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Tourism

 

The wonderful temple complex of Banteay Chmar on the border to Thailand is worth seeing. Until today it has not been fully developed for tourism and was originally surrounded by a 9 meter high wall.

 

Beng Mealea is another temple complex that is not totally overrun by tourists. At least as far as the area covered is concerned, the temple is on par with the famous Angkor Wat. The place, which was erected in the 12th century, is about 80 km from Siam Rep and can be reached easily by using public bus services.

 

Also interesting is Sambor Prei Kuk, This town was the capital of the Khmer in the 7th century and over 100 different temples scattered in the jungle today attest to the former Royal grandeur and power.

 

The city of Battambang is 290 km northwest of the capital Phnom Penh. The city and its surroundings are still an insider’s privilege and are not as overrun by as many outsiders as other parts of Cambodia. The quiet atmosphere and French colonial architecture and the picturesque tropical landscape are covered by individually scattered Buddhist temples.

 

These are to be found near the city and have gained in popularity amongst tourists; and this ensures that the number of visitors is slowly but surely growing. Battambang is the rice larder of Cambodia: the fertile soil produces two rice crops a year and the surplus rice is an important export commodity.

 

The town Sihanouk ville and the adjacent islands in the gulf of Thailand are recommended for a beach holiday. Many local travel agents in the city provide half day or full day trips. The islands are a real paradise for divers and for those fond of snorkelling.

 

The Virachey National Park in Cambodia – It lies along the boundaries of Vietnam and Laos. This national park was set up to counter the abuse or destruction of biodiversity.

 

  • Yeak Laom Volcanic Lake – One of the well-known tourist attractions in Cambodia, it was formed due to volcanic eruption. This lake with its surroundings is one of the most scenic spots in the Cambodian region of Ratanakiri.
  • Bokor National Park –  Another well-known tourist destination in Cambodia, this national park is the last refuge to many rare species like the tiger and the elephant. The breathtaking beauty of Vietnamese and Cambodian coast lines can be admired from its lofty heights.
  • Kompong Luong – Among the other Cambodian tourist attractions, this floating village is worth viewing. Popular for its scenic setup with its vivid shops, restaurants, and petrol stations--- all floating on the Great Lake, Kompong Luong is indeed a great experience in itself. The Tonle Sap Lake, the gigantic dumbbell shaped fresh water lake forms a picturesque background to it.
  • Kampong Cham – One of the top tourist destinations in Cambodia, it is one of those sites, which reflects the real charm of this nation’s cultural heritage along with Preah Vihar, Cambodia ‘s ancient temple site.

 

Angkor Archaeological Park – The jewel in the crown of all tourist attractions in Cambodia is this international landmark. Placed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites, this archeological spot has immense historical and archeological significance. The Angkor Wat Temple, the Bayon Temple and the Angkor Thom are the main attractions of Angkor Archeological Park. Know greater details about the world famous Angkor Wat temple complex under ‘Eco Tourism’ below.

 

Eco Tourism

  • Boeung Yeak Loam Resort 

Boeung Yak Loam is a natural, almost square-shaped lake, situated in the middle of a mountain in Ban Lung District, 5km from Rattanakiri provincial town. The lake is approximately 800 meters in diameter with a depth of 48 meters during the dry season, and was created by volcanic movements centuries ago. Boeung Yak Loam has picturesque mountainous scenery, a charming bird sanctuary and provides visitors with an opportunity to experience the daily life of local hill-tribes.
 

Bou Sra Waterfall 

In Pich Chinda District, 43km north of the provincial town, Bou Sra is the most beautiful waterfall in Mondulkiri Province. This fall is a popular spot for picnicking as it provides a cool, relaxing and rejuvenating ambience that ever awaits its visitors. A picnic at this fall is featured in almost every itinerary. This waterfall drops gracefully onto a multi-tiered level of boulders and rocks forming cascading showers of foaming white sprays of water and well shaded by the leafy green canopy of the surrounding tropical rainforest.

 

Fresh Water Dolphin 

Nowadays the dolphins live mainly in the rivers and waterways of Kratie and Stung Treng provinces. The number of these mammals is estimated to be between 40 and 60, and they are often seen travelling in small groups of 6 to 10 individuals. The females usually give birth to young ones every two years most often during the months of June to August. The young dolphins are about 1m in length at birth and suckle milk. By adulthood the dolphins can attain a length of over 2.5m and weigh up to 180kg. Their diet consists mainly of small fish, shellfish and snails. The dolphins can swim at speeds up to 40km per hour and stay submerged for periods between five and ten minutes

 

Cambodia Kampi Resort 

Kampi resort is a great natural resort, and home to the rare fresh water Mekong dolphins. Travelling along the National Road No. 7 to the north about 15km from Kratie provincial town, you will reach a bridge called Prek Kampi. Here one can experience the unique view of the Mekong River consisting of thousands of tiny islands covered with green water plants. From January to May, especially during the Khmer New Year, Kampi resort attracts many local and foreign visitors.

