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Rural Cambodia - discover the country’s agricultural heartlands

Discover rural Cambodia on a day trip from Siem Reap or Phnom Penh (or immerse yourself further by staying with a local family in a homestay) and experience the lush, green paddy fields of the Khmer countryside and the warm welcome of its agricultural communities. 

Leave the gentle bustle of Cambodia’s cities and embrace the chance to learn about the small farming communities that most Cambodians still live in. See how families work together to make bamboo sticky rice cakes to sell in markets, visit a Buddhist monastery for a rare insight into the daily life of a monk, sample local cuisine, and take a boat across the tranquil waters of the West Baray reservoir to spot birds fluttering among the ancient Khmer ruins.

For those looking to delve a little deeper, travelling north brings you to a Cambodia that very few visitors experience. In the countryside around Battambang, and the rarely-visited areas around Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri, you’ll discover unique communities with their own distinctive cultures situated amongst the forests, waterfalls and lakes.

Village life
village life

What to see in rural Cambodia

Whether on a day trip or on a homestay you can:

A day in rural Cambodia…

Just a short journey from Phnom Penh or Siem Reap you can find yourself immersed in the daily life of rural Cambodia. Sample the bamboo sticky rice cakes that local families make, hot from the grill, and gain a rare glimpse into the life of a Buddhist monastery.

A cruise over the serene waters of West Baray reservoir reveals the intriguing ruins of the West Bebon temple, and you can stroll through the area’s vast rice fields, fruit-laden orchards and flourishing vegetable gardens, learning about the agricultural traditions and traditional crafts that sustain the local community.

Along the way, savour a hearty lunch at a family-run restaurant. Indulge in honey-roasted chicken, locally-caught fish and other delicious dishes while admiring the scenic beauty of the surrounding rural landscape.

Where to stay in rural Cambodia

For those who want to stay a little longer, and further support the communities they visit, there are a number of community-based tourism initiatives that allow you to spend a few nights with a local family. Accommodation here is very simple (think bucket shower, outside toilet, etc.) but the experience could not be richer.

In rural homestays near Battambang in the northwest, or in the northeastern regions around Kratie, Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri, learn about the distinctive cultures and traditions of the Jarai, Kreung, Tampuan, and Phnong. The traditional stilt houses here are surrounded by birdsong and children’s laughter –  hop in a hammock in the shade and soak it all in.

 With more time to spare, you can visit Koh Trong island, where endangered Irrawaddy dolphins play in the waters of the Mekong. Explore local coffee plantations, or trek with a ranger to learn about the successes and challenges of the region’s elephant conservation.

You may like this journey…

Monk walking

Cambodia Encompassed

Discover the true breadth of Cambodian culture by exploring the Angkor Temples, bustling Phnom Penh before heading to the Cardamon Mountains and rounding up with a few days on Cambodia’s islands.

Price from: £2,390 US$2,990
Ideal length 13 days
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