Cambodia is a country of intriguing culture, and home to one of the Wonders of the World, Angkor Wat. The temples (Wats) are the main attraction, due to their complete awe factor…so massive and intricate. I can’t say enough about how amazing this country is – the kind people, the delicious food, the upbeat nightlife, and of course the Wats.
I visited 2 cities while I was there, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. The housing is so cheap (compared to Western countries) that you shouldn’t have a problem finding a beautiful place to stay. You will get around by tuktuk, (a small car pulled by a motorbike), and shouldn’t pay more than a few US dollars for a 5 – 10 minute ride. And yes, Cambodians do accept and actually prefer US dollars.
Angkor Temple – There are so many temples within this massive complex, you probably won’t be able to visit them all. BUT, you should at least venture to the ones I’m suggesting…because they were spectacular.
We hired a driver (with an actual car) for the day, to take us to all the Wats we could possibly see. He picked us up before sunrise, so we could catch it at the first destination.
- Angkor Wat
2. Banteay Kdei
3. Ta Prohm – Home of scenes from the Tomb Raider movies
4. Ta Keo
After a long day of exploring the temples, you need to check out Pub Street…tons of bars and restaurants to make you feel right at home.
We went to Temple Bar, and saw a free show of Apsara Dancing, a Cambodian tradition. It was pretty neat.
There are also a few alley ways near pub street that are packed with bars…do a bit of exploring, there are people everywhere. We stumbled upon a cool reggae style bar where people were smoking weed…
Get home safely in a tuktuk –
You also shouldn’t miss the Old Market and Night Bazar (market) in Siem Reap. The shopping is cheap and the food & booze are even cheaper.
From Siem Reap we traveled to Phnom Penh by bus.
What to do there:
- Royal Palace
When you go to the temples and palaces, you do need to wear clothes that cover your shoulders and go past your knees.
2. Day Market, Night Market, & Russian Market
Markets for days. Tons of good shopping, especially for cheap electronics, jewelry and clothes.
3. Killing Fields
You may know that there was a genocide in the late 70’s in Cambodia where a regime killed 3 million of their own people, similar to what happened in Germany. This was an absolutely devastating occurrence, and is interesting to learn about so you can better understand the Cambodian people and culture. It was a really hard day, visiting the fields where people’s lives were taken, and museums that explain the genocide. I felt it was necessary to pay our respects.
You can pay a tuktuk driver around $15 per person to drive you around for the entire day. After we went to the fields, we went to the S21 Museum/Tuol Sleng Museum which are prisons where people were kept. Again, extremely hard and stomach wrenching sites to see.
4. National Museum
We were only in Phonm Penh for about a day and a half. Besides what I mentioned above, you should walk around, check out the local shops and restaurants, maybe even get a massage or your nails done (since it’s so cheap). You should check out what I missed…
All in all I loved Cambodia SO much and I hope your travels take you there.
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