South East Asia is a land of diversity, and while all of the countries in the region might share some key characteristics, such as rich histories, delicious food and idyllic beaches, the differences are strong and fascinating, making it the world’s most famous and well travelled backpacker haven.
Cambodia shines brightly as one of the regions most exciting areas to explore. Its citizens have been through, and are still going through, a lot, but this is a country of enormous spirit and resilience, along with some of the biggest characters you could wish to meet.
Cambodia will get under your skin, there’s no doubt about that, and the best thing you can do is buckle up and enjoy the crazy ride.
What are Cambodia’s ‘must do’ experiences?
Angkor Wat temple, Siem Reap.
A UNESCO world heritage site and the largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat Hindu temple complex in Siem Reap province is one of the most famous sights in Asia and if you’re going to Cambodia it’s essential that you don’t miss it.
It’s not often you come across things genuinely inspire feelings of awe and leave you lost for words but the sight of the sun rising over this huge, ancient monument will provide exactly that.
Teach Cambodian Children
Teaching Cambodian kids is a massively rewarding experience.
Spend some time volunteering in one of the many impoverished areas of Cambodia as you make a real difference by teaching English to children in one of the slum areas on the outskirts of Siem Reap.
It’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in a Cambodian community and help to provide assistance in improving life for some of the poorest people in what is generally a very poor part of South East Asia.
If you’re looking for a travel experience that will stay with you for years to come, then this is it.
Indulge in some serious beach time in Sihanoukeville.
A relaxed beach resort on Cambodia’s south coast that comes alive at night with groups of fluorescent paint covered travellers supping from buckets and dancing the night away.
During the day time, it’s Cambodia’s best place to top up your tan with a loooooong golden sandy beach and a chain of small beach bars selling refreshments and playing suitably chilled tunes. Making Sihanoukeville the perfect Yin and Yang of beachside living.
Royal Palace, Phnom Penh
The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh is super impressive!
The huge grounds of the Royal Palace are filled with blingy buildings, a world away from what you will see through out the rest of Cambodia.
While the King’s living area might be closed to the public, there’s still plenty to explore. It’s the most impressive sight in the nation’s capital Phnom Penh. Spend the afternoon wandering around the grounds it’s unlikely you’ll see anything quite like this again.
Tuol Sleng Prison and the Killing Fields of Choeng Ek
Granted, this isn’t going to be a particularly pleasant experience, but the massacre of millions of Cambodian during the Khmer Rouge Regime is such an important, and still hugely relevant, part of Cambodia’s history that you need to pay a visit to S21 Prison and the Killing fields in Phnom Penh.
It’s a trip that will help you to really understand this great country, what it’s been through and the effect it’s had on many of the population alive today. Fascinating, heartbreaking, but so utterly important to Cambodia, it’s something you really shouldn’t miss.