From taking in the enigmatic sights and sounds of Phnom Penh to soaking up the vast serenity of Angkor Wat, a holiday to Cambodia is a journey of the senses. Discover a country that enchants its visitors with landscapes of rice paddies and awe-inspiring temples.
Watch a Cambodian sunrise over Angkor Wat, with the sounds of birdsong and monks chanting in the background; see the glittering saffron of the monks’ robes stand out against the ancient buildings and witness the juxtaposition of traditional and modern worlds as Buddhist monks stroll along with their mobile phones, selfie sticks and cameras.
Drift through the exquisite waterways of Tonle Sap, home to rare and endangered birdlife, from the elusive Bengal florican to the wading white-shouldered ibis. Immerse yourself in the enthralling atmosphere of the floating and stilted villages of the Tonle Sap Lake. Discover lifestyles of the locals living in this extraordinary aquatic setting.
Explore the colourful market town of Siem Reap, the gateway to the Lost City of Angkor Thom, and home to the Angkor National Museum. Marvel at the four giant heads and countless other faces carved into the rock of the astounding Bayon temple.
Travel with Newmarket Holidays and discover and explore on a holiday to Cambodia. Experience the serene riverside town of Kratie and spot the shy Irrawaddy dolphins. Discover Cambodia’s French-colonial treasure chest, Phnom Penh, and see the evocative site of the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda.
Wherever you holiday in Cambodia, be sure to take time out to get to know the people that truly make this country special. Their warm and gentle sprits will stay in your memory for years to come.
In a country of remarkable temples and palaces, jungles and waterways, along with fascinating culture you will find an abundance of things to do on your Cambodian holiday. If you’re planning a trip to Cambodia, ‘must-see, must-do’ highlights include the following:
Known as Khmer, Cambodian cuisine has a long, rich history, with a focus on simplicity, freshness, seasons and regions. Cambodian delicacies rely on the abundant use of rice and herbs, and the harmonious combination of contrasting flavours, textures and temperatures.
A rich bounty of seafood and freshwater fish from the Mekong and Tonle Sap are key staples on the Cambodian menu, while kroeung, a distinctive spice paste, is the foundation of many Khmer dishes. You’ll find yourself eating rice repeatedly in Cambodia; it is often a part of every meal.
Expect rice porridge for breakfast and plain white rice as an accompaniment to soups and vegetables for lunch and dinner. Rice snacks, including deep-fried rice cakes, are available from street vendors. Cambodian cuisine differentiates itself from the many other styles of food from its neighbours, as dishes move away from hot spicy flavours in neighbouring India and Thailand, and shift towards a concentrated focus on fresher tastes.
Cambodia’s diverse array of foods draws influence from its neighbouring countries, as well as its French colonial past. You’ll find adaptations of dishes from Thailand, flavoured with less coconut milk and fewer hot and spicy chillies. Khmer cuisine also shares many common dishes with Vietnam, from noodle soup comparable to Vietnamese pho and sandwiches similar to banh mi. Of course, there's a national love of good-quality bread, influenced by the French, often served with soup or made into unique sandwiches.
First trip to Cambodia? You might find these questions (and answers!) helpful....
At the time of writing, to visit Cambodia you must obtain a visa before you travel. This is liable to change, so please check the latest official advice from the UK Government Foreign Office before you travel. Please note, you will need a minimum of six months’ validity in your passport.
Generally speaking, Cambodia is a safe country to visit. As with many other Asian countries, Cambodia does experience some petty crime. However, taking sensible precautions, such as not wearing or displaying valuables, will negate the majority of any risk with regard to petty crime
There are an estimated 3 million active landmines in Cambodia, a devastating legacy of the Cambodian Civil War. The majority of the mines are in rural areas, so always stick to the paths and never ignore the warning signs.
The official currency of Cambodia is the Cambodian Riel. However, US dollars are widely accepted in Cambodia, and often even preferred. Change of less than $10 will often be given in Cambodian Riel, with $1 worth roughly 4,000 Cambodian Riel. For the latest exchange rates, please see www.xe.com.
Cambodia is a very inexpensive country to visit, even by South East Asian standards.
Khmer is the official language of Cambodia. However, English is widely spoken, especially in areas tourists visit. Below are several useful phrases in Khmer, with phonetic pronunciations in brackets:
Hello – សួស្តី (suostei)
Goodbye – លាហើយ (leahaey)
Thank you – សូមអរគុណ (saum arkoun)
Please – សូម (saum)
Do you speak English? – តើអ្នកនិយាយភាសាអង់គ្លេសទេ?
(tae anak niyeay pheasaeaangklesa te?)
Cambodia is famous for its idyllic, tropical coastline and ancient temples, none more so than the astounding temples at Angkor, near the town of Siem Reap. Here, great temples litter a vast area, which was once the capital of the Khmer Empire, including the famous Angkor Wat, which is featured on Cambodian banknotes, and the atmospheric Ta Prohm, which was the shooting location of the Tomb Raider film.
Capital city Phnom Penh is a French colonial treasure-chest on the banks of the Mekong River, and is home to some sobering reminders of the Cambodian Civil War, including the infamous former prison at Tuol Sleng, now a museum, and the Killing Fields at Choeung Ek.
In the south, Sihanoukville is a popular coastal destination, home to several white-sand beaches, with regular ferry services to the popular island of Koh Rong.
Cambodia is warm all year round, but like most other South East Asian countries, is subject to a humid, wet monsoon season, which runs from May to October. The best time to visit Cambodia is between November and April, when days are warm and mostly dry.
Generally speaking, Cambodian food is similar to Thai food, although with less chilli and sugar. Rice is a staple part of every meal in Cambodia, with seafood, pork and beef also very popular. Fish amok, a creamy fish curry, is one of Cambodia’s most popular national dishes, as is kuy teav, a vermicelli noodle soup made with pork or beef and topped with beansprouts, garlic and fresh herbs, that is commonly eaten for breakfast.
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