Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia, lies a kingdom not many have chanced to explore. The kingdom of Cambodia is a holiday destination unlike any other. Tucked away from the commercialization of other neighboring countries, Cambodia is certain to delight both the history buff and adventure seeker alike. Ranking just 88th in the world in terms of size, there is still no shortage of places to discover. The following is a list of the most exciting places you won’t want to miss when planning your Cambodian vacation.
1) Phnom Penh
The capital city of Cambodia is the perfect beginning point for your journey. Here you will find such landmarks as the Royal Palace, The Silver Pagoda, Choeung Ek and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.
The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are pretty self-explanatory, but the other two require a different mindset. At Choeung Ek you will be transported back in time to the killing grounds of the Khmer Rouge regime. Now open to the public, the site stands as a memorial to the victims. You’ll be able to hear stories of the survivors and witnesses as you make your way through this solemn ground.
On the same note, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum was built in remembrance of the same time period. This former high school had been turned into a political prison during that regime. These two sites are a destination for travelers to learn about recent Cambodian history and seeing the country for what it is now, because of where it has been.
Not only are there historical and cultural sites in Cambodia, but the country boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Otres, Serendipity, and Ochheuteal beaches are sure to delight.
While in this area, a visit to the Wat Krom Temple and the Golden Lions Monument will take your breath away. Meet with Buddhist monks who will give you a crash course in their day-to-day lives at the temple and then travel to the city center to get your picture taken with two lions. If you don’t have a picture of the two lions, no one will believe that you actually made it to Cambodia. They are perhaps the most recognizable landmark in the entire country. This monument is what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.
3) Siem Reap
Siem Reap is known as the gateway to the ancient world. From here you will travel back to a time of epic heroes and brave warriors. You can ask any local where is Angkor Wat and they will happily give you directions. This ancient temple is the world’s largest religious site. You could easily spend your whole day there. They even offer helicopter rides high above the landmark.
With all the friendly people around, natural beauties, and dozens of the world’s best preserved temples, it’s no wonder Cambodia is known as the Land of Smiles. There is so much to do, you’ll want to travel back again and again.