Our guide to all things Cambodia

1 February 2017

Our guide to all things Cambodia

If you're a keen traveller, you will realise quickly that every country has something interesting to offer. Whether it is famous landmarks, idyllic beaches or a historic past, every destination is a travel destination if you look at it in the right way. However, some countries aren’t lucky enough to have it all. But in Southeast Asia, there is certainly one country that does. No, we’re not talking about Thailand; we’re talking about a country that now is Thailand perhaps 20 years ago. We’re talking about Cambodia.

With iconic ruins, a recent turbulent history, tranquil-turquoise waters and lush jungle, Cambodia goes from one extreme to the other. Let’s have a look at the places and different kinds of experiences you’ll want when you visit Cambodia.

Untouched, Island, Paradise

Koh Rong Samloem

A little bit more precious than the main island Koh Rong, Samloem is simple yet glorious. White-fluffy sand is standard here at this 9km long island. The waters are not too shabby either, typically transparent and very Caribbean-like. This might be the spot where you read a good book by the waves or you get your tan going. You may fancy scuba diving, snorkelling or kayaking, but whatever it is, things are chill here so kick back and relax.

Mountains, Rivers, Jungle

Kampot

Many travellers favourite destination in Cambodia, Kampot is a scenic and rural dream. With jungle-topped mountains, stunning lake views and a humbling way of living, Kampot is one of those places that takes you back. You won’t pass through here, you’ll definitely get stuck and stay here for longer than you expect. You’ll pass farms and rice fields with more cattle on the roadside than actual traffic. Not only is its natural environs that are charming, but with windy mountainous roads that lead up to old French colony casino ruins, Kampot throws in a bit of culture too.

Sleepy Coastal Villages

Kep

If you’re in Kampot, then Kep isn’t too far away. Typically a seaside resort area, Kep is famous for its fresh Crab plucked from the ocean and sold almost immediately at the Crab market. Despite living in times where overfishing is a major problem, this doesn’t prevent the locals making their way. Wooden shack restaurants are by the water that makes for interesting perusing. Kep isn’t all village huts and fresh seafood; there are tropical islands, national parks and caves to exploring in this sleepy town too!

Edgy, Historic, Gritty Cities

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh has no real centre and that throws a lot of people off when visiting the capital of Cambodia. We have to admit, this place takes some getting use to. However, if you’re a keen and experienced traveller you’ll always give every place a chance. Roam around with double-jointed tuk-tuks with curtains for a bit of comfort, as you turn in and around the cities endless streets. Markets are a great place to get lost in Phnom Penh and are dotted everywhere. Phnom Penh is visited mostly because of the two biggest reminders of the horrific and very recent, Khmer regime. The killing fields are an experience in itself, as you slowly wander to places where mass murders took place and the remnants left behind. As your audio guide takes you through real life accounts, this place is certainly sombre. The S-21 museum is more of a visual experience, with an old high school-turned-prison the setting for some of the graphic tortures and barbaric actions during the regime.

Gateways To The Past

Siem Reap

Cambodia’s most famous attraction, Angkor Wat lies within the resort town of Siem Reap. In central Southeast Asia, these 12th century ruins go further than you can imagine and are by far the regions most iconic temples. This maybe a UNESCO Heritage site but we do wonder sometimes how this doesn’t make the list on the wonders of the world. You’ll be battling around many other tourists but honestly a visit to Cambodia wouldn’t be complete without visiting this place.

The Hub for Beach Life

Sihanoukville

An island resort town that has something for everyone, Sihanoukville will be the first stop you make if you want beach time in Cambodia. Otres beach will be your first point of call if you’re staying on mainland and want some perfect beach time. Sihanoukville has late night bars and a good restaurant scene and because of that it gets the nickname ‘stuck-ville’ as people who enjoy it here, don’t want to leave. Don’t underestimate this place, as jungles filled with mangroves and waterfalls in Ream National Park give Sihanoukville more diversity that what its perceived to be.