Explore Our Cambodia
Cambodia is a kingdom of temples, history-lovers will find endless enjoyment on a holiday in Cambodia. Marvel at ancient Angkor Wat, a vast temple complex unmatched in size and splendor. One of the most important architectural sites in south-east Asia and UNESCO protection ensures it will remain just as magnificent for years to come.
Don’t miss a visit to the capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh and whilst their visit the spectacular Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. A darker side of this city’s history is a visit to the S 21 Detention Centre where thousands were imprisoned, tortured and killed by the Khmer Rouge, this center demonstrates the country tragic past which not long ago.
The rural countryside in Cambodia stretches far, green and wide and offers a different pace to the cities. Enjoy the rhythm of rural life in the most enchanting colonial towns like Battambang, as well as hopping from paradise island to paradise island on any one of the Koh Rong Island’s off the coast of Sihanoukville.Show More
World Heritage Sites
Suggested Cambodia Itineraries
Explore our Cambodia sample itineraries to inspire your travel planning. The itineraries can be easily customised and adapted to your personal interests and preferences.
Highlight of Cambodian Culture
Khmer Culture – the integration of Buddhism, Hinduism, and indigenous animistic beliefs
Cambodian culture is much associated with religion. Over thousands of years, people in the golden land have developed their own Khmer Culture, which is the convergence of Hinduism, Buddhism, and indigenous animistic beliefs. Still, nowadays, more than 80% of Cambodian people are Theravada Buddhist followers.
As Cambodia is an agriculture-based country, their traditional costumes must be comfortable and convenient enough to wear to the farm. The images of Cambodian people are often tied with krama – a cotton carve to wrap around the heads to prevent the heat.
Besides, the national garment of the country is said to be Sampot, which has appeared since the Funan era. Sampot is a form of sarong that both male and female Cambodian would wear. More than just a cloth, this sarong is a tool to display the wearer’s social class, basing on the variations of colors and patterns.
Dating back to the 7th century, Apsara is the traditional art form of Cambodia. Mythology has it that Apsara is performed by the beautiful fairies who come to Earth to entertain the gods.
The dance features slow-pace moves, most of which are hand gestures. Research indicates that there are more than 1,500 distinct gestures that hold different meanings. In 2008, UNESCO designated Apsara Dance as a World’s Intangible Heritage thanks to its cultural significance.
Cambodian cuisine might be less popular than the exquisite dishes of the neighbor Vietnam and Thailand, yet it is still quintessential. It is an excellent combination of different cuisines like Indian, Chinese, French, Vietnamese, and Thai.
Fish and rice are two staples in their meals. There are many scrumptious dishes made from these two ingredients. If you are a foodaholic, do not miss trying the specialties of Cambodia when stepping into this land.
Festivals and National Holidays
As Cambodia is rich in culture and religion, several traditional festivals take place all year round. The country is among the list of nations that have the highest number of holidays and festivals in the world.
Cambodian festivals are much associated with Buddhism. The tradition has been so strong that even the western colonization and Khmer Rouge regime in the 19th and 20th century cannot quash the practice of these events. These days are a great time for the locals to unite and rejoice.
Additional to the major religious festivals, there are also fascinating occasions for tourists to participate in such as Water Festival with boat racing on Ton Le Sap, the joyful Angkor Festival, and the Sea Festival by the coastline. These events are extraordinarily joyful and would definitely worth your time.
There are quite a number of national holidays in Cambodia. Some of the holidays are to memorize the important periods and limestones of the nation’s history, while some holidays are religious occasions that have their roots from Buddhism and Khmer culture.
Beside the western calendar like other countries in the world, Cambodia has another traditional Chhankitek calendar, which is based on the movement of the moon. Consequently, many of the holidays do not have a fixed date in the western calendar because they depend on the lunar calendar instead.
There are 20 national holidays in total. The most important holidays in Cambodia are said to be Meak Bochea in February, when all the monks gather to listen to Buddha’s teachings, Khmer New Year in April, National Day of Remembrance to commemorate the massive killings during the Khmer Rouge in May 20, and Pchum Ben (between September and October) – the Buddhist holiday to pay tribute to the ancestors.
Things to notice to avoid cultural offense
As Cambodia is the sacred land with numerous temples, it is important for tourists to dress properly when visiting this country. It is better to pay much notice to your dress code, especially when you are women. Nowadays, people might be acquainted with wearing shorts and skirts everywhere you go. In addition to the fact that Cambodia is a holy land, the people in Cambodia are quite conservative, and they would never thumb up if seeing you wearing revealing clothes. Hence, try to cover your skin as much as possible.
It is better to be culturally respective, so put on a long pant or dress that below your knees and avoid tank top/ strapless/ spaghetti top when coming out, especially when you go to the temples.
Special religious etiquette (exercise gratitude, etc.)
Showing respect and gratitude towards the locals is a great way to gain trust and friendship. Cambodia people feel lucky for everything they have, and there is almost no complaint no matter how worse their situation is.
Additionally, you should show respect to elder people and the religious practicers (like monk and nun). Just a prayer-like gesture is enough.
Not only Cambodia but other Asian countries values face-saving etiquette. It is considered unacceptable to lose one’s face in front of other people; hence, avoid criticizing or shouting at others when you are in public.
It is never a wise thing to lose your temper. Try to keep calm and hang on your smile to make people respect you.
Notice your hand and feet
These are little yet important protocols to practice when traveling to Cambodia. The locals consider the head as the most sacred part of the human’s body, so don’t touch it. In contrast, feet and left hand are believed to be the dirtiest; thus, do not use your left hand to shake other’s hand or point your feet at them. Remember to remove your shoes before going to sacred places like temples and sanctuaries, also.