 

Kirirom National Park 

Kirirom is a natural resort located at a height of 700 meters on a mountain side in Phnom Srouch District, Kampong Speu Province, and 117 km from Phnom Penh. This beautiful resort is set amidst pine trees and orchid flowers with a waterfall nearby.

 

Rum Near Waterfalls 

It is located at Rum Near District, 5km from Mondulkiri Province. Along either side of the trail, one can enjoy wonderful views of local plantations that include rubber, coffee and cashew nuts. The local people regularly gather at Sen Monorom Waterfall during public holidays and festivals.

 

Angkor Wat 

Angkor Wat-Heritage of Humanity and World Wonder: Ankor Wat which literally means “City Temple” is a Hindu temple complex built to replicate the heavens on earth. Constructed for King Suryavarman II in the early twelfth century, it is the best preserved temple and is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation, first Hindu, dedicated to Vishnu, then Buddhist. The temple is the epitome of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. This magnificent temple combines two basic plans of khmer temple architecture, the temple mountain and the later galleries temple, based on early South Indian Hindu architecture. Constructed withi9n a moat and an outer wall 3.6 kilometres (2.2 miles) long with three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next, it is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology.

 

At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west and this has scholars divided as to its significance. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture. The extensive bas-reliefs and the numerous guardians spirits adorning its walls serve as evidence of the strong Khmer religious beliefs.

  

The Sacred Site of Preah Vihear Temple : A World Heritage 

The Preah Vihear Temple is a Khmer temple situated spectacularly atop Pey Tadi, a 525-metre (1720 ft) cliff in the dangrek Mountains located in the Preah Vihear Province f northern Cambodia. The temple gives its name to Cambodia’s Preah Vihear Province and is 140 Km from Angkor Wat; approximately 320 km from Phnom Penh.

 

Preah Vihear Temple has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six- centuries-long Khmer Empire. The Temple is composed f a series of sanctuaries linked by a system of pavement and staircases over an 800 metre long axis and is built with a clear view of the plains from where it stands. Dedicated to shiva, this temple is unusual among Khmer temples in being constructed along a long north –south axis rather than having the conventional rectangular plan with orientation toward the east. However, although the structure of this temple is very different from the temple “mountains” found at Angkor, it is believed to have been built to serve the same purpose as a stylized representation of Mount Meru, the home of the gods.

 

Through the energetic efforts of the Royal Government of Cambodia under the wise, brilliant leadership of Samdech Akka Moha Techo HUN SEN, Prime Minister of the kingdom of Cambodia, Preah Vihear Temple has been listed and declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO on July 8, 2008.

 

Phnom Penh 

Phnom Penh stretches north to south on west side of the confluence of the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers. The city offers a fascinating cocktail of flavours. The crumbling, colonial architecture and wide boulevard-style roads, give the city a relaxed French feel. This provides a contrasting background to the vibrant Cambodian markets and typically chaotic Southeast Asian traffic, the roads choked with roadside advertisements, cycles, motorcycles and cars.

 

Phnom Penh is the only major city on the banks of the Mekong. Sunset is a good time to visit the riverside area. A multitude of restaurants offer cuisine from all over Asia & Europe.

 

In spite of its dangerous reputation, Phnom Penh also has an excellent variety of nightlife, from small bistro-style bars to huge glitzy nightclubs and for a few months, a casino ship.

 

Phnom Banan Temple in Battambang 

Phnom Banan in Battambang is a beautiful 11th century temple ruin from the Angkorian-era. This five spired temple lies on the top of a mountain, with amazing views of the surrounding areas. A good day trip from Battambang, Phnom Banan is also home to an active pagoda at the base of the mountain.

 

Prek Toal 

Prek Toal is a magnificent floating village. It is from the village that we have access to Prek Toal's bird sanctuary which can be made only by boat from Siem Reap or Battambang. About 2 hours by boat to arrive at Prek Toal, and departure by any small boat.  Birds are few but some very big birds, such as pelicans, big marabouts, storks, make their nests on the big trees during their mating seasons.

