12 Most Beautiful Places in Cambodia to Visit

by Lynnel Backup
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Are you thinking about visiting Cambodia this year? Here are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Cambodia. These stunning locations and attractions are going to impress you.

Ahh Cambodia! A land where ancient temples whisper tales of bygone empires, and pristine beaches beckon the weary traveler. Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia, this gem is often overshadowed by its neighbors. However, it holds a mystique that’s uniquely its own. Imagine walking through the corridors of Angkor Wat at sunrise, the golden rays painting intricate carvings with a hue of magic, or lounging on the untouched sands of Koh Rong, where the only footprints might just be your own.

But Cambodia is more than just its postcard-perfect sights. It’s a symphony of experiences – from the bustling streets of Phnom Penh, echoing with history and modernity, to the serene countryside where time seems to stand still. Every corner of this enchanting nation promises a story, an adventure, a memory waiting to be made.

So, if you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and yearn for a journey that’s off the beaten path, yet rich in culture and beauty, Cambodia awaits. Dive into this guide and let’s embark on an unforgettable voyage through the most beautiful places in Cambodia. Let’s dive in!

The top places to visit in Cambodia right now
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The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Cambodia

Excited to explore the most captivating destinations in Cambodia? As highlighted, this Southeast Asian gem offers a diverse range of attractions for every traveler. Dive in to uncover the breathtaking landscapes of Cambodia.

Interested in vibrant cities and rich cultural experiences? Or perhaps you’re seeking a tranquil retreat amidst nature? Whatever your preference, Cambodia has something to offer. Here are the top places in Cambodia you shouldn’t miss:

1. Angkor Wat

Stepping into Angkor Wat feels like entering a portal to another era. As one of the most beautiful places in Cambodia, this ancient temple complex stands as a proud testament to the Khmer Empire’s architectural prowess. The intricate stone carvings, grand towers, and expansive courtyards are a sight to behold, especially during sunrise when the temple is bathed in a golden hue.

The sprawling complex isn’t just about the main temple, though. Venture further, and you’ll discover hidden gems like the Ta Prohm temple, where massive tree roots intertwine with ancient ruins, creating a scene straight out of a fantasy novel. Visiting Cambodia and missing out on Angkor Wat? Unthinkable! It’s not just a place; it’s an experience that resonates with history, spirituality, and the sheer beauty of human endeavor.

Cambodia's Crown Jewel is a UNESCO World Heritage site, showcasing the grandeur of ancient Khmer architecture and spirituality.
Cambodia’s Crown Jewel is a UNESCO World Heritage site, showcasing the grandeur of ancient Khmer architecture and spirituality.

While the temple’s grandeur can be overwhelming, taking a moment to sit by the ponds, reflecting the temple’s silhouette, offers a serene escape. As you explore, you’ll understand why it’s often touted as one of the best places to visit in Cambodia. So, lace up your walking shoes and get ready to be mesmerized by the magic of Angkor.

2. Phnom Penh

Dive into the vibrant heart of Cambodia by exploring Phnom Penh, its bustling capital. With a blend of the old and the new, this city offers a unique glimpse into Cambodia’s soul. As you wander its streets, you’ll encounter grand palaces, historic pagodas, and lively markets, making it one of the most scenic places in Cambodia.

The Royal Palace, with its shimmering spires and ornate details, stands as a beacon of Cambodia’s rich heritage. Nearby, the Silver Pagoda houses treasures that tell tales of the nation’s glorious past. But it’s not all history here. The city’s riverfront is lined with chic cafes, restaurants, and bars, offering a modern contrast and a chance to unwind after a day of exploration.

Phnom Penh is a beautiful bustling city, where the Mekong River meets vibrant markets, historic sites, and a dynamic urban culture.
Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s bustling city, where the Mekong River meets vibrant markets, historic sites, and a dynamic urban culture.

