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Cambodia Travel - 6 Top Vacation Sites in Cambodia the Land of Smiles

Updated on October 4, 2013

Cambodia's Angkot Wat

The Kingdom of Cambodia was once regarded as paradise, but 30 years of civil war left the Southeast Asian Nation a mere shadow of its former elegance and delight. When relative peace and stability were re-established in 1998, Cambodia began to rebuild and is now once again a draw for many tourists. What are some of the best places to visit in the Kingdom of Cambodia?

  1. Siem Riep - home of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom ruins.
  2. Phnom Penh - the capital city and home to The Royal Palace.
  3. Sihanoukville - Cambodia's top seaside resorts.
  4. Kampot-Kep - a sleepy French colonial town and home of Bokor Mountain
  5. Kirirom Mountain resort
  6. Rattanakiri - known for unadulterated natural terrain and breath-taking waterfalls.

The Bayon Temple in Siem Riep

Ta Phrom Palace

Khmer Apsara Dancing

Siem Riep

Siem Riep is the most popular tourist town in Cambodia and is visited by patrons from all around the world. Siem Riep is located in the mid-northwest area of the country and is home of the world famous Angkor Civilization ancient ruins. Featured in the Angelina Jolie's Tomb Raider as well as The Amazing Race reality show, Siem Reap is home of Angkor Wat, a Buddhist temple once considered one of the seven man-made wonders of the world; and Angkor Thom, the city center of the Angkor Empire thought to be the third city in the world to reach a population of one million inhabitants. Within the walls of Angkor Thom reside more famed temples including The Bayon Temple, Ta Prohm Palace (featured in Tomb Raider and Raiders of the Lost Ark II). Amongst the other attractions, Siem Riep has many cultural centers where one can view traditional Khmer Dancing.

Phnom Penh - The Royal Palace at Night

The Royal Palace - Day Time

Wat Phnom Buddhist Temple

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia and is home to one seventh of the nations 14 million inhabitants. Although Phnom Penh is densely populated it is still a fine place to visit. Some of the most popular tourist attractions in the Cambodia's capital city are:

  1. The Royal Palace - where the reigning king resides.
  2. The Tonle Sap, Mekong Riverfront - especially during the Water Festival in early November.
  3. Wat Phnom - a temple with unique wall paintings and daily elephant rides.
  4. The History Museum

Two more must see places are not feel good places, but are reminders of the horrific genocide that occurred during the recent civil war:

  1. Toul Sleng - a prisoner of war torture camp.
  2. The Killing Fields - a body dumping ground of the Khmer Rouge situated about 20 minutes outside of Phnom Penh.

Toul Sleng Interrogation Camp - Inside Phnom Penh

The Killing Fields Monument - Outside Phnom Penh

Kampot-Kep - Bokor Mountain

Kampot-Kep - French Colonial Town and Lookout

Kampot-Kep are popular stops for ecotourists and old history buffs. Located in the southern part of the country near the Gulf of Thailand, Kampot features Bokor Mountain Resort, an old French lookout post which has a fine mix of old and new architecture. Take the main road about 25 minutes farther and you come to Kep a nice seaside town famous for its crab market and wading beach.

Kirirom Mountain Resort

Kirirom Mountain Resort - Kompong Speu

About two hours west of Phnom Penh along Highway 4, one will find Kirirom Mountain Resort.The mountain terrain is great for hiking with breath-taking waterfalls and freshwater swimming. Recently, a mountainside resort was built fully equipped with a highwire zip line, horseback riding, fine dining, and both family ranch and honeymoon suite style sleeping accommodations.


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    • profile image

      Cooper Harrison 7 months ago from San Francisco, CA

      Great suggestions!

    • Chaya Parmessur profile image

      Chaya Parmessur 6 years ago from FRANCE

      Great hub! I have just done a hub on cycling in Indochina. You may be interested in reading it. I will link my hub to yours anyway.

    • nowavenowave profile image

      nowavenowave 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Nice Article, very useful. Although i would probably revise the decription of Angkor as a buddist temple.

      Elsewhere it is described as -

      "first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist."

      Liked the rest though.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Outstanding information and photographs. Thank you for this journey. The Killing Fields is an exhibit everybody should see, if only in photographs. There is a great lesson there.