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Top Trip Memories

  • Losing yourself in the largest single religious monument in the world: Angkor Wat.
  • Walking past Angkor Wat’s Hindu and Buddhist temples that have lasted almost a millennium as you take in the majesty, curiosity, and grandiosity of one of the world’s most impressive archaeological ruins.
  • Sailing down the Mekong on a river cruise from Vietnam to Siem Reap, near Angkor Wat.
  • Diving into the tranquil, emerald green splendor of the 700,000 year old crater lake in Yeak Lom, after listening to local legends about the mythical creatures that are said to call the lake home.
  • Discovering incredible birdlife -- including large storks and pelicans -- in a unique biosphere at Prok Toal Bird Sanctuary.
  • Contemplating the darkest aspects of our human history at the informative but respectful memoirs found at the Killing Fields Museum.
  • Becoming inspired by true changemakers, such as the volunteers at the Elephant Valley Project who prepare overworked elephants for a return to natural habitat.
  • Lapping up the sun on the beautiful and vibrant beaches of Sihanoukville, either during a mellow sunset or the flurry of activity in the tropical heat of day.
  • Exploring the fascinating exhibitions in the beautiful terracotta villa that makes up Cambodia’s national museum.
  • Visiting the traditional Khmer designed royal palace of King Sihamoni in the capital and cultural hub of Phnom Penh.
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Tour Tips

  • Prepare for adventure. Cambodia is at once a rewarding destination nestled in a country that is still very much developing. Rely on Stride travel tour operators to help you wade through the confusion of the country’s many quirks.
  • Explore all Cambodia has to offer. Many tourists just go to Angkor Wat as a side trip from Thailand, but the country has a lot to offer to those willing to go a bit outside their comfort zone.
  • Learn a few words of the fascinating local language: Khmer. The locals will appreciate the gesture and you will gain insights into Cambodia’s unique linguistic culture.
  • Put Cambodia’s second most impressive temple, Prasat Preah Vihear, which was built by the same monarchs who built Angkor Wat, on your list. Preah Vihear provides a mystical experience that’s less impacted by tourism.
  • Consider volunteering while spending time in Cambodia. Cambodia has a troubled past but a rich soul and is teeming with opportunities to solve the challenges of a country on the rebound.
  • Consider taking in some of the city sights and other locations by bicycle. Not only is it the local way to travel, but it is a relaxing and beautiful way to connect with the splendors of Cambodia’s cities and countryside.
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Cambodia Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.8 out of 5

100%

recommend

5,347 Reviews

  • Excellent 4,220
  • Great 1,108
  • Average 13
  • Disappointing 4
  • Terrible 2

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.8
  • Guide
    4.8
  • Activities
    4.8
  • Lodging
    4.8
  • Transportation
    4.8
  • Meals
    4.8

Tour Reviews

Classic Vietnam and Angkor

Classic Vietnam & Angkor

5.0
April 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
Very varied and interesting trip that gave a good flavour of the country. The addition of a couple of days in Angkor was a bonus.
The areas I enjoyed most were Halong Bay, Hoi An and the Mekong delta. The cities were fascinating but frenetic. Seeing the central towers at Angkor Wat was a definite "wow" moment

Both group leaders ( Vietnam and Cambodia) were very knowledgeable and passionate about their countries.

Take an overnight bag for the trips to Halong Bay and the Mekong delta. Expect to take hundreds of photos!

Fascinating trip that I would thoroughly recommend. Details of the recent history with France and the US were sobering but an essential part of a visit to this region.

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When I was researching potential tours of Southeast Asia, I was looking for Thailand (Bangkok and Chiang Mai specifically) and Cambodia (Siem Reap/Angkor Wat specifically)

Discover Southeast Asia

5.0
April 2017
G Adventures
Recommend: Yes
When I was researching potential tours of Southeast Asia, I was looking for Thailand (Bangkok and Chiang Mai specifically) and Cambodia (Siem Reap/Angkor Wat specifically). The other destinations on this tour were just added bonuses. I am so happy that I chose this tour; it took me to places that I have never gone to -- like Luang Prabang which I had never heard of -- even though I consider myself to be a savvy traveler. I am happy that I went to Vietnam to learn about that country's perspective on history and to marvel at the beauty of Halong Bay. This particular tour offered the right mix of culture, history, escorted adventure, and individual discovery. It seemed to appeal to everyone in our group of ten travelers who ranged in age from their 20s to their 60s.
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I would say it was the best experience of my life

