Cambodia Tourism - 2020 (100 Tours & Activities)

If you have an eye for “old world charm” and ecology then this small landscape of Cambodia is a different universe, which is waiting for you. Divided into 25 provinces, the economy of this country is dependent on textile industry and tourism industry mainly. Talking about the tourist places in Cambodia, the city of Siem Reap can be considered as the main city when we have a look at it from the point of view of tourism. Sihanoukville is another town that connects you to some of the tourist attractions of this country.

Tourism is a great way to explore the zeal of the life of an ordinary human being and Cambodia will only add to the charm. If you are keen to search for this zeal of life amidst a dark history and difficult living conditions then the country of Cambodia has some answers ready for you and here’s how. It is famous for “Angkor Wat Temples”, “wildlife sanctuaries” and the “distinctive culture” where people live in a habitat which is close to nature and traditional practices.

Cambodia is a destination with a difference, first it is economic in the terms of accommodation, transportation, and other facilities and second, it promotes a different kind of an experience where you get this feeling that you are exploring an altogether different land. It is a welcome break from the stereotype of routine destinations. The destinations where you travel miles in the air with an intention to land in a different country and ends up entertaining the cosmopolitan culture that adds to the monotony of your travel plans.

It is a country of "Marked Paths" they have developed certain tourist-friendly zones, these zones can be considered as buffer zones of cultural and touristic activities. The tourist places in Cambodia have been issued strict guidelines about a visit in Cambodia, however, on the ground level the “marked paths” or “tourism activity buffer zones” can make you think against these advisories and guidelines.

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  1. Travel Advice

    • You’ll need a visa to travel to Cambodia. You can easily get a short stay visa online.

    • Never leave your important documents or cash and valuables in the hotel room.

    • Always make sure that you book a hotel or a resort in the bustling area.

    • If you are lost anywhere or someone from the group is lost, you must immediately seek the help of the police.

    • Do not get involved in drugs of any form.

    • Do not get involved in physical or verbal spat with anyone.

    • Don’t flash your valuables in the public area.  

    • Do not hire a guide who is not from a trusted or authentic agency.

    • Never trust any stranger who gets friendly with you in just a short while.

    • Don’t eat food off the street vendors.

    • Carry with you a copy of your licenses and passport.  

    • Don’t let anyone in the city misguide you. Acquire sufficient information before heading to a new place.

    • Dress appropriately.

    • Nudity is strictly prohibited here.

    • Do not film or do videography without the legal permissions.

    • In case the banner or sign says, ‘No Photography’ obey it.

    • Avoid traveling alone in the night hours.

    • Do not go around with too much cash during the night hours.

    • Take a comprehensive travel and medical insurance before traveling.

    • Keep the touts at bay.

  2. Drinking Law

    The legal age for drinking in Cambodia is 21 years.
  3. Our Recommendations: What you can’t afford to miss?

    Preah Vihear

    Preah Vihear is situated on the top of a cliff that is 525 meter high. This Khmer temple lies in the Dângrêk Mountains that is located on the border between Thailand and Cambodia. Of all the Khmer temples, this one has the most spectacular setting. Major chunk of this temple was built in the period spanning from 11th to the 12th century during which the area was under the reign of Khmer kings Suryavarman I and Suryavarman II. Devoted to Lord Shiva (Hindu God), devotees from all round the world, come and visit this temple. In the clashes of 2009 between Thailand and Cambodia relating to the long-running territorial dispute, several soldiers were killed.


    Sihanoukville

    Also known as Kampong Som, Sihanoukville is a beach resort and a port city on the Gulf of Thailand. It is an important tourist attraction accredited to its multiple undeveloped tropical islands and white-sand beaches. This is the best place to relax and unwind in Cambodia however you must be prepared to battle massive crowds here especially during the peak season or holiday weekend.


    Tonlé Sap

    Tonlé Sap is another key sightseeing attraction of Cambodia. Located in South East Asia, it is the largest freshwater lake. One striking feature of this lake is that it expands and shrinks dramatically with the change of seasons. During the dry season in Cambodia i.e. from November to May, the Tonlé Sap drains at Phnom Penh in the River Mekong. However, during the time when the rain is heavy i.e. in the month of June, the flow of the Tonlé Sap changes its direction. This lead to the formation of huge lake forms. In the floating villages, located around the lake, there are several ethnic Cham and Vietnamese communities residing here.


