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The successor to the mighty Khmer Empire, modern-day Cambodia is a breathtaking nation with ancient temples, lush jungles and white sandy beaches. People from around the world visit Cambodia to experience its beautiful landscapes, sun-drenched beaches and cuisine, which is regarded as one of the oldest extant in the world. Foodies can also enjoy avant-garde Cambodian meals featuring fresh and fermented ingredients like crabs, ducks and pork in French-influenced Thai, Indonesian and Vietnamese dishes. The nation is also home to the World Heritage Angkor Temples and fascinating towns that reflect the vestiges of colonial rule.
Located in the Mekong Lowlands, the capital of Phnom Penh is home to the ornate Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. Museums display beautiful artifacts and artistic Khmer pieces as well as chronicle the history of the nation, including the infamous reign of the Khmer Rouge. On nearby Silk Island, artisans weave and dye silk in a rural village. Enjoy the city skyline while boating on the Mekong River, the habitat of freshwater dolphins, and explore various shops housed inside the Art Deco Central Market.
Situated on the Gulf of Thailand, the coastal region around Koh Rong is home to idyllic tropical islands and shimmering white sand beaches that are flanked by mangrove forests. Snorkelers and SCUBA divers can explore dazzling coral reefs located offshore surrounded by colorful fish. You can bask in the sun, collect shells or participate in a wide range of water sports. Bioluminescent aquatic jellies and fish create an ethereal world for swimmers after sunset.
Cambodia is home to several national parks that preserve the country’s rare and endangered native flora and fauna. These green spaces are the epicenter of Cambodia’s burgeoning ecotourism industry. Here, you can see spectacular rock formations, shimmering lakes, cascading waterfalls and numerous species of wildlife in their native habitats. The country is home to the Asiatic black bear, Indian elephants and the pileated gibbon. Traveling inland also enables you to experience the art, music and culture of a variety of indigenous people.
Covered with lichen, the exquisitely carved 12th century Angkor Thom was the last capital of the Khmer Empire. Rising like iconic lotus flowers from the verdant landscape, the world-famous temples of Angkor are symbols of Cambodia’s captivating history. Ta Prohm, which was featured in the film “Tomb Raiders,” is intertwined with ancient trees. The west-facing Angkor Wat is a resplendent shimmering tower of color when the setting sun illuminates its façade.
The northwest region is also home to Tonie Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and the impressive Dangrek Mountains that encompass the breathtaking Moh I-Daeng overlook and the mountain top Preah Vihear temple. The town of Battambang is filled with French colonial architecture, including the two-story former Governor’s Residence. It is also the starting point for the bamboo train, a classic scenic rail journey.
Best Time To Visit:
While it is possible to visit Cambodia any time of year, December and January are the most popular. This is due to the ideal combination of lower relative humidity levels, less rainfall and cooling breezes that waft across the landscape. Temperatures begin to rise in early February, reaching their zenith in April. The wet season, which lasts until October, is also a great time to visit Cambodia. Attractions are less crowded and the rain typically occurs in brief downpours, which means that the majority of the day is clear for sightseeing and experiencing the fascinating culture of Cambodia. You may also want to schedule your visit to coincide with one of the major holiday festivals, such as the Bon Om Tuk or the Khmer New Year celebrations.