14 amazing reasons to visit Cambodia

Looking for reasons to visit Cambodia? Let me convince you with these 14 things to experience in the land of the Khmer.

Reasons to visit Cambodia - Angkor wat

One of the best places in Asia has to be Cambodia.

You probably know Cambodia for Angkor Wat, its friendly locals, but also the brutal Khmer Rouge regime from 1975-1979.

Although Cambodia may not be as popular as its Southeast Asian neighbours, it has a lot to offer that will captivate your heart and make you want to come back. I should know, I’ve already visited twice.

Ready to be convinced?

Here are the best reasons to visit Cambodia.

Read next: 12 fun things to do in Siem Reap

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What is Cambodia like for tourists?

Cambodia is a great place for tourists! It’s not as crowded as certain places in Thailand and it’s a little more rough around the edges.

From exploring the ancient temples of Angkor Wat to wandering through the bustling markets of Phnom Penh, there’s something for everyone.

And let me tell you, the locals are the friendliest and most welcoming people.

14 best reasons to visit Cambodia

1. Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is Cambodia’s most popular attraction. This UNESCO World Heritage site is over 900 years old and offers magnificent architecture, intricate carvings, and a glimpse into the ancient Khmer Empire.

Angkor Wat is a city of temples that covers 400 square kilometres, making it the largest religious monument globally. The construction took 35 years and involved stones weighing up to 5 tons each.

And the craziest thing is that it was made without using mortar.

Make sure to visit at sunrise where you’ll get the best views and can feel like Tomb Raider for a day!

Read next: How to visit Angkor Wat in 2 days

Reasons to visit Cambodia - Angkor wat (2)
The beautiful Angkor Wat temples

2. You can ride a bamboo train

The Bamboo train, also known as “Norry” in Cambodia, is like no other train you’ve ever seen.

Made of bamboo slats, this improvised train smoothly moves along the old railway tracks of Battambang. Try it with Viator (⭐ 5/5) ! It’s a fun and adventurous way to experience the Cambodian countryside.

Reasons to visit Cambodia - cambodia Bamboo Train

3. Visit the lush jungle

Cambodia is filled with dense jungle, towering trees reaching for the sky, and cascading waterfalls.

Don’t miss the chance to visit places like the Koh Ker and Phnom Kulen, where you can trek through hidden trails and discover exotic wildlife.

👉 These are the best jungle tours in Cambodia:

  • Koh Ker (⭐ 5/5) – a 10th-century temple complex in the north Cambodian jungle. Book here.
  • Phnom Kulen National Park (⭐ 5/5) – impressive waterfalls, a reclining Buddha statue and mountains. Book here.
Reasons to visit Cambodia - Phnom Kulen
Phnom Kulen waterfall

4. White sand beaches

Most people connect Thailand or the Philippines with beautiful beaches when they think of Asia.

But Cambodia has a few stunning islands and beaches, too. The popular ones are Koh Rong Island, Koh Rong Samloem, Lazy beach and Otres beach.

To reach Cambodia’s islands, you’ll need to take a ferry from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem. Ferries depart multiple times daily and the journey lasts about 45 minutes to an hour.

Otres and Lazy beaches are a quick tuk-tuk ride from central Sihanoukville.

Reasons to visit Cambodia - Sihanoukville
One of Cambodia’s remote islands

5. Go cycling in the country fields

One of the best ways to discover Cambodia is on a bike.

You’ll discover the rural areas and countryside of Cambodia and learn about the local culture and people when you pass through small villages, lush green fields, and traditional Khmer homes.

The best biking tours are:

  • Biking from Siem Reap (⭐ 5/5 rating on Viator) Book here.
  • Mekong Island biking tour (⭐ 5/5 rating on Viator). Book here.

Reasons to visit Cambodia - cambodia biking

6. Friendly people

Cambodian people are some of the friendliest in the world. They are always welcoming and willing to help in any way they can.

Reasons to visit Cambodia

7. The rich culture and history

Cambodia has a rich cultural and historical heritage that’s unlike anything else.

Experience the power of the Khmer Empire and the world-famous Angkor Wat. Cambodia’s resilience shines through challenging times, including the brutal Khmer Rouge regime.

Be captivated by the Apsara dance, a cultural treasure that tells Khmer folktales through graceful movements.

