Why visit Cambodia
Cambodia is our favorite South East Asian country. It is fantastic and cheap and still not spoiled by crowds or tourists, like neighboring Thailand and Vietnam.
Very often Cambodia’s trips are sold in combination with a trip to Vietnam. This was our trip a few years ago. In Cambodia, we visited three places – Phnom Penh (the capital), Angkor Wat (near the town of Siem Reap) and Tonle Lake.
You’ll be glad if you repeat the same itinerary. You will tour the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh with its’ elegant buildings and temples. One of the temples has a tile floor made out of pure silver. The riverfront is teaming with restaurants and shops which you must check out.
You can visit the museum where the victims of the Khmer Rouge were kept. It was formerly a school. This tour was too upsetting for me. Probably, I am not the only one who felt that way.
Very close to this museum is a market with hundreds of stalls. We saw such markets in Thailand and Vietnam. This market is chock-full of unusual and also everyday items. It has a food court where people can buy a cheap but tasty meal.
The visit to the night markets in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh is quite an experience.
You will be able to see people, local and tourists soaking their feet in a small pool while the tiny fish is nibbling on their rough skin.
I skipped this experience: the water is not chlorinated, and you don’t know what kind of skin disease the person sitting next to you might have. I kept my shoes on!
Siem Reap is a place to stay overnight if you want to see the famous Angkor Wat the next morning. This impressive stone temple complex will fulfill all your expectations. Doesn’t matter how many pictures of Angkor Wat you saw, seeing it “live” will impress you.
Practical advice: use the toilet before you start exploring this temple complex. All restrooms are located quite a distance from the complex.
Tonle Lake was a pleasant surprise. You will see a large number of families living in houseboats. Even the local elementary school is in the large barge sitting on the water.
All the tourists I saw at such places had their pockets filled with cheap sweets. Please don’t be such a tourist. If you want to give something to school kids who all come from poor families, do not provide them with candy. Give them something practical: a notebook, pens, pencils, maybe coloring books.
Take a boat tour through the river and then around Tonle Lake. You will learn about the lives of local fishermen, and their migration to the higher grounds during the monsoon season. You will see big and small boats returning home with their catch. Morning is the best time to see this lake: it is serene and peaceful.
What to see in Cambodia (top trips & tours)
Where to sleep in Cambodia
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Book your flight to Cambodia
Best time to visit Cambodia
The best time to travel to Cambodia – during dry months November through February.
If you do not want to exchange US dollars for riel, you may use dollars everywhere in Cambodia. They do not use American coins. Therefore they give you small change in riel.