The Kingdom of Cambodia is a gem of South-East Asia, and there are undoubtedly 20 things to do there. The country has a rich history and tradition, and the Khmer dynasty’s dominance in the 11th century helped the kingdom reach new heights. In 1970, under the Khmer Rouge dictatorship, it plunders through hell. The towering Angkor Wat at its centre exhibits the Khmer luxury and grandeur, but the killing fields are a horrifying reminder of its recent tragedies. You’ll want to return to this location over and over again.
1. Visit the Angkor Wat- Cambodia
The Angkor Wat was the official temple of the Khmer Dynasty and was initially built as a Hindu temple in Cambodia. During his reign in the eleventh century, King Suryavarman II constructed the temple. It was given to Lord Vishnu as a gift. Under King Jayavarman VII, the temple gradually underwent a Buddhist conversion after he passed away. The famous temple is the biggest place of worship in the entire world and has previously held the distinguished title of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, here in Cambodia.
2. Witness the Ta Promh- Cambodia
A Buddhist shrine called Ta Prohm was devoted to Queen Jayavarman VII. The charm of the temple is that it is mostly in ruins. The Crocodile Tree is Ta Prohm’s most well-known feature. The tree was made famous by a sequence starring Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft at the same location in the film Tomb Raider in Cambodia. Explore the enigmatic complex that is covered in ruins and submit to the power of nature. Without obligatory Tomb Raider poses in front of those enormous roots, no trip to Cambodia is complete!
3. See the Bayon Temple- Cambodia
The centrepiece of Angkor Thom is the Bayon Temple in Cambodia. 216 enormous smiling faces that are painted on the Bayon’s towers are evidence of the deluded grandeur of King Jayavarman VII, whose reign this Buddhist temple served as a state temple. The temple’s design indicated a clear transition from Hinduism to Buddhism. More than 10,000 bas reliefs, including apsaras, are used to elaborately embellish the walls of the Bayon temple. Get lost in the Bayon Temple’s unique surroundings as you stroll about in Cambodia. You’ll be perplexed by the smiling faces and wonder why such a singular artwork was made.
4. Tour the floating villages- Cambodia
Tonle Sap covers a major portion of Cambodia. When the water flow in the Mekong River basins reverses, the tropical monsoon unleashes torrential rains that grow the Tonle Sap from 3000 square kilometres to 10,000 square kilometres. Spend two hours on the boat instead of continuing down the temple walk. Every convenience that enables people to live in complete comfort above water is present; you will see floating stores, floating schools, floating churches, and floating hospitals. The floating towns are a fascinating experience to visit. It demonstrates how people come up with strategies to combat natural forces in Cambodia.
5. Hot air balloon rides
Many tourists dream of viewing Angkor Wat from the air in Cambodia. There are two different kinds of balloon rides; one of them lifts passengers into the air for a short while before returning them to the ground. The soaring balloon offers a chance to photograph Siem Reap and its stunning temples from the same location. Naturally, this is the least expensive. The true pleasure is riding in a hot air balloon that circles the world heritage site while gliding through the skies. The ride is pricey, but it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a magnificent sunrise from a great height in Cambodia.
6. The Pub street- Cambodia
The nightlife in Siem Reap, Cambodia, is a breakaway from the Angkor Archaeological Park and is reminiscent of French colonial elegance. Due to its proximity to the historical attractions, the town is mostly made up of hotels. The centre of Siem Reap is Pub Street. Lively pubs, lounges, restaurants, and nightclubs line the street. The diverse group of visitors is catered to by eateries that specialise in Khmer food and international cuisine. The unusual cocktails that the cocktail bars provide for $1 are well-known. As a result, it is a haven for travellers who frequently change bars. Everyone congregates on Pub Street after a long day of sightseeing in Cambodia.
7. Taste the Khmer cuisine- Cambodia
Tourists frequently refer to Khmer cuisine as Cambodian cuisine. Although there are many meals that are similar to those from Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodian food has a unique blend of sweet and salty flavours. Prahok is a condiment from the far east composed of fish paste and used frequently in numerous meals. Compared to its neighbours, Cambodia’s food is less spicy yet still flavorful. Fish fillet is served with a curry made of coconut milk, tamarind, lemongrass, and ginger in the dish known as Fish Amok (Amok Trey). This tart fish mousse is regarded as Cambodia’s national dish.
8. Behold Apsara dancing- Cambodia
The history of Angkor Wat is reflected in the traditional dance of Cambodia known as the apsara. Every creative skill was stifled by the Khmer Rouge in 1970, including the Apsara Dance. Now that the Khmer Rouge era is past, dance performances are frequently organised at well-known tourist destinations. The traditional dance performances have changed recently to incorporate laser and light shows that highlight Cambodian history. The most spectacular presentation is put on by The Smile of Angkor, which depicts the Angkor civilization in all its splendour in Cambodia.
9. Go artisan shopping-Cambodia
A company called Artisan Angkor, which is based in Siem Reap in Cambodia, is devoted to resurrecting Khmer arts and crafts. Rural residents and underprivileged kids are given jobs and training in ancient Khmer art forms like lacquering, painting, stone and wood carving, and manufacturing silk. They strive to provide top-notch goods that are sold through their outlets. A visual treat is the shop packed with vibrant Apsaras and happy faces from Bayon painted on canvases or silks, here in Cambodia.
