For all its well-deserved UNESCO World Heritage fame, the traditional temples of Angkor are removed from being the one causes to go to the Kingdom of Cambodia. With its fabled historical past, distinctive tradition, pleasant folks, dazzling seashores, verdant jungles, punchy delicacies and distinctive emphasis on sustainability, it’s one in all our favorite nations within the area to suggest to guests in search of an offbeat vacation or journey. To be taught why, listed here are 9 compelling causes to enterprise past the temples of Angkor to uncover among the nation’s unbelievable hidden gems. To dive proper in to some wonderful excursions that go to these locations, go right here.
There’s merely no avoiding it: most guests to Cambodia can have one factor on the prime of their thoughts: Angkor Wat. Whereas we’d by no means discourage anybody from experiences its wonders firsthand, the aim of this text is to tell them of what else there’s to expertise within the Kingdom; and guests received’t must go very far to search out out.
Though it’s used primarily as a launching level for journeys into the traditional temple complicated of Angkor, Siem Reap has emerged as a world-class vacation spot in its personal proper through the years, due to its excellent choice fo eating places, cafes, bars, boutique and excessive finish resorts and extra. Enterprise only a bit exterior of the town heart and friends may also be handled to picture-perfect scenes of Cambodian rural communities, pleasant locals and extra. And with a variety of different sights not a lot additional afield reminiscent of Tonlé Sap Lake, one might simply fill a complete vacation in and surrounding Siem Reap with out ever visiting the temples of Angkor and have a fantastic time.
Tonle Sap Lake
Proper on the doorstep of Siem Reap is one in all Southeast Asia’s most unusual pure and cultural sights: Tonle Sap Lake. When it’s at its fullest, it’s the most important freshwater physique of water in Southeast Asia, stretching some 250km throughout northwest Cambodia. A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, it hosts some 300 species of freshwater fish, 11 of that are globally endangered, and quite a few uncommon and endangered birds, crocodiles, and monkeys, making it a veritable paradise for lovers of nature. Tonle Sap can be residence to quite a few floating villages reminiscent of Kompong Phluk and Kompong Kleang that are good examples of rural life in Cambodia.
With streets lined with previous French shophouses, Battambang is taken into account one in all Cambodia’s best-preserved colonial period cities. Internet hosting every little thing from fair-trade cafes and eating places to artwork galleries, historic temples and the wonderful Phare Ponleu Selpak, a world-renowned NGO that trains performing artists whereas lifting them out of poverty, Battambang is small in dimension however packs a giant punch with distinctive issues to see, do and expertise. For friends trying to expertise genuine Cambodia with out the crowds of Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, Battambang is a straightforward pencil-in.
Kampot & Kep
These twin southern provinces on the coast of Cambodia supply an ideal mixture of consolation, character and uniqueness for these looking for a extra nuanced seaside journey to search out interesting over typical flop-and-drop getaways. World-renowned for its distinctive Kampot pepper, Kampot gives a number of charming riverside and boutique resorts for friends to loosen up at in between jaunts via the city whereas absorbing the French structure or strolls by paddleboard or kayak via painterly riverside environs the realm has to supply. Company are additionally inspired to take to the countryside on two wheels to find the realm’s simple cultural allure.
Close by, Kep is a well-known beachside city providing a surprisingly big selection of sights and actions to simply fill the house of a number of days. Highlights embody climbing in Kep Nationwide Park, a go to to Koh Tonsay or ‘Rabbit Island’, a winding ascent to Bokor Hill Station to find hidden cave pagodas from the seventh century, and visits to rustic pepper farms and an iconic Crab Market.
Anybody who has ever ignored Cambodia as a seaside vacation spot can be reminded of their follies with one have a look at Koh Rong, a beautiful imaginative and prescient of paradise marked by azure waters and white sands which might be at residence on any publish card. With a number of unbelievable seashores and tonnes of supporting actions to fill in no matter time is leftover between snorkeling and sunbathing, Koh Rong simply one in all Cambodia’s prime must-see locations.
For the entire grandeur above the water, there’s equal pizzaz beneath it with an entire host of marine species that may be readily seen with snorkelling journeys across the island. Lovers of extra sporty actions will really feel at residence with ample alternatives for kayaking, zip-lining and extra.
To not be forgotten, the capital of Phnom Penh is eager to remind guests that, whereas it might not have the traditional temples of Siem Reap, it has greater than sufficient historical past and intrigue to maintain guests’ curiosity piqued, whereas its superfluous abundance of meals, drink and leisure merely can’t be outdone throughout the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Having skilled one thing of a renaissance lately, the town is now residence to a number of hotspots for cool cafes, bustling bars, fascinating museums, feel-good NGO visits, CSR actions and extra. Merely put, Phonm Penh is completely one in all Cambodia’s premiere tourism locations and shouldn’t be ignored as such!
Thought of by some to be one in all Southeast Asia’s final nice wilderness areas, the distant Cardamom mountains spans some 4.4 million hectares throughout southwestern Cambodia and is residence to the area’s largest contiguous rainforest. All through this huge wilderness is an astonishing variety of uncommon and unique creatures reminiscent of clouded leopards, and solely about 25,000 folks, a lot of whom are ethnic minorities. Closed off to the world resulting from its remoteness and rugged panorama for time immemorial, solely considerably just lately has the realm develop into possible to go to due to cautious improvement of tented camps and customer infrastructure. For lovers of nature, it’s indubitably one in all Southeast Asia’s most sought-after and unbelievable locations.
Whereas a lot of Cambodia is characterised by limitless rice fields and sugar palms, Mondulkiri has a decidedly extra ‘wild’ look with verdant rolling hills and plush jungles. Positioned within the japanese a part of the nation, Mondulkiri can be a nature-lovers dream. House to the indigenous Bunong folks, who nonetheless comply with animism and ancestor worship, friends can find out about their tradition and distinctive Phnong homes. Mondulkiri has additionally develop into synonymous with accountable elephant tourism, with tasks permitting friends to ‘stroll with the herd’ as a substitute of driving them. There are additionally loads of nature excursions permitting guests to identify langurs and gibbons whereas trekking via Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, or discover dashing waterfalls.
Different highlights embody Bou Sra and Chrey Thom Waterfalls and the Memang Gold Mines.
Exterior of Angkor Wat, Prasat Preah Vihear is arguably one in all Cambodia’s most spectacular temples. Perched majestically atop the Dangkrek Mountains, the heavily-forested ridge alongside the border between Cambodia and Thailand has breathtaking views throughout northern Cambodia.
The temple is a three-dimensional illustration of Mt Meru, the middle of the universe in Hindu mythology, and took almost 300 years to assemble, a time frame that makes evident how carvings and sculptures developed within the nation over time. Though it’s a bit off the crushed path, most guests will agree that the trouble in getting there’s properly price it.
Kratie is the launching level for journeys to identify uncommon freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins on the Mekong River. Though lately it has develop into more and more tough for friends to see these elusive creatures, the city’s distinctive colonial allure and arguably among the finest Mekong sunsets within the nation make it a worthwhile stopping level via their Cambodia journey nonetheless.
Close by Koh Trong Island is a soothing place to expertise genuine Khmer hospitality or discover by rented bike. North of Kratie lies the Mekong Discovery Path, with a number of adventures and experiences, together with community-based homestays, bicycle rides and boat journeys.
Feeling impressed to e-book a visit to Cambodia that explores a few of its ‘different’ unbelievable wonders? Our consultants on the bottom there would like to put collectively a customized itinerary for you. Be happy to succeed in out to us at [email protected]