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Travel in Cambodia

An introduction

Anna, tailor-made travel specialist
'The greatest thing about Cambodia is that it keeps throwing you surprises. Just when you think you’ve seen all it has to offer, you turn the corner and POW!'

Anna, tailor-made travel specialist

A traveller’s dream come true

These days, Cambodia has the reputation it deserves as a diverse and deeply rewarding destination, but when we launched, the only part of it on the South-East Asia tourist map was Angkor Wat, the largest (known) religious monument in the world. This extraordinary complex of jungle-clad temples and ruins is absolutely worth the attention - but so is the rest of Cambodia.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Where to travel in Cambodia

Your point of arrival for any Cambodia holiday is likely to be either Siem Reap or Phnom Penh, in both instances you will be well advised to spend few nights in either city. Siem Reap is gateway to the Angkor Temples and a great base for exploring the world class temple site; Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital, is a lively city with enough to keep most travellers well occupied for at least a day or two.

Your holiday might take in the exquisite beaches of Kep and Sihanoukville, where you can find secluded low-key luxury that’s perfect for a romantic break or stylish honeymoon. For a taste of Cambodian city life, soak up the singular atmosphere of capital city Phnom Penh, while French-Colonial Battambang offers charm, great architecture and crowd-free Angkor-era temples.

A more natural lifestyle can be found around Tonle Sap, a lake surrounded by stilt-villages and flocks of waterbirds. Koh Kong and the Cardamom Mountains are a nature-lover’s paradise that’s ripe with light adventure. Boats are an interesting alternative way to explore - the Mekong River flows past Kratie, a delightful Colonial town and jumping off point for north-eastern Cambodia, where the trails go dusty and disappear into the forest - perfect if you fancy heading even further off the typical itinerary.

Reasons to love Cambodia

  • Friendly, positive people
  • So many interesting independently run hotels and guest houses
  • Excellent light adventure - from cycling and trekking in the mountains to river kayaking and exploring remote tribal villages
  • You can still get off the beaten track here, especially in the north-east
Population:
15.5 million
Capital:
Phnom Penh
Currency:
Riel
Language:
Khmer
Religion:
Buddhism

A traumatic twentieth century

The fate of Cambodia shocked the world when, after years of guerrilla warfare, a radical communist group known as the Khmer Rouge seized power in 1975, led by the man we call Pol Pot. The Khmer Rouge immediately abolished money, private property, academia and Western medicine, and ordered city dwellers into the countryside to cultivate the fields.

An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians perished during the next three years, with average life expectancy dropping to 19.5 years old in 1977. Many died from exhaustion or starvation, while others were systematically tortured and executed for speaking out against the regime. After peace was restored, Pol Pot and his generals simply went back to normal life amongst those they persecuted - very few were ever brought to justice.