According to Mathgeneral, the Kingdom of Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia. The state is located on the Gulf of Thailand between Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. The capital is Phnom Penh located in the south of the country. The Mekong, one of the longest rivers in the world, crosses the country and shapes the central plain and the surrounding mountains. Some ruins in Angkor, Roluos, Banteay Srei and Preah Vihear and the even older ones in Sambor Prei Kuk are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The majority of Cambodia’s population, around 90%, belongs to the Khmer ethnic group, making the country the most ethnically homogeneous in Southeast Asia. The official language in Cambodia is Khmer and the currency is Riel. The landscape is shaped by the Cambodian basin, in the middle of which lies the Tonle-Sap lake. The well-known Cardamom Mountains run in an east-west direction, in its eastern part is the Phnom Aural (1813 m), the highest mountain in the country. Cambodia also includes 64 islands. Cambodia has around 16 million inhabitants with an average age of around 25 years. In Cambodia, around 96.3% of the population are believers in Theravada Buddhism, which, in addition to Cambodia, is also widespread in Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The history of the country was shaped by the reign of terror of the Khmer Rouge, which resulted in a genocide in Cambodia. This dark chapter is still very much present today. The best travel time for Cambodia is the time between November and February with relatively dry weather and pleasant temperatures. German citizens are required to have a passport and visa to enter Cambodia.
The grandiose temple complex is probably the most famous sight in Cambodia and is also known far beyond the country’s borders. In addition to the Angkor Wat, the largest religious building in the world, the mysterious Bayon with the stone faces and the overgrown Ta Prohm can be admired here. Mostly the establishment of Angkor Wat is attributed to King Suryavarman II, who ruled from 1113-1150. The best starting point for a visit to this national symbol, which is also depicted on the Cambodian flag, is the city of Siem Reap.
Siem Reap is a must for Cambodia, not only because it is close to Angkor Wat. The province of Siem Reap is located in the northwest of the country. In the north it is characterized by dense forest, here the Siem Reap River flows which flows into the Tonle-Sap Lake in the south, here the landscape is characterized by fertile plains. The endless rice fields stretch over this. Due to the emergence of tourism in recent years, the town of Siem Reap now has a wide range of bars, cafes, restaurants and hotels in all price ranges. The city offers a number of temples that are well worth seeing, such as Wat Bo from the 18th century with its large pagoda and beautiful wall paintings. Wat Thmei, located to the north, impresses with its modern pagoda from 1992. Other temples are Wat Keseram and Wat Preah Prom Rath. For all market lovers there is everything in Siem Reap, especially the Phsar Chas (old market) on the river bank, the Phsar Kandal or the Phsar Leu Thom Thmey (large, new market) are worth a visit. For all active travelers, the area can be explored by bike. Gastronomy fans will also get their money’s worth with a typical Cambodian cooking course. Hundreds of crocodiles live in a crocodile farm not far from the city center. In the Khmer Ceramics Center you can see the making of beautiful ceramic objects and learn about this craftsmanship. Other excursions can be made, for example, to the Banteay Srei Butterfly Center, the largest butterfly center in all of Southeast Asia.
Not far from Siem Reap is the Tonle Sap, the largest inland lake in Southeast Asia. Here you will find a unique abundance of fish that is one of the largest in the world. For tourists, boat trips are offered on the lake, where you can marvel at the floating villages on the lake shore, such as the floating village Chong Kneas.
The Cambodian capital is a chaotic and at the same time fascinating metropolis. Phnom Penh is one of the most beautiful river cities in Southeast Asia, which is why a boat tour should not be missed.
The Royal Palace in traditional Khmer style is arguably the most famous attraction in Phnom Penh. You can hardly get enough of the richly decorated buildings with their religious symbolism. Directly next to the Royal Palace is the Silver Pagoda, which owes its name to the 5,329 silver floor tiles, which are unfortunately mostly hidden under carpets today. On the site there are other buildings such as the equestrian statue of King Norodom, various chedis (typical places of worship), a building with the Buddha’s footprint and the royal pavilion.
The Wat Phnom sanctuary is located in the northeast of the city and is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. An impressive temple complex with pretty shrines stands on the hill.
Under the mighty domes of the central market Psar Thmei there is everything your heart desires. You should also visit Wat Ounalom, Sisowath Quay and the river island Koh Dach in the Mekong River.
The well-informed National Museum shows the fascinating side of Cambodia’s history, but also deals with the dark chapters. Those who want to deal with the Khmer Rouge should visit their former prison S21, where the poignant Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is now housed. Outside the city, you can also visit a killing field Choeung Ek.
Mekong cities of Kampong Cham and Kratie
The province of Kampong Cham is located in the east of Cambodia and is determined by the Mekong, which meanders from south-west to north-east. On its shores, the people still live in the traditional way, which is why one meets the real authentic Cambodia here. Here you are far away from the tourist streams and can get to know the country personally and individually. The starting point for this is the provincial capital of the same name, Kampong Cham, which is also picturesquely situated on the Mekong. The old colonial buildings of the French, which you can see their age, give the city a romantic, original flair. An ancient Khmer temple, Nokor Wat is located near the city center. South of the large bridge over the Mekong is a small bamboo bridge that leads to the Mekong island of Koh Paen. Here you will be welcomed in a friendly manner by the villagers and introduced to their way of life. If you want to go on trekking tours, you should consider that there are still a lot of landmines hidden, also in this province.
Kratie is about 70 km north of Kampong Cham, also on the Mekong. Dolphin lovers in particular should come here, as you can watch the freshwater dolphins Irrawaddy dolphins there. Kratie is a leisurely, pretty colonial town. A particularly fine example of the French colonial style is the provincial governor’s residence. In the late afternoon you should definitely stroll along the cliffs of the Mekong, as you have an impressive view over the river from here. North of the city is the Phnom Sambok meditation center.
In the south of Cambodia, the town of Kampot is a particularly popular travel destination. From here you can get to the coast and the adjacent Bokor National Park. Take a walk to get to know the colonial French quarter and stroll through the streets. From there you can quickly get to the banks of the Teuk Chhou, where there are a few cafes. The best way to explore the surroundings of Kampot is on a motorcycle, which can be rented cheaply and the traffic is very manageable. There are some pepper plantations near the city and you should have a look at where the pepper grows. Salt is also removed from the region. This hard work should be seen and tried out for yourself. You can also visit the surrounding caves on guided tours. The seaside resort of Kep can be reached in a day trip. The Bokor National Park was leased to the Sokimex Group and there are massive interventions in nature and the landscape. The former ghost town is also currently being restored and has lost its charm as a result.
Beach stay in Sihanoukville
The city not only offers wonderful paradise beaches but is also a Mecca for all party-goers. The central beaches Victory, Independence, Sokha Beach and Occheuteal as well as the backpacker favorite Serendipity Beach each have their own character. Those who prefer to relax should visit one of the nearby islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem. Here you will find great holiday resorts for a relaxing holiday.
Domestic flights connect the major cities of Cambodia. There is an airport tax of USD 6. Most of the roads are in very bad condition and accidents and robberies are frequent, which is why a rental car trip is not advisable. Night driving should be avoided in any case. For individual travelers there is the possibility to use long-distance buses. The only regular rail link runs from Phnom Penh to Battambang. It is extremely slow and the trains are usually overcrowded and not air-conditioned. There are also speedboat connections between some cities, with which some islands can also be reached. Those who prefer to join an organized tour through the Southeast Asian country will find a selection of small group tours. The focus on the round trip can be individually selected and some trips include a few days at the beach. Furthermore, combinations with trips to neighboring countries are often offered.