Travelers return from Cambodia with great stories, amazing photographs and fond memories. People enjoy the wonders of Angkor Wat and the smiles of the Cambodian people. Most travelers only visit Angkor Wat, but the country offers a lot more to curious and adventurous visitors. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of a trip to Cambodia:
1) Tour by bike. You can build biking into any itinerary. We recommend exploring the ruins by bike and also spending one day biking through the countryside. You never know what you’ll find along the way and a day on a bike might be the best one you’ll have on the entire trip.
2) Fly over Angkor. You can get good views of the temples from a few select vantage points, but the best way to admire the expanse of the Angkor plains is from a plane! But not just any plane… book a morning flight in a two-person open-air mircolight plane. Don’t forget your camera!
3) Angkor at Sunset and Sunrise. Make sure to get up early and stay late at the ruins to experience the temples in the early morning and evening light. In the middle of the day you can always spend time relaxing by the pool at your hotel or take a nap to catch up on sleep!
4) Hike in the mountains. A half-day hike in the Kulen Mountain Range will allow you to take in a peaceful setting and discover some remote ruins carved into the stone along a river bank.
5) Visit charities and NGOs. You can visit several humanitarian projects during a trip. In a day with the Cambodian-Dutch Organization you can visit a health center that has donated thousands of pairs of eye glasses and then a primary school where you’ll have a chance to speak English and share your life with local school children. Near Phnom Penh you can visit the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre that has helped to protect Asiatic black bears and the smaller sun bear. Also in Phnom Penh you can visit the Apsara Foundation, which aims to educate poor Cambodian children to become professional dancers and musicians, simultaneously conserving Cambodian arts and culture.
6) Start in Phnom Penh. Cambodia’s capital is the ideal starting place for anyone interested in getting to know this fascinating country. In Phnom Penh you’ll experience contemporary Cambodia and also be able to explore the country’s past. An important visit for many people is to Choeng Ek, the location of the infamous Killing Fields.
7) Travel overland. Traveling overland from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap will allow you to discover the heart of the Cambodian countryside. Along the way you can stop in Skuon where the local specialty is fried spiders, visit Sambor PreiKuk, an ancient, pre-Angkorian city, and drive across the beautiful Angkorean bridge of Spean Praptos, an engineering marvel built in the 12th century.