When tourists think of Cambodia there are only three places you tend to remember or visit. Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. Thanks to Tomb Raider, many tourists love to visit Ta Prohm in the Angkor archaeological park, party like a maniac in serendipity beach and take the flight back from Phnom Penh. But Cambodia as a country has much more to offer. Here is the list of 10 places other than the above mentioned, that you shouldn’t miss when visiting this brave country.
One cannot understand the beauty of Kampot unless one steps in it. Huge wide roads, amazing guesthouses next to the river, firefly tours, world famous pepper sauce and easy access to Bokor National Park are some of the few reasons you need to visit this sleepy little town with hardly any people.
Imagine a huge roundabout with 6 connecting roads an you are just walking in the middle of the road as if it’s a joggers park, thats Kampot for you. I stayed at a guest house, Tubed around in the river, swing jumped into the river at Arcadia, ate normal meals everyday at “Happy Pizza”, played pool, took a bike and rode off to the Bokor National park, ate amazing cake at Sisters Srey Bakery, got a beer at rusty keyhole and spoke to random people who seemed to have gotten stuck in Kampot for months. Oh and don’t forget the amazing Kampot Pepper sauce at your every meal.
KEP is a beach town which literally has no crazy party-mongers, serves freshly caught crabs and has a national park to explore. Just 25 kilometres outside Kampot, this sleepy seaside village has pepper farms, salt farms and riverside fun bungalows as well. As you explore the countryside of Kep, you realise that it is a peaceful place with beautiful landscape and delicious food.
3. Koh Rong
Well any island which is also called “Monkey Island” is worth a visit. Don’t you think so?
Just 25 kilometres off Sihanoukville this island is once a beautiful stretch of sand. Right now, the scenery is changing fast with guesthouses, bungalows and a lot of construction to accommodate the incoming tourists. Still with 23 white sand beaches, untouched jungle and party locations to choose from, It will never bore you.
P.S. If you love the show “Survivor” you know a part of it was filmed here
All those people who head to far off locations to find extinct species, here’s one with easy access. Kampi, a village 15 Kilometres from Kratie, hosts Irrawaddy Dolphins, some of the very few surviving river/fresh water dolphins. There were only 73 left according to our guide in July 2015. What more? It is an absolute way to get in touch with life on the Mekong.
5. Sen Monorom
Anybody who is visiting Cambodia and are not visiting the eastern part is missing the glorious waterfalls, hair-raising treks and jungle safaris and a culture so unique to this province. How does a overnight jungle trek sound? Or meeting a herd of elephants in their natural habitat? Trekking near the waterfalls or into tribal villages? Sen Monorom offers all this and more.
Visit a 700,000 year old volcanic crater lake or a dirt bike ride along “The Death Highway”. Nuff said!
If you really want to meet Cambodian people, this is the place to be. Apart from visiting the killing caves from Polpot Regime or watch millions of bats fly away from their cave, this is the place to be. Battambang seems to be a warm community of people who gather around in the evening, exercising, talking to travellers about Cambodia or sharing their stories from the days gone by.
8. Preah Vihear
After visiting Angkor and I was transfixed by the sites, the carvings and the history. But, there is a temple that is almost 100 years older than Angkor wat at the Thai-Cambodian Border.
Situated on a 500 metre hill, this temple has a long-running territorial dispute between Thailand and Cambodia
9. Krakor (Tonle Sap Lake)
Want to stay with a Cambodian family on the Tonle Sap lake?
Around 5 KMs from Krakor, there are families in the floating village on Tonle sap lake which will host you for a few days and for a small fee. Ever seen an entire village moving from one place on the lake to another every few years? You stay with them, at their house and eat with the family.
10. Kampong Cham
One reason I loved kampong cham was the beautiful countryside and another is the Mekong Bamboo Hut Hotel. Imagine sleeping in a hammock with your own personalized mosquito net and under the stars, right next to the river. The other reason to visit this place was an abandoned US airstrip used by B 52 bombers. This place makes a nice stop between Phnom Penh and Kratie.