10. Ride a bamboo train- Cambodia
Battambang in Cambodia is a place not to miss. Chiang Mai in Thailand is comparable to Battambang. It features laid-back cafes, hip boutique hotels, and colonial charm. Taking a Bamboo train is the most entertaining activity in Battambang. It resembles a bamboo board with wheels and is mostly used to transport passengers over shorter distances. Ride the train track for a half-hour to pass by the rice fields and little bridges. When another bamboo train comes in from the other direction, it is quite a spectacle. To make room for the other train to pass, the train with the fewer people is disassembled. It is hysterically funny, here in Cambodia.
11. Hikes aplenty- Cambodia
The finest ways to explore Cambodia’s dense rain forests and lush rice farms are on foot or by bicycle. Once you’ve completed the touristy activities near the temples, continue on to the rural adventure route. Tour companies in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap can arrange treks lasting three to seven days. The pleasures of walking through Virachey National Park include kayaking on the Sekong River and seeing the uncommon freshwater Mekong Dolphins. The hiking in the rainforest is a fantastic chance to get outside of the norm and discover Cambodia’s pristine natural beauty!
12. See the royal palace- Cambodia
King Sihamoni’s formal residence is the Royal Palace, which he had constructed in 1860. The eye catching yellow claw-shaped building, which is situated on the banks of the Tonle Sap, dominates the skyline of the capital. A beautiful example of Khmer architecture is the Royal Palace. Only a small portion of the palace is accessible to the public because it is the king’s private residence. The palace’s centrepiece is the main room, often known as the Throne Room. Coronations and other royal rituals continue to employ it in Cambodia.
13. Come to the capital of Phnom Penh
Tuk-tuks are the most widely used means of transportation in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, and they are everywhere. You can choose to take a tuk tuk ride from the airport rather than a taxi to receive your first view of the city from an open-air vehicle. At the wave of a hand, any cyclist without a passenger would stop and offer you a ride. Trips in a tuk-tuk are really exciting. Since the majority of tuk-tuk drivers come from rural areas, they are not familiar with any landmarks. GPS is rather inaccurate, therefore bring a map from the motel. Most drivers would only be familiar with the locations of significant pagodas. And that is what makes riding in a tuk-tuk enjoyable.
14. Relish in the Water festival
For millennia, the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers have been essential to Cambodia’s rice harvest. The Mekong River’s water level rises during the monsoon, and water flows from the Mekong to Tonle Sap. When the dry season starts in November, the flow turns around. Cambodians commemorate this occasion on the 12th day of the Khmer lunar calendar, which often falls in November, during the month of Kadeuk. Boat races, parades, music, and fireworks accompany the three-day Bon Om Touk festival.
15. Behold the Sisowath Quay
The area of Phnom Penh with the strongest western influences is Sisowath Quay. On the final day before catching a flight home, the promenade that follows the Tonle Sap is a lovely place to go for a stroll. You won’t remember the oppressive heat and humidity of the countryside thanks to the refreshing lake wind. Take a leisurely stroll while remembering the disasters that have recently befallen the people of Cambodia. There are bars and restaurants all along the road that runs across the seafront.
16. Enjoy at the Koh Rong Island
Koh Rong is the second-largest island in Cambodia and is situated in the Gulf of Thailand. Beautiful beaches surround this tiny island’s whole 43 km of shoreline. There are no roads and dense forest on the majority of these islands. The island is largely undeveloped, with the exception of a few small settlements. The island can only be reached by ferry. The coastal villas and shacks with views of the immaculate white sand beaches are what make the island so beautiful. The Monkey Island on Koh Rong is the place to go if you want to find true isolation in Cambodia.
17. Haven for backpackers
If you decide to go backpacking in Cambodia, one of the cheapest nations in South East Asia, your money will go a little further. Backpacking in Cambodia may easily fill up a month, from seeing the well-known temples in Siem Reap to going on a rural walk, taking in the uncrowded beaches of Koh Rong, and relaxing in the peaceful river town of Kampot. Backpacking is made simpler by the concentration of temples in a compact location.
18. Breathe adventure with a Quad-bike
A well-liked activity is quad biking on the unpaved roads in the nearby towns of Siem Reap. You can pick from a quick ride at sunset lasting an hour to a half-day, physically taxing tour of the villages and rice terraces offered by Quad Adventure Cambodia. Take the all-terrain vehicles through the villages, passing by the cheery kids who stand in line to welcome the visitors. As adventurous as things can get in Cambodia, this is it.
19. Unwind at the Tonle sap river
One of the biggest freshwater lakes is Tonle Sap, located in the centre of Cambodia. The Mekong River and Tonle Sap are great places to go cruising. The majority of river cruises depart from Phnom Penh’s port. You can select from a one-night cruise to a weeklong trip that visits the main areas of Tonle Sap. During the dry season, Tonle Sap’s water level is constantly uncertain, forcing last-minute alterations to the itinerary.
20. The Choeung Ek fields
More over two million Cambodians were killed during the Khmer Rouge era, or around 21% of the country’s total population. After the civil war ended, the country’s intelligentsia and intellectuals, along with political and military people, were wiped out as a result of the systematic slaughter that took place from 1975 to 1979 under the rule of Pol Pot (the communist head of the Communist Party of Kampuchea). One of the locations of mass killings was the countryside of Choeung Ek, which is located just outside of Phnom Penh in Cambodia.