Highlights of Cambodia
Once considered as the most beautiful of the French built cities of Indochina, Phnom Penh's enduring colonial charm has managed to transcend its once tumultuous past. A stroll through the leafy suburbs will find beautiful wide boulevards, sprawling colonial buildings, pavement restaurants, glittering palaces and pagodas, vibrant markets, and a bustling riverfront that made it the Paris of the East before 1970.
This former sleepy riverside village is the gateway to the magnificent Angkor complex, whose stone ruins stand testament to the power of the once vast and glorious Khmer Empire. Today, declared a World Heritage Site, the area is dotted with over 1000 temples and pagodas, from unadorned ruins scattered through rice fields to the awe imposing Angkor Wat;the striking faces of the Bayon;the encroaching jungle upon Ta Prohm;and the delicate carvings of the vibrant pink sandstone at Banteay Srei, all of which make Angkor one of the world's greatest man made wonders.
With stretches of long white sand beaches and a coastline dotted with untouched tropical islands, Sihanoukville with its laid back beach town atmosphere delivers an unspoilt tropical hideaway to either fly and flop to or as a break in an extended journey. Surrendering to the tranquil nature of this town, relax on one of its many unspoilt beaches or take a swim in the shimmering aquamarine seas. With so many nearby islands, take a speed boat for a day of island hopping, snorkelling, SCUBA diving or game fishing. Returning to enjoy a feast of fresh seafood that the town is famous for, with crab, prawns and ocean fish caught the same day that they are being served.
One of the largest provinces in Cambodia, Koh Kong is a stunning destination with miles of beautiful coastline surrounded by the lush tropical jungles and rainforests of the Cardamom and Elephant Mountains. The destination is abundant with wildlife and natural attractions, making for fantastic adventure tourism opportunities from trekking to remote waterfalls, island hopping and waterborne sports like snorkelling, kayaking and SCUBA diving. Koh Kong has also become an increasingly popular gateway to Cambodia from Hat Lek in Eastern Thailand, making for a relaxing stop for any overland journey.
Kampot and Kep
Kampot and Kep, two charming provincial towns in South-Eastern Cambodia, are the gateway to Bokor National Park and the pristine Cambodian eastern seaboard. With a relaxed and sleepy atmosphere, both destinations make for a great place to relax and soak up the ambience for a couple of days, either in town, at the beach, along the river or in Bokor National Park. Kampot is pleasantly provincial, a mix of red tile-roofed shop houses and old French colonial government buildings, while Kep, once Cambodia's top seaside destination, is slowly being rediscovered by travellers today. The Kampot/Kep area also offers several other attractions including pre-Angkorian ruins and caves, jungle trekking, cycling and motorcycle trips, sunset, island and fishing trips, isolated unspoilt beaches, pepper plantations and beautiful rural countryside.
Battambang is the second largest city in Cambodia and located in the country's agricultural heartlands in the provincial north-west. From 1795 to 1907 the province was a province of Siam, under control of the Chavfea Baen family. During that time Battambang was a small town with about 2500 residents. Situated by the Sangker River, a tranquil, small body of water, Battambang presents visitors with a charming and picturesque setting. As with much of Cambodia, the French Colonial architecture, some of the best-preserved in the country, is an attractive bonus to the city. While the nearby ancient temples, Buddhist shrines and charming rural countryside are of increasingly popularity.