Cambodia, a land of captivating beauty and rich history, offers an array of exciting experiences for travelers seeking adventure and cultural exploration. From the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat to the tantalizing Khmer cuisine, Cambodia has an incredible range of activities that will make your journey truly unforgettable.
In this article, VM Travel is here to take you on a journey through Cambodia’s must-visit destinations, where you can explore its rich historical beauty, immerse yourself in its vibrant culture, and connect with the warm-hearted people. Join us as we explore the Top 15 best things to do in Cambodia.
Cambodia Cultural Tapestry – Top 15 Must Do in Cambodia
Show table of content
- 1. About Cambodia
- 2. Top 15 Best Things To Do in Cambodia
- 2.1 Explore the Magnificent Angkor Wat
- 2.2 Discover Bayon Temple
- 2.3 Ta Prohm – Explore The Temple of Weird Roots
- 2.4 Experience Khmer Cuisine
- 2.5 Visit the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh
- 2.6 Take a Boat Trip on Tonle Sap Lake
- 2.7 Cambodia’s Beautiful Beaches
- 2.8 Trek through Virachey National Park
- 2.9 Get Adventurous at Bokor Hill Station
- 2.10 Apsara Dance
- 2.11 National Museum – A Journey through Cambodia’s Rich Heritage
- 2.12 Explore the Coastal Town of Kep – A Tranquil Seaside Escape
- 2.13 Discover the Mysteries of Preah Vihear Temple
- 2.14 Cruise Along the Mekong River – Embrace Tranquility
- 2.15 Experience the Vibrant Nightlife in Siem Reap – Where Culture Comes Alive
- 3. Is Cambodia worth visiting?
- 3.1 Rich History
- 3.2 Natural Beauty and Landscapes
- 3.3 Unique Culture and Traditions
- 3.4 Affordable Travel Destination
1. About Cambodia
Cambodia is a country located in the southeastern part of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia, it shares borders with Vietnam to the east, Thailand on the north-west, and Laos to the north. It is a land of enchantment, where ancient temples rise like giants from the jungle, where the aroma of Khmer cuisine wafts through bustling markets, and where the warm smiles of its people invite you into their rich and storied culture. Cambodia was once home to a powerful empire called the Khmer Empire, and now it is a wonderful place to visit for travelers looking for unique experiences.
2. Top 15 Best Things To Do in Cambodia
2.1 Explore the Magnificent Angkor Wat
The iconic Angkor Wat temple complex is a global symbol of Cambodia, drawing millions visitors from around the world. This awe-inspiring temple complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site which boasts an extraordinary blend of intricate architecture, majestic towers, and intricate carvings. As the largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat provides an unrivaled glimpse into the country’s historical and cultural heritage. Witnessing the breathtaking sunrise over the temple’s iconic silhouette or immersing yourself in the fascinating stories carved into its walls is a truly unforgettable experience.
2.2 Discover Bayon Temple
Bayon Temple, situated at the heart of Angkor Thom, was constructed by King Jayavarman VII during the 12th and early 13th centuries. This remarkable temple is renowned for its array of 54 grand and petite towers, each adorned with intricate sculptures depicting the four faces of the god Lokesvara, oriented in four directions of the tower. Stroll through the labyrinthine passageways and marvel at the intricate bas-reliefs depicting historical and mythical scenes. Stroll through the labyrinthine passageways and marvel at the intricate bas-reliefs depicting historical and mythical scenes and immerse in the serene atmosphere is a fascinating experience for history enthusiasts.
2.3 Ta Prohm – Explore The Temple of Weird Roots
Be prepared to be transported to a magical realm as you step into the mystical ambiance of Ta Prohm! Unlike any other temple in the world, when you step through the gate, you immediately feel like you are entering another dimension of the mysterious world where nature rules. The temple stands out with the giant tree stumps winding over the crumbling stone walls, the towering ancient trees with huge canopy, and the long dark courtyard corridors. This fascinating amalgamation of nature and architecture creates an extraordinary sight that feels like stepping into a forgotten world. As you wander through the maze of ancient tree-covered ruins, don’t forget to capture the haunting beauty of this temple with your camera
2.4 Experience Khmer Cuisine
No journey to Cambodia would be complete without indulging in the tantalizing flavors of Khmer cuisine. From aromatic Khmer Red Curry and savory fish Amok, special Cambodian noodle – Num Banh Chok to delectable desserts like sticky rice with mango, Cambodian dishes offer a burst of flavors and unique textures. You can find these culinary delights in various settings throughout Cambodia. Head to bustling local markets, such as Psar Thmei in Phnom Penh or Old Market in Siem Reap, where street food vendors and small eateries offer authentic Khmer fare. In addition, dine at traditional Khmer restaurants that provide a cozy atmosphere and the opportunity to enjoy the rich flavors of Cambodian cuisine.
