Holidaying in Cambodia
If your only encounter with Cambodia is limited to seeing it as the location of movies like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Apocalypse Now, The Killing Fields, City of Ghosts, Ruin and Wish You Were Here, there are plenty more to see and do in this “newly opened to the world” country. Catering to a variety of tourists, from the fearless to the laid-back, you can drop by and see the World Heritage listed ruins of Angkor Wat or simply take a sunset cruise off Phnom Penh. If you’re aiming for a historically-set destination, visit the remnants of the Khmer Rouge regime or just backpack to less travelled routes like the jungles of Rattanakiri to explore the local sugar-palm inlands. And if you’re just after that long overdue rest and relaxation, savor the fresh crab at coastal Kep or wine and dine in French style after a relaxing massage.
The Best Time to Visit
We recommend going during the period from November to February, when there is little rain and the temperature is manageable, unlike during April when the heat becomes intolerable. Don’t spoil your beach holiday by going during the period of May to October, unless you’re after less crowd and your main destination is Angkor which becomes a magnificent site during the wet season.
What’s In Store for Visitors
More known than the country itself is the primeval temple compound of Angkor Wat standing mightily as the nation’s treasure. The setting of Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider can be found at the city of Siem Reap, which has seen drastic development since the filming and has captured the heart of the actress since then. Although some negatively see that the finding of Angkor by outsiders as a major tourist destination, efforts have been made to preserve the astounding beauty of the temples. To add, Siem Reap presents affordable and budget friendly accommodations.
While vacationers are satisfied with just seeing Angkor during their travels, Cambodia has plenty more in store to offer. Sihanoukville showcases the laid-back luxury along its whitesand beaches while a chic resort in the coastal town of Kep is sure to satisfy many tourists who seek relaxation. Add to this a tour to the misty Bokor Hill Station, reminiscent of Cambodia's 1960s heyday, and you’re sure to want to keep on coming back for more. At Battambang, further inland, are destinations which offer travellers a glimpse of the simplicity of farm life. Or you can stopover and see the country’s very first winery and tour isolated Khmer temples, some of which are older than Angkor.
Although some skip visiting Phnom Penh, this city presents more than what meets the eye with its mysterious colonial heritage and a stunning by the river esplanade where a dazzling palace and a numerous variety of bars and restaurants can be found. For those who love to shop, you can rummage through the Russian market booths for antiques, exquisite fabrics and ceramics or just browse through a few boutiques for locally designed clothes. For a bargain at the city’s skilled cobblers, you can take home some fine handcrafted leather shoes.
At the other end of the vacation spectrum, you can visit the remnants of the horrendous killing spree staged by Cambodia's Khmer Rouge regime. A must see is Tuol Sleng and a trip to the Killing Fields located at the city’s outskirts to get a fuller understanding of the slaughter humans are capable of perpetrating.
Anlong Veng, a former Khmer Rouge stranglehold, is another bucket list to-see for the valiant and audacious tourists who want to see Pol Pot’s grave, the ruler of the old Cambodia.
For Further Research
For your own personal guide available at command of your fingers, visit Travelfish’s website for the most recommended destinations and insider’s tips in discovering Cambodia's mysterious secrets. This website is teeming with tidbits on the ins and outs of the country and other knowledge you need to make safe and wise decisions during your travels in Cambodia.