Best places to visit in Cambodia for a trip of your lifetime

Renowned as the land of Angkor Wat’s colossal temples and marked by the dark shadows of the Khmer Rouge era, Cambodia’s history is a complex tapestry of artistic triumphs and harrowing atrocities. While the historical allure is a primary draw, Cambodia extends its embrace beyond the famous temples of Angkor Wat and the haunting narratives of the past.

Beyond the historical narrative, Cambodia captivates travelers with its multifaceted charm. Whether delving into ancient wonders or indulging in the modern vibrancy of the capital, the country unveils a captivating spectrum of experiences. Enrich your journey with our curated list of top places to visit in Cambodia ensuring a comprehensive exploration of this fascinating land.

Ten places to visit in Cambodia that you cannot miss on your upcoming trip

For those immersing themselves beyond Siem Reap’s temple trail, Cambodia unfolds as a Southeast Asian gem with diverse attractions. Its sun-kissed coastline, adorned with sandy white beaches, beckons sun enthusiasts. The lush, jungle-clad countryside caters to the intrepid explorer, while the vibrant capital, Phnom Penh, pulsates with the contemporary rhythm of Cambodian urban life. Whatever you’re looking for in a perfect vacation, you best believe you can find it here in Cambodia. 

So read on and take notes of all the best places to visit in Cambodia that are highly recommended by experienced travelers. 

Siem Reap

Siem Reap Angkor Wat

Nestled in northwest Cambodia, Siem Reap, founded in 1907, stands as a captivating destination spanning an area of 10,298 square kilometers. This city, with a population of 139,458, is an indispensable stop for every traveler exploring Cambodia. Boasting an enchanting blend of colonial architecture, Khmer cultures, and awe-inspiring temples, Siem Reap is synonymous with the renowned Angkor Wat temple complex, a global icon.

The city offers a vibrant atmosphere, providing accommodations ranging from quaint guesthouses to luxurious five-star resorts. Beyond the temples, Siem Reap unveils a tapestry of experiences, including beautifully aged colonial buildings, vibrant silk farms, bustling markets, and more. As the gateway to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap is a cultural and historical haven. Key attractions include the iconic Angkor Wat, the ancient city of Angkor Thom, the captivating Ta Prohm, the scenic Tonle Sap Lake, the intricate Banteay Srei, and the vibrant Angkor Night Market. Immerse yourself in the local culture by trying Cambodian insects, exploring the lively markets, and witnessing the mesmerizing Apsara Dance. Siem Reap stands as a testament to Cambodia’s rich heritage and is a must-visit destination for an immersive travel experience.

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh Royal Palace

Located in the heart of South-central Cambodia, Phnom Penh, with its sprawling 678.46 km2 expanse, stands as a city steeped in history, culture, and modern dynamism. Established in 1434, it has evolved into a bustling metropolis with a current population of 1,573,544.

Phnom Penh beckons travelers with a rich tapestry of attractions. The National Museum and Royal Palace showcase Cambodia’s historical treasures, while the iconic Wat Phnom stands as a testament to the city’s spiritual heritage. The Russian Market and Silver Pagoda add a touch of vibrant local life and intricate craftsmanship to the city’s allure, complemented by the stately Independence Monument.

Engaging activities abound in Phnom Penh, from exploring the chilling history of the Killing Fields and S21 Prison to serene visits to local temples. The city offers a unique blend of historical reflection and modern exploration, with excursions to Silk Island and exhilarating quad bike tours.

Phnom Penh encapsulates Cambodia’s essence as a multifaceted destination, inviting visitors to delve into its past, revel in its present vibrancy, and participate in an array of cultural and adventurous experiences.

Sihanoukville

Sihanoukville Luxury Beach
Sihanoukville Luxury Beach

Lies on Cambodia’s southwestern shores, Sihanoukville, or the captivating Kampong Som, emerges as a coastal symphony for those seeking sun-soaked adventures. Born in 1957, this vibrant city spans 195.9 km² and hosts a community of 156,691, becoming the nation’s youthful seaside gem.

Sihanoukville enchants with its pristine, ivory beaches, where the sands of Otres Beach beckon like a siren’s call. Nature unfolds in the rhythmic cascade of Kbal Chhay Waterfall and the tranquil aura of Wat Leu Temple. For the intrepid, Ream National Park unveils a canvas of diverse wildlife and lush landscapes, promising an adventure of discovery.

Beyond terrestrial wonders, Sihanoukville’s azure waters invite exploration. Dive into thrilling underwater realms, or embark on Island Speed Ferry escapades to discover the secrets of nearby tropical islands. As the sun dips below the horizon, Sihanoukville’s culinary scene, especially its seafood delights, comes to life.

