Cambodia boasts a dazzling array of natural and architectural wonders - there’s something for everyone on a holiday in Cambodia. Lush stretches of countryside, ethereal rainforests, paradisal beaches, vibrant cities and ancient ruins are all here.
All that, coupled with the sublime serenity of this part of Asia and the warmth of the locals, make Cambodian holidays bliss from start to finish. Once you understand something of Cambodia’s turbulent past, it’s difficult not to feel awe for the locals and reverence for the kindness and joy they shower visitors with. Cambodian’s are incredibly friendly, making a holiday in Cambodia that bit more delightful.
Crumbling splendour, lush landscapes and buzzing cities
A kingdom of temples, history-lovers will find endless enjoyment on a holiday in Cambodia. Marvel at ancient Angkor Wat, a vast temple complex unmatched in size and splendour. One of countless temples scattered across Cambodia, climb mountains to huge Buddha statues; get lost in secluded, jungle-cloaked temples; and find remarkable detail in lost monuments.
Cambodia’s cities offer every delight of the contemporary world, from fine-dining and culture in Phnom Penh, to boutique cafes and vibrating music in Siem Reap. Savour delicious local dishes whether you’re beachside or city roaming.
Where nature’s concerned, there’s no shortage of beauty in Cambodia. The rural countryside stretches far, green and wide and offers a different pace to the cities. Enjoy the rhythm of rural life in the rolling grasslands and glittering rice paddies. Climb the heights of the Cardamom Mountains; contemplate thundering falls in Phnom Kulen; wander the forested expanses of Virachey National Park. For island living, take to the south. Skip from paradise island to paradise island on any one of the Koh Island’s off the coast of Sihanoukville. Feast on fresh crab and explore crumbling colonial architecture in the tropic towns of Kep and Kampot.
Great sample itineraries
We organise an array of wonderful Cambodia tours, whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the cities or plot up in a secluded beach hut. To plan your adventure, get in touch.
As well as the main attractions to visit such as the Angkor Wat complex in Siem Reap and the Killing Fields close to Phnom Penh, there are many other activities available which you may not necessarily know about, here are a few to think about adding into your itinerary,
Head out to the Mekong River in search of the Irrawaddy dolphins – a rare breed which are often seen swimming along a glorious section of the river. They’re best spotted later in the afternoon, shyly breaching the water’s surface in their pod.
Getting up early may not be in your itinerary, but the early start is well worth it in exchange for witnessing the glorious sun as it climbs high over Angkor Wat. It’s the perfect opportunity for keen photographers.
No scuba diving skills are necessary to see some amazing marine life in Cambodia. Sihanoukville is the ideal spot for some snorkelling while taking a break from the beach. Koh Rong also offers shallow waters and numerous beautiful underwater species to spot on guided tours and excursions.
Pub Street in Siem Reap
Of an evening Pub Street is a great place to have a meal, relax with a drink, have a well earned foot massage or hit a bar till the early hours. Easily assessed from the hotels by a short tuk tuk journey.
Phnom Penh City Tour by Tuk Tuk
Begin your tour of the capital with a visit to the city's namesake, Wat Phnom, the Royal Palace and right next door the Silver Pagoda. Continue to the nearby National Museum, built in 1917 it is an exceptional example of traditional architecture and is exclusively devoted to preserving and displaying Khmer art and sculptures.
Cambodia is all about delivering fresh and easy to prepare food, with the street life alive with some simple, yet delicious choices. From Pork Kebabs to Deep Fired Spiders you won't be short of new things to try.
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“Visit Cambodia during the "Green Season.” There are two seasons in Cambodia - the "dry" season from November to April and the "rainy" season from May to October. People tend to associate the rainy season with monsoon, but this isn’t the case. Cambodia's rainy season experiences brief, sometimes violent, tropical rains but these last an average of 20 mins to a few hours, and occur only once or twice a day. This time of year in Cambodia brings many other advantages, such as beautiful scenery (contrasts between the red dirt roads and green vegetation and endless views of green-velvet rice fields), fewer tourists and lower hotel rates etc.”
