Cambodia is a beautiful country and a popular destination for backpackers. There is a lot to see and experience. But what are Cambodia's most important sights? What should you not miss when you go backpacking in Cambodia? Here are the best experiences of Cambodia.
See sunrise over Angkor Wat
One of the most popular and special attractions in Cambodia are the temples at Angkor. Here you will find many temple complexes from the various capital cities that date from the Khmer Empire. This empire originated in the 9th to the 15th century AD and is truly beautiful. An important and the largest religious building in the world is the Angkor Wat temple. Siem Reap is the city closest to Angkor. To be clear: the ancient city was called Angkor and Angkor Wat is the city temple of Angkor. But it is by no means the only temple that has been preserved. Feel free to provide several days to visit the archaeological park, because it is huge. Start with the smaller, lesser-known buildings and end with the largest and most beautiful. Recommended are Preah Khan, Bayon, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei and of course Angkor Wat. Also don’t miss the sunrise over the temples as this is a magical experience. Just make sure you arrive early on the site to get a good spot as you won’t be the only one there.
Siem Riep is the perfect base camp for a trip to Angkor ,but Siem Riep is so much more than that! Despite the many tourists there is a wonderful, local atmosphere and you will feel completely at home there. Typically such a town where you can easily hang around a bit longer, so definitely plan some days here if you have the time. Siem Riep has authentic markets and restaurants, but also trendy shops, coffee shops and a real nightlife.
Boat trip from Siem Riep to Battambang
After Siem Riep you will probably head to the south of Cambodia. Good news: you will pass Battambang! For now, however, it is about how you get there. By boat or by bus? We recommend the boat. Not the fastest, but certainly the nicest way to get from Siem Riep to Battambang. This tour is known as the most beautiful boat trip in Cambodia! You can buy your ticket for around fifteen euros. The boat takes four to five hours (depending on the water).
Monkey Island a.k.a. Koh Rong
It is great that more and more people can appreciate the beauty of Cambodia and the population, but that also means that islands like Koh Rong are becoming scarcer. Koh Rong, better known as Monkey Island, is an island some twenty kilometers away from Sihanoukville. It once started with a handful of bungalows. You now have slightly more royal choices from different accommodations. Yet Monkey Island really feels like an uninhabited island, where you happen to have ended up with a bunch of other travelers. Within a few days you 'know' half the population, you may have achieved your PADI and you may not have touched your smartphone. Quickly go to this paradise before Koh Rong is the new Koh Phangan!
Swim with glowing plankton in Koh Rong Samloem
What you should not miss on Koh Rong is swimming with glowing plankton. It probably sounds a bit strange and it actually is. There is a certain kind of plankton in the sea around Koh Rong Samloem that lights up when there is rapid movement in the water. Find a dark beach like Police Beach and swim a few meters into the water. You will see small bright spots all around you. Don't forget to bring a pair of diving goggles because this will make it look much better. It is a magical phenomenon!
Eat a tarantula
In Southeast Asia you can eat the weirdest things. Tarantula has been the diet for locals in Cambodia for so many years. If you want to expand your foodie boundaries, try eating a deep-fried tarantula. The best way to get over your arachnaphobia.
See the violent history of Cambodia in Phnom Penh
Cambodia's capital is a must-see. Highlights in this fascinating city include the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. But Phnom Penh also has another side, namely that of its horrible Khmer Rouge past. Visit the killing fields in Choeung Ek and the Tuol Sleng prison. You are guaranteed to be shocked. But if you want to understand Cambodia, you just have to be in these 2 places.