This coastal haven whispers tales of relaxation and exhilaration, where each grain of sand holds a promise of discovery. Sihanoukville, with its fresh seafood symphony, temple serenity, and natural poetry, invites travelers to surrender to the rhythm of Cambodia’s coastal allure.

Banlung 

Lies in the secluded landscapes of Northern Cambodia, Banlung, the capital of Ratanakiri, emerges as a haven of natural wonders, earning its reputation as the “Wonderland of Waterfall.” Surrounded by a lush ecosystem, Banlung boasts a collection of mesmerizing waterfalls, including the majestic Katieng Waterfall, the enchanting Cha Ong Waterfall, the picturesque Kachang Waterfall, and the captivating Ou’Sean Lair Waterfall. Among these, the Yak Loum volcanic lake stands as the crown jewel, recognized as one of the world’s 15 most beautiful craters.

Venturing into Banlung offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the vibrant local culture. The bustling Phsar Banlung market beckons, showcasing an array of treasures, including exquisite jewelry, intricate carvings, and meticulously crafted handmade baskets—a testament to the skilled artistry of the local tribes.

Banlung, with its ethereal waterfalls and cultural richness, unfolds as a hidden gem, inviting travelers to explore its pristine landscapes and engage with the traditions of the local communities. The allure of Banlung lies not only in its natural wonders but also in the authenticity of its cultural tapestry, creating a truly enchanting experience for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure in Cambodia.

Kampot

Kampot durian statue
Kampot durian statue

Kampot is a charming destination with a rich tapestry of experiences waiting to be explored in southern Cambodia. Established in 1923, this town, with a population of approximately 22,691, serves as the capital of Kampot Province.

Kampot is renowned for its high-quality pepper and delectable local seafood, offering a treat for the taste buds. The town is strategically positioned on the east bank of the Kampot River, providing breathtaking vistas of the Bokor and Elephant Mountains, prominent features of the expansive Bokor National Park.

For those seeking adventure and discovery, Kampot offers a range of attractions and activities. Explore the meandering Kampot River, uncover the secrets of salt fields and Kampot pepper farms, or embark on exhilarating rock climbing adventures. The town is not only a gateway to the natural wonders of Bokor National Park but also a hub for cultural experiences, featuring places like the Central Market.

Whether indulging in culinary delights, venturing into nature, or immersing in local markets, Kampot invites travelers to savor its unique blend of scenic beauty and cultural richness.

Kep

Nestled in southern Cambodia, Kep, a quaint coastal town, exudes a unique charm that captivates visitors. Established in 1908, this gem spans an area of 336 km² and hosts a population of approximately 11,658 residents. The allure of Kep lies in its renowned gastronomic treasures, particularly its delectable crabs, making it a must-visit destination for seafood enthusiasts.

Kep is synonymous with its iconic Crab Market, where the aroma of freshly caught crustaceans wafts through the air, inviting culinary exploration. Indulging in local delicacies is a paramount experience, offering a taste of the region’s authentic flavors. Beyond culinary delights, Kep offers a range of attractions, including the mystical Phnom Chhnorl caves and pepper farms, providing insight into local agriculture.

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of Kep Beach, unwind at the Crab Market, explore the lush Pepper Plantations, or venture to Rabbit Island for a serene escape. Kep stands as a haven for those seeking hidden beaches, gastronomic delights, and a tranquil coastal retreat, creating an idyllic destination for diverse travel experiences.

Kampong Cham

Siem Reap Kampong Khleang
Siem Reap Kampong Khleang

Kampong Cham is a charming town in Southeast Cambodia, beckons travelers with its rich history, cultural gems, and scenic landscapes. Established in 1885, this charming region spans 4,548 square kilometers and is home to a population of approximately 61,750.

Kampong Cham, translating to ‘Port of the Chams’ in Khmer, unfolds its allure through a blend of historical significance and natural beauty. The town served as a vital trading post during the French colonial era, leaving behind a legacy that manifests in the streets adorned with subdued yet classic architecture.

The destination is renowned for its notable attractions, including the iconic Ko Paen Bamboo Bridge, ancient temples like Wat Nokor, the quaint Cheung Kok Village, and the spiritually resonant Wat Hanchey. Phnom Srey and Phnom Pros offer panoramic views, adding to the allure of this Southeast Asian gem.

Engage in the charm of French colonial architecture, cross the iconic bamboo bridge, and embark on a cycling adventure around Koh Pen. Kampong Cham stands as a testament to Cambodia’s diverse offerings, inviting travelers to explore its cultural tapestry and natural wonders.