Cambodia destinations like Phnom Penh are a blend of experiences. From the poignant Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, which delves into a darker chapter of Cambodia’s history, to the vibrant Central Market, where you can haggle for souvenirs and taste local delicacies, there’s something for every traveler. So, when you’re pondering where to go in Cambodia, make sure Phnom Penh is at the top of your list.

3. Siem Reap

Often hailed as the starting point for explorations into the majestic Angkor temples, Siem Reap has carved its niche as one of the most beautiful cities in Cambodia. While its proximity to Angkor Wat is a significant draw, the city itself brims with charm and surprises at every corner.

Stroll through the Old Market, and you’ll be greeted by a cacophony of sights and sounds. From aromatic spices to handcrafted souvenirs, it’s a shopper’s paradise. As night falls, the city comes alive with its vibrant Pub Street, where travelers from around the world converge to share tales over drinks and delectable Cambodian cuisine.

Siem Reap is Cambodia's charming town, the starting point for exploring the ancient temples of Angkor and a hub of culture and cuisine.
Siem Reap is Cambodia’s charming town, the starting point for exploring the ancient temples of Angkor and a hub of culture and cuisine.

Beyond the urban allure, Siem Reap is also a hub for unique experiences. Floating villages on the Tonlé Sap Lake offer a glimpse into the lives of communities that have thrived on these waters for generations. Cambodia’s beautiful places often hide in plain sight, and Siem Reap is a testament to that.

For those seeking a blend of history, culture, and modern-day fun, Siem Reap is a must-see in Cambodia. It’s a city that effortlessly bridges the gap between the past and the present, ensuring memories that last a lifetime.

4. Kratie

If you’re yearning for an experience that’s truly off the beaten path, then Kratie should be on your radar. This tranquil town on the banks of the Mekong River is one of the prettiest places in Cambodia, offering a serene escape from the usual tourist trails. But what truly sets Kratie apart is its unique wildlife encounter: the chance to spot the rare Irrawaddy dolphins.

As you embark on a boat ride along the gentle currents of the Mekong, keep your eyes peeled for these elusive creatures. Their playful antics and graceful movements are a sight to behold, making it one of the best parts of Cambodia for nature enthusiasts. But the allure of Kratie doesn’t end with dolphins.

Kratie is a peaceful  and beautiful town in Cambodia, where the Mekong River sets the scene for relaxation and dolphin watching.
Kratie is a peaceful town in Cambodia, where the Mekong River sets the scene for relaxation and dolphin watching.

The town itself is a delightful blend of colonial architecture and local charm. Cycle through its streets, and you’ll discover quaint cafes, bustling markets, and friendly locals eager to share their stories. Visiting Cambodia and skipping Kratie would mean missing out on a slice of the country’s authentic charm.

Kratie promises an experience that is both warmhearted and unforgettable for individuals who find satisfaction in straightforward pleasures and unspoiled beauty. It serves as an amazing reminder of Cambodia’s beauty.

5. Kampot

Ah, Kampot! This riverside town, with its laid-back vibes and colonial charm, is undeniably one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cambodia. But what truly sets Kampot apart is its culinary claim to fame: the world-renowned Kampot pepper. A visit here is incomplete without exploring the pepper plantations, where you can learn about the cultivation process and even sample some fresh off the vine.

The town’s scenic beauty is accentuated by the gentle flow of the Kampot River, making it a popular spot for kayaking and boat tours. As you glide along the water, you’ll be treated to views of lush greenery, limestone caves, and perhaps even a glimpse of the elusive fireflies at dusk.

Kampot is one of Cambodia's beautiful and tranquil town along the Teuk Chhou River, known for its laid-back atmosphere and flavorful pepper.
Kampot is a tranquil town along the Teuk Chhou River, known for its laid-back atm

But there’s more to Kampot than just its natural allure. The town is a hub for history buffs, with its French colonial buildings and the hauntingly beautiful ruins of Bokor Hill Station. It’s no wonder that Kampot is often listed among the top places to see in Cambodia.