2.5 Visit the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh
Visiting the Royal Palace is one of the best things to do in Phnom Penh. The Royal Palace was constructed between 1866 and 1870, after King Norodom relocated the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh. The Palace exhibits an impressive blend of traditional Khmer architecture and French colonial influences. Nowadays, this splendid complex serves as the official residence of the King of Cambodia and royal family and is also the place where court meetings, diplomatic ceremonies and royal festivals take place. While certain areas of the Royal Palace remain closed to the public, visitors can still explore key attractions such as the Throne Hall, Silver Pagoda, and wander through the lush gardens. These accessible areas offer visitors a glimpse into the regal charm of the Cambodian monarchy.
When visiting the Royal Place, visitors must dress modestly, do not wear short pants, short skirts, delicate clothes or slippers. Do not make noise, show respect and do not touch artifacts arbitrarily here.
2.6 Take a Boat Trip on Tonle Sap Lake
Begin your Cambodian escapade with a serene boat trip on the Tonle Sap Lake. As the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, Tonle Sap is an essential part of Cambodia’s ecological landscape. Glide through the tranquil waters and witness the charming floating villages, where locals live harmoniously with the water. Marvel at the diverse flora and fauna that thrive in and around the lake, making it a haven for nature lovers and photographers alike. This boat journey offers a unique perspective on the rural lifestyle and a chance to interact with the warm and welcoming locals.
2.7 Cambodia’s Beautiful Beaches
Cambodia, a country located in Southeast Asia, boasts an extensive coastline along the Gulf of Thailand, offering visitors a multitude of stunning and secluded beaches to explore. These beaches are renowned for being secluded, and offer incredible views to visitors. One of the most popular beach destinations is Sihanoukville, known as the “Pearl of the Gulf of Thailand,” boasts breathtaking coastlines and crystal-clear waters. Whether you prefer lounging on the sandy shores of Otres Beach, engaging in thrilling water sports at Serendipity Beach, or discovering the hidden coves of Koh Rong, these paradisiacal spots offer a perfect blend of tranquility and excitement, making them ideal for both laid-back beachcombers and thrill-seekers.
2.8 Trek through Virachey National Park
Virachey National Park is a national park in northeastern Cambodia, located in the provinces of Ratanakiri and Stung Treng. This untamed wilderness, spanning over 3,325 square kilometers, is a haven for nature enthusiasts and intrepid explorers. Coming to the National Park, visitors will be immersed in lush rainforests and have an opportunity to discover cascading waterfalls, and spot exotic wildlife, including gibbons, elephants, and various bird species. As one of Southeast Asia’s last true wilderness areas, Virachey National Park provides an exhilarating journey into the heart of Cambodia’s natural beauty.
2.9 Get Adventurous at Bokor Hill Station
Calling all history buffs and adrenaline junkies! Bokor Hill Station, perched atop the Elephant Mountains, is a fascinating destination that promises a blend of eerie ruins and thrilling adventures. Once a luxurious French colonial retreat, the site now houses a ghostly abandoned hotel and casino. Explore the haunted halls and learn about the intriguing history of this lost architectural gem. Afterward, quench your thirst for adventure with mountain biking, hiking, or simply relishing the breathtaking panoramic views from the top.
2.10 Apsara Dance
No visit to Cambodia is complete without experiencing the mesmerizing Apsara dance. As an integral part of Cambodian culture and heritage, the Apsara dance is a traditional art form that narrates mythical stories through graceful movements and ornate costumes. Witness these talented performers embody celestial beings and historical characters as they take you on a journey back in time. Catch a captivating Apsara dance performance in various venues, such as Siem Reap’s cultural shows or Phnom Penh’s renowned theaters.
2.11 National Museum – A Journey through Cambodia’s Rich Heritage
Let’s explore the captivating journey to Cambodia’s past at the National Museum in Phnom Penh. Located to the north of the Royal Palace, the National Museum of Cambodia is a splendid example of traditional Khmer architecture. Constructed between 1917 and 1920, this museum not only showcases its architectural heritage but also houses an extensive collection of artifacts dating back to the 4th century. From exquisite sculptures and ancient ceramics to traditional costumes and religious relics, every exhibit offers a glimpse into the nation’s rich heritage. History enthusiasts and culture lovers alike will be enthralled by the insights offered at the National Museum.
2.12 Explore the Coastal Town of Kep – A Tranquil Seaside Escape
Nestled along Cambodia’s southern coast, Kep is a hidden gem that promises a peaceful and serene retreat. Known for its picturesque beaches and delectable seafood, Kep captivates travelers with its laid-back ambiance. Relax on the sandy shores, swim in the clear waters, and enjoy the freshly caught seafood at local markets. For adventurous souls, Kep National Park has paths for hiking that will take you to amazing views of the Gulf of Thailand. You can enjoy the beauty of the coast and immerse yourself in nature’s wonders
2.13 Discover the Mysteries of Preah Vihear Temple – A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Preah Vihear Temple is a temple dedicated to the god Shiva, located on a mountain peak in the Dangrek range, Champasak province, near the border between Cambodia and Thailand. The temple consists of a sequence of shrines connected by pathways and stairs spanning the length of 800 meters from the bottom to the top of the mountain, which originated from the early part of the 11th century AD. This temple complex boasts awe-inspiring stone carvings and intricate details that narrate the stories of the Khmer Empire. Accessible through an adventurous journey, the temple rewards visitors with panoramic views and a profound sense of historical wonder.