In order to avoid cultural offense and show respect to the local culture, it is important to dress properly. Followings are some tips that travelers should notice:
Take off your shoes and headcovers when entering a sacred place
Leave your shoes, sandals, and hats behind if you are about to enter the temples. If you feel putting on and off your sneakers waste too much time and effort, use flip-flops instead. You will walk a lot and need to remove your shoes quite often, so try the most convenient one to put on.
Riel (KHR) is the official money currency in Cambodia. 01 US Dollar would have an equal value to approximately 4,000 riels. The exchange rate fluctuates on a daily basis, but this rate is largely accepted all over the country.
Even though riel is the official note, the United State Dollar is widely used throughout this nation. While people use riel for small purchases like in a convenience store or a restaurant, USD is preferable when conducting larger transactions. A fun fact is that most ATMs in Cambodia would allow you to withdraw USD rather than riel.
In border areas with Thailand and Vietnam, Thai Bath and Vietnam Dong are acceptable. In case you travel to Cambodia from Vietnam, for example, you can use the leftover Vietnam Dong notes on your wallet to buy things at the airport or at a local market
Visa & Custom Regulations
E-visa/Visa on Arrival (VOA)
Tourists need to have a valid passport and a Cambodian visa to cross the border. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months prior to your entry or you won’t be able to obtain a visa. If your passport is damaged or have a page missing, the Immigration Office might refuse your entry, also.
The traditional way to get a visa is to obtain your visa at the Cambodian Embassy or Consulate in your country before you travel. You can also apply for an E-Visa in advance via its official government website.
Another way is to obtain a tourist visa upon arrival. Most tourists can get VOA at Cambodian International Airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. For land crossings from the neighbor countries like Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, the International Check Border points are where you could get your visa.
Please note that these three options are not available for all travelers. People from Afghanistan, Algeria, Arab Saudi, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Nigeria are required to get a visa in advance at Cambodian Embassy in their country.
It costs $30 for a single-entry tourist visa and $35 for a business one.
A single-entry visa would allow you to stay in Cambodia for maximumly one month. A passport-sized photo is a must-bring item if you don’t want to get fined. In case tourists want to extend your visa, it would take a couple of days to arrange at the Immigration Department.
Travelers with Southeast Asian nationalities (including Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Brunei, and Indonesia) are allowed to enter Cambodia without a visa.
However, the duration of stay for each nationality is different. With a normal passport, people from Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore can stay up to 30 days within Cambodian borders. Tourists from Thailand, Myanmar, and Brunei can stay for 14 days, while 21 days is the longest stay that Philippine people are allowed to stay there.
Generally speaking, Cambodian Custom Regulations is not so fierce. Only with the importation into or exportation from Cambodia of items like drugs, firearms, antiquities, or ivory do the customs authorities enforce its strict rules.
You are entitled to bring along a “certain amount” of duty-free items when arriving in Cambodia. However, things like tobacco, cigarettes, or liquor are sold in cities at prices that are as low as duty-free rates (sometimes it’s even lower), so there’s no need to pack along so many.
In addition, your money should be clarified on arrival, but for most of the times, the officers won’t ask about it.
Loose as the rules might be, there’s one thing you need to bear in mind: never take any stone sculptures from the ancient heritages out of Cambodia. It’s illegal.
Do and Don't in Cambodia
It is absolutely fine to get dressed up comfortably, or even sexily if you are about to go to a pub in Siem Reap or at a pool party at a luxury resort. However, things are not the same if you are about to visit the heritages. Leave your shorts, miniskirts, and any other clothes that are above your knees or reveal too much skin at home. Put on a long pant or a long dress, instead.
Show cultural respects
It is necessary to show your respect for the Cambodian people and culture. Social class is quite notorious here, so pay attention to your etiquette when meeting the elderly or the monks.
That Khmer people are hospitable and honest does not mean you won’t be overcharged when shopping in their markets or shops. Bargaining is a must-do in almost all Asian countries, not just Cambodia.
– Give money to children and beggars on the streets. Many of these people are forced to do that job and would get nothing even when you give them money. All would come into the wallet of their “boss” instead.
– Talk about sensitive topics. It is never a should talk about politics or war with Cambodian people. Especially, they really hate mentioning about Khmer Rouge period, so do not bring them to your conversation.
– Be culture offensive. Many things sound to be exceptionally unrespectful to Cambodian people such as touching someone’s head, using the left hand to give and receive things, pointing your feet to other people or to Buddha’s images, pointing your index finger to others, complaining about their country, and so on.
– Show affection in public. Cambodia is still a conservative society and they tend to avoid interacting with people of the opposite gender when they are in public. Holding hands, hugging, and kissing is unacceptable, too.
– Drink tap water. Tap water is not clean, so avoid drinking it. You can use bottled water instead.
1. Why to travel to Cambodia?
Cambodia is one of the safest and most fascinating destinations in Asia. The country is blessed with a rich history and a variety of cultural heritages, making it a paradise for historians, archeologists and everyday people wanting to see some of the many wonders of the ancient world.
Bordering Thailand to the west and Vietnam to the east, Cambodia offers visitors many unique experiences ranging from visiting the tribes of Ratanakiri to exploring the vast wet land of Tonle Sap Lake. There are also countless ancient temples and impressive natural scenery, including pristine beaches, mighty rivers and remote forests.
Far removed from its turbulent past, Cambodia is now open to visitors from around the world who wish to admire the grandeur of Angkor Wat and Thom, and the colonial capital Phnom Penh. Moreover, sea lovers can head for the empty beaches in Sihanoukville on the southern coast, which is a great place to relax and enjoy the sun.
Get ready to enjoy a trip of a lifetime with us!!
2. Why choose Cambodia luxury tours?
When choosing a budget tour, travelers tend to have to follow a fixed itinerary that has been used for several tours for years without any updates. In contrast, with Cambodia Luxury Tours, every detail is designed based on your requests. You can add any wanted destinations to the plan and adjust the schedules and times to fit your own timetable.