Apsara dance, Cambodia

8. It’s affordable

Although it’s not the cheapest country in Southeast Asia, it’s still very affordable. This makes Cambodia the ideal place for budget-conscious travelers.

9. Siem Reap

Siem Reap is not just a gateway to Angkor Wat.

It’s a destination in its own right, steeped in history, charm and authentic Cambodian culture.

With a fun nightlife scene at Pub Street, bustling local markets like the Old Market and Angkor Night Market, and a thriving food scene with both local and international food, Siem Reap is a great place to visit.

Reasons to visit Cambodia - Siem reap

10. Tasty Cambodian food and fried tarantulas

Cambodian food is a mix of Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese influences. Don’t miss out on trying their famous fish amok, khmer red curry, and lok lak.

In Cambodia, you might also stumble upon a rather unusual snack – the fried tarantula. Locally known as ‘a-ping’ or “giant water spider”, this crispy dish with a nightmarish appearance is a street food favourite in certain parts of Cambodia.

But hey, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea! If you’re not feeling adventurous, there are plenty of other traditional dishes to try. For instance on a Khmer cuisine food tour!

  • Food tour in Phnom Penh (⭐ 5/5) 👉 Book here
  • Food tour in Siem Reap (⭐ 5/5) 👉 Book here
Reasons to visit Cambodia - Traditional Cambodian Khmer Fish Amok Curry
Traditional Cambodian cuisine

11. Phnom Penh

Cambodia’s capital city is a bustling and vibrant city with many markets, restaurants, and historical sites to explore, from the Royal Palace to the French colonial buildings.

From Phnom Penh you can also visit the Killing Fields (⭐ 5/5 rating on Viator) if you’re interested in history and the Cambodian genocide.

Take a private tour (⭐ 5/5) through the bustling markets, riverside promenade, and diverse food scene to fully experience the capital.

Reasons to visit Cambodia - phnom penh

12. Tonle Sap river

Tonle Sap Lake is known as one of the world’s most vibrant ecosystems with a wide variety of wildlife.

The lake’s unique floating villages are also a great reason to visit, especially on a tour like this (⭐ 5/5) where you get an intimate view into local Khmer people’s lives.

Reasons to visit Cambodia - Tonle Sap
Tonlé Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia

13. Exotic wildlife

Cambodia is home to exotic wildlife!

In one of the many national parks, you might be able to see elephants, crocodiles, gibbons, sun bears and tigers in their natural habitat. You can also visit the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, which is a nonprofit animal sanctuary.

This tour (⭐ 5/5) from Phnom Penh is a unique chance to get close to rescued animals and local culture.

Reasons to visit Cambodia - Cambodia wildlife

14. A chance to volunteer and make a difference

Cambodia is a great place to volunteer and make a difference in the local community. You can find many opportunities to teach English, help with conservation efforts, and more.

Reasons to visit Cambodia

FAQ – Reasons to visit Cambodia

Why should I visit Cambodia?

You should visit Cambodia for its history, culture, and beautiful nature.

You get to see amazing historical sites like Angkor Wat, experience the locals’ incredible hospitality, and enjoy the country’s landscapes and beaches.

Plus, it’s pretty affordable.

What is Cambodia famous for?

Cambodia is most famous for the Angkor Wat temples, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest religious monument in the world.

The country is also known for its rich culture, beautiful landscapes, and the warmth and hospitality of its people.

In addition, Cambodia’s tragic recent history under the Khmer Rouge regime has left a significant impact that continues to shape the country today.

What are 3 interesting facts about Cambodia?

Here are 3 interesting facts about Cambodia:

1. The national flag of Cambodia is the only flag with a building on it. On the flag is Angkor Wat, the biggest religious monument in the world.

2. Cambodia has a youthful demographic, with the majority of its inhabitants being under the age of 15.

3. The country is home to Tonlé Sap, the most expansive freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, which plays a crucial role in the nation’s ecosystem.

What is pretty about Cambodia?

Cambodia is known for its stunning landscapes, from the majestic Angkor Wat temple and lush rainforests to pristine beaches and the tranquil Tonle Sap Lake.

What type of attraction that is the most popular in Cambodia?

The top attraction in Cambodia is the incredible Angkor Wat!

This ancient temple complex is seriously mind-blowing. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the biggest religious monument in the world.

Is Cambodia tourist friendly?

Yes, Cambodia is an amazing destination for tourists! It’s known for its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and friendly locals.

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