Cambodia has its very own color palette and charm in South East Asia, and has a wide gamut of experiences to offer in your visit to Cambodia. You would obviously have a spoil of choices, but here are ten experiences that will give you a run for your money:
1. The Angkor Wat:
A splendid example of the Khmer architecture and graces the 12th position in the UNESCO World Heritage. This temple complex is notable for its resurrection, that is very romantically-toned. Lying within rustic branches, vines from the jungle and roots. The Angkor Wat also compasses the famous Bayon Temple of Angkor Thom housing a vast labyrinth of mazes, towers and passageways. Hence, when you avail your Cambodia packages, you should definitely consider the Angkor Wat as an experience that is worth every penny.
2. Floating Villages and the Tonle Sap lake:
If while looking at a Cambodian map, you have wondered what that large blue blob in the mid-western section is, it is the biggest freshwater lake in the SouthEast of Asia. This lake is very queer, during monsoons, the lake delgues magnanimously and goes to the Mekong river, and this phenomena is reversed during summers. The best season to visit the lake is during winters. The floating villages are inherently houses on stilts which appear to be floating on the water. The inhabitants of the village sustain themselves by fishing or agriculture.
3. Killing fields in Phnom Penh and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum:
If you are a little aware of Cambodia’s history, you will know the Communist regime of Khmer Rouge was involved in a mass genocide claiming more than 3 million lives. It is a very unusual place to visit in Cambodia and understand its rich heritage. It is imperative to visit the school where forced confessions were extracted by the S-21 interrogation centre. 15 kilometres from Phnom Penh, is a ‘killing field’ in Choeung Ek where the prisoners were executed. Innumerable bodies were found here after the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge and it still remains one of the most underrated sites to visit in your Cambodia tour package.
4. Ta Prohm – Siem Reap:
With Tolkien-esque roots of the snaking trees, you are correct when you think ‘Tomb Raider’ was based here. Considered the third marvel of the Angkor complex after Angkor Thom’s Bayon Temple and Angkor Wat. The most fascinating feature of this temple is that nobody touched it after it was discovered in 1860 and the trees have engulfed and almost reclaimed the temple. A splash of color is added by the animals that have made Ta Prohm its habitat, some of the prominent ones are parrots and monkeys.
5. Phnom Penh:
The world famous turquoise Buddha statue is studded with around 10,000 diamonds. The Silver Pagoda has its floor tiled with solid silver and it is in Phnom Penh, which loosely translates to ‘The Pearl of Asia’. The capital city of Cambodia emanates charming chaos with spectacular performances in the streets and also boasts of a beautiful river front for miles in all directions as you snake your way along the traffic-less walkways.
Battambang was once included in Siam, and is a riverside town. It is a tiny slice of the real Cambodia. The French colonial towns are better maintained and will give you quite a few temples (not Angkor Wat-esque) to be probed. You can also take a ‘bamboo train’ in the town which utilises the tanks used in wartime and transport people and cargo both between Phnom Penh and Battambang. The monument of the ‘Naga for Peace’ is a must-watch and it signifies the Cambodian history of conflict which includes an uncountable number of illegal weapons in the hands of the ordinary citizens. The ‘Naga’ (serpent) is built entirely by the surrendered weapons and their parts.
7. Apsara Dance:
The Apsaras are mythical celestial nymphs found in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology. They are portrayed as a feminine spirit of the waters and clouds, and were revived in the 1940’s as a performing art by the Queen herself. You will be flabbergasted by the impeccable contortions of the hands of the dancers. The traditional Apsara Dance portrays all the 4 elements of the Khmer Dance, but they are mostly performed in a number of cafes around the city and you should definitely watch a live performance.
If hiking or trekking is your thing, then Ratnakiri would be your Mecca. Half of this entire place is reserved for nature enthusiasts and is protected by the authorities of the Virachey National Park and the Lompat Wildlife Sanctuary. Situated in the remotest North- Eastern parts of the country, the varied geographical makeup includes crater lakes, plateaus, mountains and a patchwork of hills. Gloating over a diverse ecosystem of a lowland tropical rainforest in SouthEast Asia, it is home to around 44 species of mammals and about 76 species of birds and a bewilderingly vast flora and fauna.
9. Kratie- Irrawaddy River Dolphins:
River Dolphins are a very close relative of the Killer Whale and can be found in the stretch of the Mekong river between Cambodia and Laos. The town of Kratie is by the river and gives it a beautiful old charm; nevertheless it is a great place to accomodate to if you want to watch a majestic sunset on the soft, splashing waters of the River Mekong with dolphins as a company. It is definitely a recommended activity that would be worth every dollar.
10. Beach bumming and island escapes of Sihanoukville:
Lying sandwiched among Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, Cambodia has a small claim of the seas which are mostly of a halcyonic category of white sands, blue seas and beach-huts made of bamboo and is one of the top destinations for the backpacker hedonist. Off the coast of Sihanoukville, there lies a pretty laid back Koh Russei according to the local jargon where you can have access to an island like Robinson Crusoe sans television or the internet or electricity. If you avail the dormitory or the bungalow for your accommodation, then you can have the entire island to yourself post 4pm.
These ten experiences would definitely worth every penny spent in your Cambodia tour package with Pickyourtrail and you would not regret any moment of it. Starting from the majestic temples of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Siem Reap to the unusually eerie killing fields of Choeung Ek, these places are bound to make your visit to Cambodia worthwhile.