The house of the famous Angkor Wat is absolutely among Cambodia's must-see places.
Unfortunately, thanks to the famous pagodas and vine-dressed stupas that are tagged by UNESCO, it's also among the busiest spots in the nation.
Still, it's definitely worth braving the crowds and hopping out of Siem Reap for a spell to see this world wonder.
Included by wetland rice paddies and dense jungles, it emerges from the canopy in a medley of historical Khmer towers and bewitching erstwhile Hindu shrines.
Today, it's the chants of Buddhist monks and gasping travelers that controls, as they weave in between the detailed base reliefs and the terrific sandstone sculptures of mythic monsters.
Sihanoukville is Cambodia's answer to the backpacker beach towns of Thailand simply across the gulf.
A broken-down place of tin-roofed hostels and bamboo beer bars spilling onto the sands, it oozes an easygoing ambiance that's a welcome break from the nation's other metropolitan centers.
The beaches are the location to be both day and night, with the facilities of Ochheuteal offering loungers and water sports aplenty.
For something a little quieter, you could likewise make a beeline around the headlands to less-trodden Otres Beach, or pay the entry fee for remote Sokha Beach close by.
3. Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is a city in flux: a location where barrios of haphazard shack houses mingle with gilded temples of gold leaf and straight-laced highways of the 21st century.
That indicates it's likewise a great spot to get to grips with the nature of Cambodia as a whole; a nation neatly well balanced in between the old and the new.
The piece de resistance is undoubtedly the opulent Royal Palace complex, which shimmers with the spires of the Silver Pagoda at its center.
For a taste of local life, make certain to strike the buzzing Sisowath Quay, which runs along the Mekong in an assortment of markets and picnic areas.
And-- obviously-- there are the so-called Killing Fields just on the edge of town: sobering and plain reminders of the scaries of Cambodia's 20th-century past.
Defined by the meanders of the Mekong River as it gushes towards the delta and the South China Sea in the south-east, this laid-back area is gradually however surely raising itself to become one of Cambodia's bona fide backpacker centers.
It's simple to see why the small travelers like it too-- believe inexpensive wood longhouses and earthy guesthouses, really old ruins at Sambor and standard craft markets on the water.
However that's not all, because Kratie has also become renowned as one of the leading places to see the Cambodian river dolphin.
Excursions to stalk these magnificent mammals in the Mekong leave from the docks every day.
5. Siem Reap
It's true that the majority of people flock to Siem Reap to hop across to the UNESCO wonder of Ankgor Wat.
Nevertheless, thanks mostly to the influx of folk being available in recent decades, this one has developed into a fine location to go to in its own right.
You can explore an old town of elegant French estates and charming Chinese stores, all of which are punctuated by the heady fray of Psah Chas market (perfect for sizzling noodle soups!) and many backpacker bars (look for appropriately-named Bar Street). There are also some truly terrific museums in Siem Reap, like the sobering Cambodia Landmine Museum and the (equally sobering) War Museum Cambodia.
6. Koh Ker
Koh Ker is the smaller, lesser-known brother of Angkor Wat.
Found deep in the jungles of northern Cambodia, the area ruled as the capital of the magnificent Khmer Empire for a meager twenty years.
Those 2 years of glory still reveal, with fancy stupas protruding from the canopies and the 1,000-year-old rises of the stepped Prasat Thom temples soaring more than 30 meters above the ground.
You'll also be able to see a fancy range of strongholds dating from the 10th century, and collapsing ruins of shrines now almost completely claimed by the roots of huge teak trees.
Simply put: this one's a great alternative to dynamic Angkor.
7. Koh Rong
This eight-shaped island that sits out where the waters of the Thai Gulf fulfill the South China Sea is a picture of tropical perfection.
It boasts a whopping 23 private stretches of sand, all of which are far quieter and unblemished than their compadres throughout the straits in Sihanoukville.
Rustic, salt-sprayed cottages line the coast sporadically, and there are lots of opportunities for travelling through the forests, or striking the coral-colored sea for a bout of snorkeling.
Koh Rong is likewise renowned for its bioluminescent waters, which glimmer under the dark skies at night-- you'll find them if you aren't too busy guzzling beers in close-by Koh Tuch Town!