For a blend of gastronomic delights, natural beauty, and historical intrigue, Kampot is a destination that shouldn’t be missed. It’s a slice of Cambodia scenery that captures the essence of the country’s diverse offerings.

6. Preah Vihear

Perched on a cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains, Preah Vihear is more than just a temple; it’s a journey through time and a vantage point like no other. As one of the stunning locations in Cambodia, this UNESCO World Heritage site offers panoramic views of the Cambodian plains below, making the ascent truly worth every step.

The temple’s architecture is a marvel, with a series of sanctuaries connected by a system of staircases and causeways. Each step you take is a walk through the pages of history, with intricate carvings narrating tales of gods and legends. The temple’s strategic location, on the border with Thailand, has made it a point of contention in the past, but today it stands as a symbol of Cambodia’s rich heritage and resilience.

Preah Vihear is Cambodia's amazing hilltop temple, offering both archaeological significance and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
Preah Vihear is Cambodia’s hilltop temple, offering both archaeological significance and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Beautiful places in Cambodia often come with stories, and Preah Vihear is no exception. Its walls have witnessed centuries of devotion, conflict, and restoration. As the sun sets, casting a golden glow on the ancient stones, one can’t help but feel a deep connection to the past.

Preah Vihear is a must-see in Cambodia for those looking for a mix of adventure, history, and unmatched views. It is more than just a place to go; it is an encounter that sticks with you long after you have walked down its stairs.

7. Mondulkiri

Venture into the eastern highlands of Cambodia, and you’ll find Mondulkiri. This is a province that’s a world away from the bustling cities and ancient temples. Known for its rolling hills, dense forests, and cascading waterfalls, Mondulkiri is one of the most scenic places in Cambodia, offering a refreshing escape for nature lovers.

At the heart of Mondulkiri’s appeal is the Elephant Valley Project, where visitors can witness the gentle giants in their natural habitat, free from the confines of tourism-driven activities. It’s a heartwarming experience to see these majestic creatures roam, bathe, and play, all while contributing to their conservation.

Mondulkiri is where Cambodia's lush jungles, majestic waterfalls, and indigenous culture beckon the adventurous traveler.
Mondulkiri is where lush jungles, majestic waterfalls, and indigenous culture beckon the adventurous traveler.

But the wonders of Mondulkiri don’t end there. The province is home to the indigenous Bunong people, who have preserved their unique culture and traditions for generations. Engaging with them offers insights into their way of life, their music, and their deep connection to the land. Truly, visiting Cambodia and experiencing its diverse tapestry of cultures is a journey in itself.

For those who seek solace in nature’s embrace and yearn for authentic cultural encounters, Mondulkiri is the place to be. It’s not just one of the pretty places in Cambodia; it’s a destination that touches the soul.

8. Bokor National Park

High above the coastal town of Kampot, Bokor National Park unveils a world where nature and history intertwine. As one of the most beautiful places of Cambodia, this park is a haven for trekkers, history enthusiasts, and anyone looking to escape the tropical heat. The cool mountain breeze, combined with panoramic views of the Gulf of Thailand, makes every ascent a rewarding experience.

The park’s crowning jewel is the Bokor Hill Station, a collection of French colonial buildings. It includes the iconic Bokor Palace Hotel. While these structures now stand as silent, haunting relics of the past, they add to the park’s allure. It creates a landscape that’s both eerie and captivating.

Bokor National Park is Cambodia's beautiful haven for nature lovers, with lush rainforests, wildlife, and the historic Bokor Hill Station.
Bokor National Park is Cambodia’s haven for nature lovers, with lush rainforests, wildlife, and the historic Bokor Hill Station.

But Bokor National Park isn’t just about its man-made wonders. Its dense forests are home to a plethora of wildlife, from elusive leopards to vibrant hornbills. Every trail promises a new discovery, making it one of the best places to visit in Cambodia for nature enthusiasts.