Tourists who take Cambodia luxury tours will get served with premium services. You get what you pay for, so once you have paid quite an amount, you are deemed to receive the equivalent services. You will be staying in luxurious accommodation, having scrumptious delicacies, renewing yourself with top-notch massage services, and so on. The excellent services that luxury tours would offer could satisfy even the most discerning travelers.
Rather than traveling the same routes and seeing the same things as other tours, Cambodia luxury tours would offer you authentic experiences all throughout your trip. Our travel experts work non-stop to find new things to add to the program, promising to make your trip one-of-a-kind.
Exceptional personal services
Having a luxury tour package, visitors will benefit from the 24/7 personal services from the tour operator. You will be taken care of wholeheartedly before, during, and after your holiday. Our staff is always ready to support whenever you are in need of us.
3. What is included in a luxury Cambodia tour package?
A luxury Cambodia tour would take travelers to the most distinguished highlights of Cambodia, namely the holy land of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, the pristine beaches of Koh Rong Islands, the lush jungles of Mondulkiri, and the mighty Mekong River and Tonle Sap Lake. More are ready to be offered, as long as you note with us.
Private luxury transportation
Everything in a luxury trip should be luxurious, and transportation is not an exception. Tourists will transit from the airport to the hotel or from one destination to another all by luxury vehicles. You will not have to share spaces with strange people or worry about the careless driver.
At Realistic Asia, you can request for any means of transportation you desire. We have wide arrays of vehicles, from the standard cars to luxurious vans, cruises, helicopters, and even more.
Where you stay is exceptionally important as it would decide the quality of your sleep. With luxury Cambodia tours, you will stay in first-class hotels and resorts that have spacious rooms with full amenities, top-notch services, and superb spa & massage. The travel consultant will do research about every hotel carefully in advance to make sure you will have a wonderful stay without any dissatisfaction.
A trip to any places can never be complete without sampling the delicacies of this land. Going on a luxury trip, you will be introduced with many appetizing traditional Cambodian foods such as Fish Amok, Khmer Curry, etc. Not only are the dishes heavenly tasty, but they are also of good quality so tourists won’t need to worry about hygiene and food safety.
Top-notch customer service
Everywhere you go, you will be served with excellent customer services. From the sales staff of the tour operator, the waiter at a restaurant, a bellman at your resort, to the guide at the touristic spots, all will welcome you with their nicest smiles. They are always more than happy to be of service, ensuring to make you feel like a King/Queen.
4. Benefits of luxury private tours to Cambodia
Travel like a local
A tour operator that really knows about the place you are going to fly to might give you the chance to experience the day like a local. A normal tour would only take you to the primary tourist destinations that have been well-known worldwide, but a luxury tour package would include more than that. How about a hideaway at a less-known island? Or a trek deep into the jungles to follow the traces of the elephants? These are not regular things that lots of travelers know to try.
Less prone to scams and fraud thanks to tips, tricks, reviews
Very soon before your departure, the travel consultant would give you essential advice on everything necessary during the trip. This is a treat that you can rarely get when taking a shared budget tour.
Furthermore, taking a Cambodia luxury tour also means there will be a private tour guide accompanying you everywhere you go. The guide must speak your language and Khmer language well in order to make your journey much easier. You will hence no longer need to worry about being cheated or getting lost.
In no rush (flexible schedule)
Unlike backpacker tours when travelers need to rush to follow the fixed and dense schedule, luxury tours give you more time. Even when you are at Angkor Wat and suddenly want to skip the next destinations just to stay there longer for the sunset, that’s ok. Everything is designed to fit your own requirements, so everything is possible to adjust. You don’t have to be afraid of offending other tourists, as it is your tour.
5. Why to choose a luxury tour operator in Cambodia?
Choosing a reliable luxury tour operator is the key to your trip. Whether your holiday is nice and successful depends largely on who you are going with. Realistic Asia, with 10 years of experience in providing luxury trips to Cambodia, is a worth-considering choice.
The first and foremost benefit of booking trips with a luxury tour operator in Cambodia is the privacy you would get. A tailor-made program will be designed for your group only. In other words, it is not a shared tour, so you won’t need to go with any strangers. It would give you a sense of privacy and security.
Personal support 24/24
Our customer service is available 24/24. The customer service staff is ready to support at any time. Should there happen any problems during the trips, tourists can contact the staff directly to get support.
Even when you have no idea about the destination you are going to visit, you can definitely have a smooth trip with the extensive consultation from the experienced sales staff and consultants from the luxury tour operator in Cambodia. They understand this country well, thus being a reliable source of information to lay your trust on.
7. Weather in Cambodia
Compared to the neighbor countries like Vietnam and Laos, Cambodia has blessed with a much simpler weather system thanks to the comparably uniform altitude and latitude throughout the whole country.
In Cambodia, there are two separate seasons: the dry season which lasts from October to April and the wet season extending from May to late September. The weather is viewed as “warm” all year round. Of course, there will be a transition time between the seasons, when the temperature varies notably.
The hottest time of the year falls between May and July when there is little rain and the temperature is extremely high. Some of the times, the temperature might exceed 35. In contrast, between October and December is considered the coolest period of the year. These months have the lowest temperature (24°C-26°C), but it is still far to call it “cold” if compared to other countries.
Dry Season (from October to April)
The dry season starts from October and lasts till April, sometimes early May of the next year. It’s when the dry northeast monsoon arrives, featuring hot wind blowing throughout the nation. It might be quite cool between November and January (20 averagely), but for the rest period, it is extremely hot.
Wet Season (May to late September)
When May knocks the door, the southeast monsoon arrives and Cambodia enters its wet season. There happens to be much rain, accounting for approximately 75% of the annual rainfall. The average daytime temperature falls between 25 and 27 only.
However, it does not mean it rains every time throughout the whole season. There would be little and infrequent downpour between May and July, but for the rest months, it rains cats and dogs. The frequency of rainfall is rather dense, also.
