Captivating Cambodia is a land of beautiful temples, wild jungle and unspoiled countryside. The landscape is a mix of low lying plains, surrounded by low mountains. The Mekong River flows through the heartland of Cambodia, also characterized by Tonle Sap (Great Lake) which spans 2,590km² during the dry season and expands to about 24,605km² during the rainy season. Much of this region is devoted to agriculture, specifically wet rice cultivation.
Today's tourists can expect a combination of luxurious hotels and restaurants with traditional markets and ramshackle side streets in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. A river cruise along the Tonle Sap from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is a great way to laze through Cambodia's wetlands. The Angkor Wat historical park in Siem Reap province, is truly a must – see attraction in Southeast Asia. Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Stretching over some 400sqk, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the ninth to the fifteenth century. This includes the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its numerous sculptural adornments. The sandy white beaches in Sihanoukville and the bustling capital city of Phnom Penh are also very popular stops for tourists exploring the country.
Things To Do
- Go for an elephant ride in Rattanakiri and Mondulkiri; remember to grab a tour guide.
- Be a part of the extravagant Water Festival. Taking place in October/November. It is around this time that the Tonle Sap changes direction, leaving behind an abundance of fish. Crowds mingle on the river banks in Phnom Penh to watch hundreds of brightly coloured boats and their paddlers battle it out for top honours.
- Watch a traditional Cambodian Apsara dance. Siem Reap is probably the best place to watch a dance display, although travellers can occasionally catch a spontaneous one in the villages.
- Go dolphin– spotting near Kratie. Viewing Cambodia’s unusual fresh water dolphins is fascinating. The best time to go is early morning or late afternoon.
- Swim in volcanic Yak Lom lake near Banlung town in Rattanakiri province. The water is clear and cool and the surrounding forest is ideal for a picnic.
- Fire a rocket launcher or M– 16 in Phnom Penh. There aren't many other places in the world that would let you near such lethal weaponry. This ruckus good time is by contrast also a somber reminder of the troubles Cambodia's been through.