Southeast Asia is arguably one of the most fascinating and exotic regions in the world to travel. From glittering golden temples to steamy jungles, fiery cuisines, picture postcard perfect beaches and ultra modern cities to ancient world wonders – Southeast Asia has so much to offer.
Here’s why Cambodia is our favourite country in Southeast Asia
Cambodia is a small, developing country nestled between Thailand and Vietnam but with a distinctly different feel from both these neighbouring countries.
Discovering Cambodia’s history will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride as it ranges from the glorious days at the height of the Khmer Empire when Angkor was the largest city of the pre industrial world, to the days of French colonialism and then the atrocities of the horrific Khmer Rouge regime. This brutal part of the country’s history is shocking and depressing but essential learning and the way that the people have come back from those awful times is inspiring.
Undoubtedly Cambodia’s most famous sight is the mighty Angkor Wat, the largest religious building in the world and truly one of the most spectacular sights I’ve ever seen. Also, visit Cambodia’s other UNESCO site Preah Vihear and many other impressive temples, both old and new, dotted across the country. No where does ancient temples quite like Cambodia and scientists are still discovering massive ancient sights hidden in the jungle! This is an exciting time to explore Cambodia!
For me, the Khmer people are the main reason why we love Cambodia and the country’s greatest asset. The Khmer people seem content and happy with their simple lives and are mostly genuine, open, friendly and charming people, despite their difficult history. The Cambodian people have bounced back with an infectious optimism which makes Cambodia the genuine ‘land of a thousand smiles’ but unlike tourist weary Thailand.
Unique, Undeveloped Scenery
Another reason we love Cambodia is because it offers a bucolic, offbeat escape from the modern world. Cambodia is a beautiful, tropical country that is still blissfully undeveloped and retains its unique character. The unspoilt countryside is an idyllic patchwork of rich, luscious, emerald green paddy fields interspersed with villages of wooden houses on stilts where children and animals play outside. The low rise cities retain some elegant French colonial architecture and elaborate golden temple spires and curving Khmer rooftops still dominate the skyline.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises for me was Cambodia’s delightful coastline. Cambodia has unspoilt white sand beaches and turquoise seas that easily rival Thailand but with only a fraction of the crowds. Sihanoukville offers up a fun, laid back beach scene with resorts and lively nightlife while the (so far) undeveloped island of Koh Rong is a real offbeat paradise. Cambodia’s beach scene is like Thailand’s islands were 20 years ago but you’ll need to go soon before it gets too popular!
Cambodia really has everything you could wish for if you are looking for an interesting, offbeat adventure. With friendly locals, world class sights, beautiful scenery and a fascinating history it’s no surprise that this country really captured our heart