8. Best time to visit Cambodia
The dry season is considered the best time to travel to Cambodia. The temperature is moderate, and there is little rain. Blue skies make it great to visit any destinations, from the ancient Angkor sanctuaries to the southern coastline.
Still, that does not mean the rest of the year is not suitable to travel. Rain and high humidity mean lush greenery. There’s no dust, also. Additionally, since it’s not the peak season, the country is less crowded, making it ideal for getaways.
The dry season features clear sky, sunshine, and high visibility. Plus, the roads are at the best condition, making traveling and transiting easier than ever.
However, because it is the peak tourism period, numerous flocks of travelers head to Cambodia. Popular tourist attractions like Angkor and Siem Reap are often crowded. If you love the ecstatic vibes, then it’s fine. But if you long for a quiet holiday, this atmosphere is not really a good choice to opt for.
Not many people love to travel in the rainy season. It’s wet, and the roads are bumpy and slippery, especially in mountainous areas like Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri. Intrepid tours are mostly inadvisable due to this inconvenient condition. High waves make it exceptionally difficult to reach some islands on the southern sea, also.
Still, never be deterred from traveling within this season. Rains help make the plantation systems lush and green and offer more water to the river. Hence, it would be a great time for nature lovers to visit the floating villages or the flooded forests.
During this season, the country is less crowded, making it ideal for get-off-the-beaten-track trips. For those seeking the sacred vibes of the ancient temples, it is the best time to go, too.
9. Top luxury experiences in Cambodia
A getaway at a less-visited yet stunning beach
Beaches in Cambodia hold a much quieter and more tranquil appeal than in other countries, perhaps because this country is not so renowned for its coastline. The southern part of the country (Koh Rong, Song Saa) features stretching Sugar-white sand and transparent blue waters, making it perfect for a beach trip. The beaches remain untouched and less-visited, thus it would be the ideal place for a summer getaway.
A helicopter flight over Angkor Wat
Angkor is accessible in different ways, from walking tours, Tuk Tuk ride, to elephant ride. All these offer you a close approach to every single of this massive temple complex. However, for a broad picture of the whole area, a helicopter flight is what you should not miss. Tourists will be taken on a helicopter to fly over Angkor’s sky and witness the birds’ eye view of the lush forests and the ancient sanctuaries.
Rejuvenate at a high-end resort
Along with the gateway to Angkor in Siem Reap, there appear quite a number of high-end hotels and resorts that have excellent design and top-notch services. These are great places for a Cambodia leisure trip. Living in spacious Suite, sampling delicate cuisine, rejuvenating with a soothing spa treatment, and enjoying the Apsara dance are some must-try when staying in one of these awe-inspiring places.
10. Top Cambodia Tourist Attractions
Siem Reap (Angkor Wat)
Definitely, Siem Reap, the hometown of Angkor Wat, is a cannot-miss destination for any Cambodia travel. The temple complex of Angkor Wat is the landmark of this Khmer country, which is even inscribed on its national flag. Not only does it hold significant cultural value, Angkor Wat is a masterpiece of ancient architecture, also.
Aside from this worldwide famous heritage, Siem Reap has more to offer. There is a bustling town amidst the city, where you can tape a sip of beer or liquor while swaying your hips with the fancy music. Besides, tourists can head to Phnom Kulen National Park to admire the screaming waterfalls, observe the wildlife, visit the sacred shrines and temples high on the mountains, and take an exquisite view over the whole region.
The capital of Cambodia is another interesting place to visit, especially for history buffs. Don’t miss delving into the past of this city if you want to learn more Cambodian’ tough years. Here you can see with your bare eyes the traces of Khmer Rouge, which mimic how millions of Cambodian people were killed brutally during this devil regime.
Nestled in the northwest of Cambodia, Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. The size of the lake varies from 3,000 square kilometers (in the dry season) to 10,000 square kilometers (in the wet season). It is home to more than 3 million people, most of whom earn a living by fishing and farming.
Travelers can take a tour to Tonle Sap to visit the floating villages, where the indigenous locals live on stilt houses above the water surface. You can explore the flooded forests if coming in the rainy season, also.
Thanks to the untouched beauty, Koh Rong and its sister island – Koh Rong Samloem have become top destinations for beach lovers. The islands boast stretching sugar-white beaches, turquoise sea water, and pleasant climate, which are ideal for you to bask in the sunshine by day and have a toast at night.
If you love to have fancy times, visit the popular beach in Koh Rong. But if you seek a much more tranquil vibe for a leisure stay, luxury resorts on Koh Rong Samloem is where you should head to.
Kep is a small yet beautiful coastal town that used to be the top beachside destination of Cambodia during the colonial period. Around the town still exist several old western-style villas of the French colonialists and the ruins of Khmer Rouge.
Aside from the empty golden sand beaches, Kep is now more renowned for Kep National Park, the home to a diverse bio-ecosystem. It is a great place for trekking, sightseeing, and photography.
Bokor Hill Station
Located in Kampot, Bokor Hill Station was constructed to become a luxurious retreat of the colonizers in the past but abandoned multiple times during the war. Recently, the place has started to re-develop and become a must-see destination for Cambodia tours.
If you seek for thrilling experiences, Bokor is a must-see. Aside from exploring the abandoned buildings, hiking up the mountain in the National Park is interesting to try. The panoramic view from there would definitely make your jaw drop.
11. Worldwide famous heritages in Cambodia
Angkor, Temple of Preah Vihear, and Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk are three UNESCO-designated Cambodian cultural heritage sites.
Stretching over 400 km2, Angkor Archeological Park is a huge complex that consists of significant remains of the once-glorious Khmer Kingdom, which lasted from the 9th to the 14th century. There are numerous exquisite sculptural works in this massive land, all of which bear invaluable cultural and religious value. The whole complex bears witness to an exceptional civilization of the Cambodian in the past, as well as possessing invaluable architectural values.
