Kampong Speu © nicolas pascarel
Cambodia Travel Guide
Nestled along the tropical waters of the Gulf of Thailand and sharing boarders with Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, Cambodia has a lot to offer intrepid adventurers. Travelling by tuk-tuk along the chaotic streets of Phnom Penh is an activity every tourist on holiday in Cambodia should experience. Travellers will turn their friends back home green with envy when recounting tales of days spent in the sun on one of Cambodia's idyllic beaches near Sihanoukville or exploring the crumbling French villas of the once-trendy resort town of Krong Kep.
The easily accessible beauty of the Angkor temples is top of any list of things to do in Cambodia, but relaxing on a beach or diving in the Gulf of Thailand is a close second.
Adventurous travellers can make the fun, and often eventful, trek to Rantanakiri where the alluring crystal clear waters of Yak Loum volcanic crater lake offer cool respite from the humidity of the surrounding jungle.
Tourists in Cambodia with some extra energy should book a trip to Siem Reap to coincide with the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon - a fantastic way to see the temples of Angkor for free. Visitors to Cambodia can enjoy top of the range hotels and spas, or more basic travel conveniences, while exploring a country rich with beauty, possibility and promise, and teeming with exotic cultural experiences to write home about.
Best time to visit Cambodia
The weather in Cambodia is typically tropical with distinct wet and dry seasons. The best time to visit Cambodia is in the cooler dry season, from November to February, when temperatures are more comfortable. For visiting the temples at Angkor, or enjoying the beauty of the Tonle Sap in full flood, the best time to go to Cambodia is during monsoon season, from June to October, but temperatures and humidity levels can rise high during this period. Read more on Cambodia's Climate and Weather.
What to see in Cambodia
-Make a pilgrimage to Angkor Wat for sunrise before touring more of the ancient temples near Siem Reap.
-Take a boat from Chong Khneas to the 'floating villages' on the massive Tonle Sap Lake.
-Visit the tiny village of Kratie to view the rare Irrawaddy River Dolphins.
What to do in Cambodia
-Shop till you drop at Phnom Penh's famous Russian Market.
-Learn how to cook the famous Fish Amok (Amok trei) at a Cambodian cooking class in Phnom Penh.
-Picnic on the banks of the Mekong on the lawns of the Royal Palace.
-Indulge in a Seeing Hands Massage done by expert blind masseuses.
Getting to Cambodia
There are a few direct flights to Phnom Penh from Paris and indirect flights available to Phnom Penh from both the UK and the US, with Air France and KLM covering the most airports. Singapore Airlines and Air France also fly to Siem Reap from a few UK, US and European airports but the flights are not direct. There are a number of direct cheap flights to Cambodia from Asia. Low-cost carrier Air Asia offers discounted flights from Kuala Lumpur, while many tourists choose to fly to Cambodia via Bangkok. Flights to Siem Reap Angkor International Airport are available from regional airports such as Bangkok, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul. Get more information on Cambodia Airports.
River of Time by Jon Swain, A Blessing Over Ashes by Adam Fifield, Off the Rails in Phnom Penh by Amit Gilboa, and Angkor by George Coedes
Cambodia (Kim Wilde)
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), and The Killing Fields (1984)
Angkor beer is cheap and refreshing, with the iconic Angkor Wat printed on the label.
Amok trei or fish amok is the national dish, served steamed or curried with coconut milk in a banana leaf cup.
Buy in Cambodia
Clothing made from Cambodian silk, or sculptured reproductions of some of the country's iconic temples.
Pack for Cambodia
Light and casual clothes, but remember to dress respectfully when visiting temples.
What's on in Cambodia
Cambodia transforms into a festival of colour each year for Khmer New Year (Chaul Chnam Thmey) held in April. One of the most iconic and evocative half marathons, the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon, takes place in and around the Angkor Temples in early December. Boat races and partying are the order of the day on the Tonle Sap for the annual Water and Moon Festival at the beginning of November. More information on Events in Cambodia.
Did you know
-Cambodia is home to the largest freshwater lake in Asia - the Tonle Sap - which covers a whopping 23,100 square miles (60,000 square kilometres) over the monsoon period.
-The great temple of Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world.
-A large proportion of Cambodian young men are Buddhist monks for a short time.
-Cambodia was under French rule from 1863 to 1953.
A final word
A friendly and upbeat attitude and awe-inspiring ancient temples make a holiday in Cambodia an adventure not to be missed.
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