The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Cambodia

Watch the sunset on Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia
Watch the sunset on Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia | © PercyPics / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Marissa
6 April 2021

If you’re travelling to Cambodia, Angkor Wat is only the start of things to see. From the pristine beaches of Koh Rong Samloem to the architectural feats of Preah Vihear Temple, here are some of the most good-looking places to visit in the Kingdom of Wonder.

Angkor Wat at sunrise

Archaeological site, Buddhist Temple
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Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap in Cambodia at sunrise. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world.
© Andrey Khrobostov / Alamy Stock Photo

Holding the title of the world’s largest religious monument, glorious Angkor Wat is one of the most impressive places to visit in Cambodia, whatever time of the day it may be. However, watching the sun rise from behind the temple is a particularly special experience and well worth waking up early for. But don’t expect to have the temple to yourself at this peak time, as there will be tens of thousands of other early birds who flock to the temple to capture this magical moment.

Phnom Penh from above

Architectural Landmark
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City of Phnom Penh Cambodia at night.
© Derek Dryland / Alamy Stock Photo

There’s something magical about watching a city twinkling below. Thanks to the recent addition of Rosewood Phnom Penh to the capital’s hotel scene, the city can now be viewed from a height of 188m (617ft). Perched on the 37th floor of the 39-storey Vattanac Capital Tower is the five-star hotel’s Sora Skybar, which offers unparalleled panoramic views across the rising capital and beyond. Open from 5:30pm, guests can take in the sunset and watch Phnom Penh light up before their eyes. Simply stunning.

Koh Rong Samloem at sunset

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Beach bums are doing themselves an injustice if they miss Koh Rong Samloem. Why? Because the relatively undeveloped tropical island is home to isolated, postcard-perfect beaches with soft powder-white sands and crystal-clear waters. If you’re looking to kick back with cocktails as you watch the sun go down, head to – yep, you guessed it – Sunset Beach.

Exploring the Cardamom Mountains

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Being at one with nature in the heart of the tropical jungle is another pretty amazing, and unique, experience to treasure. As the largest remaining rainforest in Southeast Asia, the Cardamom Mountains are also home to a swathe of rare and endangered flora and fauna that makes any visit here special.

Looking out from Phnom Sampeu

Natural Feature
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Asian wrinkle-lipped bats fly out of Phnom Sampeu caves each night to hunt insects. Battambang.  Cambodia.
© Godong / Alamy Stock Photo

Perched atop Phnom Sampeu in Battambang is a pagoda with viewing platforms that provide views of the province – dubbed Cambodia’s rice bowl – sprawling below. The mountain is also home to the execution site dubbed the Killing Caves, where the Khmer Rouge murdered people during their rule in the 1970s before throwing their victims’ bodies through a shaft. There is a glass memorial in one of the caves, as well as the skulls and other bones of victims, and a reclining gold Buddha. The bat caves are a must-see at dusk, when hundreds of thousands of the animals spiral into the sky.

Riding up Bokor Mountain

Casino, Church, Hill Station
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An old temple at Bokor Mountain
© PercyPics / Alamy Stock Photo
Formerly a French colonial resort, where the country’s elite would go to escape the chaos of urban life, Bokor Mountain in Kampot is a testament to Cambodia’s past. The crumbling hotel at the peak was, until recently, a highlight, with visitors able to explore the eerie shell and enjoy the incredible views across the Vietnamese island, Phú Quốc. However, it has reopened as Le Bokor Palace luxury hotel, meaning it’s off-limits to anyone who isn’t a guest. Despite this, a drive up Bokor still offers visits to waterfalls, Buddhist statues, a crumbling church, a refreshing breeze and some of the best places to visit in Cambodia for Instagram shots.

Kep National Park

Natural Feature
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Big tree in Kep National Park, Cambodia
© Tiina Tuomaala / Alamy Stock Photo

After stuffing your face with crab – after all, Kep is where to go in Cambodia if you want to sample the crustacean – burn off the calories with a walk through Kep National Park. An 8km (5mi) path snakes through a thick tropical jungle that is dotted with pagodas and vantage points, taking in the smattering of villages and farmland that stretches to the sea. Signs mark off-shooting paths if you want to head deeper into the national park.

Explore Preah Vihear Temple

Hindu Temple
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Gopura IV, Preah Vihear Temple; Preah Vihear, Cambodia
© Design Pics Inc / Alamy Stock Photo
If you want to have an ancient World Heritage temple pretty much all to yourself, then that isn’t going to happen at Angkor. Try getting off the beaten track and heading to remote Prasat Preah Vihear, a series of impressive structures built between the ninth and 12th centuries by several kings. The site has a chequered past and was at the centre of conflict for decades. Sitting on the edge of the Cambodian-Thai border, ferocious fighting between the two countries over ownership of the sacred site pursued until the 2000s. In 2015, the destination was deemed safe and taken off many foreign offices’ watch lists. While military presence remains strong, the temple is well worth a visit.

Hanging out with elephants in Mondulkiri

Natural Feature, Park
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asian elephants while crossing a river, mondulkiri, cambogia
© MARKA / Alamy Stock Photo

Standing in the heart of the jungle that dominates the northeastern province of Mondulkiri is a pretty special experience, particularly when you throw a few elephants into the mix. Elephant Valley Project offers visitors the chance to get up close to the magnificent mammals while learning more about the negative effects of elephants being exploited at Cambodia tourists spots and beyond. The sanctuary offers a permanent or temporary respite for over-worked and neglected elephants, who can kick back, relax and enjoy life in their natural habitat. Visitors can spend the day watching the beasts wallow in mud, wash themselves in the river and stomp through the jungle.

Explore the pine forests of Kiriom National Park

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Dubbed Cambodia’s own Switzerland, Kirirom National Park sits a 2-hour drive from Phnom Penh, and its cooling pine forests boast temperatures that dip a good few degrees below that of the capital. This makes it a great escape. A few eco-projects dot the area, offering the chance to experience local life. Accommodation is offered in the form of tents, villas, cabins and homestays. Hire a bike, and cycle through the woods, take a dip in the waterfalls, or simply chill while surrounded by nature.

Looking for more places to visit in Cambodia? Check out our list of 10 Genuine Alternatives To Cambodia’s Tourist Traps.

These recommendations were updated on April 6, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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