The best holidays in Cambodia are inclusive of everything that Cambodia has, its ancient temples, its relaxed capital, its cozy beach sanctuaries, its wild jungles and its rough countryside. If you are planning to have a holiday in Cambodia, make sure to fully explore what this amazing country has to offer.
If you don’t know what the Angkor Wat is, google it and be wowed. The temple is 800 years old and nearby are 71 more ancient temples. These temples were the framework for the once great city of Angkor, the largest city in human history before the industrial revolution. The city, the culture and the people of Angkor are all long gone, but their ruins remain, and they are beautiful. You can hop on a tuk-tuk (a carriage pulled by a motorcycle) and head out to start exploring the temples as early as 5 am. Let your eyes trace the ancient wall carvings, let your skin bath in the sun’s warmth as it rises of Angkor and then go and adventure through as many temples as you can before the day heats up. At noon, take a break, head back to the city of Siem Reap and relax, when the evening comes, make sure to catch sunset behind the faces of Bayon temple.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, is just as great. The city is full of life, the markets overflowing with gorgeous novelties and trinkets that you have never seen, and the riverside is an amazing place to take a stroll. Men play soccer along the riverside walk, women dance, and children play around, all while you watch the ebb and flow of one of the greatest rivers in the world, the Mekong. Phnom Penh has many great restaurants where you can enjoy some of the best Cambodian food in the world, at an affordable price.
Next, take the direct but from Phnom Penh to Ratanakiri, in the far North-West of the country. It’s a long trip through thick jungle, up steep mountains, and past long rivers, but once you arrive in Ratanakiri you can find a place, that few in the world know about. Here you can swim in Lake Yeak Loam that sits in a 4,000-year-old dormant volcanic crater, shower under one of the hundreds of waterfalls, and visit indigenous tribes to learn about their culture, one which is so very different from anything you have ever known. When night falls, head back to the town and enjoy an avocado shake, only $1 and one of the most amazing things you have ever eaten.
On your way back to Phnom Penh, make sure your holiday in Cambodia includes a stop by Kratie where you can relax on the slow moving river and watching pink river dolphins soaring and flipping through the air. Next head south to the beaches of Sihanoukville, here you will find a cozy beach, a gentle breeze, and a smiling sun. If your holiday is between January and June, don’t expect any waves, instead, the sea is calm, a sleeping giant that is perfect for an inner tube. If you head there in the rainy season (which isn’t all that rainy) from July to December, then expect to see angry, 1-meter tall waves crashing onto the beaches. Enjoy them, they are very safe and very fun.
After you are done exploring, relaxing and learning on your holiday in Cambodia, it’s time to play. I wasn’t a fan of extreme outdoor sports until I tried this, but now I’m hooked. I love to rent a dirt bike and take it through the rough back roads of rural Cambodia. The best of these areas is Kendal Provence, just 40 km away from the capital, Phnom Penh. The roads are dirt mounts that bounce you into the sky, and wooden bridges, like those from Indiana Jones, sway across waterways. What’s best about this, is when you are dirty and tired, you can stop by any of the tiny villages where the locals will smile and invite you into their restaurants and even their homes.