Welcome to Blogger Communities travel blog. In this post, we are going to highlight the Top 10 travel places in Cambodia. If you are planning a trip to Cambodia, you mustn’t miss out this blog.
History of Cambodia
Cambodia is located in southeastern Asia. Cambodia is bordered by the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, Vietnam to the east, Laos to the north, and Thailand to the northwest. The current population of Cambodia is 16,629,451 as of Tuesday, February 11, 2020, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data.
Cambodia has a very recent painful history and learning about it isn’t only responsible. Almost two million people died from starvation, disease, torture and execution under the Khmer Rouge, which ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. Five minutes in the country and the tension between the horrific history and the admirable efforts to rebuild is impossible to miss. Monuments marking massacres and celebrating ties with allies stand solemnly in parks and in the middle of traffic circles, paying homage to the countless citizens who were ripped from their lives, stripped of their dignity and families, and ultimately killed or left to die.
Number#1: Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat, the largest monument of the Angkor group and the best preserved, is an architectural masterpiece. Its perfection in composition, balance, proportions, relief’s and sculpture make it one of the finest monuments in the world.
Wat is the Khmer name for temple (the French spelling is “vat “), which was probably added to “Angkor” when it became a Theravada Buddhist monument, most likely in the sixteenth century. After 1432 when the capital moved to Phnom Penh, Angkor Wat was cared for by Buddhist monks.
It is generally accepted that Angkor Wat was a funerary temple for King Suryavarman II and oriented to the west to conform to the symbolism between the setting sun and death. The bas-reliefs, designed for viewing from left to right in the order of Hindu funereal ritual, support this function.
Sihanoukville is widely known as the jumping off point for serene islands such as Koh Rong, Koh Rong Samleom, and Koh Dek Koul. This is located on the southern coast of Cambodia, about a 5-hour drive from the capitol city of Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville is becoming a must-visit tourist hub in this South East Asian country.
What used to be a quiet beach town is slowly developing into party central with all the amenities! Backpackers love Sihanoukville for the amazing selection of international food, low priced accommodation, sandy beaches, and consistently wild nightlife.
Number#3: Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh despite being known at various times in its history as “The Pearl of Asia” and “City of Four Faces” (situated where the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac rivers collide), Phnom Penh receives only a fraction of visitors that its neighbors get, sometimes entirely bypassed on the Bangkok – Siem Reap – Ho Chi Minh tourist trail. Even the Vietnamese (the largest tourism market) often grimace when the word “Cambodia” comes up. Apparently, tales of Khmer Rouge barbarism from the 1970s told by returning Vietnamese soldiers are hard to forget.
Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia, yet most visitors bypass the city and head straight to Siem Reap to see the story of the ancient Khmer capital with its amazing temples. But there are reasons why you should visit Phom Penh: It also has a story to tell, off the French Colonial period, the dreadful times of the Khmer Rouge and off the countries recovery and future. You can also enjoy some of the most unique city hotels in Asia and cost of living lower than in neighboring countries, giving you plenty of reason to add Phnom Penh to your itinerary.
During the French Colonial period, Phnom Penh was the capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Royal Palace is a symbol of that time. Spread out over several city blocks along the river, The golden roofs of the halls and temples shine in the sun and are visible from much of downtown Phnom Penh. It’s the most impressive sight for visitors and should be high on your list of places to see in Phnom Penh.
Number#4: Tonle Sap
Cambodia’s Great Tonle Sap Lake sits only 15 km south of town, a unique eco-system and cultural area offering the opportunity to see a different side of the Siem Reap – floating villages, cultural and nature tours, bird watching. For centuries, the lake has been a symbiotic part of the country’s existence, culture and identity.
Tonle Sap Lake is located about 15 km south of Siem Reap town; you can make your journey from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh by express boat crossing the lake and dock at the village of Chong Khneas. Its takes only six hours, but this trip we may recommend you during Monsoon season. In dry season the boat sometimes stuck in mud because the water is low. There are several ways to see the culture and wildlife of the lake area depending on the amount of time you have and your interest.
Recently, Tonle Sap is in trouble — from overfishing to feed a fast-growing population, from the cutting of mangrove forests that shelter young fish, from hydroelectric dams upstream, and from the dry seasons that are expected to grow hotter and longer with climate change. “The lake now is not really so good,” “There are too many people.” – said by a local.
Battambang is often overlooked. It lacks the obvious Cambodian trump cards: no golden beaches, no capital city buzz, no Angkor Wat. But then neither does it suffer from congested traffic, coach loads of tourists, or hordes of touts. In fact, Cambodia’s second largest city is one in perfect balance – it’s bustling yet friendly and interesting without being overwhelming. Underneath its sleepy persona is a bubbling undercurrent of creativity, often fuelled by the expat community. A smattering of arty boutique hotels, quirky cafés and innovative restaurants are among the urban draws, while the lush surrounding countryside is ideal for excursions.
The countryside around Battambang lends itself perfectly to exploration by bicycle. Bumpy roads lead past simple shacks, monasteries that echo with the sounds of chanting and village streets taken over with colourful wedding celebrations. At times the dusty, ochre tracks are only wide enough for a single bike – tricky when you occasionally have to squeeze between a herd of cattle. At other moments paths open out into an expanse of vivid-green rice paddies threaded with lazy streams.
