Cambodia is a Southeast Asian nation having a population of above 7 million people. The urban areas in this country can surprise you with its class and sophistication, while the countryside, with its swaying sugar palms and glaring rice paddies, expose you to the rural life and landscapes in Cambodia.
The northeast is wild with mountainous regions and is home to the country’s ethnic minorities. The south coast is adorned by tropical islands flecked with occasional fishing villages. While the chaotic yet magnetic capital city Phnom Penh receives plaudits for its rich riverside setting, excellent dining and wining scene, and cultural renaissance; there’s another city named Siem Reap that attracts visitors with its nightlife and cosmopolitan cafes, just like Angkor does with its temples. Then there’s Battambang that charms the visitors with elegant French architecture and a flourishing modern art scene, thereby making it a must-visit place while sightseeing in Cambodia.
To simplify your travel planning, here are 12 of the best tourist places to visit in Cambodia: –
1. Angkor Wat
This list of the places to visit in Cambodia starts with Angkor Wat. With its title of being the world’s biggest religious structure, the divine Angkor Wat is the key attraction for visitors. Though any time of the day is a good time to visit the temple, watching the sunrise from behind the temple early in the morning is truly the most special experience. Constructed between AD 802 and 1432, Angkor Wat holds a place among some of the must-see ancient sites across the world.
The Angkor temples are inspirational and a token of pride for the Khmer people. At present, the temples are a major site of pilgrimage for the locals and a popular tourist attraction in Cambodia for those who are visiting. As the largest religious building, with the sprawling lines of temples, it needs at least three days to explore and understand the architectural achievements of the Angkorian period.
2. Sihanoukville Beaches
The sun and sand holidays in Cambodia are popular among domestic as well as foreign tourists. The most amazing fact that makes these beaches even more attractive is that they are unaffected by tourism yet, thus offering a peaceful environment to the visitors. There is something extraordinary with every beach there.
Independence Beach and Sokha Beach have the most luxurious hotels, while Serendipity Beach and Brash Ochheuteal Beach are famous as party destinations. Otres Beach attracts the travellers with its beach huts huddled straight on the sand, posh boutique hotels, and restaurants. With the options available, it won’t be far-fetched to say that the beaches in the country are among the best tourist attractions in Cambodia.
3. National Museum of Cambodia
Situated near the Royal Palace, the National Museum of Cambodia has the finest collection of Khmer sculptures on the planet, which is why you must include this place in your Cambodia sightseeing plans. The national museum consists of an attractive garden area and four beautiful pavilions. The star attractions include Shiva statues from the 9th century, a bronze statue of Lord Vishnu which was recovered from the Western Mebon temple, an eight-armed Vishnu statue from the 6th century which was found in Phnom Da, a 12th century stone with engraved incidents from Shiva’s life, and a pair of 10th century wrestling monkeys. The National Museum of Cambodia is, in every sense of the word, one of the best places in Cambodia to visit.
4. Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is the vivacious and active capital city of the country which is located at the confluence point of Bassac, Mekong, and Tonle Sap Rivers. It attracts tourists from all over the world who visit it to catch glimpses of magnificent temples and exotic palaces. Here, you can also visit the national museum, Wat Phnom, Royal Palace, Tuol Seng Genocide Museum, and Silver Pagoda. The number of interesting places to visit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia is abundant.
The former capital of Monton Khmer and the second biggest city in Cambodia is also the current capital of Battambang Province. The quirky cafes and lush green countryside make this place one of the best places to visit for tourists. Battambang also houses French colonial buildings, Angkor-style temples and Buddhist shrines. One of the most exciting things to do here is to enjoy the bamboo train ride from the city’s east bank to the small village of O Srav.
6. Ta Prohm
Ta Prohm is famous worldwide as the Tomb Raider temple; it showcases exemplary intricacy in its ancient design. It has been left the way it was discovered in the past, full of crumbling walls and trees to demonstrate the condition in which some other temples were also found. Ta Prohm is an extraordinary tourist attraction in Cambodia which embodies the country’s mystical side. It is a temple of towers, narrow corridors, and closed courtyards. Intriguingly, most of these corridors are impassable as they are clotted with finely carved stones and blocked by the roots of trees.
7. Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center
This is one of the best places to visit in Cambodia especially for wildlife lovers. Spread in an area of around 6,000 acres, Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center is known as the biggest zoo in the country that’s managed by the Cambodian Forestry Administration. From the Malayan Sun bears to the Siamese crocodiles and endangered Asian elephants, the wildlife rescue centre provides shelter for different species of wildlife. The zoo is, in fact, home to more than 1200 rescued animals, which makes it a major tourist to place to see in Cambodia.
8. Banteay Srei
Banteay Srei is a famous sightseeing place in Cambodia, a site where magnificence is in full swing. It is one of the most sacred destinations in the country and holds key importance in the nation’s heritage possession. A perfect example of Angkorian craftsmanship, Banteay Sre is made of red sandstone. The sanctuary’s walls are finely carved, providing an impeccable view to the visitors. Banteay Srei is also known as the “Citadel of Women” and cements its standing as one of the best places to visit in Cambodia.
Located in the eastern part of the country, Mondulkiri is gaining popularity as a destination for ecotourism and nature travel. The vast and peaceful area abounds with natural beauty that includes diverse waterfalls, forested mountains, and lush rolling hills at the west side. The major attractions in Mondulkiri include Romnea waterfall, Sen Monorom waterfalls, Memang gold mines, and Bou Sra waterfalls. Renowned as the biggest waterfall in Cambodia, Bou Sra has three-tiered natural waterfalls. However, only the first two tiers are open for public view.
10. Koh Ker
This famous ancient temple in Cambodia is located close to Siem Reap. Earlier, it was the capital of the Khmer Empire between 928 AD and 944 AD. Previously also known as Chok Gargyar or Lingapura, the complex has several temples with a major structure of Prasat Prang, which is a 98 feet tall temple pyramid. Other attractions are the Preng well, Prasat Thom, Neang Khmao temple, Kuk temple, and Chen temple; this conglomeration of tourist attractions makes it quite popular among tourists, and a definite addition to many Cambodia tour packages.
Kampot is often titled as ‘the land of black peppercorns’, a beautiful town located on the banks of river Preaek Teuk Chhu in Cambodia. This attractive riverside town showcases some beautiful pieces of architecture from colonial times. It is also the entryway to Bokor National Park, a famous tourist place in Cambodia. Some other attractions here include Rabbit Island, Kep Beach, pepper plantations, pre-Angkorian ruins, and many different caves.
12. Prasat Preah Vihear
Another one among the top places to visit in Cambodia, this is an ancient Hindu temple, situated in the Preah Vihear area of Cambodia. It was built during the time of the Khmer empire and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located on the edge of the Cambodian-Thai border, this spectacular piece of work is different from other Khmer temples since it was built along a long north-south axis, following a traditional rectangular plan with its positioning towards the east. For its architectural prowess alone, this place makes its mark as one of the top tourist places in Cambodia.
If you are looking for a destination that fuses history, adventure, and culture in one, Cambodia ticks all the boxes. Plan your trip here and revel in exploring this exquisite destination!