    Silver Pagoda

    Silver Pagoda lies with the Royal Palace compound of the Phnom Penh. It houses abundant national treasures like the jeweled and gold statues of Buddha. Most notable of these is the small 17th century baccarat crystal Buddha along with a huge life sized gold Maitreya Buddha which is embellished with over 9584 diamonds. In the interior, the walls of the courtyard of the Silver Pagoda is adorned with detailed murals from the Ramayana myth. It is believed that these were painted by the Khmer artists in the period spanning from 1903–04.  


    Bokor Hill Station

    Built in the 1920s, by the French, the Bokor Hill Station is indeed a relief from the warmth and the sun of the Phnom Penh. This hill station has been abandoned not once but twice. First in the year 1940s, when Cambodia was invaded by Japan and second was in the 1970s, when the country was engulfed by Khmer Rouge. At present, the hill station along with its abandoned buildings give forth a feel of a haunted town. You can book a hiking tour to this place.


    Kratie

    Kratie is a very small town that lies on the banks of the River Mekong. It is superseded by the central marketplace which is encompassed by architecturally beautiful colonial buildings from the French era. Not too many tourists visit this attraction, but there is plenty of backpackers pouring through here especially in the peak season. This is an important attraction where you can encounter the Irrawaddy dolphins that live in the Mekong River in ever so diminishing numbers. Going by the estimates, there are only 66-86 dolphins more left in this area.


    Koh Ker

    Koh Ker is an erstwhile capital of the Khmer empire from the period spanning from 928 to 944 AD. In this very short span too, several immense sculptures and spectacular buildings were constructed here. One important tourist attraction at this place is Prasat Thom which is a 30 meter tall temple pyramid. The temple is surrounded by a thick jungle.  


    Banteay Srei

    Banteay Srei is officially a part of the Angkor complex. Situated some 25 km north west of the key group of temples, Banteay Srei is referred to as a separate tourist attraction of Cambodia. Built mostly using the red sandstone, the temple was completed in 967 AD. This is the only major temple that is not built for the king.


    Bayon Temple

    The Bayon temple is a part of the important sightseeing attractions of Angkor Wat. It has a sea of over 200 massive stones with faces looking in every direction. Many people say that these curious smiling faces are actually a portrait of king Jayavarman VII. Some are even of the view that these faces are a combination of Lord Buddha and king Jayavarman VII. Lying in the heart of the royal city, this was built in 12th century as an expansion of the capital Angkor Thom by King Jayavarman VII.


    Angkor Wat

    There are a number of things to do in Siem Reap however, the Angkor Wat which is a UNESCO World Heritage site is a major drawcard for the tourists. Built in the 12th century by the people of Khmer, the beauty of the temple must be seen to be believed. The scale of the Angkor Wat is breathtaking.  It is the key sightseeing place of Cambodia.
  4. What you will like there?

    Untouched Beaches

    Everyone is well aware about the beautiful and serene beaches of Thailand. But who would enjoy being on a beach that is so cramped on sand that all you can taste here is the sun tan lotion on the person sitting next to you. It is better you save that affinity to the yoga classes and drift your attention to untouched, less travelled and pristine beaches of Cambodia. Visitors will definitely like the islands of Koh Rong Samloen and Koh Rong.

    People

    The locals of Cambodia are very hospitable, generous, industrious, kind and open minded. Nearly 93% of the locals of Cambodians practice and preach Theravada Buddhism. They are gentle and warm with the tourists.

    History

    Sadly, Cambodia has a very painful history. So, learning about it not just a moral responsibility of the tourists but is also a way to help this country. Despite a history of Cambodia being a poor country, Cambodia has strived hard to get rid of this tag. Though this tag has not gone away completely but still the poverty levels in Cambodia have definitely dropped down significantly. It is this rich and diverse history that makes this place so special.

    Food

    The Khmer cuisine is comforting and humble. Rice is the staple dish here and is a part of every meal. It is either served alone or can be served with curries or even fried in a cake. Sometimes, the rice is also served with freshwater fish and stews. One must have dish here is the fish amok which is basically a fish steamed in the banana leaf with a topping of coconut cream. Pork and beef are other commonly served items with noodles or rice. Food here is largely served with some kind of curry or certain herbs. Cambodia is also phenomenally popular for its Kampot Pepper that is inspired from the South of the country. It is used in dishes like stir friend crabs. When here, eating these cuisines is an important thing to do here.    