Indochina Discovery

5.0
April 2017
G Adventures
Recommend: Yes
I would say it was the best experience of my life. I was worried about the trip as i thought perhaps there may have been alot of younger people who were not like minded on it. This trip allowed me to meet many amazing people from all over the world and see and experience things i could never imagine being possible. The thing that made the trip so amazing for me was mainly our guide Chenda. If it wasn't for his knowledge and wisdom throughout the trip and giving us an incite into his life in Cambodia it would not have been the trip it was. I particularly enjoyed when Chenda took us to local home stays and to local places to eat. These experiences I will never forget. I felt at all times due to Chendas professionalism and caring nature i always felt very safe and at ease with where i was and what was doing. I felt the trip was so well organised and was so diverse every day. I struggled with how sad i f
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IndoChina cycle ride

Cycle Indochina & Angkor

5.0
April 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
A fantastic experience and we really enjoyed every moment. The organisation and back up were exceptional and all the people who supported us were first class in every aspect.
Seeing the people in particular the children smiling and being so welcoming along the whole route.

The leader was always taking our safety and well being as the number one priority.
He also made it a totally enjoyable and fun holiday. The group dynamics worked so well because the leader included everybody in all aspects and ensured everyone enjoyed their time. He always explained what was happening so nobody was left unsure as to what was happening. Above all Chai was the nicest guy you could ever meet.

The only advice I could give is you can travel light as you don't need lots of clothes etc.

The entire holiday was excellent value for money!

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Fantastic Trip

Cycle Indochina & Angkor

5.0
April 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
This was the first time I have travelled with Exodus and I was very impressed. I have travelled with other small-group adventure companies in the past, but I have to say for smooth, efficient organization, quality of hotels, and quality of tour leader, Exodus is probably the best. I was also very impressed with the quality of the bikes that were provided.
Cycling around the Angkor Wat site was magical.
Cycling along the back roads of the Mekong Delta and being greeted by a chorus of hellos and frenzied waving from small children was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

Chai was wonderful. He was very organized and kept us informed at all times. He was also patient, kind, encouraging, and thoroughly likeable.

Bring gel seats or better still, your own bicycle seat that is good for long distances. The bikes are excellent, but the seats are uncomfortable for long distances.

This was my first time with Exodus and also my first cycling tour. I am definitely looking into another cycling tour with Exodus. I loved this trip.

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Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies


Classic Itineraries

Cambodia in 1 Week

In one week, you'll hit many of Cambodia's main attractions, including the entrancing city of Angkor Wat. It's enough time to experience some of the best that Cambodia has to offer in cuisine, culture, and history.

Day 1-2, Phnom Penh: A vibrant combination of ancient and modern, history and nightlife, Phnom Penh is a natural place to start your tour of Cambodia. Visit The National Museum, take an architecture tour to learn about the distinct French influence, and enjoy delicious fusion cuisine. Visit the impressive Silver Pagoda, the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum, and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek.

Day 3-4, Siem Reap: In Siem Reap, you’ll enjoy time outdoors, exploring colorful markets and meeting locals. Enjoy classic Cambodian cuisine, and appreciate the slower pace compared to Phnom Penh. Of Siem Reap’s main attraction, the ancient city of Angkor, is one of the highlights of this visit. Visit at sunrise for unbelievable lighting and photo opportunities

Day 5, Angkor Wat: Angkor Wat is the main temple within the ancient ruin city of Angkor. There are actually several temples to visit within Angkor, and you can take up to two to three days and still not see everything there is to see. Tours will often dedicate more than one day to Angkor. Take a 20 minute drive from Siem Reap to the city and begin exploring it’s many walkways, statues, and carvings.

Day 6, Siem Reap: Return to Siem Reap for more exploring of the city’s main sights and other activities. You might visit Tonle Sap Lake, or take a cooking class, or choose to spend more time exploring Angkor.

See All Cambodia in One Week Trips

Cambodia in 2 Weeks

With two weeks in Cambodia, you can take the time to explore farther afield than just Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Enjoy everything from beach days to National Park Days, to bike days and history tour days.

