It can be a bittersweet experience when travelling in Cambodia and that is what makes this place ever so intriguing and interesting. Despite being a country where politics is volatile, poverty is widespread and the wounds of the Khmer Rouge years are still fresh, there is more to Cambodia with its pristine landscapes and warm smiles that touches the heart. The Angkor temples of Cambodia are world famous and is today a thriving tourist spot that lures many to its abode. The shanty-yet-chic Phnom Penh, dense jungles, mountains and less known beaches form one of the main attractions of Cambodia.
Cambodia can give thanks to the temples of Angkor for its thriving tourism. In the country’s backyard is the serene Siem Riep that has rapidly attained a worldwide status – from a grubby backwater to an opulent boom town. On the contrary, the ever-evolving chaos of Phnom Penh will catapult you from the dismays of the Khmer Rouge at the famous Tuol Sleng Museum and to the grandeur of its golden Royal Palace. Moreover, the relaxed pace in Battambang with its Angkorian temples, washed-out French colonial architecture and the Vietnamese Floating Village fringed on the shores of Tonle Sap Lake are breathtaking.
Once an off-limit region, the rural parts of Cambodia now invites vigilant exploration while the little-known islands and beaches of Sihanoukville, lapped by the Gulf of Thailand,are paradise personified. Slightly to the north is from where you can hike to the misty falls and if you’re lucky enough, spot a tiger in the wild Cardamom Mountains and the Bokor National Park. Elephant treks are commonly enjoyed in Mondulkiri while the crater lakes of Ratanakiri silently awaits you in the mountainous northeast region – home to the tribes. The endangered Irrawaddy dolphins are a delight to capture hence don’t forget to tag your camera and click away in Kratie while enjoying a 5-hour boat ride from Phnom Penh down the majestic Mekong River.