15 Places To Visit In Cambodia – The Erstwhile Khmer Empire

The ethereal beauty of the Angkor Wat temples in the ancient town of Cambodia

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Get a taste of ancient Southeast Asia on your trip to Cambodia. The erstwhile Khmer empire boasts of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches and exotic temples. The top places to visit in Cambodia attract tourists and travelers with varied interests.

There’s a mix of both the old and the new that will leave you in total awe. Whether you are visiting the iconic Angkor temples or the sophisticated and contemporary, capital Phnom Penh.

Bordered by Thailand to the northwest and Vietnam to the east, Cambodia is a land of elusive wildlife and tropical adventures. Traverse the timeless landscapes of this mighty realm of the Gods by visiting popular tourist spots in Cambodia. But before that, here are some important details:
The statue of Buddha at Battambang in Cambodia<

Best time to visit Cambodia

The peak season to visit Cambodia is from November to February. The weather is neither too sunny nor too cold and provides the perfect holiday experience in Cambodia.

How to get here

The best way to travel to Cambodia is by flight. The Phnom Penh International Airport connects tourists to the capital city and the Siem Reap International Airport connects tourists to the Angkor temples. The Sihanoukville International Airport only has domestic flights to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

The Most Awesome Places To Visit In Cambodia

Visit one of Cambodia’s greatest tourist attractions: Ta Prohm
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As I share the list, get set to have a fun and knowledgeable experience at some of the most scenic places to visit in Cambodia and explore each and every one of these riveting destinations.

1. Kampot- The land of the black peppercorns

The riverside town of Kampot is a sight to behold
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Besides being the land of black peppercorns, Kampot is a scenic riverside promenade that has a number of colonial structures. Also, the quaint riverside town provides a gateway to the French hill station of Bokor National Park that has mesmerizing views and a pleasant climate. And needless to say, it is one of the most famous tourist places in Cambodia too.

View ancient ruins at the Kampot Kampong Trach caves, go boating on the river and watch glistening waterfalls in this idyllic location.

Don’t miss: Try the crab curry here for a lip smacking treat.

2. Kratie- Swim with Irrawaddy dolphins

Watch dolphins in action at the Mekong river in Kratie
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View well-preserved French colonial buildings at the little charming town of Kratie that lies on the banks of Mekong River. Enjoy a magical sunset at the Mekong River here and also watch the rare Irrawaddy dolphins in action. The French buildings here are definitely among the top places to visit in Cambodia.

Don’t miss: Take a boat ride along Mekong River to view the dolphins in action

3. Sihanoukville- Become a beach bum at this sandy paradise

Relax and unwind along the sandy shores of the beaches in Sihanoukville
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The spot where the United States fought its last battle in the Vietnam War is now a land of sunny beaches. Relax at the shores of these less populated beaches and enjoy watersports like snorkelling and kayaking. Spend the day at a beach shack on any one of these pristine six beaches here to enjoy a fun holiday.

Don’t miss: Try windsurfing at the quiet and serene Otres Beach.

Suggested Read: 10 Cheapest Cities In Asia For The Budget Travelers

4. Siem Reap- The charming gateway to the Angkor temples

Explore the beautiful ancient town of Siem Reap that provides an entry to the Angkor temples
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The Siem Reap river and the rice paddies make this town much more than just a stopover to witness the Angkor temples. Siem Reap has vibrant night markets, silk farms, traditional craft shops, fun road tours through rice paddies, bird sanctuaries, fishing villages and boat tours on Tonle Sap Lake.

Don’t miss: Rejuvenate yourself at the oldest Buddhist temple at the Wat Bo village. Also don’t forget to watch Apsara dance performances and visit Pub Street that are the best of Cambodian tourist attractions.

5. Koh Ker- An abode of temples

The beautiful Koh Ker temple
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Explore the innumerable temples at Koh Ker that lies to the northeast of the Siem reap town. The temple complex here is around 3 km long and consists of a number of temples and is considered one of the places to see in Cambodia.