 

But it is a sanctuary and not a zoo and we can not always approach the birds from very near but still we can observe them well. A one day boat ride from Siem Reap enables one to visit the floating villages. The view of a forest which is visible from the lake, and watching birds from a boat in the Prek Toal's bird sanctuary( with special permits for visiting the sanctuary) and  also enjoying a picnic there could be memorable experiences.

  

Hill Station

 
The Cardamom Mountains of Cambodia

The mountains are perfect habitat for Javan rhinoceros, Indochinese tigers and Asian elephants. Gibbons sometimes serenade at sunrise and Barking Deer yelp at the edge of the jungle. Siamese crocodiles, once thought extinct, have  been seen in the rivers in the region.

 

The Hill

Located above Victory Beach, near the port it is about a 5 minute motorcycle ride from downtown. Also known as "Victory Hill" and "Backpacker Hill", and "Weather Station Hill".  In Khmer, it's called Poom Barang, (Foreigners’ Hill).  One of the busiest restaurant areas is here to cater to the tourists, and many hotels and guesthouses can be found here.   Also, the only overnight sailing and overnight party ships are here. If you ask, “What‘s here?” The reply would be, “almost everything.” Rooms cost from $3 to $75, Cambodian food, backpacker food and meals from all over the world. English is spoken everywhere, and several French speaking places too, as well as Dutch, German, and a few other languages. Plenty of the Internet cafes, movies, DVD rentals, books, travel agencies, and scuba diving.

 

A few places are open for 24 hours a day. Several breakfast places are open around 7am or even earlier. During the winter most places are open until at least 11pm.

 

Yaklom Hill

Here you get an eco-friendly lodge situated in the jungle outside the provincial town of Ban Lung. If you are tired of a mass tourism or if you need an interval to recharge your “battery” before seeing more of Cambodia or Indochina, then stopping at this hill resort can surely help you. You can escape from the hectic world for a while and enjoy a day or two of peaceful rest on the lap of nature.  However, please be reminded that most of the lodges here do not provide you costly luxuries.  In fact,  they  are simple, modest, and humble; and is intended to serve ordinary people who are prepared to stay in natural and jungle surroundings, and of course, sweet songs of birds. 

 

Bokor Hill Station

Is an abandoned French town in Preah Monivong National Park. It is a   national park in southern Cambodia. The main attraction of the park is Bokor Hill Station. The park is one of only two Cambodian ASEAN Heritage Parks .It is also known as "Phnum Bokor National Park". Its construction started in 1921 on Dâmrei Mountains. The Dâmrei Mountains, literally the "Elephant Mountains", are a mountain range situated in the southwest of Cambodia. It is about 20 km as the crow flies (42 km by the road) west of the town of Kampot in southern Cambodia.

 

It was used as the location for the final showdown of the movie “City of Ghosts.”  City of Ghosts is a 2002 drama film co-written and directed by Matt Dillon, about a con artist who must go to Cambodia to collect his share in money due from an insurance scam. Matt Dillon also acted in it.

  

Beaches 

The Kingdom of Cambodia’s idyllic coastal areas have emerged on the international stage in grand style. With pristine sandy beaches and uncontrived natural beauty, the kingdom’s untrodden palm-lined bays exude such charms that mesmerize visitors and residents alike.

 

On May 26th, 2011, Cambodia’s bays won world recognition and were inaugurated into The Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club.

 

The bays of Preah Sihanouk, Kep, Koh Kong, and Kampot are a true source of pride for the kingdom. The calm, warm waters, verdant landscapes, and vibrant communities that surround Cambodia’s bays make them inspiring and singular destinations not to be missed.

 

Preah Sihanouk offers a breezy resort atmosphere with the pulsating life of a thriving harbor, and it is quickly replacing the region’s more popular beaches as a coastal playground for excursionists, locals and foreigners.

 

At Kep, you’ll find a more laid-back, sleepy coastline, with fresh crab and seafood in abundance. For exotic wildlife and breathtaking waterfalls, there are the bays in Kampot and Koh Kong, which draw visitors with an eye for sustainable travel.

 

The Kingdom’s bays will no doubt become Southeast Asia’s next trendsetting beach and ecotourism destinations.  Whatever you’re looking for-whether it be white-sand beaches, sea sports, or delectable seafood-Cambodia’s bays will have the answer. We look forward to welcoming you to Cambodia-the Kingdom of Wonder.

