For a country that endured a horrific genocide only four decades ago, Cambodia has made a remarkable recovery. Now it is widely regarded as one of the must-see countries in Southeast Asia, and it’s easy to see why... From the wondrous ancient temples of Angkor Wat, to the booming beach bars of Sihanoukville – the country boasts sights and attractions that appeal to the palate of all travellers and tourists.
Here are 5 of the top places to visit.
Siem Reap is renowned as the gateway to the temples of Angkor. The famous temples of the ancient Khmer kingdom sit on the city’s outskirts, and welcome thousands of tourists every day.
The best time to see Angkor Wat, the most famous temple, is either at sunset or sunrise. Not only is the temperature significantly cooler than the scorching midday heat, the view of the temples – which many jostle to see across a beautiful lake – is simply breath-taking.
You can usually book a day trip with a tour operator or a tuk tuk driver to take you to Angkor Wat, and they will take you around the smaller outlying temples, too.
As well as the ancient kingdom of Angkor, the city of Siem Reap itself is worth a day tour. Tuk tuks are cheap to rent, and you can often rent one for a day or half-day to take you around to explore the sites.
At night, the infamous Pub Street sparks into life. As its name suggests, the street offers a variety of bars and restaurants for you to explore.
Cambodia’s capital is the epicentre of its bloody past.
To fully appreciate and understand the incredible recovery the country has made over the past forty years; a visit to Tuol Sleng and the killing fields of Choeung Ek is a must. A harrowing yet rewarding experience - you can visit both sites in a day for €15-€20, provided you’re up to negotiating!
If you’re looking for a place to party, Sihanoukville is the place to go.
Wander on down to Ochheauteal beach and you’ll find a line of bars and shacks as far as the eye can see. The beach is famous for its happy hours that tend to last all night, where you can buy a frosty local beer for as little as 50c.
When the sun goes down the music starts to pump and the crowds mingle from bar to bar.
If you prefer something quieter, Otres beach is only a short, yet somewhat bumpy, tuk tuk ride away. It’s way more chilled out than the main beaches, and you can still enjoy a refreshing drink while watching the beautiful sunset.
This island paradise is only reachable by the Sihanoukville ferry. The ferry isn’t a large P&O style cruiser, it’s more like a power boat. So you may have to stomach a rocky crossing depending on how boisterous the ocean is feeling. But the stomach-jerking is well worth it.
The island has only been open to tourists for a decade or so, which means it’s relatively underdeveloped.
But the island is home to some of the most beautiful and unspoilt beaches in Asia.
Although it’s a lot more relaxed than Sihanoukville, the island’s bars tend to stay open until the early hours. The good thing is the main beach community is very small – so it’s only a short walk back to your accommodation after a night of partying!
Not quite off the beaten track, but not teeming with tourists – Battambang is a chilled out city worth spending a couple of days to explore.
You can rent a bike for as little as $2 a day and use it to coast around the city – discovering its colonial architecture and relaxed café atmosphere.
Outside the city you can visit the bamboo train and take a ride up and down the track. Since there is only a single track, you often have to help the driver to dismantle the cart to allow oncoming traffic to pass. It’s a quaint, unique experience – and a pleasant way to experience the Cambodian countryside.
After the bamboo train you can visit the ‘bat caves’, home to a phenomenon that attracts the attention of tourists and locals alike. Every day, between 5:30pm and 6pm, you can see millions of bats stream out the cave as they fly out into the night to hunt.
All set for your trip?
Whether you are considering a trip to Cambodia, or you have already booked your flight, before you dive headfirst into exploring the ancient temples and enjoying tropical beaches – you should seriously consider insuring your health.
There really is nothing worse having the time of your life exploring a new culture, only for your experience to be cut short due to a medical issue.
That’s where our Short-Term International Health Plan proves invaluable, as it ensures you are covered and taken care of if you are unlucky enough to fall ill or have an accident requiring medical assistance in Cambodia.
Why not get a quick quote for the plan today to see if it’s right for you?
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