Cambodia’s beauty snuck up on us. First, Phnom Penh is the busy capital city, where we learned of the tragedies of US bombings and Khmer Rouge atrocities. What a sobering visit, full of the country’s history.
Then we moved on to Siem Reap, where it’s all about temple visits and nightlife.
Our favorite Cambodian foods!
You know it’s all about the food for us. We tried Fish Amok and Beef Lok Lak. They were easy favorites. But we also loved the fried noodles, soups and curries of all kinds, and the fresh fruit. So much good food. Tom Yam soup set our mouths on fire but tasted so delicious. We even took a cooking class. So come see what we learned!
People usually know two things about Cambodia: the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge and the Angkor Wat temple complex. But we also loved the spirit of the Cambodian people. Their smiles felt infectious, and their determination to provide for their families was unmatched.
It rains a lot during the monsoon season, so the best time to visit Cambodia is from November to February. Unfortunately, we had some afternoon showers in late November. But they’re easy to avoid by grabbing a beer in Siem Reap’s Pub Street. Enjoy traditional Khmer cuisine or opt for Western-style meals. You’ll find every kind of food in this lively area.
The Bon Om Touk, or Cambodian Water Festival, is in November, but it’s a Covid casualty now. However, during the festival’s scheduled weekend, we enjoyed two nights of fireworks over Phnom Penh’s river. But no boat races or large crowds pouring into the city from all over the country. It’s supposed to be a fantastic festival, so hopefully, it’ll come back in 2023.
One good thing about Covid is fewer crowds. Yes, there are still many fewer tourists, even in 2022. Our Angkor Wat guide said in 2019, 1,000 people watched the sun rise over the temple each day. But now only 300 people gather. So if you’re interested in exploring with more elbow room, now is the time to visit Cambodia.
Transportation in Cambodia is easy. We flew into Phnom Penh, where we stayed for 10 days. Then we took a Giant Ibis Bus to Siem Reap, where we stayed another 10. From there, we flew Air Asia to Thailand.
In town, we took tuk-tuks wherever we wanted to go. Prices around the city range from $2 to $5. Get a ride from Siem Reap to the temples of Angkor Wat for a daily rate of $20. We usually left our hotel at 7:00 am and returned around 1:00 pm to beat the day’s heat.
Yes, I felt privileged and somewhat guilty about paying our drivers an hourly rate of $5. But they were glad for the business, and it was good to help support the local economy. It helps me to remember that while pay is lower, so is the living cost.
Angkor Wat is a massive temple complex in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It's the world's largest religious monument, built over several centuries. And it’s pretty amazing to visit! The largest temple in the complex is Angkor Wat, but there are over 1000 temples to explore....
The Tonle Sap Floating Village sits on Southeast Asia's largest freshwater lake. It’s about an hour’s drive from Siem Reap. And it’s worth a trip to see this part of Cambodia’s countryside. So Steve and I took a tuk-tuk out of the city to visit these murky brown...
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, known as S-21, is a very intimate and personal experience of man's inhumanity to man. Located in downtown Phenom Penh, Cambodia, the museum walks visitors through the Cambodian Genocide. Why should you visit? It's not pretty and it's not...
Let's talk about the best time to visit Cambodia! We headed there in November, 2022. And if you've followed us for awhile, you know we visited SE Asia in early 2020. But unfortunately, Covid thwarted our travel plans. So now we're finally back and enjoying the sites!...