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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 15 attractions in Cambodia

Royal Palace

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

Beng Mealea

Said to date back to the 12th century, Beng Mealea is a sandstone temple that replicates the design of the iconic Angkor Wat. The temple grounds are surrounded by a gigantic moat that was once entirely consumed by jungle; if you enter from the south side, you’ll find yourself amid haphazard sandstone blocks and creeping vines.More

Phnom Penh Independence Monument

A 60-foot (20-meter) tall Angkor-style monument built in 1958, the Phnom Penh Independence Monument was constructed to commemorate the Cambodians winning back their independence from the French in 1953. Renowned Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann designed the monument; the architecture is patterned after a lotus flower and adorned with five levels of Naga heads, which gives it a very distinctive look. Located in the heart of busy Phnom Penh, the Independence Monument attracts many visitors, not only for its unique architecture, but also for its location: it’s in the middle of a busy intersection and the eastern side features a large, open park that is a popular spot for locals to gather and jog or practice tai chi and aerobics.More than just a monument commemorating Cambodia’s independence, it also serves as a memorial to Cambodia’s war casualties and is a symbol of the end of Cambodia’s war. In remembrance, families place large wreaths at the foot of the monument for war veterans. At night, the monument is illuminated by red, blue and white floodlights, the colors of the Cambodian flag. It’s also the site of celebrations and services on holidays such as Independence (January 7) and Constitution Day (September 24).More

Phnom Kulen National Park

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

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21)

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

Tonlé Sap

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

Choeung Ek Genocidal Center (Choeung Ek Killing Fields)

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

Kampong Phluk

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

Wat Phnom

Boasting a hilltop location overlooking the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, the Buddhist temple of Wat Phnom is one of Cambodia’s most-visited temples. Originally built in 1373, the sanctuary was reconstructed in 1998 and now provides a place for locals to celebrate Khmer festivals and make sacred offerings.More

Phnom Penh Central Market (Phsar Thmey)

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

Silver Pagoda (Wat Preah Keo)

Discover a shrine encrusted with precious metals and stones at the Silver Pagoda, a Buddhist landmark on the grounds of the Royal Palace. Also called the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Silver Pagoda houses an image of the Buddha in pure Baccarat crystal that sits on a golden pedestal—it’s a Phnom Penh treasure.More

Kbal Spean

Nature meets ancient architecture at Kbal Spean, whose phallic symbols and religious imagery are etched straight into a stone riverbank. The site is in Phnom Kulen National Park, where visitors can spot carvings while hiking a riverside trail. With fewer crowds than the main Angkor Temples, here’s the chance to channel your inner explorer.More

Angkor Village Apsara Theatre

A large, air-conditioned wooden pavilion on the grounds of Siem Reap’s Angkor Village Resort, the Angkor Village Apsara Theatre hosts classical Khmer dance performances with a live orchestra. Shows typically include the graceful apsara (nymph) dance and scenes from the Hindu epic known as the Ramayana, with a Cambodian-themed dinner.More

Phnom Penh Russian Market (Toul Tom Poung Market)

Whether you’re looking for antique jewelry, freshly-caught fish, or factory-fresh designer brands, its likely that Phnom Penh Russian Market (Toul Tom Poung Market has a stall selling the goods. So-called because of the Russian tourists that used to frequent it, the market today offers a glimpse into local life in Cambodia’s capital.More

Wat Ounalom

The sounds of prayers and chanting Buddhist monks fills 15th-century Wat Ounalom, a religious complex near Phnom Penh’s Tonle Sap River. It’s considered the center of Cambodian Buddhism, but the temple’s not just for religious pilgrims. Here, visitors can find beautiful images of the Buddha, explore historic architecture, and more.More
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Recent reviews from experiences in Cambodia

The guide Run made it amazing
Lara_S, Mar 2023
Siem Reap Countryside Sunset Ride
I got to see the real Cambodia and the farms and towns people doing their daily activities.
Brilliant 8 hr trip
mark_p, Mar 2023
Full-Day Angkor Wat Sunrise Private Tour with Guide from Siem Reap
Tida’s English was excellent which made our 8 hrs spent with him a pleasure
Great tour with our guide Vandy
Eleanor_P, Mar 2023
Siem Reap Evening Food Tour - Inclusive 10 Local Tastings
We had a great tour and our guide - Vandy- was excellent, very knowledgeable and had great English.
Early wake up, but worth it!
Charis_C, Mar 2023
Sunrise Small-Group Tour of Angkor Wat from Siem Reap
The temples were amazing to see and our guide was knowledgeable.
Great experience!
LuisMiguel_A, Feb 2023
Sunset tour of floating village Kampong Phluk on the Tonle Sap
The trip is really worth it, especially if you would like to see a more local and a bit less touristic side of Cambodia, yet very unique with the floating houses.
Great Tuk Tuk tour to explore Battambang
Ines_H, Dec 2022
Afternoon tour by tuk tuk to bamboo train,bat cave,killing cave,countryside.
We had a great afternoon around Battambang and visited all the attractions like the bamboo train, the killing caves and could see the bats after sunset.
Wonderful day Beautiful people.
Susan_B, Dec 2022
Phnom Penh Vital Discovery-Full Day Tour (Including all services)
His English was precise and clear.
A highly recommended tour
Lisa_B, Dec 2022
Silk Island Tour by Tuk Tuk
were excellent; We got to see more of the real Cambodia outside the city with our guide explaining the history and background to key elements of rural life.
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People Also Ask

What is Cambodia known for?

Best known for the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia is a colorful country with a turbulent past. While you can still see the scars of the Khmer Rouge genocide in the 1970s, Cambodia’s beautiful beaches, palm-dotted rice paddies, and vibrant cities make it a popular travel destination.

What is the number one tourist attraction in Cambodia?

Attracting millions of yearly visitors, the ancient temples of Angkor Wat near Siem Reap are Cambodia’s top tourist attraction. However, learning about Cambodia’s tragic Khmer Rouge era is important in understanding its cultural history, so many tourists also visit the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh.

How many days do you need in Cambodia?

Many visitors spend around a week in Cambodia, exploring Siem Reap—the nearest city to Angkor Wat—and Phnom Penh. However, the Kingdom of Wonder is also home to tropical islands, picture-perfect beaches, crumbling colonial cities, lush jungle, and peaceful countryside, all of which can entice tourists to stay longer.

Is Cambodia good for tourists?

Yes, Cambodia is a friendly and welcoming place for tourists. It’s affordable, easy to get around, and has attractions to entice every type of visitor. However, it isn’t immune to the negative sides of tourism—like opportunistic bag snatchers—so keep your valuables hidden and don’t flaunt any fancy tech.

What are the do’s and don’ts in Cambodia?

Visitors to Cambodia should respect the local culture as much as possible. This means dressing modestly, especially when visiting temples, where you should cover your shoulders and knees. You should also stick to marked pathways in Angkor Wat and not climb on the temples.

Is Cambodia a cheap place to visit?

Yes, Cambodia is an affordable country to visit, with plenty of options to suit budget travelers, from hostels to street food and tuk-tuks. Midrange and splurge travelers will also not be disappointed, with a range of deluxe accommodations, fine dining, and high-end experiences on offer, too.


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