More than just Angkor Wat, Cambodia truly is a destination worthy of much praise. In fact, the country boasts plenty of other must-experience spots just waiting to be discovered. Well, if you’re in need of a much-needed getaway, then here are 6 things any traveller must have on their bucket list when visiting Cambodia. Let’s get in the travelling spirit, shall we?
1. Capture amazing sunrise shots and venture out to the iconic Ta Prohm temple at Angkor WatOriginally created as a Hindu temple in the 12th century, Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The temple grounds are still used as a place of worship by Buddhist monks and is visited by over 2 million tourists annually.
What to expect:
- Massive sandstone temples offering plenty of photo opportunities and exploration. Be sure to arrive early (around 4am) to beat the crowds to capture the perfect sunrise photo.
- Angkor Wat is just ONE of the many temples in the entire complex! So, we recommend visiting the complex over the course of a few days so you won’t miss out.
- One temple you should definitely visit is Ta Prohm, which was popularised by the Tomb Raider movie starring Angelina Jolie. What makes this particular temple iconic are the trees that are growing out of the various ancient cracks. Taking a photo of the temple is simply a must, so get snapping!
2. Get a picturesque bird’s-eye view of Angkor 200 metres up in the airIf temple-running around the Angkor Wat Complex is not enough to satisfy your wanderlust, then hop on board a hot air balloon and get a bird’s-eye view of the complex as well!
What to expect:
- The average flight time is approximately 30 minutes whereby you ascend about 200 metres up in the air.
- There are only two flight times available a day; sunrise and sunset. Note that flight season is only from December to March.
- During the flight, you’ll glide through trees, marshes and some of the temples in the Angkor Wat complex. Be sure to bring a camera along to capture the whole experience!
3. Float amongst luminous plankton in Koh Rong Samloen islandJust a boat ride away from the coastal city of Sihanoukville, witnessing the bioluminescent plankton at Koh Rong Samloen should be in every traveller’s bucket list when visiting Cambodia.
Here’s what to expect:
- The island is less touristy than others, making it easier to spot the bioluminescent planktons at night due to the minimal light pollution in the area.
- FYI the planktons light up when you shake the water. So, try moving your hands underwater if you decide to take a dip at night.
- Snorkelling or flocking in the soft white sand is also another great option during the day.
4. Bask in the ethereal beauty of Koh Rong IslandWhat’s great about Sihanoukville is that it’s also situated next to some beautiful beaches featuring crystal blue waters and soft white sand. If you’re the ultimate beach bum, one island you should definitely keep an eye out for is Koh Rong Island. Boasting crystal clear blue water and a 5km-long stretch of soft, white sand, the island is a must-visit if you want to escape the hectic city life of Sihanoukville for a peaceful retreat.
5. Discover Cambodia’s dark past at The Killing Fields and S-21 PrisonCambodian culture today is a far cry from what it was in the 1970s. Beneath all the eclectic markets, spiritual temples, and buzzing nightlife scene, lies the horrifying genocide which took place under Pol Pot’s régime.
No other place in Cambodia personifies this time more accurately than Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21 Prison) and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Visiting these places is a must for those looking to uncover the secrets of the country’s dark past.
What to expect:
- Tuol Sleng was once a high school which was converted into a torture camp, prison, and execution centre.
- Today, the prison remains as a reminder of the nation’s dark past where you’ll find weapons of torture, skulls, and photographs of thousands of victims who were murdered.
- The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek is the size of a football field which contains roughly 20,000 mass graves.
- A memorial building stands in the centre which contains skulls that were pulled from the graves. You can even listen to local guides who tell harrowing tales of how some survivors took refuge in Thailand to escape the Khmer Rouge soldiers.
6. Immerse yourself in the local culture at unique hidden bars
Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s capital city where there’s no shortage of things to do and sights to see. However, if you’re looking to get away from the hordes of tourists, here are two hidden bars that are sure to offer a more laid-back experience:
A: BattBongAnyone unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the city would surely find BattBong easy to miss, considering that the entrance is disguised as a Coca-Cola vending machine. Inside, you’ll find a sophisticated speakeasy styled with vintage items offering live music, stylish cocktails, and appetizing food, thus making it the perfect venue for a chilled-out time with your friends.
Address: 132 Z13, 51 St 55, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
B: Long After DarkLong After Dark is another speakeasy housed in an intimate two-storey building in the Russian Market. What sets this establishment apart is their wide selection of whiskeys, craft beers, and great cocktails. In addition to their impressive vinyl collection, the food served is also highly-recommended which even includes vegan and vegetarian options.
Address: #86, street 450 Russian Market Phnom Penh, 12310, Cambodia
How amazing do these places look?! Whether you’re looking to kick back and relax by the beach, temple run through Angkor or simply sip cocktails at a unique speakeasy bar, Cambodia is THE place to check off all these things in your bucket list.
Well, if you’re interested, you’d be glad to know that AirAsia flies directly to Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, and Phnom Penh. Not to mention, they’re even having an insane promo now!
Member one-way fare: RM79
Travel period: Now until 30th September 2019
Ready to begin your grand Cambodian adventure? Find out more about this exciting promo here.
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