    Markets

    Right from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, you can find a number of bustling markets all across the country. Stalls in Cambodia are brimming with everything from the produce to sneakers. Just enter any of the prominent shopping hub and shop for just about everything you possibly need. There are markets where you can bargain on the items displayed. So, learn some bargaining skills, before you get here. Shopping for things like clothes and local souvenirs is an important activity to do when here.


  5. Recommended reads for destination (govt. websites, travel forum articles)?

    Website:  Cambodia Tourism

  6. When is the best time to visit Cambodia?

    Although winters and springs are ideally the best times to visit Cambodia, tourism season of Cambodia can be divided into three segments.

     

    • First is the peak season ranging from November to March, this is the time when you can visit your travel plans without any hindrance because the weather conditions remain dry and temperature conditions remains an optimum level and allow you to enjoy outdoor activities more frequently. This is also the most crowded season for the tourism industry.
    • The off-peak season or the period from May to October is also known as "green season" the traffic remains relatively low during this period because of the monsoons. In general, we can say that you will not face heavy downpours too often; still, rains can create some restrictions in your plans. The temperature remains in optimum ranges, but humidity can bother your travel plans.
    • Finally, we have this off-season when tourism-related activities become difficult because of the heat and adverse weather conditions.
  7. How to reach Cambodia?

    Cambodia Falls in the South-Eastern Region of the Asia where Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam serves as the neighboring country. The land mass of Cambodia is connected to the rest of the world with air services mainly. This country hosts three international airports.

     

    Major international airports:

     

    • Siem Reap, which is the gateway to the famous Angkor Wat temples,
    • Penh International airport
    • Sihanoukville International Airport.

     

    Connectivity with rest of the country

    • All the airports are well connected with the rest of the country with adequate local transport services and cabs.
    • Tourists can also hire motorbikes and a substantial part of the country can be covered with the help of boats as well.
  8. Do I need a visa for Cambodia? How does one get a Cambodian visa?

    In general cases, if you have a valid passport of your country then Cambodia offers you a visa on arrival.

     

    • Standard Processing Fees for Visa

    The processing fee of VISA may vary from $ 20 to $ 30 depending on the country from which you are coming.

    • The Tenure of the Visa

    In normal conditions, they provide you a Visa of 30 days in one go. If you wish for an extension then it can also be considered in special cases.

    • Overstay procedures

    In the case of an "overstay", you are required to pay approximately $ 12 per day.

    • Business Visa

    If you are seeking for a business Visa then you are required to pay $ 155 for the six months and this Visa can be extended up to one year with some additional charges. After the tenure of one year, you need to apply for a fresh Visa.

  9. What is the currency of Cambodia and where can I get my money exchanged?

    • Official Currency

    The official Currency of Cambodia is Cambodian Riel.

    • Comparison with US $

    One US $ can fetch in 4000 Cambodian Riel in normal trading conditions.

    • A Dollarised Country

    US $ can also be considered as the second currency of this country when you move on the marked paths designed for the tourist then on 90 percent of the places they accept US Dollars readily.

    • Where to Exchange the currency

    Most of the banks in Cambodia have the facility to exchange currencies; you can also search out for street vendors and try your luck for better deals.

    • If it is a dollarized currency then why we need currency exchange

    The rural parts of Cambodia still prefer riel to any other currency. Apart from it, American coins are not acceptable in the market, in order to purchase cheap articles you need local currency as a petty cash.

  10. What are the things to do in Cambodia?

    You can enjoy the following things in Cambodia:

    • Angkor Wat Archeological Park

    The adjacent area to this park and the park can be considered as the main attraction for the tourists. Here you can visit Angkor Wat temple and explore this marvel of ancient architecture with hints of Buddhism and Hinduism in the temples.

    • Phnom Penh

    It can be considered as the urban side of this country where you can visit Russian market and central market and purchase textile articles. You can walk along the river during the evenings and visit Royal Palace if you are seeking for some sightseeing options.

    • Battambang

    Have a closer look at the French Cambodian legacy in the small town where French Architecture greets you to the fullest. Statues and temples present in this town have great archaeological value and a ride in the Bamboo train can mark your day with fun.

    • Kampot

    Visit the countryside of Cambodia on a scooter and retire to this small beach town which has become a haven of sorts of international tourists because of its Expat-run Restaurants and bars.

  11. What is the local food of Cambodia? Which are the best places to taste this food?

    Khmer cuisines are the local cuisines of Cambodian people. Rice can be considered as the main ingredient in all the dishes. There are more than 2000 odd rise varieties are available in Cambodia. Apart from fusion, cuisines are also available where you can find out European, continental and Asian influences on the dishes.

