Discover Cambodia's TOP 5
1. Siem Reap and the Temples of Angkor
The life-support system for the temples of Angkor, Siem Reap was always destined for great things. It has reinvented itself as the epicentre of chic Cambodia, with everything from backpacker party pads to hip hotels, world-class wining and dining, and sumptuous spas.
The temples of Angkor are a source of inspiration and national pride to all Khmers as they struggle to rebuild their lives after years of terror and trauma. Today, the temples are a point of pilgrimage for all Cambodians, and no traveller to the region will want to miss their extravagant beauty. check-out our guest house recommendations.
2. Phnom Penh
The Cambodian capital is a chaotic yet charming city that has thrown off the shadows of the past to embrace a brighter future. Boasting one of the most beautiful riverfronts in the region, Phnom Penh is in the midst of a boom, with hotels, restaurants and bars ready to welcome urban explorers. Experience emotional extremes at the inspiring National Museum and the depressing Tuol Sleng Prison, showcasing the best and worst of Cambodian history. Once the "Pearl of Asia", Phnom Penh is fast regaining its shine.
Despite a reputation for backpacker hedonism, Sihanoukville's real appeal lies in its beaches. On nearby islands like Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem, resorts are creating a laid-back beach-bungalow vibe. On the mainland, it's only 5km from Sihanoukville's grittier central beach, Occheuteal, to Otres Beach, mellow and sublime despite the long-looming threat of development. More central Victory Beach, Independence Beach, Sokha Beach, and even Occheuteal and backpacker favourite Serendipity Beach all have their charms.
The real Cambodia, far from the jetset destinations of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Unfurling along the banks of the Sangker River, Battambang is one of the country's best-preserved colonial-era towns. Shophouses host everything from fair-trade cafes to bike excursions. Beyond the town lie the Cambodian countryside and a cluster of ancient temples-- while they're not exactly Angkor Wat, they lack the crowds. Further afield is Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary, a world-class bird sanctuary.
5. Kampot and Kep
Kampot Province has emerged as one of Cambodia's most alluring destinations thanks to a hard-to-beat combination of old colonial architecture, abundant natural attractions and easy intra-regional transport. Enchanted visitors often end up staying in the sleepy, atmospheric provincial capital of Kampot rather longer than planned. Nearby Kep is but a hop away and the province is riddled with honeycombed limestone caves, some providing shelter to centuries-old brick temples from the pre-Angkorian period.
Bicycle riders pass by old French colonial buildings.