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Cambodia Holiday - Siem Reap market

Cambodia

Ancient Khmer temples, impenetrable jungle, relaxed island beaches and restored French colonial villas, Cambodia is a simply captivating destination with a wealth of natural and historical treasures.

Mention Cambodia and most people will think immediately of the ruined temples of Angkor, undoubtedly the country's most iconic attraction. Yet there is more to this diverse and beautiful land than its temples, awe-inspiring though they are.

Angkorian temples are indeed dotted around the country, not just at Siem Reap, home of Angkor Wat, but also at Battambang, Cambodia’s second city, founded in the 11th century at the height of the Khmer Empire. These temple cities provide a fascinating insight into one of the most remarkable of South-East Asia's great medieval civilisations.

In contrast to temple cities, the present-day capital of Phnom Penh is revealing of Cambodia's colonial era. Often overlooked by visitors intent of heading straight to the temples, the riverside city has a relaxed atmosphere and a number of standout sights, including the exquisite Silver Pagoda and the glittering Royal Palace. A few days might be happily spent here soaking up the lively atmosphere and sampling the local Khmer cuisine.

Cambodia's remote northeast is less visited, but the road to Banlung has greatly improved in recent years and the journey taking in Kampong Cham, Kratie and Stung Treng is particularly rewarding. In this region, which acts as an entry point to southern Laos, you will find freshwater dolphins and gem mines. Mondulkiri and its capital Sen Monorom also receive few visitors, despite boasting some of Cambodia's most beautiful countryside.

Southern Cambodia has the country’s only beach resorts, Sihanoukville and Kep. A little way inland from the coast, the quiet riverine town of Kampot has French colonial architecture and is a good starting point for a visit to the former hill station of Bokor, once abandoned but now seeing new development. In the Southwest, the Cardamom Mountains see only a trickle of visitors, despite being home to numerous endangered species and offering excellent trekking.

Cambodia contains a huge variety of hotels and lodges. Whether you wish to hark back to a bygone era by staying in one of the grand colonial hotels of Phnom Penh, experience traditional Khmer hospitality in Siem Reap, relax in a converted villa on the coast, or enjoy the comforts and adventure offered by a remote floating lodge, Cambodia has plenty of unique accommodations to suit almost any taste. Let us help you plan a holiday to Cambodia that takes in the best of them.

Planning a holiday to Cambodia? We can prepare a tailor-made itinerary to suit your requirements and budget. We offer the popular routes as well as off-the-beaten track adventures - see our itineraries menu on the right for examples.

CAMBODIA TRAVEL ADVICE

  • Located in the tropics, Cambodia’s dry season runs from November/December to April - this is the best time to visit Cambodia

  • There can be disruption on the smaller roads during the rainy season

  • Consider visiting just after the end of the rainy season when the country is lush and green and the daily temperature more comfortable

  • The north and east of Cambodia can be cooler due to the higher altitude

  • An unforgettable way to arrive into Phnom Penh is by boat from Chau Doc in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

  • If leisurely river cruising appeals, why not spend a week travelling between Saigon and Siem Reap

  • If you are only interested in the temples you could spend as little as 2 nights holidaying in Cambodia, but to discover more, allow a minimum of 4 nights for Angkor and Phnom Penh and up to 2 weeks if you want to explore the coast in depth

  • Though not as famous as Thailand or Vietnam, Cambodia is a wonderful beach holiday destination. Sihanoukville has the best beaches and biggest resorts, while Kep stands out for its stylish boutique hotels.

Regions in Cambodia

Female farmer in North Cambodia

North and East Cambodia

Remote and little-visited, Cambodia’s Northeast allows you to experience the traditional rhythms of rural Cambodian life. Explore the market at Banlung, spy river dolphins at Kampi, and mingle with the region’s many and varied hill tribes in Mondulkiri.

Cambodia Monks at Phnom Penh Palace

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, is a blend of the traditional, colonial and modern, a city where pagodas, markets and shophouses sit easily alongside French villas and modern high rises.

Siam Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap and Battambang

The heartlands of the old Khmer Empire, Siem Reap and Battambang are the historical centre of Cambodia, gateways to the majestic temples of Angkor and a standard feature on any Cambodia holiday itinerary.

Kep coast, South Cambodia

Southern Cambodia

Good roads from Phnom Penh and excellent beaches make Southern Cambodia’s coastline a popular spot. Most visitors to the region base themselves on the beaches at Sihanoukville and Kep, but Kampot, a laidback riverine town, also attracts a smattering of visitors, its faded and rundown waterside colonial buildings its primary charm.

Example itineraries in Cambodia

Undiscovered Cambodia

14-day tour visiting Cambodia’s remote northeast, including Kratie, Ratanakiri, Mondulkiri, Kompong Thom, before ending in Siem Reap, gateway to Angkor Wat.

Angkor and the Southern Coast

14-day tour visiting the heartland of the former Angkorean Empire in Siem Reap and Battambang, followed by a tour of Cambodia's beautiful Southern Coast

Khmer Heritage

6-day tour visiting the present-day capital, Phnom Penh, and ancient Siem Reap, gateway to Angkor Wat

Cambodia Luxury Winter Sun Special

Escape the British winter with this 9-day luxury holiday to Cambodia. You'll spend five nights at Song Saa Private Island Beach Resort, one of Cambodia's newest and finest boutique resorts, followed by two nights in Siem Reap exploring the temples of Angkor.

Angkor and Kep (Knai Bang Chatt)

Start your tour in Siem Reap, where you'll visit the world-famous temples of Angkor and Tonle Sap Lake, before venturing south to Kep, a quiet beach retreat on the southern Cambodian coast, for 6 nights at upmarket resort Knai Bang Chatt.

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