Number#6: Koh Tonsay
The island is generally pretty quiet and is a gem of coastal Cambodia. All the bungalows and restaurants for tourists are at the main beach. Besides that there are only a few fisher huts scattered around the island. Development is slow, though there is now a massage shack directly on the beach. The name Rabbit Island derives from the shape of the island, not from any rabbits there. There is not too much to do on Rabbit Island. It’s all more about relaxing a bit off from the civilized world.
Kratie is a relatively quiet town that is located on the east bank of the Mekong River. It is approx. 315 km from the city of Phnom Penh and famous for his resident Irrawaddy dolphins to make a very popular destination on the Indochina tour packages. This is a very beautiful town with plenty of big islands and sandbars.
There are plenty of attractive homes throughout the town that have French and Khmer architecture, with many of the older buildings relatively unscathed from the war years.
A great reason to explore this pleasant town is the ability to view the local freshwater Irrawaddy dolphin population. This is only possible in this one town across the entire country of Cambodia. It is easy to see the dolphins by taking a 25 minute boat ride that also makes it possible to admire the authentic life of the local Cambodians. This boat ride can also include visiting a temple in the mountains and the rapids upstream.
The town of Kratie has a vibrant market scene that makes it possible to take in the rural Cambodia life and sample some of the local delicacies (such as the grilled corn cakes).
In addition, this town is conveniently placed about midway between Phnom Penh and Rattanakiri, which makes it a great place for a relaxing break before moving onto the relatively remote area of Rattanakiri.
Whether it is staying in town for several days or overnight, this is a great layover for those planning to visit Laos on the Cambodia package tours, or simply visiting to see the prime attraction in Kratie: freshwater dolphins.
Number#8: Koh Rong Samloem
Koh Rong Samloem Island is one of those places that you want to run out and tell the world about, but at the same time keep your own little secret. With just a smattering of low key accommodation, the island is still very underdeveloped, and its pristine beauty is completely unspoiled by tourism. Besides the standard water activities of diving and snorkeling, the biggest draw on Samloem is the gorgeous beach and the opportunity to disconnect from “real life.”
After experiencing the damage that over tourism has left on the islands of Thailand, we were looking forward to somewhere off the grid. As our boat pulled up from the pier, we were pleasantly surprised at the sheer lack of people. It was almost eerily quiet. Coming from the mainland, it took us some time to transition from the busyness of city life to quiet island living.
Number#9: Prasat Preah Vihear
Preah Vihear is quite a big northern province of Cambodia. Its capital is called Phnom Tbeng Meanchey. The province itself is named after the temple of Prasat Preah Vihear, what is definitely the hotspot of this province. Much of the province is extremely remote and strongly forested. Unfortunately do large logging companies reduce the natural landscape by carving huge tracts of pristine tropical hardwoods out of the locations. This tranquil site is popular for the Preah Vihear temple, standing in the vicinity of the borderline between Thailand and Cambodia.
The province has one of the worst infrastructures in the country there are even no proper Major Roads in existence. Going around this province is not that easy if you’re used to proper roads and usual transportation possibilities, as there are only a few pick-ups or some money-hunting moto drivers to take you where you would like to go.
Whatsoever the province has a lot to offer for those, who are interested in ancient temple structures and remote villages without touristy influence. Here in Preah Vihear you may find three of the most impressive legacies from the Angkorian era: the mountain temple of Prasat Preah Vihear, the 10th-century capital of Koh Ker and the mighty Preak Khan.
Banlung, the Red Pearl of Cambodia, the heart beat of Ratanakiri province. Ratanakiri (Mountain of precious stones) is the most north east province of Cambodia 600 km from Phnom Penh. In the north it borders to Laos and to the east to Vietnam. It is surrounded by dense forest elevated on top of the Eastern Highlands. Scattered in this region isolated hill tribes live blended in their habitat. The landscape is very divers. The whole province seems to be soaked in green. Countless creeks and streams feeding two big rivers which peacefully meander from the east to the west. Waterfalls and lakes manifest as wonderful arts of nature. Visiting the ‘Mountain of precious stones’ will offer you a wonderful nature in all its variety and encounters with the everlasting smile of the local hill tribes.
Ratanakiri is one of the most remote provinces of Cambodia, captured between Vietnam in the east and Laos in the north. The remote location is one of the reasons that Ratanakiri ranks number four of the least populated provinces. The southern neighbour province Mondulkiri is the least populated of Cambodia. Ratanakiri is the home of eight ethnic minorities scattered over the nine districts. Numbers of population of the minorities vary significant.
As a tropical country, Ratanakiri is bathed in almost all year sunshine and has a high average temperature. There are two distinct seasons, the dry and the monsoon. The monsoon lasts from May to October with southwesterly winds ushering in the clouds that bring seventy five to eighty percent of the annual rainfall often in spectacular intense bursts for an hour at a time with fantastic lightening displays. The dry season runs from November to April averaging temperatures from 27 to 40 degrees Celsius. The collest and most comfortable for those from cooler climates is from October to February
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