For all its well-deserved UNESCO World Heritage fame, the traditional temples of Angkor are removed from being the one causes to go to the Kingdom of Cambodia. With its fabled historical past, distinctive tradition, pleasant individuals, dazzling seashores, verdant jungles, punchy delicacies and distinctive emphasis on sustainability, it’s one in every of our favorite nations within the area to suggest to guests searching for an offbeat vacation or journey. To study why, listed below are 9 compelling causes to enterprise past the temples of Angkor to uncover among the nation’s unbelievable hidden gems. To dive proper in to some wonderful excursions that go to these locations, go right here.
There’s merely no avoiding it: most guests to Cambodia can have one factor on the high of their thoughts: Angkor Wat. Whereas we’d by no means discourage anybody from experiences its wonders firsthand, the aim of this text is to tell them of what else there may be to expertise within the Kingdom; and guests received’t must go very far to seek out out.
Though it’s used primarily as a launching level for journeys into the traditional temple complicated of Angkor, Siem Reap has emerged as a world-class vacation spot in its personal proper through the years, because of its very good choice fo eating places, cafes, bars, boutique and excessive finish resorts and extra. Enterprise only a bit outdoors of the town middle and friends can be handled to picture-perfect scenes of Cambodian rural communities, pleasant locals and extra. And with a spread of different sights not a lot additional afield corresponding to Tonlé Sap Lake, one may simply fill a complete vacation in and surrounding Siem Reap with out ever visiting the temples of Angkor and have a great time.
Tonle Sap Lake
Proper on the doorstep of Siem Reap is one in every of Southeast Asia’s most original pure and cultural sights: Tonle Sap Lake. When it’s at its fullest, it’s the most important freshwater physique of water in Southeast Asia, stretching some 250km throughout northwest Cambodia. A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, it hosts some 300 species of freshwater fish, 11 of that are globally endangered, and quite a few uncommon and endangered birds, crocodiles, and monkeys, making it a veritable paradise for lovers of nature. Tonle Sap can be dwelling to quite a few floating villages corresponding to Kompong Phluk and Kompong Kleang that are good examples of rural life in Cambodia.
With streets lined with previous French shophouses, Battambang is taken into account one in every of Cambodia’s best-preserved colonial period cities. Internet hosting every thing from fair-trade cafes and eating places to artwork galleries, historical temples and the wonderful Phare Ponleu Selpak, a world-renowned NGO that trains performing artists whereas lifting them out of poverty, Battambang is small in dimension however packs a giant punch with distinctive issues to see, do and expertise. For friends trying to expertise genuine Cambodia with out the crowds of Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, Battambang is a simple pencil-in.
Kampot & Kep
These twin southern provinces on the coast of Cambodia provide an ideal mixture of consolation, character and uniqueness for these in search of a extra nuanced seashore journey to seek out interesting over typical flop-and-drop getaways. World-renowned for its distinctive Kampot pepper, Kampot affords a bunch of charming riverside and boutique resorts for friends to calm down at in between jaunts by way of the city whereas absorbing the French structure or strolls by paddleboard or kayak by way of painterly riverside environs the realm has to supply. Company are additionally inspired to take to the countryside on two wheels to find the realm’s simple cultural attraction.
Close by, Kep is a well-known beachside city providing a surprisingly big selection of sights and actions to simply fill the area of a number of days. Highlights embrace mountaineering in Kep Nationwide Park, a go to to Koh Tonsay or ‘Rabbit Island’, a winding ascent to Bokor Hill Station to find hidden cave pagodas from the seventh century, and visits to rustic pepper farms and an iconic Crab Market.
Anybody who has ever missed Cambodia as a seashore vacation spot will likely be reminded of their follies with one take a look at Koh Rong, a beautiful imaginative and prescient of paradise marked by azure waters and white sands which are at dwelling on any submit card. With a bunch of unbelievable seashores and tonnes of supporting actions to fill in no matter time is leftover between snorkeling and sunbathing, Koh Rong simply one in every of Cambodia’s high must-see locations.
For all the grandeur above the water, there may be equal pizzaz beneath it with a complete host of marine species that may be readily seen with snorkelling journeys across the island. Lovers of extra sporty actions will really feel at dwelling with plentiful alternatives for kayaking, zip-lining and extra.
To not be forgotten, the capital of Phnom Penh is eager to remind guests that, whereas it might not have the traditional temples of Siem Reap, it has greater than sufficient historical past and intrigue to maintain guests’ curiosity piqued, whereas its superfluous abundance of meals, drink and leisure merely can’t be outdone throughout the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Having skilled one thing of a renaissance lately, the town is now dwelling to a number of hotspots for cool cafes, bustling bars, fascinating museums, feel-good NGO visits, CSR actions and extra. Merely put, Phonm Penh is completely one in every of Cambodia’s premiere tourism locations and shouldn’t be missed as such!
Thought of by some to be one in every of Southeast Asia’s final nice wilderness areas, the distant Cardamom mountains spans some 4.4 million hectares throughout southwestern Cambodia and is dwelling to the area’s largest contiguous rainforest. All through this huge wilderness is an astonishing range of uncommon and unique creatures corresponding to clouded leopards, and solely about 25,000 individuals, lots of whom are ethnic minorities. Closed off to the world as a result of its remoteness and rugged panorama for time immemorial, solely considerably just lately has the realm change into possible to go to because of cautious growth of tented camps and customer infrastructure. For lovers of nature, it’s certainly one in every of Southeast Asia’s most sought-after and unbelievable locations.
Whereas a lot of Cambodia is characterised by infinite rice fields and sugar palms, Mondulkiri has a decidedly extra ‘wild’ look with verdant rolling hills and luxurious jungles. Situated within the japanese a part of the nation, Mondulkiri can be a nature-lovers dream. Dwelling to the indigenous Bunong individuals, who nonetheless observe animism and ancestor worship, friends can find out about their tradition and distinctive Phnong homes. Mondulkiri has additionally change into synonymous with accountable elephant tourism, with initiatives permitting friends to ‘stroll with the herd’ as a substitute of using them. There are additionally loads of nature excursions permitting guests to identify langurs and gibbons whereas trekking by way of Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, or discover speeding waterfalls.
Different highlights embrace Bou Sra and Chrey Thom Waterfalls and the Memang Gold Mines.
Outdoors of Angkor Wat, Prasat Preah Vihear is arguably one in every of Cambodia’s most spectacular temples. Perched majestically atop the Dangkrek Mountains, the heavily-forested ridge alongside the border between Cambodia and Thailand has breathtaking views throughout northern Cambodia.
The temple is a three-dimensional illustration of Mt Meru, the middle of the universe in Hindu mythology, and took almost 300 years to assemble, a time period that makes evident how carvings and sculptures advanced within the nation over time. Though it’s a bit off the crushed path, most guests will agree that the hassle in getting there may be properly value it.
Kratie is the launching level for journeys to identify uncommon freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins on the Mekong River. Though lately it has change into more and more tough for friends to see these elusive creatures, the city’s distinctive colonial attraction and arguably among the finest Mekong sunsets within the nation make it a worthwhile stopping level by way of their Cambodia journey however.
Close by Koh Trong Island is a calming place to expertise genuine Khmer hospitality or discover by rented bike. North of Kratie lies the Mekong Discovery Path, with a bunch of adventures and experiences, together with community-based homestays, bicycle rides and boat journeys.
Feeling impressed to ebook a visit to Cambodia that explores a few of its ‘different’ unbelievable wonders? Our consultants on the bottom there would like to put collectively a customized itinerary for you. Be happy to succeed in out to us at [email protected]