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Cambodia is a home to wild elephants who roam freely in the wild and pink dolphins who dominated the Mekong. A stunning tropical paradise with a hidden history of existence, Cambodia is surely a place to explore in the Southeast Asian nation. Incredible ancient temples and immaculate beaches add more beauty to this place and hence calling you to unveil it on your next trip.
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Cambodia is dotted with an array of unforgettable views, people and experiences that will ensure you have a memorable time visiting the Kingdom of Wonder.
Angkor Wat at sunrise
Holding the title of the world’s largest religious monument, glorious Angkor Wat is a spectacle to be seen whatever time of the day it may be. However, watching the sun peek from behind the temple’s iconic towers is a pretty special experience and well worth waking before the crack of dawn for. But don’t expect to have the temple to yourself, as this is peak time, when tens of thousands of other early birds flock to the temple to capture this magical moment.
Phnom Penh from above
There’s something truly special about watching a city twinkling below. Thanks to the recent addition of Rosewood Phnom Penh to the capital’s hotel scene, the city can now be viewed from sky high. Perched on the 37th floor of the 39-storey Vattanac Capital Tower is the five-star hotel’s Sora skybar, which offers unparalleled panoramic views across the rising capital and beyond. Open from 5.30pm, guests can take in the sunset and watch Phnom Penh light up before their eyes. Simply stunning.
Koh Rong Samloem at sunset
Beach bums are doing themselves an injustice if they miss Koh Rong Samloem. Why? Because the relatively undeveloped tropical island is home to isolated beaches that are postcard-perfect, soft powder-white sands, and breathtaking crystal-clear waters. If you’re looking to kick back with sundowner cocktails, then for the best sunsets head to – yep, you guessed it – the aptly named Sunset Beach.
Exploring the Cardamom Mountains
Being at one with nature in the heart of the tropical jungle is another pretty amazing, and unique, experience to treasure. As Southeast Asia’s largest remaining rainforest, the Cardamom Mountains are also home to a swathe of rare and endangered flora and fauna that make any visit here special.
Looking out from Phnom Sampeau
Perched atop Phnom Sampeu in Battambang is a quaint pagoda and viewing platforms that boast exquisite panoramas of the province – dubbed Cambodia’s rice bowl – sprawling below. The site is also home to several other spots, such as the macabre Killing Caves, where thousands were tossed to their deaths through a hole in the ceiling by the Khmer Rouge. The bat caves also sit at the base and are a must-see at dusk when hundreds of thousands of bats spiral into the sky.
Cambodia's climate, like that of the rest of Southeast Asia, is dominated by monsoons, which are known as tropical wet and dry because of the distinctly marked seasonal differences.
Cambodia has a temperature range from 21 to 35 °C and experiences tropical monsoons. Southwest monsoons blow inland bringing moisture-laden winds from the Gulf of Thailand and the Indian Ocean from May to October. The northeast monsoon ushers in the dry season, which lasts from November to April. The country experiences the heaviest precipitation from September to October with the driest period occurring from January to February.
According to the International Development Research Center and The United Nations, Cambodia is considered Southeast Asia's most vulnerable country to the effects of climate change, alongside the Philippines. Rural coastal populations are, particularly at risk. Shortages of clean water, extreme flooding, mudslides, higher sea levels and potentially destructive storms are of particular concern, according to the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance.
Cambodia has two distinct seasons. The rainy season, which runs from May to October, can see temperatures drop to 22 °C and is generally accompanied with high humidity. The dry season lasts from November to April when temperatures can rise up to 40 °C around April.
Finding accommodation in Cambodia is not a problem, considering that it has a high tourism industry and sees a lot of visitors on a yearly basis. In fact, tourists may find themselves facing the happy problem of having an abundance of choices to choose from.
Rice is the staple grain, as in other Southeast Asian countries. The cuisine of Cambodia contains tropical fruits, soups and noodles. Key ingredients are kaffir lime, lemongrass, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, curry, tamarind, ginger, oyster sauce, coconut milk and black pepper. French influence on Cambodian cuisine includes the Cambodian red curry with toasted baguette bread. The toasted baguette pieces are dipped in the curry and eaten. Cambodian red curry is also eaten with rice and rice vermicelli noodles. Probably the most popular dine out dish, kuy teav, is a pork broth rice noodle soup with fried garlic, scallions, green onions that may also contain various toppings such as beef balls, shrimp, pork liver or lettuce. Kampot pepper is reputed to be the best in the world and accompanies crab at the Kep crab shacks and squid in the restaurants on the Ou Trojak Jet river. The cuisine is relatively unknown to the world compared to that of its neighbors Thailand and Vietnam.
To enter Cambodia, you’ll need a Visa. You can do that before you go or sort it out when you arrive, which costs $30US per person for a tourist Visa and takes around 5-10 minutes to get sorted. If you do plan to get your Visa on arrival, make sure you have a spare passport photo with you, they’ll need it to issue your Visa. Some countries in ASEAN do not need a visa.
This is a very real danger, so pay close attention! Do not get around town with all your valuables in your backpack, hanging off ya shoulder like ya back in high-school. Any valuables you cannot afford to lose, like a passport, need to be kept in the safe at your hotel. When you go out, put your backpack on and do up any straps you can around your middle. Make sure your zips are secure. In crowded places, put your backpack to the front of your body. There are a lot of instances where, even in the back of a Tuk Tuk, a local thug runs up and rips your bag off you, jumps on the back of a scooter and is off before you can react.
General health is more of a concern in Cambodia than most other parts of Southeast Asia, due to a lack of international-standard medical-treatment facilities, a prevalence of tropical diseases and poor sanitation. Once you venture into rural areas you are very much on your own, although most provincial capitals have a reasonable clinic these days.
Cambodia is a pretty safe country for travelers these days. In the run-up to major festivals such as Pchum Ben or Chaul Chnam Khmer, there is a palpable increase in the number of robberies, particularly in Phnom Penh. Cambodians need money to buy gifts for relatives or to pay off debts, and for some individuals, theft is the quickest way to get this money. Be more vigilant at night at these times. Guard your smartphone vigilantly and don’t take valuables out with you unnecessarily.
Given the number of guns in Cambodia, there is less armed theft than one might expect. Still, hold-ups and drive-by theft by motorcycle-riding tandems are a potential danger in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. There is no need to be paranoid, just cautious. Walking or riding alone late at night is not ideal, certainly not in rural areas.
Various factors contribute to the Cambodian culture including Theravada Buddhism, Hinduism, French colonialism, Angkorian culture, and modern globalization.
Rural Cambodians wear a krama scarf which is a unique aspect of Cambodian clothing. The sample is a traditional Cambodian greeting or a way of showing respect to others.
In Cambodian culture, Monks are revered and respected. It’s essential you treat them with the same level of respect. Women, in particular, need to be mindful around Monks. Please do not touch them or sit too close to them. Also, you should always ask before taking a photo of a Monk.
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