The provincial capital of Ratanakiri is barely on the tourist radar at all-- at least for the minute, that is.
Slowly but definitely, more and more experience seekers and outdoorsy types are waxing down the walking boots and heading to this remote corner of the country, where macaques fulfill sliding snakes in between the jungle canopies.
The town itself might be a dusty, stressful affair, but there are plenty of tour organizers there who can assemble journeys out to the gorgeous Yeak Laom Volcanic Lake, the colossal cataract of Cha Ong, or the sweeping rubber plantations that surround the province.
Kampot might seem tantalizingly near the coast for it not to be about beaches, but this river town on the delta waters of the Praek Tuek Chhu uses something totally various than simply sand, sea and sun.
Start with a trip to the pepper farms that blanket the regional flatlands-- they are not just the main economic motorist here, but also accountable for the special peppercorns of Kampot.
The town is also house to a series of earthy fishing villages, where seafood french fries come splashed in chili and lemongrass.
And then there's the selection of dilapidating colonial integrate in the center, together with the rusting shells of old locomotives in the Kampot railway station.
Asian elephants stalk the fields and bushlands of distant Mondulkiri Province; water buffalo and lumber longhouses ring the wetlands, as peaks of forest-clad rock rise to satisfy the border with Vietnam.
This eastern jewel is a far cry from the sun-scorched lands and steamy tropical climates that control the remainder of the nation, and is slowly ending up being well known for its second-to-none elephant preservation job.
Cultural encounters with the earthy Bunong tribespeople are also possible, and ecotourism of that sort is now the main motorist here.
Statue-dotted Battambang is perhaps something of an unusual preferred on the backpacking circuit around Cambodia.
Why? Well, there's not truly family vacation destinations all that much to see in the town itself, and the temples barely live up to the majesty of Siem Reap.
Still, folk continue to flock to this 2nd city, and we're barely complaining.
Dynamic tourist bars line the streets and there are some great hotels to pick from, all of which conceal between the occasional Buddhist temple and the throbbing Central Market.
Around Battambang is where you'll discover the Wat Baydamram (filled with fruit bats) and the spooky Wat Samraong Knong, which was once utilized as a Khmer Rouge jail!
Poor little Kep is simply a shadow of the jet setter resort for Cambodian dignitaries it was in the early 20th century.
Yep, decades of war and Khmer Rouge damage took its toll on the country's top seaside retreat, and today residues of that dark age can still be seen in the form of ruined villas and burned out hotels along the coast.
However, Kep is rebounding, and today the pretty stretches of powdery yellow sand along the Kep Peninsula are alive once more with seafood restaurants and bars.
Oh, and don't leave without tasting the famous Kep crab-- one of Cambodia's many famous staples!
13. Koh Thonsay
Bunny Island (as it's understood in English) is among the gems of Kep Province, set simply out in the waters of the Thai Gulf from the southern coast of the country.
Fringed with softly sloping yellow sands and rows of swaying coconut palms, it's got all the tropical appeals you 'd anticipate from a tropical island.
Koh Thonsay also comes with far less crowds than its compadres across the waters in the Land of Smiles, and the costs are more affordable too! The best thing to do is strap on the walking boots and hike the coastal routes.
Sooner or later you'll find a secluded cove of glittering shore waters, completely empty save for the occasional bobbing fishing skiff.
14. Koh Kong
The rugged, salt-sprayed rocks of the Koh Kong coast mark the point where the primeval woods of the Cardamom Mountains Rain forest cascade down to meet the Indian Ocean.
Undeveloped and unblemished by the onset of modern tourism, the location stays an image of wild Southeast Asia.
A smattering of gambling establishments and sleazy massage parlors do still stick around on from the days when Krong was a smuggler passage town on the Thai border, however the genuine pulls are certainly the gushing waterfalls, the wild jungles, and-- naturally-- the legendary white-sand beaches of Koh Krong Island.
Pailin can be found deep in the Cardamom Mountains of western Cambodia.
Surrounded by hills of green bush and dominated by the serrated pointers of the high hills on the horizon, it was once referred