10 places/things you didn’t know existed in Cambodia
Ever since Angelina Jolie swung through the temple ruins in Cambodia as Lara Croft in tomb raider, the place has been swimming with tourists. A town like Siem reap, closest to a vast number of ancient Hindu/Buddhist temples is, in fact, a tourist magnet, with over 127 hotels within an otherwise unkempt country.
It is in fact undeniably true that Angkor Wat is the largest religious building in the world and indeed a sight to behold. Some even say it is the most magnificent architecture ever built by man. Little wonder why backpackers and tourists alike have journeyed across the world to behold this wonder piece of architecture. But after that what next? After you must have satisfied your curiosity and fed your eyes of the Angkor Wat’s glory and taken endless pictures, what else has the famous Cambodia got to offer?
Well if you’re looking for that extra something, you’re not alone, as your options are much. Pockets of opulence exist, but visitors should not turn a blind eye to the many wonders in Cambodia. A good tour guide or itinerary will show you everything. Below is a compilation of top 10 places/things you didn’t know existed in Cambodia.
1- Party in Sihanoukville
Sihanoukville formerly known as Kompong Som is a seaside town that features Cambodia’s best-known beaches. It is located at the tip of an elevated peninsula in the country’s southwest at the gulf of Thailand. Sihanoukville or ‘Snooky’ like most have begun to call it, is fast becoming a party destination. Lined with international restaurants and bars, the atmosphere already gives you the feel of a party. And apart from its buzzing nightlife, tourists can try windsurfing and other watersports on nearby beaches. Lessons and equipment are also quite cheap and affordable.
2- Seeking Underwater Treasures
Although lots of people head over to Thailand for this type of adventure, many don’t know that Cambodia has plenty amazing dive sites. One of the largest dive schools in Cambodia known as Scuba Nation offers trips from Sihanoukville down to the Islands of Hoh Tang, Koh Rong Saloem, and Koh Kon. Islands off the coast offer lots of diving opportunities with a collection of reef fishes, a variety of macro-life and larger pelagic. You can take a break and relax on the white sandy beaches after a good dive without any disturbance since dive sites are at least 2 hours from the mainland.
3- Take a Boat to the floating Villages at Tonle Sap Lake
Tonle Sap Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Southeast Asia. It is a great importance to the people of Cambodia. Visiting Tonle Sap Lake is an eye opener to the abject poverty and subsistence living in the primitive fishing villages of Cambodia. The lake is home to a large number of Vietnamese and the Chan community. They’ve been able to adapt to the lake’s seasonal changes over the years. The lake is quite distinct. Its flow changes direction twice a year. Making the lake expand and shrink dramatically with the season. While taking a boat ride, you’ll pass shacks on stilts, children paddling with babies in canoes and livestock in floating pens. Be sure to take lots of fresh fruit or school supplies to give out, you might be saving a life.
This is a quiet riverside town. A throwback to the French colonial era. Where you see crumbling French architecture and the locals ride bicycles through its peaceful streets. Kampot can be a fun adventurous spot with great restaurants. Along with its watering holes that spring up on the riverfront. It’s on the Scenic Damrei river in the Bokor mountains within reach of caves unspoiled countryside and waterfalls. Making rafting, trekking, and kayaking all possible.
Kep is an overgrown fishing village founded in 1960’s as a French colonial retreat. It is famous for its amazing fish sauce and succulent crab. You’ve never tasted anything like it. They also offer a variety of sea foods like the squid, prawns, and crabs. You can still see the remains of the colonial villas along the seafront.
6- Koh Russie and Koh Rong
Koh Russei and Koh Rong, otherwise known as Bamboo Island and Monkey Island, are two beautiful Islands off the coast of Cambodia. You can access them both via a boat ride from Sihanoukville. Get an unlimited access to the beautiful waters surrounding the Islands. Have a private party all by yourself as well if you wish.
If you love beaches, do not forget to check out honeymoon beach destinations near Singapore.
7- Bamboo train in Battambang
Battambang province is in the northwest of Cambodia and their bamboo train is one of the world’s all-time unique rail journeys. Each bamboo train known in Khmer as a norry consists of a 3 meters long wooden frame covered lengthwise with slats made of ultra-light bamboo, that rests on two barbell-like bogies, the aft one connected by fan belts to a 6HP gasoline engine. It can take up to 15 people or up to three tons of rice. With the advent of good roads, the bamboo train would have been out of existence hadn’t it been for its reinvention as a tourist attraction. Whizzing along the click-clacking rails is a huge amount of fun.
8- Trekking in cardamom mountains
Cambodia’s little-known cardamom mountains is a newly rediscovered tourist region. It was almost inaccessible until the completion of highway 48 a few years ago. Since then, it is transforming itself into an ecotourism center. You can hire a guide to trek deep into the Cardamom Mountains. It’s one of the greatest wildernesses of Southeast Asia.
9- The killing fields
This site is 15 kilometers from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It’s a monument that is second to none in the world. It’s full of skulls and other bones unearthed from only one of the hundreds of Cambodian killing fields of Choeung Ek. The site is a mass grave where thousands of victims were killed for absurd reasons. This is both a cemetery and hallowed ground. A Buddhist stupa made of real human skulls has been erected at the site to commemorate the horrific loss.
10- Off the beaten track
If you want to see the wild countryside of Cambodia, you can get off the beaten track in your private jeep or a dirt bike. Have the opportunity of traveling through the vibrant countryside. Visit remote temples and villages where the locals celebrate visitors.
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Don’t find yourself wanting on your next trip, buy a travel insurance cover!