The following are just some of the must-see places in Cambodia. While there’s plenty to see off the usual paths, these destinations often end up in many people’s itineraries.
The temple complex of Angkor Wat is the undisputed highlight of Cambodia. Since 3D aerial laser scans were completed in 2016, the archaeological site is understood to have not just been the world’s largest religious monument but also a huge ancient city.
Angkor Wat is massive. The much-photographed main temple is just a tiny part of the 400-square-kilometer site. If you have the time, it’s worth getting a 3-day pass.
Since it’s the city nearest to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap inevitably became Cambodia’s main tourist destination.
Besides serving as a base for temple exploration, you’ll find numerous other tours and services here to keep you entertained. Cooking classes, pottery classes, quad bike tours, Vespa tours, ziplining, massages, fish pedicures, gondola sunset boat rides… you name it, Siem Reap’s got it. When darkness falls, look no further than Pub Street for cheap booze and entertainment.
Cambodia’s hot and dusty capital seems like a love-it-or-hate-it place. I think many travel guides often hype it up too much (e.g. by endlessly repeating the ‘Pearl of Asia’ phrase and other grandiose terms). I don’t get that excited by Phnom Penh myself, but it’s still a major city with a lot of things going on, and I do think it has its moments.
Ribboning along the Mekong river, this small town in northeastern Cambodia is a laidback place. It makes for an ideal stop for anyone traveling to Banlung or the 4000 Islands in Laos. But more than just a waypoint, it’s also a great place to visit in itself.