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8 Things You Must Do in Cambodia

Cambodia, situated in South East Asia, stands out as one of the most captivating travel destinations globally. With its air of mystery and intrigue, the country holds a special appeal for history enthusiasts, architecture aficionados, and those in search of a delightful yet budget-friendly vacation. Cambodia's enchanting allure and diverse attractions attract a wide spectrum of travelers, ranging from backpackers to luxury seekers.

Whether exploring the legendary Angkor Wat, marveling at iconic Khmer architectural wonders, basking in the beauty of pristine beaches, venturing into untouched jungles, or engaging in unforgettable experiences, Cambodia offers a plethora of discoveries. Given the overwhelming array of must-see attractions, we've compiled a list of 8 incredible activities to help guide your exploration of this fascinating country.

# Walk through Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is home to the Royal Palace complex, a true gem for tourists visiting Cambodia. Dazzling in gold, this architectural marvel stands out as one of the world's splendid structures. Serving as the royal residence of the King of Cambodia since the 1860s, the compound boasts remarkable features, including the throne hall, Khemarin Palace, Moonlight Pavilion, and the Silver Pagoda.

The opulent Wat Preah Keo, also known as the Silver Pagoda, is a highlight within the complex, housing a 17th-century baccarat crystal Buddha and a life-sized gold Maitreya Buddha adorned with 9,584 diamonds. Take a moment to appreciate the mural depicting the Ramayana, skillfully painted by 40 Khmer artists. Exploring this captivating complex is undeniably one of the top activities to experience in Cambodia.

# Spend time exploring Kampot

Kampot, nestled in the scenic landscapes of Cambodia, offers a picturesque escape. Immerse yourself in the unhurried rhythm of this charming riverside town. Delight in the various attractions, including the Bokor hill station, the idyllic countryside, pepper plantations, pre-Angkorian ruins, and captivating caves.

Take in the allure of the well-preserved old French colonial architecture that still graces the town. Embark on adventures such as jungle trekking, bicycling tours, river cruises, island trips, fishing excursions, and rides on the unique bamboo train. Among the must-experience delights in Kampot are the flavors of locally grown fruits like durian, coconut, and mango, as well as the globally acclaimed pepper and harvested sea salt that cater to the tastes of gastronomes worldwide.

# Drench in the bliss of Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei stands as one of Cambodia's most exquisite treasures, a delight to behold among the outlying temples of Angkor in Siem Reap. Constructed from pink sandstone, this 10th-century temple showcases intricately crafted structures and carvings. Devoted to Lord Shiva, Banteay Srei differs from the grandeur of other Angkor masterpieces, offering a more diminutive yet equally captivating architectural experience. We highly recommend taking the time to appreciate the serenity of Banteay Srei, not only for its remarkable architecture but also for its stunning location nestled within the centuries-old Cambodian forest.

# Soak in the bliss of the legendary Angkor Wat, Siem Reap

A visit to the iconic Angkor Wat is an essential experience in Cambodia. The name itself, translating to 'heaven on earth,' proves fitting as this Khmer temple complex lives up to its title. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site and often referred to as the 'mother of all temples,' Angkor Wat stands as the epicenter of the Khmer Civilization.

Take the time to leisurely absorb the beauty and marvel at the wonder that surrounds you. The 12th-century marvel crafted from sandstone boasts incredible bas-reliefs and intricate carvings. The historical ambiance further enhances the allure of this ancient temple. A journey to Cambodia would feel incomplete without catching a glimpse of the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat.

# Relax at the Otres Beach

Cambodia is graced with some of the most serene and laid-back beaches in Southeast Asia, making it a destination not to be overlooked. One of the next essential experiences in Cambodia is unwinding at its pristine shores, with Otres Beach emerging as a popular choice for exploration. Take a break from history, culture, and city life to simply bask in the sun, reclining comfortably on hammocks or beach chairs. Indulge in a relaxing massage or savor a meal at one of the beach shacks. For those seeking more activity, there are options like snorkeling, fishing, and boating. Otres Beach is a haven for travelers in search of a leisurely and tranquil holiday in Cambodia.

# Marvel at the ethereal Angkor Thom

"Ethereal" is the sole term that captures the splendor of Angkor Thom. Among the structures in Angkor, Ta Prohm stands out as a captivating beauty, the only one left in its pristine state. Nature has claimed the shrine as its own, with colossal roots of ancient trees acting as guardians, shielding the temple from human interference. Arguably one of the most picturesque places in Cambodia, the temple is surrounded by towering silk cotton trees and strangler figs. Experience your 'Tomb Raider' moment at this temple, as it ranks among the top activities to undertake in Cambodia.

# Wonder at incredible Khmer art

Khmer art stands as one of the captivating facets of Cambodia. Despite the unfortunate looting of its artistic wealth during darker times, what endures today primarily manifests in the form of sculptures. The subjects of this art form span Hindu mythology and Buddhism. Notable surviving murals can be found at prominent locations such as the Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh, Wat Rajabo in the Siem Reap province, and Wat Kompong Tralach Leu in the Kompong Chhnang Province.

For a swift and comprehensive glimpse of these remarkable specimens of Khmer art, the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh and the National Museum in Siem Reap are indispensable destinations not to be overlooked.

# Attend a mesmerizing show of Apsara Classical Dance

The Apsara Classical dance stands out as a prominent attraction in Cambodia, and missing a show is simply unthinkable. For aficionados of art, theatrics, and dance, attending this traditional Khmer performance ranks among the finest experiences in Cambodia. Mirroring the mythological courts of kings and gods, Khmer dance is a spectacular expression deeply rooted in the ancient culture of the country. The dance performers adorn themselves in graceful silk garments adorned with floral motifs, accompanied by exquisite headdresses and jewelry, presenting a truly celestial appearance.