Drink a bucket
The drinking culture in Cambodia is pretty strong, with locals leaning towards beer and whiskey. However, many guesthouses and party places serve up buckets, which are devoured by the backpacker crowd. Take care when imbibing, because these are often—as the name implies—small plastic buckets filled to the brim with a mix of spirits and little else.
Dance until dawn
Phnom Penh is a city that doesn’t sleep, with music, dancing, and partying going on throughout the night. Pontoon’s doors often stay open until dawn at weekends, so put on your dancing shoes and join the eclectic crowd until the early hours.
Visit Angkor What?
No, we don’t mean the nearby iconic temple complex, Angkor Wat; we mean the iconic bar located on Siem Reap’s Pub Street. With music blasting throughout the night, drinks flowing, and the party pumping, you’ll find plenty of peers at vibrant Angkor What? and its Pub Street neighbours.
Have a shot of tarantula wine
Overcome your fear of spiders and get stuck in to the local delicacy. Here, jackfruit is mixed with locally-brewed rice wine and topped with a live tarantula. The drink is said to help your heart while working as an aphrodisiac.
Make a splash
Lively guesthouse Arcadia, nestled on Kampot River, is home to Cambodia’s only riverside water park. A $7 day-pass offers access to a huge waterslide, pontoon with a 10-foot diving platform, an inflatable person-launcher, rock climbing wall, rope swing, Russian swing, and inner-tubes. Entry is free for staying guests.
Get close to an elephant
The practice of elephant riding is strongly discouraged, and if you want to know why then take a trip to the Elephant Valley Project in Mondulkiri. The sanctuary offers respite to elephants who have been over-worked or victims of tourism. Able to lavish in their natural environment, visitors can watch them roam around the jungle, bathe in the river, and feed on the banks.
Hang out with hippies
Cambodia remains well and truly on the backpackers’ trail and there are many soul-searchers, nomads, and gurus waiting to inspire with their intriguing travel tales and stories of enlightenment over a beer or three.
Find your inner child
Kids’ City is definitely not just for children, so don’t let the name put you off. Instead, it is packed full of fun, from laser tag and ice-skating, to rock climbing and go-karting, there’s something to keep both kids and adults entertained.
And no, we don’t mean the illegal kind of high—it would bode well for travelers to steer clear of drugs and the trouble this can bring. We mean stay in a treehouse in the remote region of Preah Vihear at eco-tourism spot BeTreed Adventures.
Full moon party
While the Thai island of Koh Phangan is world famous for its crowded full moon parties, Cambodia’s quieter islands are often overlooked. However, every full and black moon, partygoers flock to Koh Rong Samloem’s Good Vibz Camp for Cambodia’s version of the all-night raves.
Get back to basics on a tropical island and wake up to the sound of the ocean crashing on the pristine beaches of Koh Rong. Nature Beach boasts a seaside campsite with tents for happy campers. There are also bungalow options.
Skateboard from a height
Siem Reap’s X Bar not only offers stunning views of the city from its rooftop, skaters can also show off their skills at Southeast Asia’s only rooftop skate ramp. The bar is also a favorite hangout among expats, with live music playing most nights and regular themed parties held.
While the rules of hitchhiking are likely to go ignored in Cambodia due to the concept being relatively new, the gentle and kind nature of the people mean you won’t have to wait long at the side of the road. A recent trend has seen many backpackers successfully hitching their way across the country.