Top 5 highlights in Cambodia – What to Do & See
The top 5 highlights in Cambodia are something truely special. This country has so much to see and to do. You will probably fall in love with it straight away. At least that’s what happened to me. From massive temple areas in the jungle and the prettiest beaches to an unbelievably moving history. This country just has it all.
For me, the top 5 highlights in Cambodia have been quite hard to choose, because there is just so much I could pick from. Cambodia is one of the poorest countries on earth and still pretty undeveloped. Tourism just starts to evolve and the living standard is slowly about to rise. But for now it is still very raw and many local people can only live with what they have, which is almost nothing. There are no fancy cars, pretty homes or digital development at all in many areas.
A lot of people still live in tin shacks and try to think from day to day. It is pretty dirty in the cities, but also really, really beautiful, if you get out of them. I have rarely seen a country as beautiful and untouched as this, which made it even harder to choose my top 5 highlights in Cambodia.
However, the fact that it’s still quite a primitive country makes it even more authentic. And that’s exactly what makes each and every single corner of it so fascinating!
Top 5 highlights in Cambodia – What to Do & See
From all the wonderful places I have seen in this country, I will start with the most famous one of the top 5 highlights in Cambodia.
Angkor Wat/ Angkor City
Angkor Wat is THE nr. 1 out of the top 5 highlights in Cambodia for many people. I personally can not agree 100%, because I loved everything that I have seen in this country, except Phnom Penh. Still, I definitely have to agree that Angkor Wat respectively the Angkor City is an amazing place. No doubt about that!
It is one of the world’s most remarkable temple areas. The temples have been built more than 1.000 years ago and they have such a big value for this country. Not just historically and religiously, but also for the tourism industry. It attracts a lot of people from all over the world and I completely understand the reason why.
When you walk around the temple area, you will feel like you have been set back in time. All the different temples have a different meaning and they have been built by various kings over a period of a couple hundred years. You can almost feel the passion, that the Khmer folk had put into these temples when you look at all the incredible details of the ornaments. Just a phenominal place, which has to be the first one on the list of the top 5 highlights in Cambodia.
The 2nd one out of the top 5 highlights in Cambodia is Otres Beach. This really beautiful beach lies in the southwest of the country, close to Sihanoukville. Otres Beach is devided into two seperate parts – Otres Beach 1 and Otres Beach 2. I have spent a couple days Otres Beach 2 and it was nothing but wonderful.
It is very quiet and relaxing. The beach is in perfect condition. Fine white sand, a lovely water temperature, cheap and comfortable hostels and one of the best sunsets I have ever seen. Right in front of Otres Beach is a small island, which you can have a look at by going on your own kajak tour. The water next to this small island is crystal clear. Absolutely perfect!
At night I recommend you to have a swim in the ocean and watch the glowing plankton while enjoying the realxing silence. Close to Otres Beach you can also go on nice parties. There is something for everyone. A Must see and easily one of the top 5 highlights in Cambodia.
Koh Rong Island
Koh Rong also needs to be under the list of the top 5 highlights in Cambodia. It is one of the fastest growing islands in terms of tourism in the whole country. On the one hand this fact is not a ripper, but on the other hand it is completely understandable, because this island is truely beautiful. It’s a paradise for travelers and people, who want to get away from the busy life.
There are a lot of things to do on the island besides hanging out at perfect beaches. You can go on a fishing tour, check out the jungle (be aware of snakes), do a snorkeling tour or go scuba diving. All of that is great fun and I promise, that you’ll have a blast. And luckily, in comparison to other tourists spot in Southeast Asia like Koh Phi Phi or Bali, the tourism level at Koh Rong is still a joke.
Short tip: Check out the sunset at Long Beach 😉
Koh Ta Kiev
Koh Ta Kiev is even more secluded and untouched than Koh Rong and therefore it needs to be under the list of the top 5 highlights in Cambodia. When I first heard of Koh Ta Kiev, I didn’t know anything about it. In fact, most people don’t. This island is exactly the kind of place to go to, if you want to feel like you have been completely shut off from the rest of the world.
You can sleep it tree houses, you won’t have any internet and the lifestyle is very basic. It is so cool! Usually it’s very rare in our modern world to find an as untouched place as this one, but they obviously still exist. So, make sure to stop by and put it under your list of the top 5 highlights in Cambodia.
This is also a Must See in my opinion and it is definitely one of the top 5 highlights in Cambodia. Many people don’t know that Cambodia has such a moving history. Not only because of the Angkor City, but also because of the 20th century. In the 1970s Cambodia has been in a huge war and the whole country has been under a dictarorial governence. Many Cambodian people have been punished to death in many very bad labor camps.
One of the biggest ones have been the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh. There have been way more of these places in the whole country. Between 1975 and 1979 more than 2 million people have been killed by the Red Khmer. You can read more about it in this post.
Visiting the Killing Fields is definitely an eye opener and an experience you will never forget. There is no way that the Killing Fields can be left out of the top 5 highlights in Cambodia.
Want to know more about Angkor Wat? Read here
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