With ancient jungle temples, warm locals, and white sand beaches, there are so many incredible things to do in Cambodia. Considered one of the friendliest countries in Southeast Asia, this kingdom is sure to steal a piece of your heart.
I’ve visited Cambodia twice over the years and I’ve got a feeling I’ll be back.
Like most people, I first went to Cambodia for Angkor Wat – the mighty temple city buried deep in the jungle -and I was blown away. Never have I seen anything so ancient and wild – temples swallowed by the jungle. It’s incredible.
And there’s even more to Cambodia than Angkor Wat! This kingdom also has picturesque white beaches, beautiful waterfalls, and a spider village!
I’ve created a list of things to do in Cambodia that takes you to the most sought-after temples at Angkor and also to some less-traveled spots, so you’ll really get to know the country.
Let’s dive in!
Read next: 14 amazing reasons to visit Cambodia
Best things to do in Cambodia
1. Visit Angkor Wat
The temples of Angkor are world-famous and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Make sure to visit – it’s an unforgettable experience!
At the top of the list are Angkor Wat, the main temple and largest religious building globally, and the unique Bayon temple with its carved stone faces.
Ta Prohm stands out too (my favorite), where nature has reclaimed the ancient ruins. It’s also the famous scene from Tomb Raider.
If you’re thinking about catching the popular Angkor Wat sunrise, you’ll need to be there at 5 AM for a prime spot.
It gets crowded to say the least, so get there as early as possible!
Book your spot – 2-day Angkor temples tour for sunrise and sunset (⭐ 5/5)
2. Explore Siem Reap
Siem Reap really is a must-see in Cambodia.
It’s more than just a gateway to Angkor Wat. The city itself is full of life – busy markets, soothing spas, and unique shopping experiences.
It’s also home to exciting food and adventure tours (like this quad biking tour), plus a unique modern circus (Phare) showcasing Cambodian culture.
Siem Reap is a popular destination to dive into the local culture and really get a feel for Cambodia.
3. Skuon, Spiderville
So, this is a unique place!
Skuon – also known as Spiderville – is known for its fried spiders, a local specialty that might sound a bit out there but is a regular part of their diet.
In the 1970s, Cambodia faced a harsh famine under the Khmer Rouge. Out of necessity, people began eating tarantulas because there were so many in the area.
This unusual diet stuck, and even when times improved, tarantulas had already become a part of their regular cuisine.
4. Visit the Killing Fields
The Killing Fields in Phnom Penh is a memorial to the victims of the Khmer Rouge.
Once just an orchard and a Chinese cemetery, but under Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge turned it into the Killing Fields.
That’s where they executed about 20,000 people. In total, during those three years, they killed and buried around 2.5 million people.
It’s not an easy visit, but it’s important for grasping the severity of Cambodia’s past and the resilience of its people.
Book a tour – Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (⭐ 5/5)
5. Royal Palace, Phnom Penh
Also in the capital city of Phnom Penh lies The Royal Palace.
You should visit because of its impressive architecture and the Silver Pagoda – it gives you a direct look into Cambodia’s royal history.
The place is rich with detailed designs and art, making it a great spot to understand Cambodia’s heritage.
Book here – Private Phnom Penh Day Tour incl. Royal Palace (⭐ 5/5)
6. Sihanoukville beaches
Sihanoukville has some great beaches.
Otres Beach is the most popular, perfect for lounging with a book.
If you’re after a bit more action, Serendipity Beach is your go-to, with plenty of places to grab a bite or a drink.
Book here – Visit the highlights of Sihanoukville in one day (⭐ 4.5/5)
7. Try the Bamboo Train in Battambang
Ride the bamboo train as a fun and quirky way to see the rural landscape in Cambodia.
It’s a simple platform on train wheels, powered by a small engine.
Book here – Bamboo train, Bat Cave, Killing Cave (⭐ 5/5)
8. Experience an Apsara Dance Performance
The second time I was in Cambodia, I went to an Apsara Dance Performance and I highly recommend it.
It’s a traditional dance, that shows Cambodia’s culture with elegant movements and colorful costumes.
Book here – Apsara Dance Performance – Incl. Dinner & Hotel Pickup (⭐ 4.5/5)
9. Kampot River
In Kampot, you can do a river cruise in a kayak – it’s a fun way to experience the countryside.
You float down the river, past green landscapes, natural beauty, and local life. These cruises often last a couple of hours, so but you can also do a combined tour where you get to visit a pepper farm.
Book here – Kampot countryside, Pepper farm and Kayaking tour (⭐ 4.5/5)
10. Trek in the Cardamom Mountains
Trekking in the Cardamom Mountains is real and raw.
You’ve got Stung Areng Valley, Khnong Phsar with its awesome landscapes, ecolodges in Botum Sakor National Park, and Tatai Wildlife Sanctuary’s famous waterfall.
The terrain is tough, but it’s worth it for the lush jungle and wildlife you’ll see.
You can choose how long you trek, from a day to several days.
Book here – Aural Mountain Trek: Cambodia Tallest Peak (⭐ 5/5)
11. Koh Rong Island
Koh Rong and the less visited Koh Rong Samloem are the hotspots with clear waters and beautiful sandy shores. And at night, the glowing plankton in the water is a magical sight.
Book a snorkeling tour – Fishing & Snorkeling tour (Private)
12. Street food tour in Phnom Penh
In Phnom Penh, a street food tour is a must-do activity.
You get to taste all sorts of local eats – think sizzling meats and fresh, zesty fruits. These tours take a few hours and give you a taste of local Khmer food.
