20 Things To Do In Cambodia

Things To Do In Cambodia

Welcome to the enchanting kingdom of Cambodia, a land steeped in history, rich in culture, and bursting with natural beauty. Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or culinary explorer, Cambodia offers a diverse range of activities that promise unforgettable experiences. This guide highlights the top things to do in Cambodia, ensuring that your visit is filled with adventure and insight into the unique charms of this captivating country. Dive into our curated list and prepare to explore the best of what Cambodia has to offer.

Things To Do In Cambodia

  1. Explore Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is not just a symbol of Cambodia but a source of national pride and historical significance. This vast temple complex is one of the largest religious monuments in the world and a perfect example of classical Khmer architecture. Start your visit early in the morning to catch the breathtaking sunrise that beautifully frames the temple silhouettes. Wander through the extensive grounds, admire the intricate bas-reliefs and carvings, and feel the ancient aura that permeates through the stone walls. The best way to absorb its grandeur is by taking your time to explore each nook and cranny of this architectural masterpiece.

  1. Visit the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh

Situated in the heart of Phnom Penh, the Royal Palace serves as the residence of the King of Cambodia. This splendid complex is renowned for its striking architecture that features some of the finest examples of Khmer and French influenced design. Visitors are allowed to explore the manicured gardens and several of the open palace buildings, including the Silver Pagoda, which stands out with its impressive floor made up of 5,000 silver tiles. Taking a guided tour helps in understanding the cultural and historical narratives that define this magnificent site.

  1. Take a Boat Trip on Tonlé Sap Lake

Tonlé Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, dramatically changes in size and dimension with the seasons. During the wet season, it swells to over five times its size in the dry season, providing a unique ecosystem with rich biodiversity. A boat trip on Tonlé Sap offers a glimpse into the lives of local communities who live in stilted houses and rely on the lake for their livelihood. The floating villages complete with schools, restaurants, and shops are particularly fascinating. It’s an excellent opportunity to see a different side of Cambodian life and to witness the incredible adaptability of its people.

  1. Wander through the Markets of Siem Reap

Siem Reap’s markets are vibrant and bustling with activity, offering everything from traditional handicrafts to local delicacies. The Old Market, or Psar Chas, is a must-visit for any traveler. Here, you can find a wide array of goods, from silk scarves and handmade bags to street food like grilled meats and fresh fruits. The night markets, particularly, are lively and offer a pleasant atmosphere for shopping and dining under the stars. Take your time to explore these markets; they are perfect for picking up souvenirs and trying out local foods in a friendly and engaging setting.

  1. Discover the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

For those interested in the sobering history of Cambodia, a visit to the Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh is essential. These sites are poignant reminders of the brutalities inflicted by the Khmer Rouge regime. The museum, formerly a high school turned into a prison and interrogation center, displays detailed exhibits about the atrocities committed during this dark period. Walking through these spaces offers a profound look at the resilience and suffering of the Cambodian people, and serves as a powerful lesson on the importance of peace and humanity.

  1. Relax on the Beaches of Sihanoukville

Sihanoukville, located on the Gulf of Thailand, is famed for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. Otres Beach is particularly popular for its laid-back vibe and less crowded environment, making it the perfect spot to unwind. You can spend your days sunbathing, swimming, or enjoying water sports. As the sun sets, beach bars come alive with music and offer the ideal setting for an evening cocktail. It’s a must-visit for beach lovers looking for a tranquil escape.

  1. Explore the Cardamom Mountains

For the adventurous, the Cardamom Mountains offer some of Cambodia’s most stunning landscapes and wildlife experiences. This remote area is home to dense rainforests, beautiful waterfalls, and a variety of wildlife, including elephants and exotic birds. Guided treks can take you deep into the wilderness to spots that are virtually untouched by man. It’s also a chance to engage with conservation efforts and perhaps visit eco-friendly projects that are making a difference in protecting this precious environment.

  1. Attend a Traditional Khmer Dance Show

Experience the rich cultural heritage of Cambodia with a traditional Khmer dance show. These performances include classical and folk dances that are integral to Cambodian culture. The dancers wear colorful costumes and perform intricate movements that tell stories of mythical beings and royal sagas. Venues like the National Museum in Phnom Penh and various hotels in Siem Reap host these enchanting evenings, providing insight into the artistic traditions that have been passed down through generations.

  1. Bike Around the Countryside

Renting a bicycle is a wonderful way to explore the Cambodian countryside at your own pace. You can pedal through rural villages, stop at local markets, and interact with friendly locals. This activity provides a closer look at the daily lives of Cambodian farmers and offers picturesque views of rice paddies and traditional wooden houses. It’s not only a great way to see the landscape but also to contribute to local tourism in a sustainable manner.

