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Top 7 Things to Do in Cambodia

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Wat Preah Prom Rath Temple in Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Embrace the local lifestyle, immerse yourself in the culture, and discover the country’s unending natural beauty using these top seven things to do in Cambodia as a guide for what to do on your vacation.

Cambodia is home to the historic spiritual temple of Angkor Wat, boasts unique regional cuisines stemming from ancient cultures, and presents breathtaking environments to explore. In Cambodia, time slows down and the simple pleasures of life become apparent as adventures lead from traditional villages to gourmet seaside restaurants, remarkable national parks, and beyond.

Travelers can find charms across the country on tours that include these seven best things to do.

  1. 1. Embrace Spiritual Scenes at Angkor Wat
  2. 2. Explore the Vibrant Capital’s Culture Through Cuisine
  3. 3. Learn About Cambodia’s Dramatic Past
  4. 4. Snorkel with Bioluminescent Plankton on Koh Rong
  5. 5. Climb Stunning Cambodian Caves
  6. 6. Visit Floating Villages
  7. 7. Discover Cambodia’s Wildlife Parks
  8. Experience the Top Things to Do in Cambodia

1. Embrace Spiritual Scenes at Angkor Wat

Banteay Srei temple in the area of Angkor, Cambodia

Banteay Srei temple, Cambodia

The temple of Angkor Wat is Cambodia’s star attraction and an essential experience. And there is no better way to explore the colossal complex's timeless charm than on tours at sunrise.

Local guides with insider knowledge can lead you to viewpoints outside of the archeological site, where you can watch the golden rays burst out from behind the horizon and flood the spectacular complex. Inside you can wander the mysterious sandstone passageways and view the meticulous sculptures representing centuries of Cambodian craftsmanship.

Siem Reap Angkor Archeological Park is home to several smaller, but just as magnificent temples, and is a stone’s throw from some of Cambodia’s other temples.

Best Temples to Visit: Angkor Wat • Banteay Srei • Preah Khan • Ta Prohm • Bayon

2. Explore the Vibrant Capital’s Culture Through Cuisine

Salad with amok fish dish, Cambodia

Cambodian cuisine

During your trip to Cambodia you will tuck into all sorts of mouthwatering meals prepared using traditional Khmer techniques that introduce you to the local flavors. Culinary tours of Cambodia are particularly indulgent in the capital city of Phnom Penh.

You can join local food experts on culinary trips that take you to busy markets, street food stalls, and gourmet restaurants in the big city. Each stop showcases a different aspect of Khmer cooking. The vibrant markets offer some of the country’s most authentic dishes, street food stalls share the city’s on-the-go bites, and award-winning restaurants present the future of Cambodian cuisine.

You can also learn to craft authentic Cambodian dishes in cooking classes, embrace Phnom Penh’s culinary nightlife, and travel to foodie hotspots by tuk-tuk.

Best Dishes to Try: Amok • Khmer Curry • Nom Banh Chok • Trei Tappo Kanh Chhet • Bai Sach Chrouk

3. Learn About Cambodia’s Dramatic Past

National Museum of Phnom Penh in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

As one of the most dramatic and important things to do in Phnom Penh, tours of the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum are essential experiences in Cambodia.

These significant sites memorialize the devastating genocide initiated by the Khmer Rouge. Though difficult, the tours remain critical to gaining a deeper understanding of Cambodian history. Tours of the sites are informative and evocative, culminating at the arresting Choeung Ek Monument Memorial Building.

Audio guides will lead you through the museums and pictures will depict the history, allowing you to gain a new perspective of Cambodian history and the resilience of the local people.

Best Things to Do in Phnom Penh: The Killing Fields • Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum • Phnom Penh Night Market • National Museum of Cambodia • Wildlife Alliance • Palacio Real de Nom Pen

4. Snorkel with Bioluminescent Plankton on Koh Rong

Family snorkeling in Koh Rong Island in Cambodia

Koh Rong Island, Cambodia

Cambodia offers an abundance of wildlife activities, and snorkeling with bioluminescent plankton off the beaches of Koh Rong is one of the most mesmerizing things to do.

