Crossing the border from Bangkok, taking the road to Siem Reap is a long journey, full of surprises. You’ll see lotus fields, rice paddies, and, if you’re game, you’ll able to try deep-fried tarantula, Lotus Nuts, Baked Sticky Rice, Crickets and other local traditions. One of the first stops we made was at a restaurant a few miles across the border, where we enjoyed the chicken and fish Amok curries, which are a must and are the iconic national dishes…
Driving through, our group quickly realise, with help from our guide, that this is an intriguing country with a diverse historical past. Cambodia is emerging from years of war to become one of Asia’s best-kept secrets. There are temples to explore, ancient ruins to visit and a mouth-watering cuisine to enjoy. And the friendliness of the people and smiles from the children will stay with you forever.
Phnom Penh has colourful markets and a rich heritage in the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. It is important to reflect on more recent history at Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields and see how the city is regenerating itself. But Cambodia has, even more, to offer with home stays in quiet villages where viewing daily life is fascinating.
Siem Reap is the jewel in Cambodia’s crown with more temples that you can imagine. From a dawn visit to Angkor Wat to exploring the exquisite carvings at Banteay Srei the sights and architecture are mind-blowing. The Bayon faces and carved bridge at Angkor Thom is another highlight as is the Temple of Dawn or Ta Prohm. Wander past ancient temple buildings with massive tree roots creating intriguing shapes and get up close to remarkably well-preserved apsara carvings. Tonle Sap is Cambodia’s largest inland stretch of water and full of small stilt villages and people living on the water. We took a boat ride and talked with the kids and enjoy Cambodia at its best. You’ll find shops, fishing boats and even schools in these friendly communities.
Our trip was just a taste of the magic of Cambodia – this is definitely a country to get to know and enjoy but warned, you’ll leave a piece of your heart here, for sure.
New Gallery: Cambodia | 2015
- Tour operator: Intrepid Travel – Flights excluded
- Time of year: August
- Typical Temp for this time: 24˚ to 33˚
- Our guide, Channa – One of the most insightful and jovial people you’ll ever meet.
- The Temples of Siem Reap
- Flight of the Gibbon – Zip Lining 50ft above the jungle floor
- Tonle Sap
- Home Stay in Sambor Prei Kuk
- Phnom Penh – Though upsetting, the Killing Fields and Toul Sleng Prison.
- Ho Chi Minh City (Formerly Saigon)