Temple of Preah Vihear
Situated on the edge of Dângrêk Mountains in Preah Vihear, this is an ancient temple that is dedicated to Shiva – a Hinduism deity. Dating back to the 9th century, the Temple of Preah Vihear contains a series of sanctuaries that are connected by a system of staircases and pavements.
This site is still well preserved after centuries of historical ups and downs and weather changes, thus proving the extraordinary architectural quality. Additionally, it is also a sculptural masterpiece with incredible stone carving technique.
Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk, Archaeological Site of Ancient Ishanapura
Among the three sites, this archaeological site is the earliest to appear in Cambodia. It was the capital of the Chenla Kingdom, which was at its heyday between the 7th and 9th century. This temple zone consists of more than 100 temples, many of which possess the typical specimens of Southeast Asia culture. The architecture and artistic design of this temple zone is the foundation of the Khmer style in the later centuries.
12. What are the most remarkable landmarks in Cambodia?
Talking about Cambodia, most people might think about:
Nothing can win over Angkor Temples when mentioning about the landmark of Cambodia. It is the remain of the once-glory Khmer Empire and holds an exceptional cultural value. This temple complex is so significant with the locals that it has been inscribed in Cambodian National Flag, which is used in all political, economic, and social events worldwide.
Flowing across the land of 6 countries, the Mekong, the world’s 12th longest river, is the wellspring of the local people. It not only plays as a supply of water and food but also be a significant transportation system and tourist destination.
Travelers taking luxury Cambodia tours love to go aboard a Mekong Cruise to spot the dolphin, observe the wildlife, visit the floating villages, and enjoy the sunset.
Phnom Kulen Waterfalls – Phnom Kulen National Park
The mighty waterfalls in Phnom Kulen National Park is another pride of Cambodian people. The waterfalls tumble down the mountains and pound the rocks, creating a marvelous scenery to enjoy. It’s a great place to hang out and cool down the summer heat.
Fun fact: Phnom Kulen Waterfall did appear in the blockbuster movie: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. It is not advisable to try in real life, but in this movie, Angelina Jolie jumped from the top of the waterfall into the basin below.
Koh Rong is the real paradise for beach-goers thanks to its crystal-clear water and Colgate-white sandbanks. It’s a great destination for swimming, sunbathing, and other watersports.
Koh Rong Samloem – Koh Rong’s sister island is another appealing destination in Cambodia. There are a series of high-end resorts alongside the deserted beaches, offering tourists a chance to blow away your stress and fatigue and refresh yourselves.
13. What are the best places for a yoga retreat in Cambodia?
Cambodia, with a strong religious foundation, is said to be an ideal place for yoga and meditation. Many people travel to this Khmer world just to have a healing time with special treatments from the local experts. Following are the three best places for a yoga retreat in this country:
Kep is a favorite place for yoga and wellness thanks to its tranquil vibe and the high availability of reputable yoga centers. Yoga experts will help to design a spiritual healing program for your own. You will ease your mind and rejuvenate yourself by practicing yoga, meditating, and saying dharma talks every day.
The spiritual sense and breathtaking natural scenery have made Siem Reap a great place for a yoga retreat in Cambodia. Mediation and yoga would steer you towards a more mindful approach to life. Some of the classes take place around Angkor Temples and its surrounding jungles, thus offering the absolute serenity that can hardly be seen anywhere else.
Staying away from your mobile phone and spending time reading books, joining yoga classes, and healing sessions are the best and fastest way to rebalance your chakra.
Koh Rong Island
How about practicing yoga at an empty beach? The tranquility of Koh Rong beaches has made the island a great place to ease your mind with yoga and meditation session. To find your zen, it’s a should spend days on a short-term yoga and Ayurveda retreat. Feel the slow pace of the island and let your mind be free without any worries about the life outside.
14. What are the most spectacular hiking/trekking trails in Cambodia?
Located in the northeast, Mondulkiri is a top destination for trekking tours in Cambodia. A trip to this place would enable travelers to leave the bustling cities behind and immerse yourself in the wild nature. Here exist mysterious jungles, rocking waterfalls, mighty rivers, wild animals, and even more. All these majestic things would definitely make you fall in love with Mondulkiri from the very first meet.
Especially, Mondulkiri is renowned for its elephant sanctuary, where tourists can get a closer approach to the endangered Asian Elephants. Observing the elephants is a one-of-a-kind experience that intrepid travelers should never miss.
Phnom Kulen National Park
The dense jungle of Phnom Kulen National Park is another fascinating place for hiking tours in Siem Reap. The Park is located not so far from the city center, hence becoming a top choice for a weekend break and short-day trekking.
Phnom Kulen is home to majestic waterfalls, which are just too mighty to be true. Nothing is better than let the water splashes from the waterfalls hit your body to cool down the heat of hot summer days.
There are also ancient temples and important historical sites here, ideal for religious followers to visit.
Cardamon is one of Southeast Asia’s biggest rainforests. The forest remains intact from human influences and mass tourism industry, thus being a promising land for trekkers to challenge themselves.
There are several fancy activities for hikers to participate when trekking to Cardamon. You can ride the boat along the canals to go deep inside the jungle, walk under the large foliage and listen to the murmurs of the birds, or experience the life of the local ethnic people.
The bio-ecological system of Cardamon is exceptionally rich with a wide array of wild species. If you are lucky enough, you might catch a glimpse of a wild leopard or an elephant there.
Thanks to the majestic settings of soaring mountains, lush forests, rolling hills, and marvelous river, Ratanakiri is a favorable trekking trail in Cambodia. It is so unforgettable an experience to paddle your boat along the mighty Sesan river to harmonize yourself with nature. Additionally, you can spend the night on a tribal village and get exposed to the life of the indigenous ethnic people there.