Day 1-2, Phnom Penh: Phnom Penh is where many tours in Cambodia begin. This city is a vibrant combination of ancient and modern, history and nightlife. You’ll visit The National Museum, observe the photogenic French influenced architecture, and enjoy delicious fusion cuisine, as well as spectacularly classic street food.

Also in Phnom Penh, you’ll take a tour of the infamous Killing Fields. This excursion can be hard, as it exposes a particularly ugly period in Cambodian, and in fact, human history. During the time of the Khmer Rouge regime, more than a million people were killed, and this mass grave marks the horrific events.

Day 3-4, Khmer homestay: Experience local life in a traditional Cambodian household. You’ll learn about the everyday tasks of rural province living, get to participate in each part of the day, learn to cook meals, and meet friendly families of all ages. You may also get to see and learn traditional dances and customs.

Day 5-6, Floating Village of Kompong Luong: This floating village is quintessential Cambodia, providing a glimpse into a unique community. The residents here live entirely in “floating houses”, raised on stilts, rising out of the Tonle Sap waters. Take a boat trips through this fascinating microcosm of daily life, and be sure to have your camera ready for some beautifully poignant shots.

Day 7-8, Battambang: Unique stone statues of animals and deities line the streets in this quaint colonial town, with perfectly preserved architecture and distinct French influence. A lovely riverfront, calm town, Battambang is a great place to rent bikes and experience a slower paced Cambodia than is found in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap.

Day 9-11, Siem Reap: In Siem Reap, you’ll enjoy time outdoors, exploring colorful markets and meeting locals. Enjoy classic Cambodian cuisine, from street stalls as well as many restaurants and markets. Drive back to Phnom Penh after you spend a few days exploring Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat - Siem Reap is of course the jumping off place for tours to Angkor Wat. Generally one day is not nearly enough time to get a full appreciation of the breadth and depth there is to see and do among the many temples of Angkor. Try to spend at least two days to explore this ancient, beautiful ruin city.

Day 12-14, Sihanoukville: Finish your Cambodia two week tour with a visit to Sihanoukville, where you will spend a day exploring the marine reserve of Ream National Park. Sihanoukville is a beautiful and relaxing coastal beach town, perfect for a final day of beach relaxation before you head home.

See All Cambodia in Two Weeks Trips

 

Cambodia Trips & Tour Advice

Cambodia is a small country with a big heart. Though recovering from a troubled past, Cambodians maintain a positive spirit and rich soul.

Cambodia is famous for the unparalleled Angkor Wat, but many visitors leave just as deeply impacted by the fortitude and courage of the Cambodians themselves. Come to Cambodia with an open mind: it provides at once a connection to an ancient past and a perspective on the modern challenges of the developing world. In short, though it is not the easiest country to explore, it is one of the most rewarding.

Angkor Wat

Simply put, nothing in the world can be compared to Angkor Wat. The towering gopuras that top the city’s temples are so famous that they adorn the Cambodian flag. The massive temple-filled city seems to contain an infinite level of mysteries and wonder.

Though built as a Hindu temple, as evidenced by the scrawling Sanskrit that adorns the ancient stones, Angkor Wat became a Buddhist temple during the height of the Khmer empire. The temple mountains have no equal in the world and provide an open and expansive format that allows you to explore for hours or days.

Built between the years 1130 - 1150, the temple of Angkor Wat is the most famous and well known perhaps because it is still in use today. Most historians agree that the temple was used both as a tomb and temple, a fact supported by its western facing carvings and doors, and the bas-reliefs were designed to read in a counterclockwise direction.

To protect this magnificent site, be respectful of areas that are off limits, dress appropriately, and take your time. The many gorgeous carvings along the walls reveal epic stories, myths, and describe a people close to their religion and extremely devoted. Breezing through to check the site off your bucket list will ultimately leave you disappointed and rushed - this is a site which begs to be examined and appreciated for all its historical significance and beauty.

Top Temples in Cambodia

Angkor Wat itself is the main temple and the single largest religious complex in the world. However, it is but one of dozens of elaborate and fascinating ancient temples in the area. The “city of temples” boasts more than ten unique architectural styles spanning over a thousand years. Going to the different temples, some brick, some sandstone, some laterite, is like walking through time.

