Cambodia

Cambodia

Steeped in an amazing ancient history, and a more horrifying recent one, the Cambodia of today is an amazingly vibrant tourist destination, with an unrivalled collection of temples and a wonderfully welcoming people keen for you to experience their country.

Any visit to Cambodia is justifiably based around the amazing Angkor Wat, a temple complex from the Khmer empire that stands its ground easily alongside any epic sight in the world. And, you can easily set aside several days to explore the temple complex and Siem Reap, the jumping off point for all things Angkor, but also a hive of activity for backpackers and luxury travellers alike.

Away from Angkor, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. Phnom Penh is a typical SE Asian capital, equal parts charm, liveliness and traffic mayhem & madness, with the best riverside setting in Asia, and a collection of cultural highlights showing the best of the country’s historical and more troubled recent past. Further afield, Bttambang showcases the finest French colonial-era architecture in the country, while the backpacker haven of Sihanoukville is also the prime location from which to access Cambodia’s best beaches.

Outside of the urban centres, Cambodia takes on a whole new dimension again. The further away from the palm-fringed coast you go, the countryside opens up to a tropical wilderness complete with exotic animals (elephants roam the East of the country) and wild mountainous landscapes, just perfect for getting well off the beaten track.

And, while not as renowned as some of its neighbours, Cambodian cuisine will sustain you throughout, with an array of fish dishes (make sure you try the coconut infused national dish, Fish Amok) and other staples of more ‘interesting’ provenance - deep-fried tarantula is surprisingly easy to come by! Unlike surrounding countries, the food of Cambodia is a milder affair, with chilli commonly served on the side, so it’s a lot friendlier to the less-travelled palate.

Image by Guitar, Shutterstock