15. What are the best places to watch the sunrise/sunset in Cambodia?
Not only is Angkor Wat culturally important, but this site is also famous as a top place to watch the sunrise and sunset in Asia. Stretching over 400 square kilometers, this UNESCO heritage site has many great spots to observe the sun. The most beautiful place is said to be the lotus pond to the north of the Wat. The reflection of the temples on the water surface, altogether with the golden sunset, make up an irresistibly beautiful scenery to bear in mind.
Phnom Bakheng is an ancient Hinduist and Buddhist temple that is nestled high on the mountain peak. It is also a familiar name on the list of must-see destination in Cambodia. However, different from other temples and sanctuaries, the cultural value, though it is significant, is not the main attraction of Phnom Bakheng. It is the spectacular horizontal view to watch the sunset instead. The view is just so breathtaking that visitors cannot help yourself from loving.
The majestic Tonle Sap Lake is also an ideal site to watch the sunrise and sunset, and the Phnom Krom Hill is where you should head to for the best view.
Despite its steep and rocky terrain, Phnom Krom is really worth your visit. Once you get to the top, you will be amazed by the dreamy scenery it offers. The reflection of the dawn on the lake and the quietness of the surroundings would make you want to stay lost in this moment longer.
Taking a Mekong River Cruise is a luxury way to enjoy the sunset in Cambodia. Nothing is better than taking a sip of sparkling wine while watching the red ball falling down into the waters of this mighty river.
16. Best beaches in Cambodia
Even though this Khmer land is not so famous for its coastline and islands, there are still jaw-dropping places for beach lovers to explore. Indeed, as most people travel to Cambodia not for its beaches, the beaches in this country still remain its untouched beauty and quietness, thus being even more appealing to tourists. The south and southwest of Cambodia offer quite a number of beautiful beaches, and the following three are the ones that are loved the most.
Saracen Bay Beach, Koh Rong Samloem
Koh Rong Samloem is indeed an untouched paradise that boasts pristine beach with soft sugar-white sand surrounded by palm trees. Saracen Bay is an enclosed bay that features awe-inspiring beach and rock-free water, which are perfect for swimming and basking in the sunshine. Less crowded and noisy than the popular Koh Rong Island, this small island is definitely a better place for a summer getaway.
Independence Beach, Sihanoukville
The Independence Beach stands out among the long lists of beaches in Sihanoukville thanks to its quiet vibe. This beach is more than 1 kilometers long, a part of which has been taken over by a private resort. It is so mesmerizing an experience to walk along the quiet beach at the sunset with your loved one while enjoying the unspoiled beauty of Mother Nature. In addition, the right comforting warmth of the water is just perfect for swimming and diving.
Otres Beach, Sihanoukville
Another must-mention name is Otres Beach, which is also located in Sihanoukville. If your joy is to soothe the sand, Otres is where you should go. Possessing sun-kissed sandbank and transparent blue sea water, the beach is amazing whenever you look at: day or night, at dawn or at twilight, in the morning fog or under the moonlight. Different times of the day provide you with different emotions and experiences. Undoubtedly, Otres Beach deserves to be a top place for luxury escapes in Cambodia.
17. What wildlife can be spotted in Cambodia’s national parks?
Asian elephant, also known as the Asiatic elephant, is the largest terrestrial animal in Asia. It was listed as a threatened species with its name on the IUCN Red List in 1986 due to the drastic decrease in the population. Nowadays, Cambodia, Laos, and the Central Highlands of Vietnam are the three places in Southeast Asia that have the largest number of Asian elephants.
In Cambodia, many sanctuaries and projects have been established to save this endangered species. These places are open to tourists, enabling you to approach the elephants, feed them, and wash them. However, it is not recommended to ride the elephants, even though this activity is now legal in some tourist destinations, namely Angkor Wat.
Most people might think dolphins live in the ocean only, but in fact, there are species that survive in the fresh water. Mekong River is home to the rare Irrawaddy Dolphin – a species that appear only in Southeast Asia and Bengal Bay.
Tourists might spot Irrawaddy Dolphin in Kratie – a northeast Cambodian province. Statistics reveal nearly a half of this species population is now in Kratie. You might meet them while waiting on the boat or kayaking on the river.
Irrawaddy Dolphins spend most of their time submerging under the water surface and only jump up for few seconds to breathe. Hence, it would be pure luck if you could spot them with your bare eyes.
This wild cat has its origination in Himalaya Mountain Range and concentrates mostly in China and Southeast Asian countries. It was listed as a vulnerable species in 2008. Clouded Leopard is believed to be the evolutionary association between normal cat and leopard. Due to the decrease in the area of primitive forests, the habitat for this species becomes narrower day by day. Nowadays, Cambodia is one of the countries with the largest population of Clouded Leopard spotted in wildlife.
18. Why you should choose Cambodia for your honeymoon vacation?
Poetic, tranquil landscapes
Cambodia has its own appeal that cannot be seen anywhere else in this world. Aside from the sacred religious vibe all around the country, this land also possesses exceptionally dreamy natural settings, which are just perfect for romantic trips. While the North brings couples a trip back to the ancient time with a series of temples and sanctuaries, the South offers pristine beaches and islands, where you can have the unforgettably sweet moments with your beloved.
Especially, as Cambodia is not as crowded with tourists as other countries, it is quieter and more peaceful, offering an absolute private space for newly-weds.
Favorable weather condition
Cambodia possesses a pleasant weather condition because there is not much variation in the altitude and latitude of the whole country. Generally, the weather remains cool all year round, with an average temperature of 30 only. Of course, there will be some hot days with higher temperature but comparing to other tropical countries, it is still very favorable.
Most of the travelers agree that it is the people that make Cambodia special. They are sociable, friendly, and hospitable. Cambodian people always hang on their bright smiles to welcome outsiders to share a glimpse into their world. They love to help and won’t reject any of your requests if they are able to join hands.