So, if you’re wondering where to go in Cambodia for a mix of natural beauty and historical intrigue, Bokor National Park should be high on your list. It’s a destination that promises adventure, reflection, and countless memories.

9. Koh Ker

Deep within the dense forests of northern Cambodia lies Koh Ker, an ancient temple complex that once served as the capital of the Khmer Empire. Often overshadowed by the grandeur of Angkor, Koh Ker remains one of the Cambodia destinations that offers a more secluded and intimate exploration experience.

The pyramid-shaped Prasat Thom temple stands tall amidst the jungle, beckoning adventurers with its enigmatic aura. As you climb to its peak, you’re rewarded with views that stretch out over the canopy, a sea of green that whispers tales of a time long past. The surrounding ruins, with their intricate carvings and moss-covered stones, add to the site’s mystique.

Koh Ker is an rchaeological gem, featuring ancient temple ruins amidst the jungle, offering a glimpse into Khmer history.
Koh Ker is an archaeological gem, featuring ancient temple ruins amidst the jungle, offering a glimpse into Khmer history.

What makes Koh Ker truly special is its off-the-beaten-path appeal. Here, you can wander through ancient ruins without the usual tourist crowds. This makes it one of the most beautiful places in Cambodia for those seeking solitude and reflection.

Koh Ker is a must-see for everyone who likes history and the outdoors, so ignoring it while in Cambodia would be a mistake. It’s a location where the past and present converge, providing a trip that is both educational and captivating.

10. Battambang

Journey to the northwest of Cambodia, and you’ll discover Battambang. It is a city that seamlessly marries its rich history with a burgeoning arts scene. Often dubbed one of the most beautiful cities in Cambodia, Battambang’s charm lies in its well-preserved French colonial architecture, vibrant street art, and the iconic bamboo train.

The city’s streets are a visual treat, with murals and sculptures paying homage to both its past and its present. The Battambang Circus, a social enterprise, showcases the city’s artistic flair with performances that are both captivating and heartwarming. But the artsy vibe isn’t the only thing that makes Battambang special.

Battambang is one of Cambodia's beautiful cultural hub, known for its vibrant arts scene, colonial architecture, and rural charm.
Battambang is Cambodia’s cultural hub, known for its vibrant arts scene, colonial architecture, and rural charm.

Venture a little outside, and you’re greeted by the serene Sangker River, ancient temples, and the mysterious Killing Caves. It’s this juxtaposition of the old and the new, the serene and the bustling, that makes Battambang one of the must-see places in Cambodia.

So, if you’re pondering where to go in Cambodia for a dose of culture, history, and art, Battambang should be on your itinerary. It’s a city that promises diverse experiences, ensuring memories that linger long after the trip ends.

11. Koh Rong

White sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a laid-back island vibe – welcome to Koh Rong. It is one of the prettiest places in Cambodia. This tropical haven, located just off the coast of Sihanoukville, is a dream come true for beach lovers and those seeking a slice of paradise.

The island’s charm lies in its simplicity. With limited roads and a lack of high-rise buildings, Koh Rong offers an authentic island experience. The main beach, Sok San, stretches for miles. It offers the perfect backdrop for sunbathing, beach volleyball, or simply watching the world go by. As night falls, the bioluminescent plankton in the waters put on a mesmerizing light show. This makes it one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cambodia.

Koh Rong is a pristine island, where white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a laid-back atmosphere create the perfect escape.
Koh Rong is Cambodia’s pristine island, where white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a laid-back atmosphere create the perfect escape.

But it’s not all about relaxation here. Adventure seekers can explore the island’s dense jungles and discover hidden waterfalls. Or, you can dive into the vibrant underwater world that surrounds Koh Rong. With its diverse marine life, the waters here are a diver’s dream.

