Major Travel Destinations
A Buddhist shrine in the 14th century, Cambodia’s capital in the 15th and the French colonial center in the 19th, Phnom Penh’s heritage is rich and varied. Today visitors find a bustling, multicultural city at the confluence of the historic Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac Rivers. Phnom Penh has many places of exceptional interest for those with time enough to appreciate the city’s attractions. Visit the Silver Pagoda of the Royal Palace, the National Museum of Arts has paintings, artifacts and sculpture dating back centuries and Wat Phnom, the temple from which the city takes its name, is a fascinating starting point for the discovery of the city’s past.
It is best to travel to major sightseeing for at least 1-2 day. Travel by car from Phnompenh to Siem Reap, it take 4-5 hours drive. One the way, you should stop at spider market. And another highlight is Buddha Cave.
Simereap (Angkor Wat)
Siem Reap is the center of Angkor. It is here where the ancient people of Khmer constructed one of the greatest monuments, Angkor Wat. But it is not just the temples that make this town attractive. Visit the Tonle Sap lake with its floating villages, where you can explore the traditional Khmer way of life or the national park of Preak Tuol where you can find unique birds. A one day excursion takes you to Phnom Kulen, where on weekends hundreds of Khmers pilgrim to a temple on the mountain top. This world heritage site, visitors should spend around 2-4 days to go to Khmers sanctuary, floating market and museum.
Siem Reap is about 300 km from Phnom Penh.
(230 km from Phnom Penh)
The only deep-sea port in Cambodia is in Sihanoukville. The town was constructed by the French as a present for the King. With its sandy beaches it is the perfect place for swimming, scuba diving or just for taking a sunbath. Take a boat to visit one of the many island nearby. Hotels and restaurants serve fresh seafood.
Minor Travel Destinations in Cambodia
One of the Cambodia’s newest provinces, formed during 1980s, Banteay Meanchey is considered a well off province, thanks to the border shared with Thailand. The niche is found at Poipet, a town treated as the Las Vegas of Cambodia. There has been an increasing number of casinos in Poipet while gambling is prohibited in Thailand, which makes this bordering zone a lively pass-by. Taking tourism into account, the most popular site would be Banteay Chhmar, a massive temple built by the greatest king Jayavarman VII. It will be the right place to explore for any traveler whose interest is more than what Siem Reap offers.
Battambang is a province of Cambodia that is nestled in the northwest of the country and bordered with Thailand. Known as the largest rice-producing province, its economy lies heavily on the agricultural industry. Once there, you will have chance to explore the Anorian temples nearby the town where serves as a nice base during your visiting. There are varieties of appealing sites ranging from magnificent temples to waterfalls. If to specify the most popular place of Battambang, it would be nationally agreed to opt Kamping Poy Lake, a perfect swimming spot hosting countless locals every weekend.
Almost completely surrounding what is national capital city of Phnom Penh, Kandal covers the land area of 3,568 km2, with the population density of 301.3 inha./ km2. Sharing the long border with Phnom Penh, Kandal easily wins the most day trips from travelers due to its many convenient accessible tourist destinations ranging from the historical scene to the beautifully shaped landscape of mountainous area. Some attractions worth mentioning includes Phnom Udong, Kean Svay resort, Phnom Prasit, and so on.
Kep is one of the four cities of Cambodia. The economy is quite strong thanks to the fresh seafood available at the sea making Kep an active trading town. Unfortunately, should you seek the “sand, sea, sun” there might be a little disappointment as its beaches are less enjoyable with mangrove and black rock rather than white-sand beach. A short boat ride to the breathtaking Rabbit Island, however, would pay well. Rabbit Island is currently under the development project owing to the combination of its white sandy beach with shallow water and the resource of varied fish, plant and coral, which all make ecology research possible.
Koh Kong is most likely known to travelers either coming from or going to Thailand by land. The province is located in the southwest corner of the country and bordered by Thailand to the west, Pursat to the north, Komong Speu to the east, and Kampot and Sihanouk Ville to the southeast. What is unique about this province is the fact that its populated number has increased continually over the last few decades. This facility no doubts results from migrants attracted from other parts of the country who choose to lay their lives on this busily booming frontier zone. Though it rightly remains a transit stop, the vast availability of its tourist appeal such as the amazing beaches, waterfalls, and striking landscape are likely to turn Koh Kong a tourist destination.
