Cambodia is one of “hot” destinations in Southeast Asia by its beautiful landscapes and rich culture. Here are a few reasons why the country should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Cambodians are renowned for their hospitality, and upon entering the Kingdom, visitors will be overwhelmed with the abundance of warm welcomes and smiles. The gentle nature of Khmers can be found in tuk tuk drivers, service staff, tour guides, stall owners and passersby on the street. Visitors should note that anger doesn’t bode well in Cambodia, and a bit of patience goes a very long way.
Cambodia’s biggest draw is undoubtedly Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. Standing at the centre of national pride – Cambodia and Afghanistan are the only countries that bare buildings on their state flag – the religious structure dates back to the 12th century, and it was once at the centre of the glorious Angkor Empire. The sprawling temple complex is an architectural feat and home to a series of stunning structures and religious monuments.
While the masses flock to neighbouring Thailand’s islands, Cambodia’s alternatives are often wrongly forgotten. That makes them unspoilt options, with the majority maintaining their authenticity and remaining off the mass tourism map. Koh Rong holds the crown as the party island, with nearby Koh Rong Samloem boasting pristine powder sands flanked by tropical flora. Other remote jewels include Koh Thmei, Koh Ta Kiev and Koh Totang.
Today’s travellers are seeking out authentic experiences over a couple of weeks lazing in the sun, and Cambodia has this by the bucketload. You can take in everything from community homestays, spending a few days trekking through the jungle soaking up the rare flora and fauna and cycling through the pristine countryside to learning how to cook Cambodian food and immersing yourself in the abundance of festivities that dot the calendar.
Cambodia is home to an abundance of wonderful wildlife. Phnom Tamao Rescue Center, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, boasts an array of creatures that they have rescued from the clutches of poachers and the illegal trade, and they rehabilitate the animals before releasing them back into the wild. The centre has tigers, elephants, sun bears, gibbons and other animals.
Sam Veasna Center offers a range of birding and wildlife tours in Siem Reap province, and visitors will find elephant sanctuaries in Mondulkiri. Plus, various treks through the Cardamom Mountains showcase the country’s unique flora and fauna.
The Cardamom Mountains, which sit in the northwest of Cambodia, are one of Southeast Asia’s most species-rich and intact natural habitats. While trekking through the dense jungle – one of the region’s largest remaining rain forests – remains relatively off the beaten track, for now, a rising number of tours take visitors camping, kayaking, cycling and hiking through this unique tropical jungle.
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