If you’re wondering where to go in Cambodia for an idyllic beach getaway, look no further. Koh Rong promises sun, sand, and memories that will last a lifetime.

12. Koh Tonsay

Nestled off the coast of Kep, Koh Tonsay, often referred to as Rabbit Island, is a hidden gem among Cambodia’s beautiful places. This tranquil island, with its golden sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, offers a pristine escape from the hustle and bustle of mainland life. Unlike its more commercialized counterparts, Koh Tonsay retains an authentic charm. This makes it one of the most beautiful places in Cambodia for travelers seeking a genuine island experience.

The island’s allure lies in its simplicity. Hammocks sway between palm trees, local fishermen cast their nets in the early morning light, and the rhythmic sound of waves provides a soothing backdrop. Exploring Koh Tonsay on foot reveals secluded beaches, quaint bungalows, and seafood eateries serving the freshest catches of the day.

Koh Tonsay is also Rabbit Island and one of the beautiful places in Cambodia.
Koh Tonsay is Cambodia’s ‘Rabbit Island,’ offering a serene getaway with simple bungalows, sandy shores, and a tranquil atmosphere.

Diving into the azure waters, one can discover vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. This further cements the island’s reputation as a haven for nature lovers. As the sun sets, painting the sky in hues of orange and pink, it’s evident that Koh Tonsay is more than just a destination. It’s a celebration of nature’s untouched beauty.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Visiting the Beautiful Places in Cambodia

Want to learn more about the best tourist destinations in Cambodia? In response to the many enquiries I receive, I’ve compiled this list of my favorite things to do and places to see in Cambodia.

What is the most beautiful part of Cambodia?

Cambodia is a country blessed with numerous beautiful spots, each with its unique charm. While many would argue that the temples of Angkor, especially Angkor Wat, represent the pinnacle of beauty in Cambodia, others might point to the pristine beaches of Koh Rong or the untouched wilderness of the Cardamom Mountains in Koh Kong. The beauty of Cambodia lies in its diversity, and what’s considered the “most beautiful” often depends on individual preferences.

Where should I visit if I go to Cambodia for vacation?

If you’re planning a vacation to Cambodia, there are several must-visit destinations that offer a mix of history, culture, and natural beauty:

  • Angkor Wat: Located near Siem Reap, this is Cambodia’s most iconic landmark. The temple complex is vast and requires at least a couple of days to explore fully.
  • Siem Reap: Beyond Angkor Wat, this city offers vibrant markets, a lively arts scene, and the nearby Tonlé Sap Lake, where you can visit floating villages.
  • Phnom Penh: The capital city is home to the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum. It’s also where you can learn about Cambodia’s tragic history at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields.
  • Sihanoukville and the Islands: If you’re looking for beaches, head to Sihanoukville and take a boat to nearby islands like Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem for pristine beaches and snorkeling.
  • Battambang: Known for its French colonial architecture and the Bamboo Train, it’s a quieter alternative to Cambodia’s more bustling destinations.
  • Kampot and Kep: These neighboring towns are famous for their relaxed atmosphere, pepper plantations, and fresh seafood. Kampot is also the gateway to Bokor National Park.
  • Mondulkiri: For a unique experience, visit this province to see the beautiful waterfalls and meet rescued elephants at ethical sanctuaries.
  • Ratanakiri: Known for its stunning natural landscapes, including volcanic lakes and waterfalls, it’s ideal for trekking and outdoor activities.

What is the number one tourist attraction in Cambodia?

The Angkor Archaeological Park, home to the world-famous Angkor Wat temple, is undoubtedly the number one tourist attraction in Cambodia. This ancient temple complex attracts millions of visitors each year, making it a must-visit for anyone traveling to the country.

Cambodia is a Southeast Asian gem, known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and stunning landscapes.
Cambodia is a Southeast Asian gem, known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and stunning landscapes.

How safe is it to travel in Cambodia?