Start with the sandstone Neang Khmao temple that is shaped like a stupa and lies on a small hill. Other temples worth visiting here are the main complex of the Koh Ker temple, the Pram temple, Chen temple, the Preng well and the Kuk temple. According to local legend, if you drop a coconut at the well at the Koh Ker temple it will appear at the pond near Neang Khmao temple.

6. Phnom Penh- Enjoy the scenic splendor of this pretty riverside city

The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh
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Phnom Penh still retains its charm as the leafy capital city of Cambodia with its palaces and wats. Located at the conjunction of three grand rivers- the Tonle Sap, the Mekong and the Bassac river, this city now houses a number of hotspots like cool cafes and bustling bars.

French colonial houses lie nestled besides roadside pagodas here and makes this city one of the topmost places to visit in Cambodia. View some unique Khmer artifacts at the National Museum or visit the Phsar Reatrey to pick up some handcrafted souvenirs.

Don’t miss: The beautiful complex of the Royal Palace with its golden spires is a must see Cambodia tourist attraction.

7. Angkor- Explore one of the world’s greatest temple complexes

Angkor Wat - a UNESCO World Heritage Site with curved sloping roofs and elaborate chambers
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One of Cambodia’s greatest tourist attractions, the Angkor Wat temple lies in Angkor and is one of the largest religious monuments to behold. Regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the UNESCO World Heritage site Angkor Wat is a definite must visit on a holiday to Cambodia. It lies to the south of Angkor Thom that is also one of Cambodia’s tourist spots. It pulls a huge crows as it is one of the sites where Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider movies were shot.

Angkor Wat has a 650 feet wide moat, a stone gateway with guardian lions, a seven headed naga and the Mt Meru tower. Around 300,000 workers and 6,000 elephants were used to construct this temple whose sandstone blocks were brought all the way from the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen.

Don’t Miss: The outstanding Ta Prohm Buddhist temple ruin that is the ideal place to capture picture perfect shots and is surrounded by towering trees.

8. Koh Rong- A picture postcard holiday at the island paradise

Be mesmerized by the glow in the dark plankton at Koh Rong
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Those looking for adventure will love the beautiful island paradise Koh Rong that has a number of beaches like the Koh Toch beach. A lot of activities on these lovely beaches makes Koh Rang one of exciting places to see in Cambodia.

Here, you can go snorkeling and see diamond fish, seahorses, sergeant fish, parrot fish, jumping fish, diamond fish, blue-spotted ribbontail rays, and squids. If you are a hardcore water sports lover, go diving and kayaking. Also, pay a visit to the rope adventure park where you can go zip lining. To witness some abundant wildlife head over to Police Beach that has a butterfly farm and mini zoo.

Don’t miss: Lonely Beach and Coconut Beach are perfect spots to view bio-luminescent plankton.

9. Koh Tonsay- An ideal getaway at Rabbit Island

Visit the lush jungle and the coconut groves at the Koh Tonsay island
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Koh Tonsay is also known as the Rabbit Island as local inhabitants believe that the island resembles a rabbit. This island provides the perfect break from the regular grind as it is a peaceful abode lined with coconut palms and is one of the top tourist spots in Cambodia.

There is a lot to do here – relax on a hammock on the sandy shores of the 600 m long main beach, go swimming, enjoy some delicious local seafood and interact with the friendly locals at this rustic island. There are also comfy beach shacks where you can unwind and chill.

Don’t miss: Go snorkelling at the main beach or take a trip to the nearby Koh Pos or snake island.

How to get here: Located 4.5 km from Kep, this island is best accessed by boat from Kep. The ride costs $7 for a day return.

10. Mondulkiri- Waterfalls and wildlife in all its glory

The Bou Sra Waterfall is one of the many scenic waterfalls in Mondulkiri
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Located in the eastern part of Cambodia, Mondulkiri is an interesting place to visit in Cambodia due to its abundant wildlife and natural beauty. As you step foot into this province, you will be greeted by rolling lush hills, thick forests, glistening waterfalls and flora and fauna.