Bayon Temple

Boasting realistic and iconic faces pointed in the cardinal directions, Bayon is a spectacular and mysterious temple. Take your time exploring the different levels of Bayon, as there are 214 of these iconic faces to be found. Built in approximately 1190 AD, Bayon is a Buddhist temple which incorporates Hindu elements as well. This is probably one of the more commonly visited temples in Angkor, other than Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm Temple. Be patient with the crowds and go at your own pace - there are many details here you don’t want to miss by feeling rushed.

Ta Prohm Temple

Built in 1186, Ta Prohm is one of the only Angkor temples to provide inscriptions within the stone walls that give an indication of why it was built, and a record of its inhabitants. It was built in dedication to the mother of Jayavarman VII.
With its crumbling walls and jungle setting, visitors will have the sense that they have stumbled upon the ruins of a lost city. Gigantic trees entangle themselves among the rocks, and some of the best photo opportunities can be found here.

This is also the famous “Tomb Raider Temple”. A famous shot from the entertaining franchise featuring Angelina Jolie took place here. This also means, however, that it is quite overrun with tourists seeking their own version of the movie still. For a similar looking temple, where nature seems to be overtaking the man-made stone elements, head to Preah Khan - farther away, but worth it to escape the crowds of “Tomb Raider” fans.

Preah Khan Temple

Serving the needs of Jayavarman VII in the 12th century, Preah Khan was dedicated to over 500 divinites. You could say that Preah Khan was the Mykonos of ancient Cambodia - the party temple, hosting no less than 18 festivals during the year. To keep the space maintained during its heyday, thousands of people lived and worked here.

Phnom Bakheng Temple

If you’re looking for the perfect place to watch the sunset from at Angkor, this is your spot. This is a popular activity - for good reason - but it gets crowded extremely early by eager tourists jostling to find a good place to sit or set up their camera. If you have the time to spare and are ok waiting around, try to settle in around 4pm to beat the crowds. A maximum of 300 people are permitted into the temple for sunset viewing.

This is also a great temple to visit for those interested in Hinduism. There are seven levels at Phnom Bakheng, each representing one of the seven Hindu heavens.

Natural Cambodia

From the beaches on the gulf of Thailand to the majestic Elephant Mountains to the biodiversity hotspot of Tonle Sap lake, Cambodia has a host of natural gems.

Natural landscapes are dotted with charming “real Cambodia” towns like the relaxing Kampong Cham, a countryside village that takes pride in its natural beauty aside the Mekong. Close by is Yeak Lom, a near perfectly spherical crater lake that was formed by a meteor impact 700,000 years ago and is endowed with mythical legends by the local town.

Tonle Sap is the largest lake in Southeast Asia and a unique wonder. Nature lovers often stay on floating villages to discover the superlative diversity of fish, birds, reptiles, and other wildlife that call the UNESCO-protected lake home. The bird sanctuary at Prek Toal, in particular, provides a unique opportunity to watch abnormally large storks majestically take off in flight.

Cultural Cambodia

Cambodia’s landscape is punctuated by reminders of its long and complicated history.

Preah Vihear, a temple which predates Angkor Wat, summits a hilltop vista that will mesmerize you. Climb the 162 steps to explore the gopuras that adorn the temple. After exploring Preah Vihar, you can fast forward to the French colonial period at Bokor National Park. The park’s natural beauty is centered around the ruins of the Bokor Palace, a former hotel that has been made famous as a popular set for Hollywood movies.  

You cannot fully visit Cambodia without coming to terms with the raw, emotional vestiges of the country’s turbulent 20th century. Close by Siem Reap is the Cambodia Landmine Museum, which plays a role in helping people understand the true cost of war. The killing fields museum also causes pause for reflection on the nature of humanity.

However, it is not hard to find a strong and courageous side of Cambodia, determined to learn from the scars of its past. The best way to see modern Cambodia and its resolve is in the vibrant Phnom Penh. Once known as the “pearl of Asia,” the French-built capital is full of national architectural monuments. Temples and colonial villas compete with high rises and commercial centers to make for one of the more unique Asian capitals.

