Ever since we began to visit Cambodia as individuals (for some of the team that’s rather worryingly over 20 years ago now), we’ve taken great pleasure in watching this inspiring country blossom into an impressive posterchild for the very best in Asia travel. There’s no tick-list of ‘big four’ tropical animals or famous party beaches - just a subtle creative culture untainted by tourism, genuinely friendly people, a beautiful landscape full of opportunity for light adventure, and a handful of great beaches that are blissfully free from crowds - well that and the small matter of the mesmerising Angkor temples.
Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world, and was for years ‘just’ an add-on to a Thailand or Vietnam trip. Today, things have most definitely changed, and very much for the better in our opinion. Angkor is indeed worth every accolade, but Cambodia has become a superb destination in its own right, and those in the know are most definitely heading beyond Angkor.
Cambodian culture is creative and understated (classy, in other words!), and its accommodation is too. There are a handful of idyllic lodges and sweet boutiques where you’ll find low key glamour, some of it inherited and carefully restored, and some freshly formed. Cambodian cuisine is also something of an unsung hero - it’s sometimes accused of being a lesser cousin to neighbouring Thailand, but we find it every bit as fresh and delicious, especially where seafood is concerned! The coast used to be the place to be during the French Colonial heyday, and has come back into its own, enjoying a trendiness that still hasn’t reached the tourist masses, and its handful of delightful beaches and sandy islands lend themselves to quiet relaxation.
Thanks to careful, considerate small pockets of development in an otherwise undeveloped landscape, tourism has not been detrimental here, as we’ve unfortunately witnessed elsewhere in the region. We find the people we meet here truly inspiring - they’ve been through incredibly traumatic times, with many affected first hand by the Khmer Rouge, a group of violent radicals who caused millions of deaths in Cambodia during the 1970s and 80s, and yet their smiles and positive attitude are uninhibited.
Historic architecture is a big draw, of course - more ancient Khmer ruins seem to pop out of the jungle every year, as the archaeologists continue to uncover the roots of one of South-East Asia’s most influential cultures. The majestic temples of Angkor deserve their spot in the seven wonders of the forgotten world, but we can send you to unleash your inner Indi or Lara in more remote areas to discover - even camp amongst - other grandiose jungle-clad ruins, typically without the crowds that flock to Angkor. And if it's romance you're seeking, a honeymoon in Cambodia offers excellent value, with a choice of exceptionally high quality and ethically run hotels that hardly anyone knows about (yet).
Our Destination Specialists have travelled extensively in Cambodia and across Asia, researching the best hotels, sights and activities - read all about it in our Cambodia travel guides. You can also visit our ‘when to go’ pages (here) for the best time to visit Cambodia based on weather and climate, or get in touch with one of our tailor-made Cambodia specialists to discuss your travel plans.
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