“Stay an extra day (or five)! Many of our travellers frequently comment that they regret not spending more time in Cambodia. The truth is that it is the people, the atmosphere and the relaxed tempo of daily life that grips you. The smiles, the time people take to interact with you and the genuine generosity and curiosity they show is the essence of Cambodia. Things go a bit slower than in Cambodia’s big neighbours on either side, but it creates a more pleasant atmosphere for travelling.”
“Siem Reap was my favourite stop of my recent trip to Cambodia. The temples of the Angkor complex are truly fascinating, and Pub Street is a great place to relax after a long day of sightseeing.”
Events & Festivals
Cambodians are deeply religious and there are a number of events that are celebrated throughout the country each year. During your holiday in Cambodia, join one of these festivities to gain insights into traditional Cambodian culture.
Khmer New Year
Mid-April in Cambodia sees the energetic celebrations of Khmer New Year. This is an important time of year for locals; most within the Khmer culture stop working for three days and return home to celebrate with their families and communities. The festival marks the end of harvest and sees elaborate ceremonies, temple visits, traditional games and sacrifices to the deities.
Royal Ploughing Ceremony
The Royal Ploughing Ceremony, in May, is an ancient royal rite held in many Asian countries to mark the start of the rice-growing season. In Cambodia, there is a royal ceremony led by the King, which sees the traditional ploughing of the Royal oxen. At the end of the ploughing, the oxen are lead to seven golden trays - containing rice, corn, sesame seeds, beans, grass, water and wine - each symbolising a prediction for the future. Cambodians believe they can foresee a range of events by observing what the oxen choose to eat and drink.
Pchum Ben is a 15-day religious festival, from the end of September to the beginning of October. Along with Khmer New Year, it is one of the most important annual events in the Khmer calendar. Locals gather to make offerings at the pagodas to monks and deceased relatives.
Bon Om Tuk, Water Festival
Bon Om Tuk - Water Festival - is the largest and most celebrated festival in Cambodia, taking place each November. Towns and villages across the country spend all year decorating and designing boats for the 3-day long, colourful pirogue (boat) races on the Mekong River. Thousands of locals and tourists flock to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, to watch the races. Enjoy the firework displays and elaborate street parades.
There are a wide array of authentic Cambodian dishes that you must try during your Cambodia holiday. From creamy fish curries and the world’s biggest crabs, to banana flowers and even insect delicacies, there’s a unique and colourful world of flavour to discover.
Cambodia’s signature dish, Fish Amok is a delicious, creamy curry, found in almost every restaurant in Cambodia. A fragrant and flavourful dish, it's composed of turmeric, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and creamy coconut, with steamed pieces of haddock stirred in the sauce. “Amok” refers to the steam cooking of the curry in banana leaves - the traditional method.
Beef Lok-Lak is a popular South-East Asian dish - with pieces of beef cut into small chunks, marinated in lime and black pepper sauce and then sauteed in a wok; served on a bed of green salad and rice. Also known as Bò lúc lắc, and originally from Vietnam, this characteristic Cambodian dish illustrates the influence of French colonialism in Asian cuisine.
Kuy Teav is a popular noodle dish in Cambodia: a hearty noodle soup with spicy pork stock and various toppings. Try this dish in Phnom Penh, at a local restaurant named Kuy Teav - after the soup - and offering an abundance of other excellent traditional dishes.
The banana heart or flower is a purple teardrop bloom that grows at the end of a banana fruit cluster. An edible flower, it is used widely in Cambodian cooking, primarily in the popular banana flower salad or in curries and soups.
Kdam Chaa (fried crab) is a speciality of the seaside town of Kep. Kep is renowned for its huge local crab markets, and particularly its blue crab. These are exceptionally delicious crabs (with electric blue colouring), fried with locally grown, aromatic Kampot pepper.
Prahok is a crushed, salted and fermented fish paste (usually made from mudfish), used in Cambodian cuisine as a seasoning or condiment. It originated as a way of preserving fish during months when there was not a huge supply of fresh fish.
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