Cambodia is not typically at the top of the usual vacation destinations, and that’s exactly how intrepid travelers like it. The Southeast Asian paradise welcomes almost 2 million visitors a year (compared to 80 million for France, 20 million for Italy, and 30 million for England), but every one of those 2 million guests is greeted with Cambodia’s legendary sites and treated to a vacation like no other.

Cambodia offers tourists so many attractions, it is difficult to narrow the list down and prepare a tangible trip abroad. To help you out, check out the list below of must-see travel destinations when you travel to Cambodia next. Before you head off on your adventure abroad, be sure to research and plan the trip with regards to the language, weather, culture, and travel opportunities Cambodia has to offer. Planning can ensure a smoother travel experience which will allow to truly immerse within the Cambodian life.

After recently visiting Cambodia with my work for Giving Way I wanted to share my favourite places with you!

Siem Reap

The “Great Gate to Angkor” is, of course, home to the beguiling UNESCO world heritage site, Angkor Wat (which will be given proper attention in a section below). The marvelous ruins, towers, and intricately carved walls of the Khmer civilization never fail to inspire awe, but they are only the beginning of what Siem Reap has to offer. Featuring a mix of colonial and Chinese-style architecture, the city offers craft shops, silk farms, museums, and traditional Apsara dance performances.

In the surrounding countryside, you can see rice paddies, fishing villages, and an array of exotic birds. Siem Reap is not to be missed. This small but lively town is located close to the Angkor temples. The town has many unique markets and restaurants that offer the best foods. If you are more of a night-person – Siem Reap is also well known for having excellent night parties and excursions.

Sihanoukville

Beach lovers – this next one is for you! 230 kilometers from Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, is the port town of Sihanoukville. The natives commonly refer to this location as Kampong som. It features a number of exotic white sandy beaches and tropical islands yet to be explored. The water is cool and relaxing.

Tourists from all across the globe visit this location to relax and enjoy all the activities taking place at the beach. Journey to Cambodia in the dry season between November and April demands a trip to the dazzling water and clear skies of Sihanoukville. The beaches offer ample opportunity for swimming, diving, and plenty of great sunbathing. You can tour the nearby islands by boat or enjoy seafood at one of the local restaurants. If you have ever dreamed of escaping to a tropical paradise, this is your chance.

Phnom Penh

A four-hour drive from the sandy shores of Sihanoukville is the capital city of Phnom Penh. If you love the peace and tranquility of the port town, Phnom Penh is probably not for you. For those who want a vacation worth talking about, though, Phnom Penh holds many treasures including the National Museum of Cambodia, the Royal Palace, the attractive Sisowath Quay boulevard, and majestic ruined temples.

Phnom Penh is also home to the chilling Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. While these won’t be the most “pleasant” parts of your Cambodian adventure, they do give you terrific insight into the history and culture of this fascinating country.

Koh Rong Samloem

Animal lovers in search for an experience off the beaten track can find exactly what they are looking for in the less discovered (for now) little piece of paradise. While the sandy white shores will resemble Sihanoukville’s beaches, it is what the inlands have to offer that will truly spark your interest. Far less tourist-filled, and much more adventurous, exploring what Koh Rong Samloem offers can give you a taste of incredible free-roaming wildlife, amazing trekking opportunities, and warm waters to splash off at the end of a great hike.

Battambang

If you are looking to shake off the sandy white beaches for a little while, Battambang’s modern and urban vibes can be the perfect next stop on your trip. Beside the towering colonial architecture, which is a site to enjoy in itself, there is a list of quirky café’s, fun art galleries, and delicious restaurants. Once that stomach has settled, be sure to also step outside of the city’s limits where lush green hilltops and small villages await to be discovered.

Angkor Wat

No visit to Cambodia would be complete without visiting Angkor Wat, the largest religious structure in the world. It was constructed in the 12th century and it is an elaborate collection of buildings and monuments that seem to stretch out forever. The Angkor is one of the top tourist attractions in Cambodia. This huge and ancient temple features the remains of the famous Khmer Empire. The Angkor wat temple features unique ancient architecture and it is known to be the world’s largest religious monument. Its pillars depict excellent architectural as well as artistic work. This location is famous among tourists who visit and take photographs among the ruins.

Cambodia is a beautiful country that offers its many guests a breathtaking experience. Though still developing as a tourist destination with its facilities improving every year, Cambodia can undoubtfully offer an experience abroad that is a perfect mix of beaches, urban adventures, towering colonial architecture, exotic temples, a captivating history and a beautiful culture to be discovered. Head off to Cambodia for your next trip abroad, and be sure to share your favorite places and experiences below.