25 Nov Top 7 Cambodia Attractions Every First-Time Tourist Must Visit
Are you headed to Cambodia for the first time? Your choice of destination couldn’t get any better! Be sure to check out these Cambodia attractions.
Cambodia is a beautiful country full of history and unique architecture. Heavily inspired by Hinduism and the gods, the best Cambodia attractions include beautiful temples to the gods and nature around every corner. No matter where you go in Cambodia, you will see something unlike you’ve ever seen before.
Here are five unmissable locations in Cambodia.
1. National Museum of Cambodia
The National Museum of Cambodia, in Phnom Penh, is one of the most beautiful museums you’ll ever see. It contains a stunning collection of Khmer sculpture, stone-made sculptures that represent the Khmer Empire in its glory. Among their greatest treasures is a huge bronze statue of Vishnu, a statue of monkeys wrestling, and a collection of pottery dating back to the 4th century.
If you’re at all interested in the history and art of Cambodia, or just ancient artifacts the National Museum of Cambodia has something for everyone. Just seeing the building itself will stun; it looks nothing like any museum you’ve ever seen.
If you’re thinking, “Are there any events near me?” while in Phnom Penh, this is definitely something to check out.
2. Silver Pagoda
The Silver Pagoda is a striking white and gold building that houses some of Cambodia’s greatest treasures. There are many elegant Buddha statues, including a life-sized gold Buddha adorned with thousands of diamonds. Even the floors of the building are expensive, made of five tons of silver!
The inner walls of the Silver Pagoda are adorned with a massive Khmer tapestry, showing the depth of detail that Cambodians put into their art.
This is a religious Khmer sight and is still treated visited by many Khmer today. The site was partially destroyed long ago during the Vietnamese invasion, but you would never know based on how incredible it remains. It’s a true testament to the Cambodian spirit and belief system.
Sihanoukville may not look like much upon first glance, but this quiet and one-of-a-kind location is a staple of Cambodia. It is a resort and port city with white sand beaches and untouched tropical islands as far as the eye can see. Serendipity Beach offers a relaxing way to unwind after a long day, and is a very popular spot for backpackers and vacationers of all types, with plenty of places to stay.
The Kbal Chhay Waterfall is not far off, and there are plenty of great places to eat, like Sandan and the Globetrotter Cafe, very popular among tourists. If you’re looking for a relaxing day in Cambodia, or even a night of bar-hopping, look no further than Sihanoukville.
4. Preah Vihear
Preah Vihear is one of the coolest temples in Cambodia. It sits at the top of a 1,700 ft cliff on the Dângrêk Mountains between Cambodia and Thailand, offering amazing views and the beauty of the temple itself. As far as location goes, this is probably the most incredible temple in Cambodia.
The temple is built for the god Shiva, and dates back to the 11th century, following their usual architectural ideal of shaping it after Mount Meru. It is often fought over by Thailand and Cambodia, with fights over the land happening as recently as 2011, and who can blame them? You can even hire an English-speaking guide and a truck for the journey up.
5. Tonle Sap & Chong Kneas
If you’ve never seen a floating village before, Chong Kneas in Tonle Sap is a great place to start. Tonle Sap is South East Asia’s biggest freshwater lake. It expands during the rainy season and drains into the Mekong River during the dry season, meaning the village and lake look entirely different at different times of the year.
Tonle Sap is the source of over half the fish eaten in Cambodia and offers boat crossings to places like Siem Reap and Chong Khneas. Over 300 species of fish live in Tonle Sap, plus varieties of tortoises, crocodiles, and otters. If you’re a wildlife buff, you’ll have the chance to see a lot of animals here.
6. Phnom Kulen
Now a national park, Siem Reap is one of the most gorgeous spots in Cambodia. Located in Siem Reap province, Phnom Kulen is known for its beautiful sights and two breathtaking waterfalls. This is a nature photographer’s dream and is sure to make your trip to Cambodia the envy of all your friends.
Phnom Kulen is also a known religious spot, very popular with Khmers to this day. During religious holidays you’re likely to see offerings to the gods left at the temple. It’s an authentic Cambodian experience that will make you feel like part of the country.
You can even take a swim in the waterfalls, and check out Kbal Spean, an archaeological dig site adorned with intricate stone carvings.
7. Angkor Wat
It would be a shame to leave Cambodia without witnessing the Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument on earth. Measuring 402 acres total, the temple complex not only looks gorgeous but is packed with history. There are multiple temples to admire and explore, and the architecture of the site alone is enough to make this an unforgettable experience.
The Angkor Wat was built to represent Mount Meru, the Hindus’ version of Mount Olympus, where the ancient gods live. It’s the pride of Cambodia for many reasons, and a site you should not miss.
Which Cambodia Attractions Should I Visit?
If you’re a first-time visitor to Cambodia, you can’t go wrong visiting any of the attractions above. You’ll never see temples of such loving detail and beauty anywhere else in the world, making Cambodia a must-visit location. No matter which Cambodia attractions you visit, you won’t be disappointed.
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