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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Angkor Wat

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. Look out for intricate carvings of nymphs dancing on columns in shadowy hallways, serpent-topped balustrades, and huge, chiseled bas-reliefs depicting Khmer Empire battles. Although intended as a microcosm of the universe, it’s difficult to get lost here, with the complex arranged on three easy-to-navigate tiers.More

Wat Bo

One of Siem Reap’s oldest temples, Wat Bo is known for its collection of well-preserved wall paintings from the late 19th century. Though Wat Bo is a Buddhist temple, these paintings depict the Reamker, which is Cambodia’s interpretation of the Ramayana—an epic Hindu story about the love between Rama and Shita, the strongest man and the most beautiful women of all time. There is also an impressive collection of Buddha statues.It won’t take long to explore Wat Bo as it’s not that big of a temple. However, the paintings are well preserved and, in addition to illustrating the Reamker, the paintings also give insight into daily life in this area. A sharp eye might catch foreigners painted into the scenes, get an idea of what fashion looked like in those days and perhaps spot the likeness of French soldiers. It’s a quiet respite from the liveliness of Siem Reap and a nice break from the expansive temples of nearby Angkor Wat.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

Trip ideas

Siem Reap Floating Villages

Siem Reap Floating Villages

How to Spend 2 Days in Siem Reap

How to Spend 2 Days in Siem Reap

How to Spend 2 Days in Angkor Wat

How to Spend 2 Days in Angkor Wat

Ways to Experience Khmer Culture in Siem Reap

Ways to Experience Khmer Culture in Siem Reap

Top activities in Cambodia

Phnom Penh Full Day Private Tours

Phnom Penh Full Day Private Tours

Angkor Wat Admission Ticket

Angkor Wat Admission Ticket

3-Days Discovery Of Angkor: Waterfalls,Floating Village and Banteay Srei temple

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The Mekong Island Biking Tour and Lunch with farmers
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Top Destinations

Top Destinations

Recent reviews from experiences in Cambodia

Good tour to see what happend between 1975 and 1979 in Cambodia
Christoph_B, Nov 2022
The Killing Field and Toul Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) Tour
A good tour to see this part of cambodians history.
Smooth Journey
Anastasia_B, Nov 2022
Full-Day Angkor Temple & Sunset Tour by Private Luxury Vehicles
Good way to see a little of Cambodia
incredible tour
Lucia_J, Oct 2022
The Killing Field and Toul Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) Tour
Would absolutely recommend taking the time to visit these sites.
Incredible experience!
Kellie_H, Oct 2022
1-Day Amazing Angkor Wat Small Circuit Tour with Sunrise
Mony had great English and was able to explain things in ways we understood.
10 stars. Awesome sunrise!
Rebecca_M, Sep 2022
Full-Day Angkor Wat Sunrise Private Tour with Guide from Siem Reap
Sa and Mr Ya were highly professional, knowledgeable and Sa's English was incredibly good.
Brilliant Tour with Experienced Guide Bunpheng
Kerry_A, Jul 2022
Private Angkor Wat Sunrise Tour
His English was excellent.
Fun and interesting tour
Kerry_A, Jul 2022
Phnom Penh Nightlife Street Food Tours
Great fun and interesting tour with knowledgeable and friendly tour guide who spoke great English.
Respectful Tour into Cambodia’s Genocide History
Kerry_A, Jul 2022
S-21 Prison and Killing Fields
His knowledge was superb as was his English.
Deep Cambodian History
Gabriel_N, Jul 2022
Phnom Penh Full Day Private Tours
Thorn was very flexible to our needs, aside from providing a real 101 lesson on the ascension of the Khmer rouge as well as its fallout.
Must Experience for Yourself!
George_L, Nov 2022
Angkor Wat Admission Ticket
In two days, we were able to visit 12 temples.
Trip made our holiday. Best decision to book this 4 day tour.
Cheryl_J, Oct 2022
4-Day All Major Temples & Kulen mountain & Koh Ker & Beng Mealea
Our teen was initially sceptical at length of tour but in the end absolutely loved the variety the tour offered; temples, ruins, mountains, waterfall, lake/boat, local culture soaked up driving through villages and hours chatting with Guide Mr Sam.
Highly recommend this tour!
Sian_D, Oct 2022
Sunrise Tour of Angkor Wat from Siem Reap
Would recommend this tour to see Angkor Wat as well as some smaller, quieter temples.
Customizable full day tour of Phnom Penh
Priya_S, Oct 2022
Phnom Penh Full Day Private Tours
Ou Bunthorn was an excellent tour guide, speaks very good English.
A truly memorable tour
Peter_W, Oct 2022
Ultimate Private Guided Tours, Sunrise Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei
Our guide Sorphorn was knowledgeable and engaging - his English was very good.
A special day
Clark_S, Sep 2022
Phnom Kulen Mountain - Shared Group Tours
Both the waterfall and the Reclining Buddha were special sites and very easy to get to.
Outstanding tour and guide!
Tamara_L, Sep 2022
Full-Day Angkor Wat Sunrise Private Tour with Guide from Siem Reap
My husband and I have always wanted to visit Angkor Wat and when the opportunity arose, we booked this private tour.
Everything was just perfect
Amparo_M, Aug 2022
Private 2-Day Tour Temples with Sunset and Sunrise
I’m glad we took a 2 day tour, this gave us the opportunity to visit the most famous temples but also some hidden gems, now we appreciate how different and unique is each of the 11 temples we visited.
Bedt tour to see main attractions in and around Siem Reap!
Soraya_N, Aug 2022
3-Days Discovery Of Angkor: Waterfalls,Floating Village and Banteay Srei temple
I got to see so much of the beauty Cambodia has to offer wuthout breaking the bank!
Great class, highly recommend, simple recipes.
Saranya_N, Aug 2022
Khmer Cooking Class Half Day (AM or PM)
We made spring rolls, yellow chicken curry and a banana desert.
Brilliant Tour with Excellent Tour Guide
Kerry_A, Jul 2022
Battambang Full Day Tour from Siem Reap - Bamboo Train, Killing Cave & Sunset
His English was perfect.
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