Brimming with legendary temples, iconic UNESCO World Heritage sites, historical treasures and glorious beaches, much of Cambodia remains refreshingly untouched by tourism and is sure to leave an indelible impression.
Evidence of French colonialism can be seen in the captivating Phnom Penh, where broad tree-lined boulevards and colonial architecture provide and attractive backdrop to the colourful markets, bustling riverfront and roadside food vendors.
The magnificent legacy of the Khmer Empire is the highlight of any visit to Cambodia, most notably the incredible temple complex Angkor Wat was built to replicate the heavens on earth and is the world’s largest religious monument. Gateway to the temples is the former backwater town of Siem Reap, which has fast grown into a lively city with sophisticated restaurants, bars and shops.
Within easy reach of Siem Reap are the fascinating string of floating villages and stilted houses on Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. Join a cruise of the lake to catch a glimpse of the fishermen at work, children playing by the shore and the wide variety of wildlife, colourful birds and plants that inhibit the mangroves. Situated between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh is Battambang, which is known for its striking colonial architecture and contemporary arts scene, it’s also the departure point of the Bamboo ‘Train’. Set up by villagers to transport themselves and their goods, join this very basic train for a highly recommended short journey through beautiful landscapes and rice paddies to a local village.
What better way to conclude an exhilarating tour of cultural delights that with time to unwind on Cambodia’s southern shores? Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s premier beach resort and easily accessible from Siem Reap by air of Phnom Penh by road. Surrounded by tropical beaches and undeveloped islands it offers something for all tastes. Kep, which was founded as a retreat for the French elite in 1908, has a tranquil atmosphere, relaxing sun-dappled beaches and is famed for its seafood, particularly crab. For pure escapism Song Saa Private Island, which is nestled in the warm sapphire waters of Cambodia’s untouched Koh Rong Archipelago, is hard to beat.