Get a taste of the traditional culture here by visiting the hill tribes who stay in Phnong houses and use big jars and traditional gongs for various purposes. The Bou Sra and Chrey Thom waterfalls as well as the Memang Gold Mines area are must see tourist places in Cambodia.

Don’t Miss: Experience the adrenaline rush by enjoying a Mayura Zipline ride that goes over the Bou Sra falls.

Suggested Read: 15 Most Affordable Yet Amazing Beaches of South-East Asia

11. Preah Vihear- A center of pilgrimage and tropical hardwood forests

The Preah Vihear temple complex
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The Preah Vihear province is known for its tropical hardwood forests and lush countryscapes but its main alluring factor is the Prasat Preah Vihear complex. Pay a visit to this large Hindu temple complex that is situated atop a cliff in the Dangrek Mountains. Witness the marvellous carved stone ornamentation as well as the staircases, pavements and sanctuaries at this temple devoted to Lord Shiva that is one of the top tourist spots in Cambodia.

Don’t Miss: The stone paved Nagaraj Courtyard at the World Heritage Prasat Preah Vihar complex that is surrounded by heads and tails of snakes.

12. Tonle Sap Lake- Enjoy nature at its best at this unique eco system

Visit the floating village on Tonle Sap lake - Cambodia
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The Tonle Sap Lake – one of popular places to visit in Cambodia – is also among Cambodia’s best freshwater bodies. It stretches across the northwest of Cambodia and is surrounded by a number of floating villages, where you can witness a myriad of migratory birds, 200 species of fish, crocodiles, macaques. The quiet villages of Kompong Phluk and Kompong Kleang along the lake are also an epitome of cultural life in Cambodia.

Don’t Miss: Spot the Black-headed Ibis, Milky Stork, Painted Stork, the Grey-Headed Fish Eagle and the Spot-billed Pelican at the Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary.

13. Kep- Savor delicious seafood at the Crab Market

Fishing boats in Kep,Cambodia
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Charming locations, quiet beaches and friendly people make Kep one of the best places to see in Cambodia. Take a lazy stroll along the shiny white shores of the Kep Beach, view the bottomless statue and enjoy some delicious fare from the seafood vendors here. And do try some delicious crabs at the Crab Market while sitting under quirky umbrella trees. A walk at the Kep National Park that is filled with waterfalls, elusive monkeys, the Stone House and Little Buddha is recommended.

Don’t miss: Enjoy an evening filled with good food and good instrumental music at the Led Zepplin Cafe at the Kep National Park.

14. Poipet- Gamble for fun at the casinos

Casinos in Poipet
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Poipet is the land of casinos and karaoke bars where the locals join in with the tourists to enjoy a fun time. Explore the beer gardens here or enjoy some Khmer coffee at the local shops here. The Kingdom Gate at the border between Thailand and Cambodia is an embodiment of Cambodian architecture with its stone engravings.

Don’t miss: The Grand Diamond City and Tropicana casino resorts are a fun way to destress on this holiday in Cambodia.

Important Tip: This is the border station between Cambodia and Thailand and as such there is a huge rush at 8 am so avoid going there in the morning.

15. Battambang- Enjoy a scenic ride on a Bamboo train

An eclectic mix of Thai and French colonial buildings at Battambang
The lush countryside and the quirky cafes at Battambang make it one of the tourist places in Cambodia. Enjoy a bike ride along the rice paddy fields that are lined by lakes and streams and learn the art of rice wine cultivation as well as weaving beautiful traditional clothing. Go kayaking on the quiet stretch along the Stung Sangkae River. A must is the ride on the bamboo train which takes around 30 minutes to travel just outside the town and can reach speeds of up to 40 km/hr.

Don’t Miss: Take a scenic river trip from Battambang to Siem Reap. Also try to catch a performance of Cambodia’s best circus ‘Phare Ponleu Selpak’.

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