When the sun goes down, the brilliant blue glow of the plankton shines from the deep blue seas like stars piercing the midnight sky. You can swim through millions of the glowing creatures while your guide captures stunning photographs of the sensational natural phenomenon.

This experience is one of the most unique things to do on the beaches in Cambodia and a gorgeous opportunity to escape the crowds on your couple’s retreat, honeymoon, or family vacation.

Best Beaches to Visit: Saracen Bay • Otres Beach • Ream Beach • Sner Beach • Koh Ta Kiev

5. Climb Stunning Cambodian Caves

Battambang Cave in Cambodia

Battambang, Cambodia

Phnom Sampeau is a historic limestone hill complete with caves to explore and a breathtaking natural phenomenon to experience at the Battambang cave.

During sunset, millions of bats fly out from the depths of the cave and swarm the sky. From viewpoints nearby, you can see what looks to be a black whisp moving from the entrance of the cave across the Cambodian countryside. The experience is thrilling and you will be stunned by the sheer speed of the bats racing from the dim depths of the cave into the night in massive numbers.

There is an array of marvelous caves to explore on tours to Cambodia and you can join knowledgeable guides on expeditions that take you into the eerie caverns to view the archaic limestone grottos.

Best Caves to Visit: Battambang Cave • Phnom Kampong Trach Cave • Phnom Chhngok Cave Temple • Phnom Sorsia Caves

6. Visit Floating Villages

Chong Kneas floating village in Tonlé Sap Lake, Cambodia

Tonlé Sap Lake, Cambodia

The massive freshwater lake of Tonlé Sap is a fascinating biosphere reserve, trade route, and home to traditional Cambodians and endemic wildlife. The floating villages are particularly interesting places to experience.

The villages hover above the water on stilts. Canoes, wooden boats, and other water transportation weave in and out of the lanes that connect various parts of the village and colorfully painted homes. The friendly locals welcome visitors to experience the culture, cuisine, and traditions of Tonlé Sap on insider tours from village to village.

All the while, you can enjoy the stunning wilderness backdrop aboard the boats or from the lakeside, keeping your eyes peeled for fascinating Cambodian wildlife that calls Tonlé Sap home.

Best Villages to Visit: Chong Kneas • Kampong Phluk • Kampong Khleang • Mechrey

7. Discover Cambodia’s Wildlife Parks

Phnom Kulen National Park in Cambodia

Phnom Kulen National Park, Cambodia

The Cambodian wilderness is as untamed as it gets. A collection of diverse ecosystems connects the cities, villages, and communities to their wilderness heritage, and you can discover the breadth of natural beauty sprawling across the countryside.

National parks are sanctuaries for elephants, birdlife, flora, monkeys, freshwater dolphins, and more. From the steep slopes of the Cardamom Mountains to Kulen’s sacred peak, you can discover immense regional splendor from one stop to the next.

Wilderness tours to spot the wildlife include walks through the rainforests to silver waterfalls, kayaking down the chocolate waters of the Mekong River, 4x4 cruises around the rice paddies, and more.

Best Wildlife Parks to Visit: Phnom Kulen National Park • Botum Sakor National Park • Virachey National Park • Ream National Park • Kirirom National Park

Experience the Top Things to Do in Cambodia

Aspara dancer in Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Do you want to spend your vacation in Cambodia lounging on sun-kissed beaches? Would you like to explore the flourishing forests teeming with wildlife or discover the country’s dramatic history? A personalized trip could have you backstage at a celebrated circus in Siem Reap or enjoying the mystical evening ambiance of Bayon Temple.

You can explore our Cambodia travel guide for more inspiration or browse our collection of Cambodia tours and vacations to see what is possible on vacation.

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