After seeing the terra-cotta structure that houses the national museum, you  can appreciate the local Khmer-inspired architecture of the royal palace. Most notable, however, is the steely resolve and warm hospitality of the Cambodians themselves, the most likely reason why you will be so glad you journeyed to this vibrant, dynamic, and beautiful country.

Food in Cambodia

Fish is a huge staple in Cambodian cuisine. Much of it comes from enormous Tonle Sap Lake, situated in the middle of the country. Tonle Sis is an important source of this commodity, and a key element in the daily lives of the many Cambodian communities who make their home on Tonle Sap.

Among the dishes you may have that feature fish, one of the most popular is Fish Amok. Fish mousse (really) combined with coconut milk, and Khmer curry paste with flavors of lemongrass, turmeric root, garlic, shallots, galangal, and fingerroot (chinese ginger).

Many Southeast Asian countries near Cambodia have their own versions of this traditional dish. Cambodian Fish Amok stands out due to their use of a local herb called “slok ngor” which adds a delightful bitterness to the dish you won’t find elsewhere.

Fish Amok is popular from street venders, where it often has more of a soup consistency than its fine dining counterpart, where it is often served in a banana leaf.

Grilled fish and other seafood is also popular in Cambodia, and it’s always very fresh, considering with Cambodia’s close proximity to fresh-water from Tonle Sap and the ocean to the south west.

BBQ is another huge cooking style in Cambodia. A popular breakfast dish is bai sach chrouk - BBQ’d pork. This is a traditional meal, so every household has their own way of making it. But the essentials are always the same: pork that’s been heavily marinated in garlic, soy, and coconut milk and served over rice. Often accompanied by green tomatoes and a side of pickled vegetables it’s the perfect way to start your day!

Noodle soups feature prominently throughout Cambodia, typically featuring light broths, rice or egg noodles, a variety of vegetable toppings and usually a protein of some sort.  

Cambodian food exhibits strong contrasts - one dish or item may be full of tremendous combinations of sweet and savory, spicy and cool. For most meals you receive side plates of condiments; peppers, different sauces, limes...these serve to help draw the flavor profiles out and provide incredible depth to the dish.

Mangos are another very popular item in Cambodian cuisine, used at all stages of ripeness in salads, sauces, and sweet dishes.

You also may have heard of “Balut” a Southeast Asian delicacy which nevertheless can cause even the most adventurous western traveler to squirm. This dish consists of a partially fertilized egg, and while the taste may be very similiar to simply eggs, the visual cues can be enough to dissuade many.

What to Wear in Cambodia

You’ll be visiting a lot of temples during your Cambodia tour. Dressing appropriately is important. Respectful attire will include covered knees and shoulders at the minimum. Most temples will allow you in with sandals, though close toed shoes are generally more accepted.

Lightweight long sleeves can be helpful protection against the sun, but dressing for humidity as well presents unique challenges. Basically its pretty difficult to be one hundred percent comfortable in one hundred percent (or close to it) humidity. Temperatures often reach into the hundreds during Cambodia’s dry season, December through April. The hottest months are January and February.

Wearing breathable materials, that don’t cling, is advisable. Avoid denim or tight shorts - long, flowy and light material for pants or skirts will be extremely helpful in staying comfortable. Remember that your knees should be covered for visiting Cambodia’s many temples.

The rainy monsoon season is between May and November, with the most heavy rains occurring between July and September. During this time, it’s also extremely warm and humid, though not quite as unbearable as during the dry season. Dress in water resistant layers, and carry a light poncho if you want to avoid getting drenched. Be very careful climbing temple steps - they can be slippery!

The rainy season in Cambodia is a great time to visit to avoid crowds, and the roads are also less dusty after all the rain. Lightning storms are common, so be cautious, but also have your camera ready, especially if you happen to be exploring the countryside or Angkor when a lightning storm hits. The dramatic effect and clouds creates incredible photographs!

Related Guides

Continent:             

Asia

Local Attraction:  

Angkor Wat, Bayon Temple, Sihanoukville, Koh Ker, Kratie, Bokor Hill Station and Many More

Top Activities:      

Explore CultureRiver Cruises & History Sightseeing

Similar Destinations:                    

CambodiaThailandBurmaVietnam, China

 

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