Five Amazing Cambodian Sites That Aren’t Temples
There are few countries that are dominated by one major tourist attraction in the same way that Cambodia’s tourism is dominated by Angkor Wat, but beyond the temples, Cambodia has some truly wonderful sites that are worth visiting. While exploring Angkor Wat is an experience of a lifetime, ensure that you give yourself plenty of time to see more of the country, and you will discover a stunning destination that very few others will have encountered. There are some great places to explore around the country, and here are five of the best places that really do provide a great destination to visit.
This beach destination is one of the most beautiful and idyllic in South East Asia, and like many of Cambodia’s natural sights it remains a fairly off the beaten track destination. As you would expect, the golden sand beaches are almost picture perfect, and the seashells along the shore are only gently washed by the lapping of the ocean. The faded colonial architecture is French in origin, but the tourism here almost dropped to nothing during the era of the Khmer Rouge, although this is now gradually building back up as more people gradually learn about this stunning area of the country.
Preah Monivong National Park
While many of the lowland areas of Cambodia have the heat and the humidity that are found throughout South East Asia, Bokor Hill Station in this national park was situated because of its cooler temperatures. Built by the French as a resort to escape the humidity of Phnom Penh, the hill station is now a ghost town with the remains of an old villa, hotel and church all remaining in surprisingly good condition. The park is usually visited by day trip from Kampot or Sihanoukville, and the faded French glory still makes for a wonderful destination that is just a little eerie with the memories of what was once there.
Around fifteen miles off the coast of Sihanoukville in the Gulf of Thailand, this stunning island is one of the gems of Cambodia and is a real desert island that has stunning surroundings, but very little infrastructure. The beaches here are truly stunning, with powdery white sand that would not look out of place in the Caribbean, and lovely natural backdrops. The counter here is that there is relatively little in terms of infrastructure with electricity provided by generator where it is available, while transport is by small boat, with everything having to be carried on and shipped off the island.
Ream National Park
If you are looking for a destination that will allow you to explore some of Cambodia’s jungles, then this national park is around ten miles away from Sihanoukville, and boasts some great hiking trails while you can also visit the area by boat. The mangroves here are home to some of the rarest birds and wildlife in the country, and with the developments that seem almost inevitable with the wonderful beaches of the area, this is a destination that will need to be enjoyed sooner rather than later if you want to see it in its current condition.
Tonle Sap Lake
The floating villages that survive on this lake are quite similar to those found on Lake Titicaca, but they are rarely visited, and the lake is a large fresh water source that connects by river to the great Mekong River. As it is a tidal lake the area around the lake floods every year as the water flows in and out of the lake, which is why floating villages are such an important part of the area. Locals survive by fishing and growing rice in the areas around the lake, while the range of natural life including birds, snakes, crocodiles and fish are among the amazing natural residents of the area.