 

Ocheteaul Beach

On the east side of the town, about a 5 minute motorcycle ride from downtown. This beach runs about 2 kilometers from Serendipity Beach to Otres Beach. Ocheteaul is filled with beach stands and chairs. Seafood, burgers, pizza, and booze.  Most places serve Khmer style food, but many now offer Western dishes.  Across the street from the beach, there's an assortment of restaurants and hotels serving a wide range of food and drink.

 

Serendipity Beach

The tourist beach on the east side. No beach stands here, just Western style bars and restaurants.  One of the few places has rooms right on the beach.  Many new internet shops, clothing, MP3 downloads; tour services and boat departures to the islands can be availed of. Serendipity has turned into the shopping section of the town.

 

Victory Beach

At the bottom of "The Hill", near the port, the Victory Beach has quickly become the tourist beach on the west side of the town. Within an easy walk from Victory Hill, you have plenty of seafood, boating activities, guest houses, and a full service casino.  Some quiet beach in the middle, and some restaurants towards the port.  Also,featuring a pier for island boat trips.

 

Island Beaches

Opening up quickly, but still pristine, the island offers some very beautiful beaches. Day trips to the islands let you experience a few of these.  A few places have basic bungalows on the island beaches.  One island features US $3,500 worth of rooms per night.

 

Independence Beach 

A kilometer or two of nothing but beach was its feature once. Now mostly closed down except those in front of Seabreeze Guest House and a private beach at the Independence Hotel complex.

 

Sokha Beach

Sokha beach is a private beach, 1.5 kilometers long, for the guest of the Sokha Resort hotel. Well groomed beaches, not too many people, and for a fee (if you're not a hotel guest), a beautiful swimming pool, fitness center and lobby lounge. At the near end of Sokha are a few hillside and cliff-side bungalows.

 

Hawaii Beach

Hawaii beach is filled with pine trees, shading the beach area.  Many small boats are available for rent to the islands. Otres, the quietest beach here, has small beach stands with food and umbrellas. There's no public electricity here yet, so many places use a generator when necessary. Also sailboat and kayak rentals and windsurfing are available.

 

Another Cambodia Beach in Sihanouk Ville is Hun Sen beach along the road to Steung Hauv.  Not normally a tourist beach, but worth a ride out.

 

There's also a beautiful beach at Ream National Park, about half an hour drive outside of town. Steung Hauv fishing village is a great day trip, but no swimming beaches, please.

 

Night Life 

Cambodian nightlife is a lot more locally oriented than in Thailand, although foreigners are amply catered for in the country's many bars, restaurants and clubs. Go-Go bars are a no-go in Cambodia and most hostesses are fully dressed; but that's not to say that naughty stuff doesn't happen; it does and with girls from Vietnam drawn to the nightlife scene the effect is multi-tiered. Some clubs are open round the clock and none closes early. The restaurant scene runs parallel, that is to say late, along with the nightclubs.

 

Phnom Penh Nightlife 

Early evening in Phnom Penh you can visit establishments like the Australian-owned Rubies Bar, frequented by young and well-heeled expats or the FCC on Sisowath Quay which has great views and good, if somewhat over-priced, food. The California 2 Café and Guesthouse is where expats and travellers meet and exchange information. These are generally quieter establishments.

 

Nightlife in Siem Reap 

Most visitors to Siem Reap are more interested in daytime visits to the nearby temples than nightlife; but there are several good nightspots worth checking out. There is an Angkor Night Market, selling local handicrafts while most of the popular bars are close to the old market and the river, down the appropriately named 'Pub Street', and the two best nightlife places on this street are The Angkor What? (the area's nightlife pioneer) and The Temple Club, a full-on dance affair.

 

Sihanoukville Nightlife 

Sihanoukville is Cambodia's main beach resort. Back when Phnom Penh was considered too dangerous for NGO officials they stayed here, resulting nowadays in a glut of hotel rooms. Billed as a beach resort, also the county's main port, in reality the main raison d'etre is a casino destination. There are four casinos at Sihanoukville and naturally they draw many foreigners.

 

Battambang Nightlife 

Cambodia's second-largest city, Battambang is the main hub of the Northwest, connecting Phnom Penh with Thailand. To put it succinctly, there is no nightlife in Battambang unless you count sipping fruit drinks by the river, in which case you should head to the Riverside Balcony Bar. Remember to remove your shoes when going upstairs. You may run across the occasional karaoke bar but this will be strictly local. This city, probably with much justification, goes to bed early.

 

 Cuisine 

The cuisine in Cambodia can be well related to the Southeast Asian delicacies which taste somewhat like the present Thai dishes. It is said that the Khmer cuisines are relatively superior and fresher than the Thai food. It is believed several Khmer connoisseurs were killed during the regime of Khmer Rouge. Today, very few natives in Cambodia know about the actual art or skill of cooking the Khmer food items.

