Cambodia is a destination synonymous with history, from the ancient temple city of Angkor to the horrific rule of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot. Today, that history is the main draw for Cambodia vacations to the once-isolated country, with tourism playing a key role in the country's ongoing rebirth and renewal.
Where to go on your Cambodia vacation
The magnificent ruins of Angkor are a must-see on any Cambodia tour, with sunrise at Angkor Wat being a "bucket list" experience for many. However, there are hundreds of ruins to discover at Angkor without the crowds, with many structures beautifully entangled in roots and branches, as the jungle takes back the land.
Siem Reap, one of Cambodia's biggest cities, is the gateway to Angkor and also has its own attractions in busy markets packed with local artworks, wooden carvings and Khmer textiles.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital, is a lively metropolis of traditional markets, modern developments and French colonial architecture. Trips to the Royal Palace and its Silver Pagoda, as well as the National Museum, offer striking Khmer architecture and exploration of Cambodian culture; while visits to the harrowing Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Choeung Ek Killing Fields are somber, yet important, reminders of Cambodia's tragic past.
Riverside Escapes & Beach Vacations in Cambodia
Outside of the cities, Cambodia has many beaches, rivers and island oases. On the south coast, the beach destinations of Sihanoukville and Kep provide seaside escapes and fresh seafood, with the sleepy riverside town of Kampot (home of Kampot pepper) and the idyllic island paradise of Koh Rong nearby. Or, take a trip to the laid-back Mekong riverside retreat of Kratie, which is the best place to visit in Cambodia, to see the rare freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins.
If you prefer to get off the beaten path, Kampong Thom in northeast Cambodia boasts remote sites of ancient temple cities (including a complex that pre-dates Angkor by 400 years), bustling markets, and delicious Khmer cuisine, such as must-try fish amok.
For more information, browse our itinerary suggestions for luxury Cambodia vacations designed to give you more ideas for your customized Cambodia tour, all packed with unique encounters with nature, authentic cultures, and local communities.