The house of the famous Angkor Wat is undoubtedly one of Cambodia's must-see locations.
Regrettably, thanks to the legendary pagodas and vine-dressed stupas that are tagged by UNESCO, it's also one of the busiest areas in the nation.
Still, it's certainly worth braving the crowds and hopping out of Siem Reap for a spell to see this world marvel.
Encompassed by wetland rice paddies and dense jungles, it emerges from the canopy in a medley of historic Khmer towers and bewitching erstwhile Hindu shrines.
Today, it's the chants of Buddhist monks and gasping travelers that dominates, as they weave in between the detailed base reliefs and the great sandstone sculptures of mythic monsters.
Sihanoukville is Cambodia's response to the backpacker beach towns of Thailand just across the gulf.
A broken-down location of tin-roofed hostels and bamboo beer bars spilling onto the sands, it exudes a laid-back vibe that's a welcome break from the country's other metropolitan centers.
The beaches are the location to be both day and night, with the establishments of Ochheuteal offering loungers and water sports aplenty.
For something a little quieter, you might 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 homes mingle with gilded temples of gold leaf and straight-laced highways of the 21st century.
That suggests it's also a great area to get to grips with the nature of Cambodia as a whole; a country nicely balanced in between the old and the brand-new.
The piece de resistance is certainly the extravagant Royal Palace complex, which shimmers with the spires of the Silver Pagoda at its center.
For a taste of regional life, make sure to hit the buzzing Sisowath Quay, which runs along the Mekong in a collection of markets and picnic spots.
And-- naturally-- there are the so-called Killing Fields just on the edge of town: sobering and stark pointers 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 slowly however certainly raising itself to turn into one of Cambodia's bona fide backpacker centers.
It's easy to see why the shoestring tourists enjoy it too-- think inexpensive lumber longhouses and earthy guesthouses, actually old ruins at Sambor and standard craft markets on the water.
However that's not all, since Kratie has actually likewise become renowned as one of the top places to see the Cambodian river dolphin.
Expeditions to stalk these majestic mammals in the Mekong leave from the docks every day.
5. Siem Reap
It holds true that many people flock to Siem Reap to hop across to the UNESCO wonder of Ankgor Wat.
However, thanks mostly to the influx of folk coming in current years, this one has actually become a fine place to check out in its own right.
You can delve into an old town of elegant French estates and captivating Chinese shops, all of which are punctuated by the heady fray of Psah Chas market (ideal for sizzling noodle soups!) and many backpacker bars (look for appropriately-named Pub Street). There are likewise some really 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 sibling of Angkor Wat.
Located deep in the jungles of northern Cambodia, the area ruled as the capital of the magnificent Khmer Empire for a measly 20 years.
Nevertheless, those 20 years of splendor still reveal, with sophisticated stupas protruding from the canopies and the 1,000-year-old rises of the stepped Prasat Thom temples skyrocketing more than 30 meters in the air.
You'll also be able to see an intricate range of fortifications dating from the 10th century, and crumbling ruins of shrines now almost completely declared by the roots of huge teak trees.
Simply put: this one's a fine alternative to dynamic Angkor.
7. Koh Rong
This eight-shaped island that remains where the waters of the Thai Gulf fulfill the South China Sea is a photo of tropical excellence.
It boasts a whopping 23 individual stretches of sand, all of which are far quieter and unblemished than their compadres throughout the straits in Sihanoukville.
Rustic, salt-sprayed bungalows line the coast sporadically, and there are a lot of opportunities for trekking through the forests, or hitting the coral-colored sea for a bout of snorkeling.
Koh Rong is also renowned for its bioluminescent waters, which glimmer under the dark skies during the night-- you'll identify them if you aren't too hectic guzzling beers in nearby Koh Tuch Town!
The provincial capital of Ratanakiri is hardly on the tourist radar at all-- at least for the minute, that is.
Gradually however surely, more and more experience seekers and outdoorsy types are waxing down the strolling boots and heading to this remote corner of the country, where macaques meet slipping snakes between the jungle canopies.
The town itself may be a dusty, hectic affair, however there are a lot of tour organizers there who can create trips out to the beautiful Yeak Laom Volcanic Lake, the gigantic cataract of Cha Ong, or the sweeping rubber plantations that surround the province.
Kampot may appear tantalizingly near to the coast for it not to be about beaches, however this river town on the delta waters of the Praek Tuek Chhu uses something completely different than just sand, sea and sun.
Start with a trip to the pepper farms that blanket the local flatlands-- they are not only the primary economic chauffeur here, however also responsible for the distinct peppercorns of Kampot.
The town is also house to a series of earthy fishing towns, where seafood fries come splashed in chili and lemongrass.
And then there's the range 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 far-flung Mondulkiri Province; water buffalo and timber longhouses ring the wetlands, as peaks of forest-clad rock rise to meet the border with Vietnam.
This eastern gem is a far cry from the sun-scorched lands and steamy tropical climates that control the remainder of the nation, and is gradually becoming renowned for its second-to-none elephant conservation project.
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 maybe something of an unusual preferred on the backpacking circuit around Cambodia.
Why? Well, there's not really all that much to see in the town itself, and the temples hardly measure up to the majesty of Siem Reap.
Still, folk continue to flock to this 2nd city, and we're hardly grumbling.
Dynamic traveler bars line the streets and there are some fantastic hotels to choose 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 eerie Wat Samraong Knong, which was once used as a Khmer Rouge jail!
Poor little Kep is simply a shadow of the jet setter resort for Cambodian dignitaries it remained in the early 20th century.
Yep, years of war and Khmer Rouge damage took its toll on the nation's leading seaside retreat, and today remnants of that dark age can still be seen in the form of ruined rental properties and burned out hotels along the coast.
Nevertheless, Kep is rebounding, and today the lovely stretches of grainy yellow sand along the Kep Peninsula live once more with seafood dining establishments and bars.
Oh, and don't leave without sampling the popular Kep crab-- among Cambodia's a lot of famous staples!
13. Koh Thonsay
Rabbit Island (as it's understood in English) is among the jewels of Kep Province, set just cheap holiday destinations out in the waters of the Thai Gulf from the southern coast of the nation.
Fringed with softly sloping yellow sands and rows of swaying coconut palms, it's got all the tropical appeals you 'd expect from a tropical island.
Koh Thonsay also comes with far fewer crowds than its compadres throughout the waters in the Land of Smiles, and the costs are less expensive too! The best thing to do is strap on the strolling boots and trek the coastal tracks.
Sooner or later you'll discover a remote cove of glittering coast waters, absolutely 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 waterfall down to satisfy the Indian Ocean.
Undeveloped and unblemished by the start of modern tourist, the location stays a picture of wild Southeast Asia.
A smattering of casinos and sleazy massage parlors do still linger on from the days when Krong was a smuggler passage town on the Thai border, but the genuine pulls are certainly the gushing waterfalls, the wild jungles, and-- obviously-- the famous white-sand beaches of Koh Krong Island.
Pailin can be discovered deep in the Cardamom Mountains of western Cambodia.
Surrounded by hills of green bush and dominated by the serrated tips of the high