Whether you are a backpacker on a tight budget or someone who won’t settle for less than five-star luxury, Cambodia has something for you. Cambodia has two major tourist destinations, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.
Siem Reap is home to one of the largest ancient temple complex in the world. Built between 802 and 1220 A.D., these temples draw hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. Siem Reap is a relatively small, quiet town with a great variety of hotels, restaurants and activities.
Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s capitol city, with a laid-back charm all its own. It is a city of sharp contrasts that still bears the scars of its past and yet is bustling with new development. The French colonized Cambodia in the 1950’s, so the city has an eccentric blend of both French and Asian charm. Phnom Penh can accommodate any budget, offering $3 per night guesthouses all the way up to posh five-star hotels. As for dining, one can easily drop $50 on a meal at one of the new upscale restaurants on the riverside, while the more adventurous traveler might try fried crickets from a roadside stall. Phnom Penh offers almost any kind of cultural cuisine one might desire, and abundant options when it comes to nightlife.
One of the most extensive listings of accommodation, dining and activities in Cambodia can be found at www.canbypublications.com. If you are an adventurer or on a tight budget, the “Lonely Planet” travel guide is a huge help.
Some of the things not to miss during your visit to Cambodia include:
- The temples of Angkor Wat
- Toul Sleng Museum
- The Royal Palace
- National Museum
- The Riverside
- Traditional Dance at Sovanna Phum
- Local Markets (Psar Thmei, Psar Toul Tum Pong)
Also, if you have time, it would be worth your while to visit some of the local NGO’s and see the good work that is being done in Cambodia. There are a number of organizations working with the children living at the city dump, as well as many organizations helping to get kids off the street, rescue women from trafficking, offer training and development, and too many others to list. Many of these organizations can be found at http://www.ccc-cambodia.org/SearchPage/search_page.html.
- Some things to keep in mind while traveling in Cambodia or any other third world country:
- Don’t draw attention to yourself by wearing expensive jewelry or flashy clothing
- Use a handbag with a strap long enough to sit diagonally over the body. Keep it in front of you at all times.
- Carry minimal amounts of cash
- Get necessary vaccinations before you go
- Be wary when eating food from street cart sellers
- Stick to the large, well lit streets at night
Cambodia is a beautiful country with countless things to do and see. There is something for everyone, regardless of budget. Don’t forget your camera, you won’t want to miss a thing!