An Under-rated Destination - Cambodia

20, Dec 2019 |

A charming kingdom which casts a spell on visitors, you can find that the ancient and modern worlds collide spectacularly to provide an authentic adventure in Cambodia

A Southeast Asian nation whose landscape spans low-lying plains, the Mekong Delta, mountains and Gulf of Thailand coastline, Cambodia is a great place to explore. With influences from many Asian countries alongside those from France and the United States, visiting the country is an experience worth having!

Satisfy your inquisitive thirst for knowledge

Learn about Cambodia’s bloody history. Although it seems such a Debbie Downer, the history lesson is worth it as it helps us understand and appreciate the locals and their hospitality. Although it is the past, there are many lessons we can learn from it. So, roam through places such as the Killing Field and the S21 Prison. 

Apart from those, visit Angkor Wat, one of the world heritage sites declared by UNESCO. People from all over the world come into the country to see this massive Hindu temple that was built in the early 12th century by King Suryavarman 2. You can also visit other historical sites such as Angkor Thom, Preah Vihear and Koh Ker.

Have a taste of the local cuisine

While Cambodian food might not be as well-known as neighbouring Thailand’s, it’s a unique cuisine full of vibrant flavours and spices and is a must-try when you’re in the country. If you’re a person with timid taste buds, the food here might sound scary to you, but trust me, it’s worth a try. Here are some of the most popular and common Cambodia dishes:

Bai Sach Chrouk (pork and rice): This is one of the simpler dishes and should satisfy even the pickiest eaters out there. Sweet pork is grilled, often marinated first in coconut and garlic, and served over warm rice with a side of pickled cucumbers, radishes and broth. This is a common breakfast item in Cambodia and you’ll find it on most street stalls throughout the country.

Fish Amok: While the idea of a ‘fish mousse’ might sound repulsive, this curry dish offers a warm and buttery melt-in-your-mouth taste that perfectly balances local herbs like lemongrass and ginger with just the right amount of spice. This is one of the most popular dishes in Cambodia.

Lap Khmer (lime-marinated beef salad): Similar to ceviche, Lap Khmer features thin slices of beef that are marinated in lime juice and spices. Sometimes the beef is lightly seared first. Packed with fresh chilies, this is definitely not a dish for those with sensitive palates!

Nom Banh Chok (Khmer noodles): While you might think of noodle soup as a perfect lunch or dinner meal, in Cambodia it’s actually most popular for breakfast. You can find it at street stalls or from vendors wandering the streets in the early mornings. Rice noodles are combined with a fresh green curry sauce and topped with bean sprouts and other vegetables.

Khmer Red Curry: Khmer red curry is similar to the famed curries of Thailand, but with just a little less spice. A creamy coconut milk base blends with chunks of beef, pork, or chicken and a blend of local herbs and spices. You can eat it over rice, but in Cambodia, it’s most often served with bread.

Revitalize your soul

With grainy white sands and pristine beaches, Cambodia has many spots where you can spend time just taking everything in. Head to Lazy Beach for a quiet time spent relaxing or go towards Saracen Bay if you want to mingle with people and sip drinks at bars. 

Kampot is also a lovely place to laze around and relax for a few days. With plenty of good restaurants, quaint shops and interesting plantation tours, it has a calming effect on people. You can walk around, maybe cycle there or even head towards the Bokor National Park which is an easy one day trip from Kampot.

Take a gander at a floating village

There are 3 floating villages to choose from in the country. The houses are built on bamboo stilts, and there are always boats filled with people selling trinkets, food, and hanging out. They might not be delightful attractions in the conventional sense but definitely a must-see if you want to understand the country and its people.

Apart from the beautiful natural landscape, the most valuable part is to see the lifestyle of locals on the lake, including children returning home with a paddle boat and bathing in the river, women or children trying to sell fruit and souvenirs by boat, even washing their hair and dishes.

Take a plantation tour

Outside the city of Kampot (go there!) and on the way to Kep are vast pepper fields. This southern region of Cambodia is filled with pepper farms where you can learn about the history of the spice, see how it is grown and pick up what is considered some of the finest pepper in the world. Tours are usually free, though you need to arrange transportation.

Carpe Diem

Seize the day by experiencing all that is available in Cambodia. There are a plethora of options for thrill seekers. You can go camping, canoeing, canyoning, caving, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, kayaking, rock climbing, sailing, skiing, racing, zip lining and surfing. As you can see, there are so many possible choices. One thing about Cambodia is that everything will feel quite different. The scenery, people and atmosphere will no doubt make your activities an adventure of a life-time! 

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