Moreover, they are honest. Perhaps they are not so good at giving compliments, but they would not have any qualms talking to you. It might be a little shocking at first, but once you have got over it, you will definitely fall in love with their honesty.
19. Authentic experiences for Cambodia travel
Apsara Dance is a must-see performance that any travelers should never ignore when visiting Cambodia. Dating back to the 7th century, Apsara is the traditional dance of Cambodian people, which roots from religious mythology. The dance is said to play as an art form to entertain the gods and the kings. The dance involves thousands of hand gestures, each of which bears its own distinct meaning.
Apsara dance is so important to Cambodian culture that the image of Apsara female dancers have been carved into the walls of ancient temples.
Killing Fields (trace of Khmer Rouge massive killings)
The Killing Fields is where you can take a look back to the brutal past of Cambodia. The 20thcentury seems to be the toughest days of Cambodian people when they suffered from continuous war. Regardless of the controversy about Khmer Rouge, it is a truth universally that millions of people were killed brutally by this regime.
There are several Killing Fields all over Cambodia, which play as the massive grave sites for the locals who died after cruel executions. If you are a history buff, don’t miss these places out.
How about taking a zip line course in Angkor Park, where locate the worldwide famous Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom? It is a thrilling activity that allows players to take a birds’ eye view of the jungles in Angkor. You can also try to walk along the Sky Bridge, which is hung high above the lush tree lines. It looks a little risky, but indeed it’s absolutely safe, and chilling also.
An eco-tour to Angkor Park would also let you understand more about the importance of the wildlife, thus advising how to protect our Mother Nature.
20. Unusual things to do in Cambodia
Wander around a local food market
The best way to feel the “authentic” Cambodia is to visit the local food markets and shops as the locals usually do. In eastern culture, market plays an important role in the life of the locals, and it is not an exception in Cambodia. Even when supermarkets have become popular, markets are still indispensable.
You can find everything in the market, from foods, clothes, daily household furniture, to jewelry and gold.
Have a blessing from the Buddhist monk
It would be a big regret if you leave this religious world without having a blessing from the monk. Buddhism is one of the foundations of the Khmer Culture, and the locals still keep practicing this religion on a daily basis. Go to the temple, meditate, read the dharma talks, and have a monk to make a blessing for your own. It’s a great way to find peace in your mind as well as seek some luck for your life.
Tame the elephants
Cambodia is the land of elephant. A Cambodia tour would give you the opportunity to see the wild elephants with your bare eyes. Not only can you see them, you are also allowed to touch and wash them.
In some projects and sanctuaries, tourists are also able to follow the elephant to the bamboo forest and learn how to tame them.
Seeing elephants might be a fancy thing, but please notice that you should not try to ride them. Even when elephant-riding is now still a legal tourism activity, it is better to reduce their work. Asian elephants are endangered animals, and they should be well protected.
23. Cambodia Food & Cuisine
Cambodia cuisine might languish in the shadows of the worldwide famous culinary systems of the neighboring Vietnam and Thailand, but it is still heavenly tasty to sample.
Khmer culinary culture is the result of the integrations of different cuisines. Many famous dishes originate from other countries such as baguette from France, rice noodles from China and Vietnam, and curry from India.
A normal Cambodian meal would include at least 3 or 4 dishes of distinct flavors and textures. Soup is a must-have to accompany the main courses. Cambodian dishes tend to contain lots of herbs, pickled veggie, leaves, and so on. A dipping sauce is also an inevitable part of the meals, helping to adjust the taste.
Similar to other Asian countries, white rice is a cannot-miss name in the meal of the locals. Not only does it serve as the main food, rice is also the ingredients to make different scrumptious dishes such as fried rice cake, noodle, and congee.
It is not risky to try Cambodian dishes because the taste is quite similar to the ones in Vietnam and Thailand. The foods are visually attractive and give off an incredible smell, which would easily whet your appetite.
24. Must-try Cambodian specialties & Drinks
Must-try Cambodian Specialities
Fish Amok is the representative of Khmer cuisine. This is a curry fish dish with coconut milk and “kroeung”. Kroeung is a special curry-like recipe made from different leaves and species. It possesses an extraordinary taste and is among the most vital ingredients in Cambodian kitchens.
Fish Amok look smooth like top-notch silk. It seems to melt immediately in your mouth once you have taken a bite. The dish is often placed in banana leaves, looking rustic yet delicate.
Originating from China, Kuy Teav is now a delicacy of Cambodia and Southern Vietnam. It is a type of noodle soup that has rice noodles and minced pork as two main ingredients. Further toppings are also added to complete the taste of the dish.
Kuy Teav can be seen everywhere in Cambodia, from the simple food stalls on the streets to luxury fine-dining restaurants. This luscious dish is definitely fit for the gods.
Num Banh Chok
This is a popular dish for breakfast in Cambodia. It is indeed a variant of vermicelli noodles with snakehead gravy, fresh veggies, and herbs. Kroeung is an indispensable part of the dish as the taste of the gravy depends largely on it.
Each region would have its own way to make this dish. While Kampot people love to add dried shrimp, peanuts, and fish sauce to their dish, Siem Reap-ers prefer to have more garlic and coconut milk.
The red curry of Khmer people is another must-try food for Cambodia tours. Cambodian curry is far less spicy than the ones in other countries. In fact, it is a coconut-based chili soup, with just a little amount of chili only.
Khmer curry would have beef, fish, or chicken as the main ingredients. Kroeung, green bean, aubergine, potato, lemongrass, and coconut milk are also essential. The curry is often served with baguette, which is believed to be a consequence of French influence.
Balut, the boiled duck embryo, is street food to try at least once in Cambodia food tours. It looks a little bit disgusting, but the taste is incredible.
