Top 10 Places to Visit in Cambodia for First-Time Travellers

Cambodia, home of Angkor Wat, is an ancient country with a rich cultural heritage. A unified kingdom was established there a long time ago. With the development of time, more and more tourists have found the attraction of Cambodia worth visiting.

From the ancient temple complex with magnificent statues and the curves on the buildings revealing immemorial stories to the local cities in a unique cultural atmosphere, and the natural undeveloped landscapes of tropical forest areas, Cambodia is definitely a wonderful place to experience different cultures and landscapes. This article will introduce the top 10 places to visit during your first time trip to Cambodia.

Angkor Wat is a temple complex at Angkor built in the 12th century. The vast religious complex of Angkor Wat comprises more than a thousand buildings, and it's one of the great cultural wonders of the world. It marks the high artistic value of Khmer architecture.

The city of Angkor once served as the royal center of the dynasty of Khmer. Angkor Wat, which is a funeral temple group, stores the remains of its builders, Suryavarman II. The temples are dedicated to the three gods of Hinduism. Angkor Wat is built on the mountain and surrounded by a huge moat. The entrance for visitors is through a 617-foot bridge. Angkor Wat consists of five main towers connected by hallways. Exquisite reliefs can be observed everywhere on the walls which look more mysterious as their appearance faded with time.

Angkor WatAngkor Wat

Banteay Srei, which means "the castle of women", is one of the most important temples in the Angkor region. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Deep red sandstone was dominantly used in the building. The curves in design are so intricate that it is said that only women could have carved them. These relief carvings tell the stories of Hindu mythology. This temple looks most beautiful in the afternoon, bathing in the sunlight with a shimmering brick-red glow.

Banteay SreiBanteay Srei

Bayon Temple is a part of the Angkor Wat. It's famous for the Bayon face towers, which have vivid smiling faces on them.

Bayon Temple is a complex of 49 towers. 48 towers of different sizes surround one main tower in the center. Each tower has four sides carved with smiling faces. This is the famous Khmer smile. Some of the walls have been damaged, with moss and huge tree roots clinging to their mottled appearance them.

There are also carvings that can be seen clearly on some walls and stone columns, remembering the wars and lives of ancient people as if they were telling history to tourists.

Bayon Face Tower of Bayon TempleBayon Face Tower of Bayon Temple

The Silver Pagoda is lying in the Phnom Penh Palace, which stores a lot of treasures such as gold and jeweled Buddha statues.

In the Silver Pagoda, the king often listens to the monks' preaching, which makes it a solemn place. Visitors must wear formal clothes when they enter the pagoda, and taking photos at will is not allowed. There are more than 1050 pieces of valuable jewelry in the pagoda, including artifacts made of gold, silver, jade, etc.

As its name suggests, the Silver Pagoda is made of 5000 silver bricks.

Preah Vihear Temple is a Khmer temple, which is located on the 525-meter-high cliff of Tanrek Mountain at the junction of Cambodia and Thailand. It is the most spectacular temple of all Khmer temples.

Preah Vihear Temple is a Hindu temple that is of a style similar to Angkor Wat. The temple is built on a cliff, so you need to climb the mountain first. After about 10 minutes of walking along a rocky road, a long and wide corridor appears in front of your eyes.

Walking through the long corridor, you can see pyramids and temples. Fading with time, the ancient statues and stone columns stand in front of us, displaying the trace of history. The stone columns are carved with exquisite patterns, mostly Shiva and Vishnu. Go through the temples and keep moving to the top of the mountain, you can see endless plains on the top.

Koh Ker once was the capital of the Khmer Empire for a short time. Koh Ker temple group is composed of more than thirty temples scattered in the thick forest. It is said that there are more than 100 temples in the forest, but the rest have not been found. The largest one is called Prasat Thnom, namely Koh Ker pyramid. Due to its remote location, this temple is also the most difficult one to find among all temples in Cambodia.

