Captivating temples, wild jungle and sandy beaches – Cambodia matches your every travel mood. Follow this guide and get there now!
Cambodia is a cultivated country with something exciting to offer every traveller. It is still less visited than its neighbours Thailand and Vietnam, but the iconic Angkor Wat – a fascinatingly complex stone temple that is the world’s largest religious monument – draws visitors in their thousands.
Cambodia’s charms though are not confined to Angkor Wat. In Angkor alone there are more than 290 other temples. The mountain-top Praeh Vihear temple-complex in northern Cambodia is as good as anything in Angkor and in a more stunning setting.
In the south you’ll find Sihanoukville’s paradisiacal beaches and great nature-watching opportunities in Ream National Park. Or head to the wilds of the east for waterfall hikes, elephant treks, dolphin-spotting and hilltribe-visits.
Bayon Temple, Cambodia (Shutterstock)
If you’ve seen any photos of Angkor Wat, it’s not inspiration you’re after. Whether the photo captured the main complex, reflected in the ceremonial pond, or one of the more remote temples, crumbling and strangled by vines, I think we can take it for granted that this vast complex is top of your ‘must-visit’ list.
That’s where Nick Ray’s temple-by-temple guide to Angkor Wat will come in handy. Covering both the well-known and lesser known temples, Nick lists the temples you must visit and the best way – and time – to see them. Make sure you check out Anna Krahn’s advice on touring the temples by bike. It’s hard work, to be sure, but it may be your key to missing the crowds.
While you’re in Siam Reap, Lara Dunston suggests joining the hunt for hidden temples in a jungle plateau near the town. It was only last year that the area was confirmed as the site of Mahendraparvata, birthplace of the Khmer Empire, offering travellers the chance to live out their Indiana Jones fantasies.
Of course, there’s more to Cambodia than temples, and with this in mind, Nick Ray suggests other corners of the country you should swing by. And Nick Boulos sings the praises of the fabled Cardamom Mountains, surely worth visiting for their name alone.
Angkor Wat: temple by temple – Nick Ray
Angkor Wat by bike – Anna Krahn
Hunt the hidden temple, Cambodia – Lara Dunston
The best corners of Cambodia – Nick Ray
Cambodia's Cardamom Mountains – Nick Boulos
Monk entering ruined temple, Angkor Wat (Shutterstock)
It’s not only the Cambodian jungle that is offering up long lost secrets. Nick Pulley from Selective Asia recommends three other places in Cambodia that are well worth-seeking out too, including forgotten French colonial towns to Mekong party towns. Gabrielle Yetter, on the other hand, lived in Cambodia for three years and offers five hard-won tips that will help make your visit go as smoothly as possible.
And when you find yourself in in Phnom Penh, be sure to follow Peter Jones’ advice on where to eat, drink and exercise, and maybe take a cooking class or two.
3 hidden gems in Cambodia – Mick Pulley
5 things I wish I'd known about Cambodia – Gabrielle Yetter
An Insider's Guide to Phnom Penh – Peter Jones
While not as well-known as the cuisines from neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand, Cambodian cooking is just as innovative, fresh and delicious. Chef Luke Nguyen travelled the region looking for exciting new recipes and presents three of them for you to try at home. The Clay Pot Cola Chicken is amazing.
And don’t forget the puddings. Gabrielle Yetter is author of The Sweet Tastes of Cambodia, and will guide you through the process of making delicious Cambodian specialities like rolled banana cake and pumpkin custard. Go on! You know you want to.
How to cook Cambodia cuisine – Luke Nguyen
How to prepare Cambodia desserts – Gabrielle Yetter
Novice monks, Angkor Wat (Shutterstock)
Orange-robed monks and golden wats are an integral part of the Cambodian landscape - and doubtlessly of your photos too. But photographing places of worship can be a sensitive business. Our resident photography guru Steve Davey is on hand with advice on how to capture the atmosphere in style, without causing offence.
If it’s inspiration you’re after, then look no further than the photos taken by our readers on their travels in Cambodia. They are truly amazing.
Photography tips: places of worship – Steve Davey
Traditional dancers, Siam Reap (Shutterstock)
Ready to start planning your trip? Our Cambodia Travel Guide is the place to start. Make sure you drop by the Cambodia Essential Info page as well, for more everyday (but equally vital) information. And we’ve rounded up the latest travel news from Cambodia too.
If you have a particular question about Cambodia, pop over to the myWanderlust Forum where our knowledgeable community are ready to spring into action and share all that they know. Or check out the questions that have already been asked about Cambodia. The answer to yours might already be there.
Cambodia Travel Guide – Wanderlust Team
Cambodia Essential Info – Wanderlust Team
Stone face, Bayon Temple (Shutterstock)
Here’s a selection of fantastic tours offered by our partners. From cultural and historical tours of Angkor Wat to in-depth explorations of Cambodia’s forgotten south coast, there’s something to suit every taste and budget.
Main image: Monks, Angkor Wat (Shutterstock)