2.14 Cruise Along the Mekong River – Embrace Tranquility
Indulge in a serene Mekong River cruise, and immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of Cambodia’s countryside. As the lifeblood of the nation, the Mekong River sustains local communities and offers a unique glimpse into their traditional way of life. Marvel at floating villages, verdant landscapes, and observe the ebb and flow of daily activities along the riverbanks. Opt for a sunset cruise for a truly magical experience as the golden hues cast a warm glow over the water, leaving an indelible impression on your soul.
2.15 Experience the Vibrant Nightlife in Siem Reap – Where Culture Comes Alive
One of the top things to do in Siem Reap should not be missed is to visit its vibrant nightlife. A visit to its bustling markets is a must-do experience that is sure to immerse visitors in Cambodian culture. Siem Reap night market is divided into two shopping areas: Noon Night market and Angkor Night market. Here, you will find local vendors offering a variety of Cambodian-themed items, including bandanas, Angkor-shaped terracotta souvenirs, silver jewelry, and bullet shell jewelry. Interspersed among the souvenir stalls are entertainment areas such as spas, small bars, and sand painting stalls that are very attractive tourists.
After immersing yourself in the Angkor Night Market experience, make your way to Pub Street, the heart of Siem Reap nightlife scene. Pub Street provides a wide array of options for dining, entertainment, and socializing. Whether you’re seeking a tasty restaurant, a cozy pub, a trendy cocktail bar, or a high-energy nightclub, Pub Street has it all. The vibrant atmosphere and warm hospitality make for an unforgettable night out in Siem Reap.
3. Is Cambodia worth visiting?
Absolutely Yes, Cambodia is definitely worth visiting! It’s a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, and it offers a unique travel experience. Here are some compelling reasons to consider visiting Cambodia
3.1 Rich History
Cambodia boasts a fascinating and ancient history, highlighted by the magnificent Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most significant archaeological wonders in the world. This temple complex was built in the 12th century and offers a glimpse into the impressive architectural and engineering skills of the Khmer civilization. Beyond Angkor Wat, there are numerous other historical sites and ruins scattered throughout the country, providing visitors with a chance to immerse themselves in Cambodia’s past.
3.2 Natural Beauty and Landscapes
Cambodia is blessed with diverse and breathtaking natural landscapes. From the pristine beaches and islands in the south, such as Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem, to the lush jungles and wildlife-rich regions like the Cardamom Mountains in the west, the country offers a wide range of picturesque spots for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
3.3 Unique Culture and Traditions
Cambodia’s culture is deeply rooted in its history and religious beliefs. The people are known for their warm hospitality and friendliness, making it a welcoming destination for travelers. Witnessing traditional ceremonies, such as the awe-inspiring Apsara dance performances, or exploring local markets with vibrant handicrafts and street food can provide a unique insight into the Khmer way of life.
3.4 Affordable Travel Destination
Compared to some other tourist destinations in Asia, Cambodia is relatively affordable, making it an attractive option for travelers. Accommodations, food, and transportation are generally affordable, allowing visitors to experience the country’s beauty and culture without breaking the bank.
Overall, Cambodia’s rich history, natural beauty, unique culture, and affordable travel options make it a captivating destination worth exploring for any travelers. Plan your trip to Cambodia now to enjoy the beauty of this country on your own.
1. Do I need a visa to enter Cambodia?
Yes, most travelers require a visa to enter Cambodia. You can obtain a visa on arrival or apply for an e-visa online before your trip. Make sure to check the latest visa requirements based on your nationality.
2. What is the best time to visit Cambodia?
The best time to visit Cambodia is during the dry season, which typically runs from November to April. During this time, with temperatures consistently above 27°C, minimal rainfall, and clear blue skies, it’s the time when most tourists visit. VM Travel offers customized tours, offering flexibility to suit your preferred travel dates.
3. What is the currency in Cambodia, and can I use credit cards?
The official currency is the Cambodian Riel (KHR), but the US dollar (USD) is widely accepted. Credit cards are becoming more common in major cities and tourist areas, but it’s advisable to carry cash in rural or remote areas.
4. What are some cultural customs and etiquette to follow in Cambodia?
Khmer is the official language, but English is widely spoken in tourist areas. Learning a few basic Khmer phrases can enhance your travel experience and show respect to the locals. Language won’t be an issue. Our guides are fluent in English and Khmer, ensuring effective communication during your trip and helping you connect with locals.
5. How can I book a tour with VM Travel to Cambodia?
Booking with us is easy. Simply visit our website or get in touch with our friendly customer service team. Let us know your travel dates and preferences, and we’ll create a customized Cambodia tour that suits your needs.