Standing by the big tourism hotspots of Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia is sometimes overlooked by many tourists. However, this Buddhist country is a newly emerging hotspot for Southeast Asian travelers thanks to the glorious temples, rich heritage, and diverse wildlife. The first-time visitors will find this article as an ultimate list of top 10 tourist attractions in Cambodia. We cover the famous religious temples, historical sites, stunning beaches, and more.
1. Angkor Wat – Angkor Archaeological Park
The one and only temple of Angkor Wat displays the mighty history of the Angkorian period. The majesty construction of the temple complex is a UNESCO Heritage Site that came to life between AD 802 and 1432.
During the medieval age, Angkor Wat was the pride of the ancient Khmer citizens as it was the largest temple worldwide. The Khmer Kings brought power to this construction and from there outbid their predecessors.
The majority of the ancient temples were made of wood, which led to the decay of many dwellings and lost into the jungles. Those buildings remain today in front of your bare eyes are the most magnificent temples that stand the test of time.
2. Cambodian National Museum – A Thorough Glimpse into Cambodian Culture
If you’re into Southeast Asian history, the national museum of Cambodia houses a huge collection of Khmer artifacts. This is home to a wide range of ceramics, sculptures, and ancient objects. The whole museum comprises of rooms of different periods. Which begins at the prehistoric, to the pre-Angkorian time and post-Angkorian periods. You will have an interesting insight into the vast history timeline of the Cambodian. Don’t forget to make a trip into this museum ahead with the Angkor Wat Temples.
3. The Royal Palace – A Spectacular Gem for Architecture Seekers
It’s time to admire the glittering architecture shined through the golden peaking roofs of the royal palace. The site currently serves as a residential area of King Sihamoni.
Therefore, several parts of the palace must be closed from public visitors. A trip into the royal palace is a chance for you to mesmerize at the throne hall, the surrounding buildings, and the Silver Pagoda nearby. Other than the extravagant appearance, you will be mesmerized at the greenish tropical gardens.
4. Phnom Kulen – A Windy Laid-back Vibe
The breezy Kulen Mountain is a top destination for those visiting Siem Reap for the first time. It is a proud national park of the country that serves another value as a sacred site. Phnom Kulen is a popular pilgrimage getaway for the local Cambodian during their big religious holidays. Apart from the hilltop temple, visitors can lay back at the two gigantic waterfalls or open their minds at the “River of Thousand Lingas” of Kbal Spean.
5. Cambodia Landmine Museum – A Different Look into Cambodian Tragic War
The museum is a brainchild of a famous landmine victim Aki Ra. It houses a wide collection of mines, weapons of all kinds, and mortars. The museum plays a role as a visual storyteller of the Cambodian war tragedy. A few steps away from the landmine museum takes you to the Butterfly Center. Take this chance to immerse into the charm of Mother Nature and combine the two in a day trip!
6. Bokor – A Summer Retreat
Officially known as the Bokor Hill Station, this top-rated destination was once a recreational summer retreat for the French figures during the colonial period. Located at the hilltop of Bokor, it is now a “ghost town” yet still delivering a mystic European beauty. The complex comprises of a royal residence, a church, a hotel, and even a casino.
Several modern buildings have shown up at the hill for the making of famous movies. Check out the City of Ghosts (2002) and the R-Point (2004) for a sneak peek before the visit!
7. Banteay Srei – Jewel of Khmer Art
Another must-see holy shrine in Cambodia is Banteay Srei. People compliment the site as a “jewel of Khmer art”. Showcasing the marvelous beauty of its architecture, Banteay Srei takes root in the 10th century. This popular tourist attraction in Cambodia sits near the hills of Phnom Dei in the Angkor area. Paying homage to the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva. Banteay Srei is intricately carved featuring the precious dazzling beauty of the red sandstones.
8. Siem Reap – An All-in-one Stopover
Skipping Siem Reap on your Cambodia trip is a big mistake. This Cambodia capital welcomes millions of travelers a year as a stopover before visiting the Angkor Wat.
Siem Reap is a big city, and it houses numerous museums, Chinese buildings, cultural villages, and colonial constructions.
Another selling point that attracts tourists to Siem Reap is the show of Apsara traditional dance. You can choose to stay at one of the top-rated resorts, hotels, and restaurants at any time during the year.
9. Sihanoukville – A Stunning Deserted Island
Beachgoers assemble! The one and only Sihanoukville is the most famous seaside in Cambodia. Viewing the vast Gulf of Thailand, Sihanoukville beholds the stretching coastline, marshlands, and great biodiversity within.
Apart from being a beachside hotspot, Sihanoukville is also a commerce and industry hub of Cambodia. The site is a newly emerging beach destination for first-timers to Cambodia. Yet it’s still able to preserve the deserted look of the past ages.
10. Tonlé Sap – Home of a Great Biodiversity
The wetland area of Tonlé Sap is home to the gigantic Tonlé Sap Lake. This is a seasonally inundated freshwater lake formed by the vast 120-kilometer-long Tonlé Sap River. Playing a big role as a floodplain of the Mekong River, the water flow from Tonlé Sap supports the significant ecosystem of the surrounding regions.
Housing massive biodiversity of over 149 fish species under the surface of the river, Tonlé Sap also witnesses migratory birds and reptile species. The Mekong giant catfish is the world’s largest freshwater fish that has resided in Tonlé Sap for years. Thanks to the impressive biodiversity, Tonlé Sap has become a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1997.
These top 10 tourist attractions in Cambodia are unmissable. They help you understand the history and culture of Cambodia to the fullest. Don’t forget to share this article with your fellow travelers. And contact us if you have any questions!