  1. Visit the Pepper Farms of Kampot

Kampot pepper is renowned worldwide for its flavor and has been grown in the region for centuries. Visiting a pepper farm allows you to learn about the agricultural techniques used and the history of pepper cultivation in Cambodia. Many farms offer tours that conclude with tastings or cooking classes. It’s a unique culinary experience that also supports local producers and provides an authentic taste of Cambodian cuisine.

  1. Stroll Through the Bamboo Train in Battambang

The Bamboo Train, locally known as “Norry,” in Battambang offers a unique and thrilling ride on a bamboo platform powered by a small motor. This innovative mode of transport was traditionally used by locals to transport goods and is now a popular tourist attraction. The ride takes you through picturesque landscapes, rural settings, and you get a real sense of the ingenuity of local transportation methods. It’s a fun and memorable way to explore the Cambodian countryside.

  1. Participate in a Cooking Class

Cambodian cuisine is rich with flavors that reflect the country’s history and culture. Participating in a cooking class is not only fun but also an educational way to learn about the local food traditions. Classes typically begin with a visit to a local market to select fresh ingredients, followed by hands-on instruction on how to prepare traditional dishes such as Fish Amok or Khmer curry. This is a perfect activity for food enthusiasts looking to bring a taste of Cambodia back home.

  1. Explore the Temples of Koh Ker

While Angkor Wat gets most of the limelight, Koh Ker, a remote archaeological site about three hours from Siem Reap, offers a different kind of temple experience. This site was briefly the capital of the Khmer empire and has about two dozen temple ruins to explore. The pyramid-like structure of Prasat Thom is a standout feature here, offering a great climb and a spectacular view from the top. The site sees fewer tourists, allowing for a more serene exploration of Cambodia’s ancient history.

  1. Go Bird Watching at Prek Toal

Prek Toal is a massive bird sanctuary on the northwest edge of Tonle Sap Lake. It’s one of Southeast Asia’s most important breeding grounds for threatened waterbirds. The best time to visit is during the dry season when flocks of birds can be seen nesting. Guided tours in small boats allow you to get up close without disturbing the wildlife. It’s a must-visit for nature lovers and bird watchers.

  1. Dive into the Nightlife of Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s bustling capital, offers a vibrant nightlife scene that caters to all tastes. From stylish rooftop bars to bustling nightclubs and quiet riverside cafes, the city comes alive after dark. Areas such as Bassac Lane are popular for their eclectic mix of small, themed bars with live music. Exploring the nightlife is a great way to feel the modern pulse of the country and mingle with both locals and travelers.

  1. Visit Kep’s Crab Market

Kep, a small coastal town, is famous for its crab market where fresh crabs are caught and sold daily. Visitors can watch as crabs are haggled over and cooked right at the water’s edge, offering a fresh and delicious seafood experience. The area is also known for its pepper crab dish, which uses the famed Kampot pepper. Enjoying this local delicacy while looking out over the Gulf of Thailand is a quintessential Cambodian experience.

  1. Explore the Caves of Kampot

Near the town of Kampot, several caves offer adventurous exploration opportunities. Phnom Chhngok Cave Temple features a small 7th-century brick temple inside its main cavern, dedicated to Shiva. The limestone caves around this area are also a testament to the natural beauty and geological diversity of Cambodia. Exploring these caves, some of which house intricate stalactite and stalagmite formations, is a thrilling activity for nature lovers and adventurers alike.

  1. Take a Silk Island Cruise

Just a short boat ride from Phnom Penh, Silk Island (Koh Dach) offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Known for its traditional silk-weaving villages, visitors can learn about the silk-making process from start to finish. The island also features beautiful rural scenery, traditional Khmer houses, and quiet beaches. A cruise to Silk Island is not only relaxing but also provides insight into Cambodia’s traditional crafts and rural life.

  1. Attend the Angkor Photo Festival

For those interested in art and culture, the Angkor Photo Festival in Siem Reap showcases Southeast Asian photography in a series of exhibitions and slideshows. It’s the longest-running photography event in Southeast Asia and offers workshops and free classes, making it a great opportunity for aspiring photographers and art lovers to engage with local and international artists.

  1. Volunteer with Local Communities

For a more hands-on and impactful travel experience, consider volunteering with one of Cambodia’s many non-profit organizations. Opportunities range from teaching English to helping with community development projects or conservation efforts. This allows for a deeper connection with the local community and an understanding of the challenges they face, making it a fulfilling way to give back during your visit.


Cambodia is a country that never fails to amaze, with its breathtaking landscapes, profound history, and vibrant culture. From the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor to the tranquil beaches of Sihanoukville and the bustling markets of Phnom Penh, each destination offers a piece of Cambodia’s diverse mosaic. Engaging in these activities not only enriches your travel experience but also brings you closer to the heart and soul of Cambodian life. So, pack your bags and set off on an adventure that promises both enchantment and excitement in the magnificent land of Cambodia. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion, the memories you make here will last a lifetime.

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