Monks, Angkor Wat (Shutterstock: see credit below.)
Blog Words : Wanderlust team | 24 October

The Wanderlust Guide to the Best of Cambodia

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 castle, Cambodia (Shutterstock)

Bayon Temple, Cambodia (Shutterstock)

Looking for inspiration?

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.

More information

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 temple, Angkor Wat (Shutterstock)

Monk entering ruined temple, Angkor Wat (Shutterstock)

Cambodia’s secrets revealed

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.

More information

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

Banana roll (Gabrielle Yetter)

Tantalise your tastebuds

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.

More information

How to cook Cambodia cuisine – Luke Nguyen

How to prepare Cambodia desserts – Gabrielle Yetter

Novice monks, Angkor Wat (Shutterstock)

Novice monks, Angkor Wat (Shutterstock)

Capturing it all on film

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.

More information

Photography tips: places of worship – Steve Davey

Readers' photos from Cambodia

Traditional dancers, Siam Reap (Shutterstock)

Traditional dancers, Siam Reap (Shutterstock)

Everything you need to know

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.

More information

Cambodia Travel Guide – Wanderlust Team

Cambodia Essential Info – Wanderlust Team

Latest travel news from Cambodia

Forum posts about Cambodia

Community content about Cambodia

Stone face, Bayon Temple (Shutterstock)

Stone face, Bayon Temple (Shutterstock)

Ready to go?

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.

More information

Our Trip Finder can help you find adventures in Cambodia

Main image: Monks, Angkor Wat (Shutterstock)

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