Book here – Food Tour by Tuk Tuk – 20 tastings & drinks (⭐ 5/5)
13. Phare, The Cambodian Circus
Phare, The Cambodian Circus in Siem Reap, isn’t your typical circus.
It combines acrobatics, music, and dance to tell Cambodian stories.
The performers mostly come from struggling backgrounds, and they’re incredibly talented. Plus, Phare supports a good cause, helping young Cambodians build a future.
Get tickets – The Cambodian Circus Show in Siem Reap (⭐ 5/5)
14. Floating villages on Tonle Sap River
Visiting the Floating Villages on Tonlé Sap Lake shows you a unique way of life.
People live in wooden houses on stilts or even floating on the water. By taking a boat tour, you’ll see how they manage daily life on the lake.
I won’t sugarcoat it – it’s touristy, but still really interesting because it’s so different.
Book now – Tonle Sap Lake & Kampong Phluk from Siem Reap (⭐ 5/5)
15. Kampot salt fields
The salt fields in Kampot are pretty cool to see. They harvest salt from the sea in these flat ponds.
The dry season, around December to April, is the best time to go because that’s when they’re actually harvesting. It’s an interesting look at how salt is made the traditional way. Reminds me of the salt flats in Bolivia although not at all in the same scale!
Book here – Bokor Mountain, Pepper Farm, Salt Field, Crab market (⭐ 5/5)
16. Night markets in Siem Reap
Night markets in Southeast Asia are always worth a visit, and the one in Siem Reap is no exception. It’s full of stalls selling souvenirs and tasty local food.
The market is pretty laid-back, so you can wander around, shop, and snack as you go. They don’t take cards, so bring coins or notes if you plan on buying anything.
17. Phnom Kulen National Park
Phnom Kulen National Park is the most popular day tour from Siem Reap.
Prepare to see waterfalls, ancient temples, and the River of a Thousand Lingas. This highly-rated tour also includes the Killing Caves, a sobering reminder of Cambodia’s dark past.
Book here – Kulen Waterfall & 1000 Lingas by luxury MiniVan (⭐ 5/5)
18. See Irrawaddy dolphins in Mekong
In Kratie, you can hop on a boat to see the Irrawaddy Dolphins.
These dolphins are pretty rare – there are less than 80 left – so it’s a special sight. The boat ride itself is also a nice, peaceful way to see the Mekong River and relax a bit.
Book here – Half Day Dolphin Tour in Mekong (⭐ 5/5)
19. Join a Cambodian cooking class
Taking a cooking class is a fun, hands-on way to get into Khmer cuisine.
You learn to make dishes like Fish Amok or Khmer curry.
Cooking classes often start with a market trip for fresh ingredients, and on this specific tour in Siem Reap, you get to cook in a local’s house!
Come hungry, because you’ll be eating the food you make!
Take a class – Khmer Cooking Class at a Local’s Home in Siem Reap (⭐ 5/5)
20. Kep’s Crab Market
Kep’s Crab Market is famous for fresh seafood, especially crabs. It’s a bustling spot where you can see crabs pulled straight from the water.
You can eat there or buy crabs for your guesthouse to cook. Follow the locals for the top spots.
Book here – Bokor Mountain, Pepper Farm, Salt Field, Crab market (⭐ 5/5)
21. Visit Beng Mealea
Beng Mealea is an alternative Angkor Wat. It’s still in ruins, untouched and covered in jungle, which makes it fascinating.
Not much is known about its history, but it was built in the 12th century from sandstone.
Book here – Kulen Mountain, Beng Mealea & Tonle Sap Small-Group Tour (⭐ 5/5)
22. Popokvil waterfall
Popokvil Waterfall is located on Bokor Mountain, and it’s worth a visit – especially in the rainy season when there’s more water.
The place has this misty, forest vibe that’s relaxing, and you can visit on an easy day trip from Kampot.
Book a tour – Kampot Day Tour to Bokor National Park (⭐ 4.5/5)
23. Visit Kampong Cham
Kampong Cham is off the path – a charming town that moves at a slower pace and has less traffic and incredibly friendly locals.
Start your day with Kuy Teav noodle soup at the market. Walk around town to see quaint shophouses and cross over to Bamboo Island and the ‘French Lighthouse’ for a unique experience. There’s also a beautiful temple nearby.
FAQ – Things to do in Cambodia
What is Cambodia best known for?
Cambodia is mainly known for Angkor Wat, those incredible temples you’ve probably seen in pictures.
It’s also got a deep history, from the times of the Khmer Empire to the more recent Khmer Rouge period.
Besides that, there are beautiful beaches, lush mountains, and some really tasty food.
Is Cambodia good for tourists?
Cambodia is a solid choice for tourists, especially if you’re looking for something a bit off the beaten path compared to places like Thailand.
It’s a bit rougher around the edges, which adds to its charm. You’ve got the incredible Angkor Wat, beautiful, less crowded beaches, and a rich, raw culture.
What is Cambodia best for?
Cambodia is best for exploring ancient temples, experiencing rich cultural heritage, enjoying beautiful beaches, and indulging in delicious cuisine.
What is the number one tourist attraction in Cambodia?
The number one tourist attraction in Cambodia is the Angkor Wat temple complex, which is located in Siem Reap.
More posts about Cambodia you might like
- How to plan your Angkor Wat itinerary, guide, and tickets
- How to visit the epic Angkor Wat in 2 days
- 19 super fun things to do in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- My Review: The Khmer Apsara Dance Show in Siem Reap
- Hotel review: Angkor Palace Resort Spa, Siem Reap
- Siem Reap War Museum – All you need to know
- 14 amazing reasons to visit Cambodia