bitter taste that sets the dish apart. Fish amok comes as a mousse made with coconut milk and a ljliuv Khmer curry paste made with shallots, lemongrass, galangal and turmeric.
- Make a Difference: Giving back does not have to be hard! Dig into a delicious meal at Friends Restaurant in Phnom Penh, and you will be helping the local community. This eatery dishes up great food, and is staffed by and benefits street youth.