Journey through an ancient Kingdom steeped in history. Explore the laid back capital of Phnom Penh, visit the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor on the jungle plains of Siem Reap, and relax on the beaches of Sihanoukville and Kep. There is so much to see when you visit Cambodia. Whether you want to tour the temples, explore the cities or laze on a pristine beach, we design tailor-made luxury holidays to Cambodia that suit you.
Top 10 unique experiences in Cambodia
A small country bordering Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, Cambodia is a stunning place with so many unique experiences to be had. Along with a visit to the famed temples of Angkor Wat, a holiday to Cambodia can include interacting with injured elephants and escaping to a private island, amongst other wonderful and little-known activities. We asked our specialists to think outside the box and come up with the top 10 unique things to experience in this wonderful country…
1. Sleep in a floating tent in the jungle
A stay at 4 Rivers Eco Lodge is the perfect experience for adventure lovers and those who just want to relax in stunning surroundings. This really is a one of a kind property, with luxury tents floating on a river that is fresh water half the year and salt water the other. Located right in the middle of the jungle, you do not expect such a lavish tent in this stunning remote location. Spend your days visiting local villages, swimming in stunning waterfalls, kayaking to hidden coves or just relaxing and taking in the jungle sounds.
2. Go in search of endangered dolphins
The incredibly rare Irrawaddy dolphins are very shy and you do not get SeaWorld backflips, however seeing these lovely animals on a rare protected section of the Mekong River is a very special experience. Normally found in pods of up to six dolphins, these elusive creatures are notoriously difficult to photograph, but that only adds to their charm; put down the camera and just enjoy your time on the river.
3. Tuck into some amazing seafood in Kep
Located on the south coast of Cambodia, Kep is a well-known escape for people from the capital and is slowly becoming renowned as a great place for foodies. Just over two hours’ drive from Phnom Penh, this sleepy colonial town boasts some of the best crab dishes in Southeast Asia, eaten in lovely little restaurants over the water, or crab shacks as we like to call them. Coupling this fantastic seaside produce with some of the best pepper in the world from the neighbouring town of Kampot makes for a stunning culinary experience. It is worth staying for at least two nights at the luxury Knai Bang Chatt, which is five minutes’ walk from the crab shacks. This is the perfect place to relax by the sea, explore the local pepper plantations and eat your fill of seafood.
4. Take a cruise on the Mekong
A cruise on the Mekong is the perfect experience for those who want to explore rural Cambodia without having to worry about packing every other day. Sit back and relax in style, on the deck of a luxury boat. Start in Siem Reap and enjoy journeying along the river taking in the key sights as well as some fantastic off-the-beaten-track fishing villages.
5. Stay on a private island
The stunning private island retreat of Song Saa offers one of the best luxury experiences in Asia. Whether you stay in one of the overwater bungalows or in the more private jungle villas, staying at Song Saa will be something that will stay with you for a lifetime. This exceptional retreat takes five star service to a new level with hand written suggestions for meals and attentive staff who will tend to your every need, but who you won’t even notice are nearby until you need them for something. Be sure to wake up one day in time for sunrise – dawn at Song Saa is one of the most stunning things imaginable.
6. Take a helicopter over Angkor Wat
The temples of Angkor Wat are of course Cambodia’s most famous attraction, and spending the day wandering around these is an essential element of any trip to Cambodia. But to get a different perspective on the temples we recommend hovering above them in a helicopter. This is definitely a decadent way of seeing this famous World Heritage Site, and it is a very popular experience with our clients. Getting a bird’s eye view of the temple lets you take in the immense size of the Angkor complex, complete with its surrounding moats. You can extend the flight to incorporate Tonle Sap Lake and take in even more of this stunning region – you’ll get some truly memorable photos too.
7. Learn about Cambodia’s dark history
For people who enjoy history and culture, a trip to Cambodia is not complete without spending some time appreciating their recent history under the Khmer Rouge. A visit to the Killing Fields and S21 is not a light-hearted day of sightseeing, but it does open your eyes to the trauma the country went through and puts everything else you’ll see in Cambodia into perspective – it will give you a whole new appreciation for all the smiling local faces you see throughout the country. Phnom Penh does have a lighter side too with some lovely riverside restaurants, so be sure to go and enjoy a nice lunch after a fascinating if slightly harrowing morning exploring the country’s rich history.
8. Get off the beaten track in the Ratanakiri Province
Tucked away in the northeast corner of the country, the Ratanakiri Province is one for the more adventurous traveller as it is definitely off the beaten track. Take a walk around a beautiful volcanic lake and then take a dip to cool down, visit local hill tribes and secluded waterfalls or head into the jungle where you can encounter elephants as well as the extremely rare northern yellow-cheeked gibbon. There is plenty to occupy your days with, but if you want to spend them doing very little, enjoy this hidden treasure simply by wandering around and soaking up the incredible rural surroundings.
9. Zipline over Angkor Park
Not the first thing you associate with a trip to Cambodia, but this is great fun for all ages. Fly through the rainforest on zip lines, cross suspended sky bridges and abseil from towering trees, all the while taking in some of Cambodia’s wonderful natural landscapes. The focus is very much on safety, with your harnesses being checked on a regular basis and strict protocol to stick to, but it all enhances an amazing experience.
10. Visit the ELIE Project in Sen Monorom
Tucked away in the east of the country, the ELIE Project is a fantastic wildlife project looking after elephants that have been injured working in the logging industry. A visit to the project involves a day spent watching and learning about these gentle giants, accompanied by fantastic guides. You will feel truly engrossed as they tell you the history of every elephant they have rescued and highlight their different characteristics. A visit to this sustainable project is perfect for families, but every animal lover will enjoy spending time with the herd and learning about these amazing animals.
Do you want to partake in some of Cambodia’s unique and lesser known experiences?
Give our specialists a call on 020 3141 2850 to start planning a tailor-made trip.