You can eat everything except the shell. After the egg is boiled, it would be taken out of the shell and put in a small bowl (or cups) and then eaten with ginger and laksa leaves. You can add some salt if the taste is too plain for you, also.
Must-try Cambodian Drinks
This brand is named after the iconic Angkor temples – the pride of all Cambodian people. The consumption of Angkor Beer could easily overweigh any other beer brands in this Golden Land. It has an impressive slogan: “My country, my beer”.
Angkor Beer contains 5.2% to 5.5% alcohol. It is lightly bitter and aromatic, which could easily satisfy even the most discerning beer fans.
Sra Sar is the name of the traditional Cambodian rice wine. The wine is distilled from white rice and is consumed in ordinary days and important occasions. The alcohol content of rice wine is kinda high (up to 40%), but the locals love it.
Sra Sar also serves as a medical remedy. People believe it could cure muscle pains and be good for your stomach.
Teuk Ampau, also known as sugar cane juice, is another savory drink to try in Cambodia. Sugarcane is not simply an ingredient to make sugar but it is also a favorite food as well as a beverage of Khmer people.
In the past, people tore apart the rind of the sugarcane and eat the inner part, which is exhausting and might make your mouth injured. Then the locals squeeze the juice out by machine. The juice is light green and sweet. Teuk Ampau tastes the best if adding some kumquat and ice too.
Sra Thnaot Chu
Sra Thnaot Chu is the Khmer name of palm wine. Sugar palm is the national plant of Cambodia and it plays an important role in the life of the locals. Sra Thnaot Chu can be said to be the country whiskey of this golden land.
The wine is exceptionally fragrant and quite strong. Its taste is not similar to anything else, so don’t forget to take a sip once coming to this country.
29. Languages spoken in Cambodia
Khmer is the official language in Cambodia. More than 90% of the population speak Khmer. This language is also applied in government documents, school, media, etc. Khmer is not written in Latin characters, so it is rather hard for foreigners to learn, especially those who only learn for a short time just to serve your travel purposes. However, it is still advisable to learn some simple sentences before you go, such as greetings, asking the address, bargaining prices, and so on.
Cambodia people can also speak French. It is the result of more than 50 years of French colonization. It was used as the main language to serve political and international economic activities from the late 19th century to the 70s of the 20th century.
As Cambodia is close to Vietnam and the two countries both have Cham ethnic people, many Cambodian, especially those living nearby Vietnamese border, can speak Vietnamese fluently. Similarly, many Vietnamese could speak Cham or Khmer well.
In contrast, English, despite being an international language, is not so familiar with the majority of Khmer people. However, you will not need to worry about language barriers because, in big cities and tourist spots, English is largely used
33. Who are your Cambodia tour guides?
We currently have 55 guides that have all been carefully selected and trained. They are open-minded, well-educated, and enthusiastic people who can provide the visitor with first-hand knowledge of Cambodian culture and history. They are also curious about foreign cultures and will be keen to know something of your own homeland! Our guides speak English, French, German, Chinese and Vietnamese.
We have guides in both the major tourist centers of the country (Phnom Penh and Angkor). They have specialized knowledge of their respective cities and surroundings. Upon arrival at the airport, a local guide will meet you and be your escort for the duration of your stay in that particular city. However, you also have the option of hiring a “national” guide who will accompany you through your entire journey.
32. How to get around while visiting Cambodia
From/to Cambodia International flight:
Direct flights connect Phnom Penh International Airport with mainland China (Beijing, Guangzhou), France (Paris), Hong Kong, Laos (Vientiane), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), Singapore, South Korea (Incheon), Taiwan (Taipei), Thailand (Bangkok) and Vietnam (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City). Myanmar (Yangon)
Direct flights connect Siem Reap’s Angkor International Airport with Laos (Pakse, Vientiane), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), Singapore, South Korea (Incheon, Busan), Thailand (Bangkok) and Vietnam (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City). Myanmar (Yangon), and The Philippines (Manila).
Travelers going specifically to visit the Angkor temple ruins may prefer to use Siem Reap as it’s only a few minutes away from the main sites. However, as Bangkok Airways has a monopoly on direct flights between Bangkok and Siem Reap, it’s a lot cheaper to fly to Phnom Penh and to take the bus (or cross overland from Bangkok).
Low cost carrier Air Asia has introduced flights from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok to Phnom Penh and Kuala Lumpur to Siem Reap, while Jetstar Asia has begun flying from Singapore to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.
Get in by road
All six border crossings with Thailand are open 7 am to 8 pm, and each offers Cambodian visas on arrival. All the crossings are served by paved roads in both countries, except the Cambodian side of the Daun Lem crossing, which is being paved as of March 2012.
your Cambodia tour and holiday packages could be started from four of the six border towns (Poipet, Koh Kong, Daun Lem, and O’Smach) are directly served by buses. Pailin, Anlong Veng, and Samraong (each less than 20 km from a border) are each served by buses, motorbikes and shared taxis which connect each of the towns with their respective border crossings.
Ferries operate seasonally along many of the major rivers. Major routes include Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and Siem Reap to Battambang. Boats are slower than road transport, charge higher prices for foreigners, and are sometimes overcrowded and unsafe. Then again, Cambodia’s highways can be tricky, and boats are sometimes the safer of the two options. The high-speed boat from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap costs US$33 and takes about 6 hours, departing at 7:30 am and offers a spectacular view of rural life along the Tonle Sap River.
There are also a few luxury boats operating between Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Saigon. For something around $150 per day, including accommodation, food, and excursions, it’s a good alternative to regular boat service.
The boat trip between Siem Reap and Battambang takes longer (especially in the dry season), and is less comfortable and more expensive than taking a seat in a shared taxi, but is favored by some travelers for its up-close view of subsistence farming (and hundreds of waving children) along the river. Taking the boat late in the dry season (April and May) is not advisable as low water levels mean that you must transfer to smaller vessels mid-river.