Cambodia is located in the heart mainland of Southeast Asia, which conjures images of a glorious, mysterious past and rich of the cultural heritages. Over here the stunning temples of Angkor are the obvious draw for most tourists, but the country has much else to offer. Right from tropical beaches, colonial buildings and an abundance of natural attractions is what makes Cambodia a must visit. The top 5 tourist attractions in Cambodia are:
1) Angkor: This is the greatest attraction in Cambodia and one of the most spectacular ancient sites on earth. Angkor is a vast temple complex featuring the remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century AD. These include the famous Angkor Wat temple, the world’s largest single religious monument and Ta Prohm, a Buddhist temple ruin entwined with towering trees. The Bayon temple here features a sea of over 200 massive stone faces looking in all direction. Each face has an inexplicable smile, an instantly recognizable image of Angkor, as familiar as Angkor Wat itself. This has become a symbol of Cambodia making it one of the prime tourist attractions in Southeast Asia.
2) Koh Ker: Koh Ker was the capital of the Khmer empire for a very brief period from the year 928 to 944 AD. The site is dominated by Prasat Thom, a 30 meter (98 ft) tall temple pyramid rising high above the surrounding jungle. With a giant Garuda carved into the stone blocks, that still guards the very top, although its partially covered now. Koh Ker was one of Cambodia’s most remote and inaccessible temple destinations.
3) Sihanoukville: This is a port city and beach resort on the Gulf of Thailand. The big attraction here are the white-sand beaches and several undeveloped tropical islands. This place makes a good place to relax and unwind by the beach and enjoy the fresh from-the-ocean seafood, take in a snorkeling or scuba trip, and generally slow-down, lay back and chill-out. Sihanoukville has a different look and feel than most Cambodian towns and more urban and cosmopolitan than most Cambodian provincial cities. Here you can enjoy a good night with a wide variety of bars staying open well into the wee hours.
4) Kratie: This small town is located on the banks of the Mekong River and is dominated by a central marketplace surrounded by old, French colonial buildings. It is the place in Cambodia to see the rare Irrawaddy dolphins, which live in the Mekong River in ever-diminishing numbers. It is estimated that there are between 66 and 86 dolphins left in the upper Cambodian Mekong area. Whether you are just on a trip seeing the river towns along the Mekong or taking a full circuit trip around the east and northeast, Kratie is a nice place to spend a night or two.
5) Siem Reap: Siem Reap is undoubtedly Cambodia’s fastest growing city and serves as a small charming gateway town to the world famous destination of the Angkor temples. Thanks to those Cambodia attractions, Siem Reap has transformed itself into a major tourist hub. It is laid-back and a pleasant place to stay while touring the temples. Siem Reap offers a wide range of hotels, ranging from several 5-star hotels to hundreds of budget guesthouses while a large selection of restaurants offer many kinds of food.