     

    • Popular dishes

     

    Noodle Soups

    Developed on the lines of Chinese noodles, you can try various local flavors, national and international varieties.

     

    Samlor (Rice Soup) and Chhang Plerng (Hotpot)

    Served in a hotpot, these types of dishes present a wonderful blend of European and Chinese culinary delights.

    Chha (Stir Fried Dishes) and Rice Dishes

    These dishes are an ode to Chinese stir-fried technique of cooking. You can find a variety of local tastes and ingredients in this genre of food.

    Nhoam (Salads), Rolls, and Chamhoy (Steamed Foods)

    Another variant of local Cambodian Cooking, these rolls also carries an international hangover as well. They can be considered as international food options as well.

    · Where to eat

    The marked tourist paths of Cambodia offers all the above-mentioned cuisines in street-side restaurants and other eateries.

  12. What is the best public transport to commute around Cambodia?

    Tourist cabs are the best way to explore Cambodia, most of them can be hired on a daily basis for fixed routes. In the case, you wish to explore different parts of the country on your own than following options are available. Bus services are available on selected routes but they are not fit for tourists.

     

    • Remork-Moto

    Can be considered as the lifeline of Cambodia in the terms of mass travel option. The Remork-Moto Network connects various key parts of cities to the other parts.

    • Remork Tuk Tuk

    For tourists, an improved and comfortable version of the Remork is available which is known as Remork Tuk Tuk, it is slightly expensive and you can hire it as a cab as well.

    • Outboards

    Local river bus or taxis in Cambodia are known as outboards, Cambodia has a rich network of outboards and it connects different distant parts of the land with the help of shortest possible routes.

  13. Do I need to have any vaccinations before the trip to Cambodia?

    Tetanus and Diphtheria are common vaccines; if you are planning to visit the rural part of the country then vaccination for Malaria can be useful for you. Vaccination or shots is not a must for people visiting Cambodia unless you are travelling from a country that has an epidemic outbreak.

  14. What is the local language in Cambodia and which are the most commonly used greetings?

    Local Language: Khmer is the local language of Cambodia, other tonal languages along with the Khmer also has an influence on the French language on them.

    Commonly Used Greetings

    • Sampeah: Sampeah is the most commonly used greeting in Cambodia, there are five steps of a Sampeah and it can be compared with the Indian tradition of Namaskar.
    • Sourm sva kum: It is the way of saying welcome in local Cambodian language
    • Choum reap lear : It is a local version of goodbye in local Colombian language
    • Susaday: When we greet someone in an informal fashion like saying hi or what’s up then Susaday is the word for that.
  15. Which are the best shopping places in Cambodia and what are they famous for?

    Two types of options are available you can go for flea markets and you can visit art galleries in Cambodia.

     

    Main Flea Markets

    Central Market of Phnom Penh: Look forward to textile options and souvenirs.

    • Made in Cambodia Market of Siem Reap: Look forward to home décor items and fancy jewelry.
    • Angkor Night Market: Famous for its fish massage and other souvenirs made of silk and other clothes.

    Art Galleries

    • Angkor Artwork: Artwork covering the Buddhist culture and Hindu deities, a nice place to purchase souvenirs.
    • Human Gallery, Battambang: Nice place to purchase photographs that depict Cambodian culture.
  16. Here are the best tips Thrillophilia has to offer for your trip to Cambodia

    • Go for Cruising and Boating
    • Hire Cycles to visit countryside
    • Join a Cambodian Village cooking class
    • Go for a Romantic Dinner on a cruise
    • Visit a silk Farm
    • Go for Tuk Tuk Tour
  17. Which are famous beaches in Cambodia?

    • Southwestern Beach Koh Rong

    Feel proximity with parrotfishes and other bio-diversity of Cambodia on this beach which is five kilometers long.

    • Long set beach Koh Rong

    Ideal beach for night swimming, enjoy this new twist and try your hands with Natural Nightlife.

    • Lazy Beach Saloem

    Enjoy Scuba diving and rest in the shade of pine trees on this beach.

  18. Which are the best places for water sports in Cambodia?

    The entire southern coastline of Cambodia is rich with water sports facilities. Places like Sihanoukville are hot favorite among the people who are seeking for different activities like

    • Parasailing, Battambang Province
    • Sailing, Sihanoukville
    • Scuba Diving, Sihanoukvile
    • Kayaking, Sorya
    • Beach resort relaxation, Sihanouvile
    • Snorkelling, Sihanouvile
  19. Which are some famous temples in Cambodia?

