There are so many amazing places to go and things to do in Cambodia!
Stevo and I have been traveling in Cambodia together since 2012 and have been living in Phnom Penh since 2015. We’ve had a chance to visit many different areas of the country, and still plan to see much more!
Here we’ve shared our ten favorite places we’ve been (so far!) in Cambodia, along with a map. We also share where else we plan to go in Cambodia at the end of the article.
As always, if you have any questions about traveling or living in Cambodia, feel free to email Jen@twocantravel dot com.
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1. Siem Reap
Although the temples of Angkor are the most popular reason to visit Siem Reap, there is so much more to do in the city and province. Check out Phare the Cambodian Circus, the floating villages on the Tonle Sap Lake, eat and shop at excellent social enterprises in town, and bike around the stunning countryside just beyond the city. There are also day trips to waterfalls, cooking classes, and luxurious yet affordable spas.
Battambang is the second largest city in Cambodia, and has a rich, interesting history. Thanks to the Governor there, it is also one of the cleanest cities in Cambodia! There is lots to see and do in Battambang. Speed through villages and countryside on the bamboo train. Watch hundreds of thousands of bats streaming out of the Bat Cave at dusk for their nightly feast. Visit Phnom Sampeau, one of the killing sites of the Khmer Rouge, and stop at the unfinished Buddha’s head on the side of the mountain with breathtaking views of the countryside. Enjoy the French Colonial architecture, much of which has been lost to development in Phnom Penh, but remains intact here. Visit Wat Ek Phnom, older than some of the temples of Angkor. Rent bicycles or motorbikes and explore the town and surrounding villages.
3. Phnom Penh
Cambodia’s capital is a vibrant, quickly emerging city in Asia, and now is the time to go. Visit significant historical sites like the Royal Palace, the King’s residence, the National Museum and pagodas dating back to the 15th century, located along the Mekong riverside. A visit to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Cheung Ek Killing Fields will give you a glimpse into the horrific atrocities Cambodians endured under the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975-1979, and a better understanding of Cambodia today. There is so much more to Phnom Penh than just these tourist sites when you get off the beaten track! Stevo and I have been living and working in Phnom Penh since 2015.
4. Oudong Mountain in Kampong Speu Province
Oudong Mountain in Kampong Speu Province is a great day trip outside of Phnom Penh. From 1618 until 1866 Oudong was the capital of Cambodia and served as the Royal residence for the kings and their families. The stupas atop the hill house the remains of kings from across centuries. There are stunning views of the surrounding countryside from the top of the mountain. The climb up is not too strenuous, and there are ancient pools and lookouts along the way, and plenty of monkeys to spot. Be sure to bring small change in Riel to donate at the temples or to monks along the way if you wish.
5. Otres Beach in Sihanoukville
This beautiful, long, laid back stretch of beach 7km outside of Sihanoukville has everything you need for an amazing time. Bungalows, restaurants and sun beds are just meters from the ocean. Cambodian women walk the beach offering manicures and pedicures, massage, threading, even natural aloe to sooth a sunburn. Other sellers offer fresh fruit, BBQ seafood (they are carrying the grill!), sunglasses, and island tours. If you want to be active, you can rent kayaks, stand up paddle boards, even a catamaran. In our opinion Otres is the best beach on the mainland in Cambodia.
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6. Koh Rong Samloem Island
This picture perfect island about 45 minutes by speed boat from Sihanoukville, is positively stunning. You can snorkel just off shore, go diving, kayak, take a hike across the center of the island, visit the fishing village, eat delicious, freshly caught seafood, and end your night swimming in the phosphorescent plankton just off shore.
The vibes in Kampot are relaxed, the scenery is stunning, and there is so much to do! From visiting Bokor Mountain to seeing the famous abandoned casino and church, to riding motorbikes through the countryside, visiting waterfalls, kayaking through the green cathedral, visiting a pepper or durian farm, and just lazying by the river. There is always something to do, and it’s just as wonderful to do nothing at all. There are many expats who’ve made Kampot their home, and there are many great restaurants in the city. We highly recommend the street side Italian food from Ciao on Street 722, Baraca tapas restaurant, Fish Market on the river, and Rusty Keyhole for their ribs. Epic Arts Cafe and Ellie’s are great spots for breakfast. The expat community is active and there are events on each week and weekend such as festivals, live music, comedy shows, trivia nights and more. When you get into town ask around for what’s going on in the city!
Famous for crab and the popular crab market, this small beachside town has a beautiful strip of beach to swim at, lush, green mountains, and delicious seafood restaurants. You can visit nearby Rabbit Island off shore and even stay the night. There are also incredible abandoned mansions along the coast and a few streets in, dating back to the 1960s. At that time the city was a popular weekend retreat for elite Cambodians, French and other foreigners, and the Cambodian Royal family. The mansions are a future UNESCO heritage site. Kep is the southernmost province in Cambodia, and you can see islands, including Phu Quoc in Vietnam, off the coast as well.
Located in northeast Cambodia, Kratie is where you can see the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River. There are thought to be between 78-91 Irrawaddy dolphins left in the world. Local boatmen make their living taking people out to view the dolphins, limiting use of their motors so as not to disturb them. The town of Kratie is right along the river. There is an island in the center of the river that can be accessed by local ferry. You can rent a bike to ride around the island and there is also accommodation available if you want to stay the night. We didn’t stay on the island, but plan to next time!
Located in the northeast of Cambodia, on the border of Vietnam, Mondulkiri is seldom reached by travelers, but is well worth visiting. The landscapes and climate change as you increase in elevation on the way there. Rent a motorbike and go exploring as you ride along red dirt and paved roads along the vast hills. Visit a coffee bean farm and try Cambodia’s most famous coffee straight from the source. Proceed to drink coffee with every meal while you are there. Look out at views of an endless forest and Vietnam in the distance at the Forest Sea. Stumble upon animistic temples in the hills. There are several elephant projects in Mondulkiri, but please do your research before engaging in animal tourism. There are also treks and opportunities to meet the Bunong people, a Cambodian minority ethnic group. Mondulkiri is worth a visit for those who want to see a different side to Cambodia.
Here is a map of all of the places mentioned above!
Up next on our travel list in Cambodia:
A coastal province with beaches, islands, and the famous Cardamon Mountains where we plan to do some trekking.
Located several hours north of Siem Reap on the border of Thailand. Preah Vihear is where the famous cliffside temple ruins are located that Thailand and Cambodia have been fighting over for centuries.
This northeastern province in Cambodia shares a border with Laos and Vietnam. We plan to do some jungle trekking and exploring there.
For more information about travel around Cambodia, check out these books on Amazon.com. Two Can Travel gets a few shekels through these links. We aren’t getting rich, but it helps us continue to provide you with honest, quality content. Win-win!
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