Despite sharing a border with Vietnam, Cambodia’s history and culture is extremely different and this kingdom of color and contrasts confounds and enthralls in equal measure.
There are few sights more breathtaking than seeing the sun rising and setting over the ancient Angkorian temple complex in Siem Reap Province. Here, you can explore the fortified city of Angkor Thom, where 200 huge, carved Bayon faces stare down from 54 towers, and marvel at jungle-entwined Buddhist temple Ta Prohm, which looks just as it did when French explorers stumbled upon it in the 1860s.
Many visitors choose to linger in Siem Reap but those that visit Phnom Penh are rewarded with insights into Cambodia’s past wealth – consider its golden-spired palaces, rambling colonial mansions and striking modern 1950s and 1960s townships and stadia – and a harrowing reminder of how quickly the Khmer Rouge (1975-1979) destroyed it. First visit S 21 – a Khmer Rouge prison, torture and execution center set within a former school in Tuol Sleng, where mugshots of the thousands of victims that were brought here, many infants, are displayed in chilling black and white. Then take a tuktuk ride out to the killing fields, where the bones of victims protruding from the ground and a stupa of skulls pay chilling tribute to the Cambodian genocide.
You can choose to extend your trip to relax on beaches or private islands, visit artsy hub Battambang or trek through sprawling jungles. Talk to us about customizing a trip to your needs and timeframe.