    • Angkor Wat Temple

    It is a cluster of 100 temples made of stone, five of them are a must visit because they are good in condition and the craftsmanship of artisans will mesmerize you.

    • Banteay Srei Temple

    The theme of this temple is based on an epic story of Ramayana; this temple is special because of its Hindu architecture.

    • Preah Khan

    This temple depicts the story of king Jayavarman. It has become a cultural landmark among the temples of Cambodia.

    • Bayon

    The temples of Bayon are very rich in the terms of craftsmanship and also known as the jungle of Bayon because of their intricate stonework.

  20. Which are some romantic places in Cambodia for the honeymoon?

    • Koh Rong Samloem

    Hire an exotic bungalow near the sea and spend some quality time with your spouse. The lazy beach becomes the most romantic place during the magic hours.

    • Sen Monorom

    Add some jungle and wild in your honeymoon outings. Cajole with the elephants and have a gala time on beach resorts.

    • Battambang

    The area of Battambang is rich in biodiversity, apart from the Bamboo rail you can also go for road trips during the day and later on retire into your personal space in a beach resort.

  21. How far Angkor Wat from Phnom Penh is and what can be done there?

    • The distance between Angkor Wat to Phnom Pench is approximately 325 Kilometers
    • It normally takes a time of five to six hours depending upon the mode of the transport that a person takes.

    Activities to do in Angkor Wat

    • Temple visits
    • Museum visits
    • Visit a floating village
    • Cycle trip to the rural areas
    • Visit a pub street for a night party
    • Visit the night market
    • Quad Bike trip to the countryside
  22. Which are some best trekking trails in Cambodia?

    • Kulen Mountain, Siam Reap

    A visit to this national park will bring you closer to the bio-diversity of the area; you can go for jungle safari where a variety of flowers and waterfalls will welcome you.

    • Cardamom Mountains

    Term it as a plantation trip, here you can witness some eco-tourism spots developed by the local people and authorities. A refreshing journey in the mountains marked with cycle trips and bike rides

    • Mondulkiri

    Jungle, mountains and rolling hills all clubbed together in a single track. Visit elephant’s farms and enjoy a bath in the swimming holes.

  23. Which are best places for the cycling tour in Cambodia?

    Cambodia is a country that offers special cycling tours to cover various tourists’ circuits.

    • Cambodia heritage by bicycle: Cover six destinations along the area of Angkor Wat and cover all the five major temples in this exciting tour.
    • Pepper Route Tour

    Cover four destinations around Phnom Penh, this tour gives you an opportunity to explore the countryside of the area.

  24. Which are the best cruise options available in Cambodia?

    Cruise options touching the coastlines of Cambodia gives you this opportunity to touch down few destinations in Vietnam as well. There are plenty of routes and options are available.

    • Mekong Delta River Tour

    Normally lasts for three days, this cruise touches the city of Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minch City. This cruise experience also gives you the fun of speedboat ride and hiking on a peak as well.

    • Floating Village tour at Tonle Sap Lake

    Have a “peek a boo" in floating village, lotus farm, and crocodile farms at Chong Khneas. Followed by a romantic dinner at a cruise, the duration of this trip is four hours.

  25. Which is must visit museums in Cambodia?

    War, Culture, and biodiversity are the three main topics that can be covered when you visit a museum in Cambodia.

    • National Museum

    Enjoy the biggest collection of Khemar arts in Phnom Penh. This place captures the artistic history and evolution of Khemar arts and presents them in a chronological order.

    • Landmine Museum

    Explore the history and evolution of Landmines inside Angkor National Park. It can be an emotional visit for you when you will have a close look at the post-war crisis and how it affects the lives of people.

  26. How is nightlife in Cambodia? Which are the best places to enjoy nightlife?

    There are two major cities where you can enjoy the nightlife in Cambodia.

    • Siem Reap Nightlife

    Go for late night souvenir shopping at Angkor Night market, chill out in Pub Street where you can get a drink very easily and at cheap rates.

    • Phnom Penh

    Developing on the lines of Bangkok the nightlife of beachfront area is rocking where you can find all sorts of pubs and bar. In the recent past, this town also earned the moniker of being a party town as well.

Popular Nearby Places Around Cambodia