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.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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.