 

Fish sauce is an important ingredient in the Cambodian cuisine which is commonly served in soups, stirred fried cuisine, and even as dippings. The Cuisine in Cambodia is highly influenced by the Chinese delicacy as witnessed by the variation of rice noodles that are consumed by the natives. The Chinese settlers brought in a popular dish of beef noodle soup called kuytheav, within the region. The curry dish or “Kari” seems to have been derived from the Indian cuisine.

 

The use of prahok, a type of fermented fish paste in most of the food in Cambodia makes the native cuisine quite distinct. Kapik, the fermented shrimp paste and coconut milk are even widely used in most of the preparations in Cambodia.

 

Kroeung is a spicy paste composed of turmeric, garlic, shallots, galangal root, and lemongrass is a common spice in Cambodia’s cooking. It's often made fresh every day.

 

Prahok is a strongly-flavoured preserved fish paste often added to sauces.

 

Aamok: is curried, steamed fish. The curry is made of coconut milk, lemongrass, garlic, kaffir lime leaf, fish sauce and chilies.

 

BAI DAM-NERB KHRUP KHNAUR: sticky rice and jackfruit clothed in banana leaves and grilled. Add coconut milk and sugar and it's like pudding.

 

BAI CHAA MREAH PREOO: basil-fried rice with egg, chilies, garlic and fish sauce.

 

MOAN DOT: braised chicken with lemongrass and oyster sauce, served with dips.

 

NJOAM MA-KAK TRAY ANG: deep-fried, smoked fish that is served like salad with fresh carrots, onions and green mango dressed with fish sauce, cilantro, lime, chilies and sugar.

 

SAJKO TIK PRAHOK: sizzling beef is placed over raw veggies such as cabbage, long beans, scallions, eggplant, plantains and bean sprouts.

 

SAMLOR CHHNANG DEIY: A stew with beef, water spinach (kangkung or tung choi), Chinese cabbage, noodles, vegetables, basil and cilantro.

 

SOMLAR MACHOU BANLE: sour fish soup, made with a tamarind base. 

 

Wild Life

 

Wildlife in Cambodia is rich and diverse and gives you a great opportunity to view the fascinating animals and birds in their natural habitat. The wildlife list of Cambodia features a whopping variety of 212 mammal species, 536 bird species, 240 reptile species, 435 marine fish species and 850 freshwater fish species particularly, in the Tonle Sap Lake area. Wildlife in Cambodia includes elephants, deer, wild ox, panthers, bears and tigers; cormorants, cranes, parrots, pheasants and wild ducks among the avian species and poisonous snakes among the reptile varieties.

 

Agile Gibbon, Tiger, Asian Elephant, Banded Krait, Banteng, Bengal monitor, Blood python, Gharial, Green sea turtle, Hawksbill turtle, Hog Badger, Indian Muntjac, Indotestudo elongate, Kouprey, Lars Gibbon, Leatherback Sea Turtle, Leopard Cat, Manouria emys, Marbled Cat, Pelochelys cantorii, Saltwater Crocodile, Siamese Crocodile, Silvery Lutung and Water monitor are the animals most commonly found in the wildlife in Cambodia. The mythical animal called Kiting Voar must be mentioned here. It is a mysterious snake-eating cow whose existence is shrouded in mystery.

 

Grebes, Pelicans, Cormorants, Darters, Frigate birds, Bitterns, Herons, Egrets, Storks, Ibises, Spoonbills, Flamingos, Ducks, Geese, Swans, Osprey, Hawks, Kites, Eagles, Caracaras, Falcons, Pheasants, Partridges, Buttonquails, Cranes, Rails, Crakes, Gallinules, Coots, Sun grebe, Fin foots, Bustards and Jacanas are some of the non-passerines found in Cambodia.

 

Broadbills, Pitas, Larks, Swallows, Martins, Wagtails, Pipits, Cuckoo-shrikes, Bulbuls, Leaf birds, Thrushes, Cist colas, Old World warblers, Old World flycatchers, Fantails, Monarch flycatchers, Whistlers, Babblers, Parrot bills, Long-tailed tits, Chickadees, Titmice, Nuthatches, Sunbirds, Spider hunters, Flower peckers, White-eyes, Old World Orioles, Fairy-bluebirds, Shrikes, Helmet shrikes, Drogues and Wood swallows are some of the passerines among the Cambodia wildlife.