Cambodia is a small country by Asian standards, but you’ll still need at least a month to really see everything it has to offer. The rapidly improving road network means that it has never been easier to explore, making many formerly remote destinations much more accessible. That said, getting from A to B can still be time-consuming, and the country is best taken at a leisurely pace.
There might be some two million visitors a year clambering over the ruins of Angkor, but much of Cambodia remains undiscovered.
1 Stung Treng
Rewarding, little-visited stretch of the Cambodian Mekong, complete with dolphins, flooded forests, ancient ruins and spectacular waterfalls.
2 Tbeng Meanchey
Take the new cross-country highway through Cambodia’s northern backcountry to the remote provincial capital of Tbeng Meanchey.
3 Anlong Veng
Notorious for its associations with the infamous Pol Pot, the modern boomtown of Anlong Veng provides a fascinatingly bizarre mixture of Khmer Rouge history and contemporary casino chic.
4 Banteay Chhmar
For a truly authentic lost-in-the-jungle temple experience, ride the bumpy road from Sisophon to the vast temple complex of Banteay Chhmar, buried in the forests of Cambodia’s far northwest.
5 Kompong Chhnang
For an alternative to the increasingly touristed floating villages of Siem Reap, make for the floating villages just outside Kompong Chhnang.
6 Angkor Borei
Stuffed with statues, ceramics and photographs of the excavations, Angkor Borei’s fascinating museum makes the trip to the remains of this Funan-era city highly worthwhile.
7 Koh S’dach archipelago
These picturesque islands offer a truly authentic taste of coastal Cambodia.
8 Koh Kong: the Areng Valley
The biodiverse Areng Valley, deep in the Cardamoms, is home to the endangered Siamese crocodile and prime territory for trekking, kayaking and mountain biking. It’s accessible on tours from Koh Kong but you’ll need at least four days – better still a week – to do it justice.
Two weeks suffice to get a taste of the best that Cambodia has to offer, from the great temples of Angkor to the hedonistic beaches of the south.
1 Phnom Penh
Acclimatize in the vibrant but endearingly small-scale capital.
Head to the engagingly somnolent French-colonial town of Kratie for a taste of riverside life next to the magical Mekong, with rare Irrawaddy dolphins, floating villages, river islands and flooded forests aplenty.
3 Siem Reap and Angkor
Settle down to a few days (or more) in lively Siem Reap, exploring the magnificent Angkor temples and the floating villages of the Tonle Sap.
4 Preah Vihear and further flung temples
Venture out to the stunning mountaintop temple of Preah Vihear, perhaps with a side-trip to the jungle temple of Beng Mealea and the vast ruined citadel of Koh Ker.
Colonial riverside town with laidback nightlife and the quaint bamboo railway.
6 Sihanoukville and the islands
Venture south to Cambodia’s coastal party town, a good base for some lovely offshore islands.
7 Kep’s offshore islands
Use Kep as a jump-off point for sleepy Rabbit Island (Koh Tonsay), among others.
Chill out in this pretty, laidback riverside town, a good base for the picturesque surrounding province.
Cambodia boasts an outstanding array of natural attractions, from the great Mekong River to remote upland forests.
Go dolphin-spotting at nearby Kampie, then take to a kayak or bike to explore the marvellous river islands, flooded forests and floating villages of the Mekong.
Trek into the forests of Viracheay National Park and explore the waterfalls and volcanic lake of Yeak Laom.
3 Sen Monorom
Walk with elephants at the Elephant Valley Project and go birdwatching or gibbon-spotting in the pristine tracts of forest surrounding Sen Monorom.
4 Beng Mealea
Visit the jungle-smothered ruins of Beng Mealea temple – looking much as it must have done when the first Western explorers stumbled upon it a century ago.
5 Phnom Kulen
Discover where the great Angkorian empire began at the remote mountain shrine of Phnom Kulen.
6 Tonle Sap
Take the ferry from Siem Reap to Battambang across the great Tonle Sap lake, which during the rains becomes the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia.
7 Chi Phat
Head to this village in the southern Cardamoms for organized hikes through upland forests to waterfalls and ancient sites.
Spy shore birds and dolphins as you explore the lush mangroves and beaches of this beautiful national park by boat.