10 Destinations in Cambodia You Need to Visit

10 Destinations in Cambodia You Need to Visit

Not sure where to go in Cambodia other than Angkor Wat? Check out the top 10 places to visit, which include Sihanoukville and Kep.

Cambodia may be small, and widely known only for its most popular tourist destinations, but the seasoned traveller will tell you that there are plenty of often-overlooked places in Cambodia. The temples of Angkor Wat are not the only place to be discovered. You don’t want to miss out on some amazing locations, so check out this list of destinations if you’re not set on where to go in Cambodia.

Also read: 5 Reasons Why Cambodia Should Be On Your Bucket List

1. The Temples of Angkor

where to go in cambodia

Image credits: Christian Junker – AHKGAP

First, let’s get the most obvious out of the way. You’re most likely going to see the temples of Angkor anyway if travelling in Cambodia. Make it to Angkor Wat for the sunrise and beat the heat and the crowds by getting there early. Take one day to explore the main temples and go back a second day and break away from the tour group infested areas. Rent a bicycle and make your way through the park at your own pace. Pop in and out of interesting looking temples that have no other visitors but yourself. Take a break in the shade with some freshly cut fruit from the stands and be careful that they monkeys don’t try to steal your lunch.

2. Siem Reap

Siem Reap is the base for travellers coming to see the temples of Angkor. The town itself is a mix of countryside, cultural city and comfortable suburbs. The nature seeps into the city and amongst the tuk-tuks and handicraft markets are tree-lined roads, perfectly manicured flower gardens and an organic vibe. Visitors here can find live music in pubs and restaurants serving an eclectic mix of international cuisines. One of the best things to do here is renting a bicycle and riding to the Angkor Archaeological site. You will pass hilly countryside, cows and farmers and roadside art studios on your way.

Also read: 3 Days 2 Nights Trip to Beautiful Siem Reap, Cambodia

3. Phnom Penh

Image credits: mariusz kluzniak

Crawling with backpackers, the feel of this capital city is laid back and comfortable. The nightlife is exciting and the “happy” pizza restaurants can be found all over Phnom Penh. Walk around and make sure to visit the temples and palaces before you get too comfortable in your hostel lounge or one of the abundant backpacker pubs. The history is one of the main draws of the city and travellers shouldn’t leave without visiting the Killing Fields and S-21 prison museum. Transportation to these sites can be easily arranged and you also get a sneak preview into the countryside along the way. In these sites, you will begin to understand the horror that the country suffered previously.

4. Sihanoukville

Image credits: ilya

This seaside town of Sihanoukville is known as the home to some of Cambodia’s best beaches. White sand, beach huts and accommodating beachside bars and restaurants line the coast and attract visitors who want to relax in paradise. The town is frequented by a backpacker crowd and there are plenty of cheap street side stalls available for a meal and a nightlife to accommodate the demand for beach side parties. Before spending the night with a pint in hand, spend the day snorkeling, diving, jet-skiing or joining a motorcycle tour.

5. Bokor National Park

Image credits: Axel Drainville

The former French hill station is the main attraction in the stunning Bokor National Park. Once used as a means for the French elite to escape the heat and humidity of Cambodia, it is now often used as a movie location for both local and international films. Check out the ruins of the palace, take nature walks to the nearby waterfalls or find the sacred meditation areas that are hidden throughout the area’s jungle.

6. Kep

Image credits: Jules

Kep was the prime beach destination before the civil war and before Sihanoukville stole the show. It is now slowly being rediscovered as its antiquated facilities are becoming more of a draw for visitors that want to get away from the built up and crowded beaches that are now so popular with tourists. Guests in Kep often visit the jungles of the national park, the remainder of the colonial villas and the mountainous pepper plantations. Visitors love dining on the fresh seafood, witnessing the phosphorescent algae and just lounging on the un-crowded beaches.

7. Kompong Thom

Image credits: WorldFish

This often overlooked town between Cambodia’s two major cities is a gateway to some of the country’s most stunning countryside. ln Kompong Thom, you will see rice fields, oxen pulled carts and farmers in the field. Rent a bike or go trekking up in the mountains, find hidden pagodas and rock carvings or take a boat trip down the river. History lovers will appreciate the Sambor Prei Kuk which are the ruins of ancient temples predating Angkor Wat.

8. Kratie

Image credits: Chris Lewis

Although seemingly off the beaten track, Kratie has seen the likes of backpackers for years. In Kratie, ancient temples, villages and museums await. Kratie is a destination for nature lovers and those interested in environmental conservation. Check out the turtle sanctuary, go dolphin watching, bird watching or just rent a kayak and explore the jungle trimmed waters.

9. Kampot

Image credits: Mr & Mrs Backpacker

Kampot is a quaint riverside town that is a gateway to the countryside. It is a place that is kept alive by the significant agricultural goods that it produces. One of its most famous products is the durian which is proudly displayed in sculpture form within the town center. Kampot has some interesting French-built markets and historic architecture to visit in addition to its lovely natural scenery. There are nearby fishing villages, rice fields, temples and markets that make for great side-trips out of the small city itself.

10. Koh Rong

Image credits: Simon

This island is located just a short ferry ride away from Sihanoukville . It has over 23 beaches and a wild nightlife. If you are looking to party in the evenings after a long day of water sports, Koh Rong is your place. There is snorkeling, diving, jungle trekking and even phosphorescent plankton to be seen after dark. The area is a little run down, but these days it adds to the charm as more and more travellers are trying to get away from the big time resorts and expensive entertainment.

Also read: Koh Rong Islands – Cambodia’s Unspoilt Beach Paradise

About Author

Shannon Ullman

Shannon is an American girl working towards a full-time nomadic lifestyle. She doesn’t like the idea of a 9-5 career and wants to blaze her own trail by travelling and working around the globe. She has a long way to go on her journey but is having the time of her life on the way. She left her country to live in China and has been moving around Asia for the past year and half. She is passionate about inspiring others to live their dreams, facing her fears, learning new things and visiting cat cafes as often as she can.


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