Slowly recovering from the dreads of the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, Cambodia is now a rising tourist attracted country. Some major problems still exist: land mines, poverty, and a devastated infrastructure, the reconstruction and healing process is now well underway with increasing numbers of tourists are rediscovering Cambodia’s beautiful destinations.
The outstanding temples of Angkor are obviously the greatest among the tourist attractions in Cambodia but the country has so much potential to offer to draw the tourists. Tropical beaches, colonial buildings, and an abundance of natural attractions make Cambodia a new target for tourists around the world.
Tourist Attractions in Cambodia:
10. Preah Vihear
Preah Vihear is a Khmer temple located atop a 525 meter (1,722 ft) cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains, on the border between Thailand and Cambodia. It possesses the most spectacular setting of all the Khmer temples.
Nearly all the temple was constructed in the 11th and 12th century during the reigns of the Khmer kings Suryavarman I and Suryavarman II. It was dedicated to the Hindu major god Shiva. The territorial dispute between Thailand and Cambodia over Preah Vihear is still running and a number of soldiers were killed in clashes in 2009.
Also known as Kampong Som, Sihanoukville, is a port city and beach resort. It is situated on the Gulf of Thailand. The white-sand beaches and several undeveloped tropical islands are the major tourist attractions in Cambodia. Sihanoukville is a good place to relax and unwind but you have to be careful about the attack of the crows during the holiday weekend or high season.
8. Tonle Sap
Tonlé Sap is one of the important areas in Cambodia. It is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. With the seasonal change, the lake expands and shrinks dramatically. November to May is Cambodia’s dry season. In this time, the Tonlé Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh.
A lake forms in the year’s heavy rains begin in June when the flow of the Tonlé Sap changes directions. Many ethnic Vietnamese and numerous Cham communities are living in floating villages around the lake of Tonlé Sap.
7. Silver Pagoda
The Silver Pagoda houses many national treasures such as gold and jeweled Buddha statues. It is situated within the Royal Palace compound in Phnom Penh. A small 17th-century baccarat crystal Buddha (the Emerald Buddha of Cambodia) and a life-sized gold Maitreya Buddha decorated with 9584 diamonds are the most notable among them. The Ramayana myth is depicted on the internal wall of the Silver Pagoda courtyard with a richly colored and detailed mural of, painted in 1903–04 by 40 Khmer artists.
6. Bokor Hill Station
Bokor Hill was built by the French in the 1920s to use as a retreat from the heat of Phnom Penh. The place as abandoned two times, first in the 1940s when the Japanese invaded Cambodia and second when the Khmer Rouge engulfed the country in1970s.
Bokor Hill Station and its abandoned buildings are now famous for eerie, ghost feeling vibe. The road to Bokor is officially closed due to ongoing reconstruction in October 2008. Although independent access seems to be impossible, the local agents arrange some hiking tours.
Kratie is dominated by a central marketplace surrounded by old, French colonial buildings. It is a small town located on the banks of the Mekong River. Although there is no large-scale tourism, a large number of backpackers come here during the peak season.
Here you can see the rare Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River. The poor creatures are on the verge of extinction. Between 66 and 86, dolphins are left in the upper Cambodian Mekong area.
4. Koh Ker
For a very brief period (928 to 944), Koh Ker was the capital of the Khmer empire. But In this short time, some very spectacular buildings and immense sculptures were built in this area. The site is prevailed by Prasat Thom, a 30 meter (98 ft) tall temple pyramid rising high above the surrounding jungle. The very top of the temple is still guarded by a giant Garuda (mythical half-man, half-bird creature), carved into the stone blocks although now it is partially covered.
It was abandoned in the jungle for nearly a millennium and was one of Cambodia’s most remote and inaccessible temple sites. This has now changed due to recent de-mining and the opening of a new toll road.
3. Banteay Srei
Banteay Srei is officially part of the Angkor complex. But as it Banteay lies 25 km (15 miles) north-east of the main group of temples, it is more often regarded as a separate tourist spot. Completed in 967 AD, the temple is built largely of red sandstone.
It is a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings which are still clearly noticeable. It is the only major temple at Angkor that was not built for the king. It was constructed by Yajnyavahara who was one of king Rajendravarman’s counselors.
2. Bayon Temple
The Bayon temple is also part of the world-famous destination of Angkor but treated individually. The Bayon temple attributes a sea of over 200 massive stone faces looking Omni direction. The intriguing smiling faces thought to be a portrait of King Jayavarman VII himself or a combination of him and Buddha.
These are an instantly recognizable image of Angkor. The temple was built in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. The Bayon is constructed at the exact center of the royal city.
1. Angkor Wat
The magnificent temple was built around the first half of the 12th century by King Suryavarman II. Its balance, composition, and beauty make it unique, and one of the finest monuments.
A mammoth rectangular reservoir surrounds Angkor Wat which boasts up through a series of three rectangular terraces to the central shrine and tower at a height of 669 feet. This particular arrangement shows the traditional Khmer idea of the temple mountain.