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Things to do in Cambodia

Things to do in  Cambodia

Welcome to Cambodia

Cambodia's greatest glory, its UNESCO-listed Angkor Archaeological Park, attracts more than two million visitors a year for good reason. But, all too often, the rest of this charming kingdom is overlooked by busy travelers, so don't be afraid to veer off the beaten track. Start in Siem Reap, of course—your base for exploring Angkor Wat—and while you're in town, be sure to hit the night market to sample a few Cambodian delicacies. If deep-fried tarantula isn't your thing, your guide can steer you toward tamer (and tastier) local fare: sweet and spicy noodle dishes or sticky coconut-rice pancakes. Try to catch a performance of the excellent Phare theater troupe, which features Khmer storytelling, dance, and acrobatics, too. Just south of Siem Reap, a lake boat tour on Tonle Sap offers a glimpse into rural life as you glide past floating villages and lush green rice paddies. In Phnom Penh, the lively capital, a day trip to Tluong Suong Genocide Museum and Choeung Ek Genocidal Center (aka the Killing Fields) reveals the country's tragic past under the Khmer Rouge, a heartbreaking but critical history that is woven into the stories of most Cambodians you'll meet. Hit the National Museum, home to a treasure trove of Angkor artifacts; tour the Royal Palace and the shimmering Silver Pagoda; and visit Wat Phnom. Adventurous types can then head southwest to colonial Kampot, tour the ghostly ruins of Bokor Hill Station by motorbike, and fill up on fresh seafood in the fishing village of Kep.

Top 10 attractions in Cambodia

#1
Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

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Rising from the jungle as the star of the UNESCO-listed Angkor Archaeological Park, the Angkor Wat temple complex is a 12th-century engineering marvel that tops many adventure travelers’ bucket lists and justifies a trip to Southeast Asia all on its own. Every surface is covered in intricate carvings and details that don’t disappoint—nymphs dance on columns in shadowy hallways, serpent-topped balustrades line the moat, and huge, chiseled bas-reliefs wrap the outer walls, depicting Khmer Empire battles. The site’s colossal size reflects its ambition, intended as a microcosm of the universe. Nonetheless, it’s difficult to get lost here, with the complex arranged on three tiers.More
#2
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21)

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21)

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Between 1975 and 1979, Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge government killed and/or starved around 1.7 million of their citizens, roughly 20% of the population. Phnom Penh’s Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21), a former high school that served as a torture and detention center, documents their atrocities through films, photos, and artifacts.More
#3
Phnom Penh Central Market (Phsar Thmey)

Phnom Penh Central Market (Phsar Thmey)

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With its distinctive art-deco dome, Phnom Penh Central Market (Phsar Thmey) attracts visitors with hundreds of traditional Khmer stalls, selling everything from antique coins and brightly colored fabrics to traditional crafts and medicinal products. No first-time visit to Phnom Penh is complete without stopping, and shopping, here.More
#4
Royal Palace

Royal Palace

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The official home of Cambodian royals is located in the heart of Phnom Penh, where the gilded rooflines of the Royal Palace preside over manicured grounds. It’s a gem of Khmer architecture and one of the city’s most popular sites. Follow in royal footsteps as you explore the intricate Throne Hall, visit the Silver Pagoda, and more.More
#5
Tonlé Sap

Tonlé Sap

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This great lake covering 1,000 square miles (2,600 square kilometers) is not only the largest body of fresh water in Southeast Asia, it’s also a UNESCO-designated biosphere due to its remarkable natural features. The flow of water in Tonlé Sap changes direction twice during the course of the year, expanding and contracting with the seasons.More
#6
Bayon

Bayon

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The geographical and spiritual center of the ancient city of Angkor Thom, the Bayon is one of the crowning artistic achievements of the Khmer king Jayavarman VII. Around 200 giant faces look down from around 50 towers, while beautifully crafted reliefs depict everyday life in 12th-century Cambodia.More
#7
Banteay Chhmar

Banteay Chhmar

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This untouched temple is one of Cambodia’s most important—and least visited—making it the perfect destination for travelers seeking to experience the beauty of the nation’s past without the chaos of tourists. Some 56 towers decorated with faces and religious scenes stretch up to the sky through the thick jungle.This impressive temple dates back to the Angkorian period and offers iconic examples of Buddhist images and bas-reliefs. The natural forest overgrowth and somewhat crumbling remains lend a haunting feel to this truly beautiful historic wonder, which offers travelers a perfect mix of beauty and decay temples like Banteay Chhmar are known for.More
#8
Kampong Phluk

Kampong Phluk

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Perched on the floodplain of Tonle Sap Lake—the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia— Kampong Phluk is a floating community of around 3,000 villagers. Visit to see how the residents live—in stilted homes and depending on fishing as a livelihood.More
#9
Phnom Kulen National Park

Phnom Kulen National Park

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Phnom Kulen National Park, which sits north of the famous temples of Angkor Archeological Park, features Khmer landmarks in a gorgeous natural setting. Visit to see waterfalls streaming from a holy mountain, natural pools, the phallic carvings at Kbal Spean (the River of a Thousand Lingas), and a popular Buddhist shrine.More
#10
Choeung Ek Genocidal Center (Choeung Ek Killing Fields)

Choeung Ek Genocidal Center (Choeung Ek Killing Fields)

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The best known of the “killing fields” where the Khmer Rouge executed over a million innocent Cambodians, the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center sit just outside Phnom Penh. A memorial stupa contains the skulls of around 8,000 victims; bracelets decorate killing sites; and a museum documents the atrocities.More

Top activities in Cambodia

Angkor Temples Small-Group Tour

Angkor Temples Small-Group Tour

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Sunrise Small-Group Tour of Angkor Wat from Siem Reap

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Sunrise Small-Group Tour of Angkor Wat from Siem Reap

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