Battambang

In the heart of northwest Cambodia lies the vibrant tapestry of Battambang—a city that whispers tales of the past while dancing to the rhythms of the present. Founded in 1907, Battambang is more than a city; it’s a living canvas where history and modernity converge in a mesmerizing dance.

Venture into the legendary bamboo train, an ingenious creation that propels you through the city’s agricultural prowess. It’s not just a mode of transportation; it’s a journey through time and innovation. Battambang reveals its soul through captivating attractions—the ethereal Battambang Bat Caves, the ancient Wat Banan Temple, the panoramic Phnom Sampeau, the cultural gem Wat Ek Phnom, and the scenic Angkor Express Boat.

Yet, this city is more than static sights; it’s an orchestra of activities. Delve into the mystique of bat caves, wander through local temples, witness the reptilian wonders of a crocodile farm, and embrace the thrill of the iconic bamboo train—each experience a chord in Battambang’s symphony.

As Cambodia’s second most populous city, Battambang isn’t just a stopover; it’s a destination that captivates before and after Siem Reap’s famed temples. It invites you to explore, to feel, and to become part of its narrative—an authentic journey through the beating heart of Cambodia.

Koh Kong

Located in the Southwest region of Cambodia, Koh Kong beckons with its pristine allure, inviting travelers to explore its remarkable landscapes. Established in 1958 and encompassing an expansive area of 10,090 km², Koh Kong is more than a destination; it’s an untouched haven waiting to be discovered.

This hidden gem boasts an impressive array of attractions, making it a must-visit for nature enthusiasts. The allure of Koh Kong lies in its stunning white-sand beaches, cascading waterfalls like the awe-inspiring Kbal Chhay Waterfall, and the tropical lowland rainforests that paint an exquisite backdrop. Khun Chhang Khun Phen, Chi Phat, and Koh Kong Island are among the top destinations, each offering a unique slice of this Cambodian paradise.

The activities in Koh Kong are as diverse as its landscapes. Whether you choose to relax on pristine beaches, revel in the beauty of waterfalls, embark on camping adventures, or trek through the untouched wilderness, Koh Kong promises a rejuvenating escape. With an undeveloped coastline, mountainous interiors, and proximity to national parks like Botum Sakor and Kirirom, Koh Kong stands as a testament to Cambodia’s natural splendor, waiting to be explored by those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure.

Kratie

Kratie Mekong River

Kratie is a charming provincial capital in the northeast of Cambodia with a distinct colonial ambiance. Established in 1907, this town rests on the east bank of the formidable Mekong River, offering a tranquil escape with a modest population. Covering an area of 11,093 km2, Kratie boasts a unique appeal, characterized by its small-town charm and scenic riverside setting.

The primary allure of Kratie lies in its renowned Mekong Irrawaddy dolphins, making it a must-visit for nature enthusiasts. The Mekong Turtle Conservation Centre and the picturesque Kampi Rapids are key attractions, providing opportunities to witness the region’s rich biodiversity.

Visitors to Kratie can engage in activities like dolphin watching, immersing in the mesmerizing sunset over the Mekong River, and exploring the conservation efforts at the Turtle Conservation Centre. For a serene retreat, Koh Trong Island, adorned with thick forests and minimal population, offers a peaceful escape.

In Kratie, the blend of Khmer temples, vibrant river life, and conservation initiatives creates a unique and memorable destination for those seeking an authentic Cambodian experience.

Final thoughts

Going on a journey through Cambodia unveils a tapestry woven with history, culture, and breathtaking landscapes, creating a truly enchanting experience in Southeast Asia. While Cambodia may not be the most frequented destination, it is a hidden gem awaiting discovery by discerning travelers. Beyond the iconic temples of Angkor Wat and the poignant war history, there are many more places to visit in Cambodia , from pristine sandy beaches with crystal-clear waters to majestic temples that evoke a sense of awe.

Viland Travel, with our tailor-made tour packages, stands as the perfect companion for those seeking a personalized and immersive exploration of Cambodia. With a focus on creating unique experiences, Viland Travel’s tours go beyond the ordinary, allowing travelers to delve into the heart of Cambodia’s rich cultural tapestry. Whether it’s exploring the vibrant markets, navigating the bustling streets of Phnom Penh, or unwinding on the tranquil beaches of Sihanoukville, Viland Travel crafts itineraries that cater to diverse interests.

Discover Cambodia with Viland Travel and witness the magic of this Southeast Asian jewel, where history, natural beauty, and cultural richness converge to create an unforgettable sojourn tailored to your preferences.