Top 5 reasons why you should visit Cambodia on your first visit to South-east Asia.
Cambodia – Kingdom of Wonders, home of the Khmer Empire and the famed Angkor archaeological site. For over four decades, its capital city – Phnom Penh was known as the “Pearl of Asia” and the envy of every major city in the Indochina region. Then, following the Vietnam war and the Khmer Rouge regime, the country fell into torment and is still recovering to this day. Nowadays, despite attracting millions of tourists every year, Cambodia still lags behind Thailand and Vietnam as it often remains as an afterthought tacked on at the end of a trip. However, in my valiant effort to change this, here are my top 5 reasons why you should prioritise Cambodia on your next visit to South-east Asia.
1) Angkor Wat
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Probably the number 1 reason to visit the country in every top 5 list ever made, but that is simply because no one can deny the wow-factor of Angkor Wat. You may feel like you’ve seen your fair share of temples but believe me when I say that you haven’t seen a temple until you’ve seen Angkor Wat.
2) The friendliest country in the world
Anyone who has ever set foot in Cambodia will tell you the same. The Cambodians are by far the friendliest people in the whole of South-east Asia. Not to say that Thais and Vietnamese are not, but Cambodians take it to another level. Voted friendliest country in the world in 2017 by the roughguides.com. It has consistently remained in the top 5 since then.
Arching back to my previous point, Cambodia is the perfect holiday destination for families, due in parts to their genuine friendliness, but also because the cultural shock is somewhat less compared to neighbouring countries; Cambodians are more laid back and won’t hassle you as much. Most of the time, if you decline politely, they will leave you alone.
Also, the country has a plethora of family-orientate activities which can be interwoven into your holiday to make sure that the entire family is engaged and stays motivated throughout.
4) Diverse and stunning Landscape
From the stunning Cardamom mountains to the wilds of the North-east. From the peaceful water-world of the Mekong River and Tonle Sap Lake to the Idyllic beaches of the east. Cambodia is as diverse as it gets. You will never have to go far to take a stunning photo.
5) Rich History
Cambodia’s history is one of great success and demise. For all that they have achieved with Norodom Sihanouk at the head of states in the ’50s by first winning independence for Cambodia from the French colonial rulers in 1953 and prospered until the ’70s. After which they have faced many a setback, from which the country is still trying to recover.
I firmly believe that it is a necessity to learn about Cambodia’s turbulent past during your visit. For this, we recommend you to take a tour to the Killing Fields and S21 prison in Phnom Penh. Paired up with one of our guides to show you around, you will leave with an in-depth understanding of what occured during the Pol Pot regime. Alternatively, if you desire aa off the beaten path option, you can learn all about it by visiting the Killing fields in Battambang.