Sharing a long border with Kandal, Kompong Spue is approximately 40 km southeast away from Phnom Penh. The province’s economy is quite good including the tourism field. The main attraction is Ampe Phnom, a natural and cultural site of the province. Once there, visitors will have chance to swim in the stream and enjoy the relaxing lunch on the cottages above the stream. But, attention, do not ever leave any belongings unattended as you will risk your valuables against the inhuman thieves (monkey) who usually claim down from the trees to take things away.
Kom Pong Cham
(123 km from Phnom Penh)
The city Kompong Cham is the second largest in Cambodia. The city has a warm French colonial atmosphere. This is why Kompong Cham was once called “The city of gardens”. Visit the port and some wats such as Wat Nokhor from the 13th century.
Kompong Chhang covers the land area of 5,521 km2 with some 418,000 inhabitants. It is considered one of the provinces with fewest tourist attractions. Kompong Chhnang, as its name suggests is famous of its unique symbol of claypots (Chhnang in Khmer) largely produced by the locals and sold throughout Cambodia. The province sometimes makes a day-trip destination to travelers due to short distance from the capital city. Surrounded by water for most of the time, the town is home to many floating villages along the river as well as some tremendously ruined temples. Given that, a boat trip is the most convenient means to snap all those all.
This province is very large in size with some 13,814 km2 making it the second biggest province of Cambodia. It is known as the historical and cultural site to explore with the presence of the pre-Ankorian temples. One of all to get mentioned is the 7th-century Sambor Prei Kuk, which is considered the most impressive archeological site after Ankor Siem Reap. Another popular scene is Phnom Son Tuk Resort, the most sacred mountain of the region. Phnom Son Tuk is located on top of the mountain; in other words, you have 980 stairs to claim. There is a big worship hall that is made of stone with red-tile roofed and decorated by the genius Khmer architectural style with many statues of Buddhist surrounding.
About 150 kilometers away from the capital of Phnom Penh, Kompot is considered one of the winning tourist destinations of Cambodia. This quiet town is most famous for many features, one of which is the reputable produce of the best pepper in the country. Another contribution is the fact that the seafood there (imported from the nearby Kep town) is fresh, plentiful and delicious; the bottom line is it is cheap. Besides, this beach town is also known to possess tourist charming places like Bokor National Park, one of the country’s most preserved area, the scenic two-tier waterfall of Popokvil Falls and the popular bathing spot of Tek Chhouu Falls, not to mention many unspoilt islands and the beach resort of Kep that is only miles away to visit.
The most remarkable thing about Kratie is the fact that it is the only place in Cambodia allowing us to witness the freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins. Kratie is approximately 315km far from Phnom Penh and seems to straddle on the half way between Phnom Penh and Rattanakiri, which makes a good base to visit the remote eastern Rattanakiri. Kratie residents, not much different from other Cambodians, are mostly living on substantial farming and fishing Despite the unpleasant road to Kratie, it is still worth a visit, again, thanks to the natural resource of the uncommonly freshwater dolphins.
Mondulkiri is an eastern province of Cambodia, bordered by Ratanakiri to the north, Vietnam to the east and southeast, Kratie to the southwest and west, and shares a very small border with Stung Treng to the north. It is the most remote and sparely populated province with the total inhabitants of some 36000, and 80 percent of which is made of ten different tribal minorities, with the majority of Phnong. A base at the provincial capital of Sen Monorom is recommended during your visit in Mondulkiri as there are easy accesses to restaurants and guest houses. The province’s appeal lies on the perfect weather and the stunning view of long grassy hills, dense forests, wildlife and majestic waterfalls, which all help earn Mondulkiri the candidate ship of Cambodia’s eco-tourism.
Oddar Meanchey is definitely the newest province of Cambodia’s; it gains little concern from the government though. Only few attractions are available in this remote province; therefore, not many visitors come to this town besides some determined souls who is curious to witness the former Khmer Rough town of Anlong Veng. Once being the Khmer Rough strongholds, Anlong Veng was home to the most notorious leaders of the Dark Period such as Pol Pot, (died in 1988, ) Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, and Ta Mok(died in Calemet hospital in 2006). Anlong Veng is now a 100 percent safe place to visit with spectaular view of dense forest, especially some area around the ride of Chuor Phnom Dang Rek.
Pailin is the smallest city among the Cambodia’s 4 cities. Following the footprint of Poipet, Pailin is home to though not as many as in Poipet some casinos that are enjoying fruits of profit, most of which is from Thai gamblers. There are also attractive places to visit in this lively tiny city, and the best example is Phnom Khieu Waterfall. Stretching along the lower reaches of Chuor Phnom Kravanh, this swimming hole is about 20 km away from the town to the southwest. The site may promise to make the city worth visiting.
