Last Updated on September 8, 2012 by Jess
Rising from a history of war and horror, Cambodia has emerged as one of South East Asia’s most popular travel destinations. In 2009, over 2million tourists visited Cambodia and over the coming years the country looks set to rival its neighbors, Thailand and Vietnam, in popularity. For now though, Cambodia remains relatively undiscovered by tourists, but no less beautiful and awe-inspiring than its surrounding nations.
Before you go, check out our list of the top 5 things to see and do in Cambodia and look online for currency exchange to get a great deal on Cambodian Riel.
The white-sand beaches and turquoise waters of Sihanoukville are a must for any traveler looking for a little rest and relaxation. Over the past few years, Sihanoukville has grown to become Cambodia’s premier beach resort, offering visitors laidback living in a stunning, tropical setting. Spend your days enjoying Cambodian cuisine at one of the beach-side restaurants, and head over to the casinos and bars for your evening entertainment.
The Killing Fields
Just outside of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city, lies The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. It was here that the Khmer Rouge brutally killed thousands of victims during their reign of terror in the 1970s and is today a Buddhist memorial to those who died here. This unlikely tourist destination is both harrowing and fascinating, providing those who visit a stark reminder of Cambodia’s troubled past.
Along with The Killing Fields, Angkor Wat is an absolute must for any tourist itinerary. Built for a king in the early 12th century, the temple was added to the UNESCO world heritage list to safeguard what they call ‘one of the most important archaeological sites in South East Asia. The best way to visit the magnificent remains of the Khmer Empire is through Siem Reap, the tourist hub for the area. From here you can take a twenty minute car or motorbike ride to the site.
Spend a day off the tourist trail and visit a rural Cambodian village. You’ll have the opportunity to get involved with everyday activities, such as driving an oxen cart, harvesting the fields and traditional cooking, as well as teaching English in a local school and eating lunch with a host family. A day in the countryside is a great way to get to know the locals and experience the ‘real’ Cambodia.