After entering the jungle, you will first pass Prasat Krahom, which is composed of five red stupas. Then you will come to the magnificent pyramid which is 55 meters wide and 40 meters high. The original staircase has been damaged and covered with moss, so it is not convenient for people to climb. Visitors need to go up from a wooden ladder built on the side.

Koh Ker Pyramid is close to Preah Vihear Temple, so visitors can go to these two sites on the same day.

Besides the numerous ancient cultural attractions in Cambodia, Tonle Sap Lake is one of the few places where you can enjoy the natural scenery.

Tonle Sap Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. The lake will expand and shrink with the change of seasons, bringing differences in its views. Located in the heart of Cambodia, Tonle Sap Lake is like a huge emerald inlaid in the ground. You can take a local boat to look around its view of the lake.

Going through a green dense forest on the water, you will see the vast bright lake unfolding before your eyes accompanied by the cool breeze and fresh air. Most of the houses are floating on the water in the rainy season, which is called the floating village.

The most beautiful view of Tonle Sap Lake must be its sunset. As the boat moves slowly to the center of the lake, the afterglow of the sun quietly scatters on the water, making a sparkling light. And the sky is as clear as if it has just been washed. The boat sways gently in the breeze, and time seems to be slowed down at this moment.

Tonle Sap LakeTonle Sap Lake

Bogot Hill City was built by the French in the 1920s. Bogo Hill City has many abandoned buildings which makes a feeling like a ghost city.

Bogot Hill City, built on the top of Bogot Mountain, was once a summer resort. On the top of the hill which is overgrown with weeds, stands a huge abandoned building. On the mottled gray exterior wall, there are some cinnabar mosses. On the ground with gravels there are white lichens growing. Going up by high stairs and entering Bogot Hill City, you can see a spacious and quiet hall, and the bustle and prosperity here once seem to appear in front of your eyes again. In the inner room, there is enamel glass laid in last century, which is still as bright as new. Climbing on its roof and looking down, you can see dark green woods and the boundless Siam Bay. On the top of the mountain, there is often a howling sound by wind, which sounds like whispers of a stranger. Bogot Hill City is built on a mountain over 1000 meters, so white fog often rises here, which provided an excellent site for shooting the thrilling movie R Point.

Sihanoukville, located on the southwest coast of Cambodia, is the largest seaport in Cambodia. Sihanouk's greatest attractions are its white beaches, swaying palm trees and undeveloped tropical islands.

Most areas here are not fully developed, so the beaches and sea are very natural and clean. The sky and sea are like huge sapphires, with golden sunlight shining on the oil-green palm trees. The clean sea water here also creates an excellent environment for diving. Diving in pellucid and shimmering water, you can interact with lovely fishes. In addition, the sunset on the beach is also a wonderful landscape. In the evening, you can drive to Sokha Beach to watch the sunset and large clouds which are dyed tangerine by afterglow.

Kratie is a small town on the bank of the Mekong River. It is a central market surrounded by ancient buildings. Here people can see the Irrawaddy dolphins.

The quaint and charming town of Kratie is located in northeastern Cambodia and it is relatively isolated and is really evolved as a tourist destination. However, Kratie is still worthy of visiting because of its natural, unspoiled beauty.

Kratie has been blessed with enchanting scenery thanks to the Mekong River, which flows from the north to the south. In addition, the Mekong River gave this province hundreds of matured islands, as well as rich and varied wetland habitats that are home to several dolphins, fishes, and birds. Many people like to see the Irrawaddy Dolphins in this town. The Irrawaddy dolphin is an endangered species, which is now under the protection of NGOs. These dolphins are shy and adorable. It's interesting to interact with them.

Cambodia is far away from the hustle of cities and full of a historical atmosphere. Spending a week here, you can stroll under the red brick walls of Khmer temples, watch the ancient buildings born thousands of years ago, and view the unique history of the Khmer dynasty; Or you can wander in the mountains and villages with Southeast Asian scenery and experience the local customs. Cambodia is a place that makes your mind calm and simplified.

If you're planning to travel to Cambodia, please don't hesitate to contact us, just simply tell us your interests and needs, and one of our travel experts will create a tailor-made itinerary for you within 24hrs.

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