(57 km from Phnom Penh)
Visit the temple Suryagiri constructed by Suriavarman I. in the 11th century. Great view over the country side from the top of this hill. Situated in the province of Takeo.
Phnomd & Angkor borei
(79 km from Phnom Penh)
The temple of Phnom Da (mid 6th century) was the last religious center of the Kingdom of Funan (Baphuon). Another very interesting temple just beside Phnom Da is Asram Maharosei an Indian-style laterite temple. There is a museum in Angkor Borei, showing objects of the Baphuon period. To get there, the visitors enjoy a boat ride along an old water channel from the 6th century.
Bordered by Thailand, Preah Vihear remains underdeveloped owing to the poor infrastructure. This remote province is accessible by road only and either via Oddar Meanchey province from the west or via Kompong Thom from the south. Nevertheless, it is fortunate enough to be the heir of Prasat Preah Vihear, Koh Ker, and Preah Khan temple. Though the accessibility to the 3 sites is not convenient, there are great many of determined travelers visiting these Ankorian temples, especially Preah Vihear temple, which was recently designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO
Cr ; commons.wikimedia.org
Covering the land area of 4,883 km², Prey Veng constitutes 2.70% of the total land area of Cambodia (181,035km2) It is 90 km separated between Phnom Penh and Prey Veng, and the best way to reach there is being on bus from the capital Central Market to Neak Luong and then after crossing on the ferry, taking a one-dollar-drive with a share taxi to the provincial town. Remember, Kampong Cham is a must-alternative pass by during the wet season as the road is usually accessible to only motorbikes. In spite of the shortage of tourist attractions, the province, wearing a historical look, deserves a stop thanks to the presence of the evidently ruined temple of Preah Vihear Chann at Ba Phnom, a religious site believed to have been the birthplace of Funan Khmer.
Pursat would have been mentioned less without the tomb of a Khmer national hero Kleang Meung, who sacrificed his life and defeated the Thais in a battle in 1482. Pursat seems to have fewer resorts to describe than other provinces, we therefore hardly see the tourists besides those who stop for lunch and continue to Battambang. Most of the locals, same old story, basely live on farming and fishing, while some involve in manual work in marble carving what is uniquely present in Pursat.
Situated on the mountainous northeastern corner of Cambodia, Ratankiri Province is considered an eco-tourism capital of Cambodia due to its rich sources of jungle, wildlife, waterfalls, and spectacular scenery. The province is also home to some ethnic minority groups whose tribal lifestyle is somehow another attraction to foreign visitors. The most famous tourist site of the province is Yeak Laom volcanic lake, a perfect bathing spot that is renowned for its exceptionally clear water, hosting tens of thousands of tourists every year despite the 586 kilometers of dreadful road from Phnom Penh. The provincial capital of Ratanakiri is Banlung City where restaurants, markets, and hotels are available.
This is one of the most isolated provinces of Cambodia with some 415km distant from Phnom Penh. There are some 25,000 inhabitants in Stung Treng most of which are farmer. And the majority of the locals take the advantages from the Tonle Sap Lake to enjoy the stable profitability of freshwater fish that leaves the province known as an active trading town. In spite of being less concerned about, Stung Treng offers some tourist sites such Thala Boravit, Ou Pong Moan, Koh Khsach Resort, and so on so forth.
This seems to be the most inadequate province in terms of the poor infrastructure, infertile soil, and passive trading. Svay Rieng is also notoriously famous for the highest crime rates due to the scarcity of the daily income as most of the locals are basely living on farming and fishing. All in all, Svay Rieng, not surprisingly, is necessarily easy to get recognized as the poorest province of Cambodia. By the way, anywhere to visit? Yes, of course. Like other provinces, Svay Rieng is worth a visit thanks to the spectacular view of the country shaped by the landscape of complex forest.
Takeo is best described as the oldest province rich in tourist destinations, and specifically in historic of the era of Anachak Phnom and Chenla. Simply being close to the capital city of Phnom Penh, Takeo easily wins the most numbers of day trips. Not only is Takeo home to the legacy of the six ancient temples, but also home to some often-visited resorts such as Tonle Bati, Phnom Ta Mao(zoo, ) Chi So mountain, Neang Khmao Temple, and many more.