Cambodia is generally considered safe for tourists. However, like any destination, it’s essential to take standard precautions, especially in crowded areas, to avoid pickpocketing or scams. It’s always a good idea to check travel advisories and be aware of local customs and regulations.

What is the most visited place in Cambodia?

The most visited place in Cambodia is undoubtedly the Angkor Wat temple complex. Located near the city of Siem Reap, Angkor Wat is not only the largest religious monument in the world. But it’s also one of the most important archaeological sites globally. Built in the 12th century, the temple complex is a stunning example of Khmer architecture. It’s often considered a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on the country’s national flag.

Visitors from around the world flock to Angkor Wat to witness its intricate carvings, grand scale, and the magical atmosphere, especially during sunrise. The complex is part of the larger Angkor Archaeological Park. It also includes other significant Khmer temples like Bayon and Ta Prohm, further adding to its appeal.

Angkor Wat’s cultural, historical, and architectural significance, along with its sheer beauty, make it the most visited and most iconic attraction in Cambodia.

When is the best time to visit Cambodia?

The ideal time to visit Cambodia is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. During this period, the weather is more manageable, and there’s less rainfall, making it perfect for exploring temples and beaches.

Do I need a visa to visit Cambodia?

Most visitors require a visa to enter Cambodia. Tourist visas can be obtained upon arrival at major airports and border crossings or online through the e-visa system. It’s advisable to check the latest visa requirements based on your nationality before traveling.

Why Cambodia is the best place to visit?

Cambodia offers a unique blend of historical grandeur, natural beauty, and cultural richness, making it an exceptional travel destination. Here’s why Cambodia stands out as a must-visit place:

  • World Heritage Sites: Angkor Wat is the world’s largest religious monument. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a marvel of ancient architecture and artistry.
  • Cultural Depth: Cambodia’s history is both inspiring and heartbreaking, offering a deep dive into human resilience and spirit. The country’s temples, traditional dances, and festivals are a testament to its rich cultural heritage.
  • Natural Beauty: From the pristine beaches of Sihanoukville and the islands to the lush landscapes of Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri, Cambodia offers a variety of natural settings for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Affordability: Compared to many other tourist destinations, Cambodia is quite budget-friendly. Whether it’s accommodation, food, or activities, you can enjoy a luxurious vacation without breaking the bank.
  • Culinary Delights: Cambodian cuisine is a hidden gem, offering a variety of flavors that range from sweet and subtle to spicy and bold. Dishes like Amok and Lok Lak are must-tries.
  • Adventure Opportunities: Whether it’s trekking in the jungles, snorkeling in the coral reefs, or exploring ancient ruins, Cambodia offers a plethora of activities for adventure seekers.
  • Friendly Locals: Cambodians are known for their warmth and hospitality. The welcoming nature of the people adds a personal touch to your travel experience.

What is the official currency in Cambodia?

The official currency of Cambodia is the Cambodian Riel (KHR). However, the US dollar is widely accepted, and in many places, prices are quoted in dollars. It’s a good idea to carry small denominations of both currencies for convenience.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Beautiful Places in Cambodia

Ah, the enchanting realm of Cambodia! A land where history, nature, and culture converge to offer experiences that are as diverse as they are memorable. From the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor Wat to the untouched beaches of Koh Rong, Cambodia is a testament to the beauty and resilience of both its landscapes and its people.

As we’ve journeyed through some of the most beautiful places in Cambodia, it’s evident that this nation, often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors, holds treasures that are uniquely its own. Each destination beckons travelers with the promise of discovery, adventure, and moments that will be cherished for a lifetime.

So, whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or someone simply looking to immerse in a rich tapestry of experiences, Cambodia awaits. Pack your bags, set forth with an open heart, and let the magic of this incredible country unfold before you. Here’s to journeys that inspire, to memories that last, and to the timeless allure of Cambodia!

The top things to do in Cambodia for all types of travelers
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