Guest Post: 7 Reasons To Holiday In Cambodia
When celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay visited Cambodia as part of his Great Escape series, he didn’t exactly showcase the best this incredible country has to offer. Amongst other things, he caught and ate spiders and went hunting for frogs to serve as a dish. While we leave the eating of anthropoids to Gordon, here are seven reasons why Cambodia holidays are the way forward.
1. Cambodia Holidays Are Easy On The Wallet. A typical meal from a street vendor will cost you $2 or $3 and from there the price to quality ratio keeps climbing. For $20 you can enjoy three unforgettable courses at ethical restaurants like Romdeng in Phnom Penh (part of a great NGO network). How about a main of Fish Amok finished off with a desert of deep fried sugar-rice dumplings served with ice-cream – sound good?
2. Angkor Wat? Well, actually it is one of the world’s finest religious sites. Yes, this 12th century Khmer and Dravidian temple complex is famous the world over. UNESCO protected Angkor was ‘rediscovered’ by tourism after the last of the murderous regime of the Khmer Rouge left towards the end of the 1980s and into the 1990s. Since then it has wowed tourists from across the globe. It enjoyed a particular spike in popularity after Angelina Jolie bought the dream of geeks – Lady Lara Croft – to the big screen in 2001. Angkor is the perfect addition to your holiday.
3. The People. Despite years of turmoil, from the horrors of the American-Vietnam war through the 60s and 70s and then the abhorrent regime of the Khmer Rouge in the 70s and 80s, Cambodians have faced their challenges with one large and enduring smile. Cambodia is home to hundreds of distinct cultures and its people can be found in the bright (ish) cities of Phnom Penh and (only really famous for being so close to Angkor Wat) Siem Reap. It is however, in the countryside & small towns where you’ll meet the real people of Cambodia. Quieter towns like Battambang offer a more unique insight to Cambodia life and really add that ‘cultural’ dimension to your holiday. As with all destinations just wandering the streets or embarking on a traditional home-stay are great ways to meet the people.
4. Beaches. No holiday is complete without some time in the beach. Cambodia southern coast is truly unique. Ever been to Hawaii, Kuta or Spain and seen what a thousand sun-burned bodies look like? Well, not in Cambodia – you have access to hundreds of miles of unspoiled beaches that offer views like Thailand but with half the crowds. Cambodia’s southern coast has a smattering of resorts. Sokha Beach is the largest and most popular (especially with backpackers) but Kep and Kampot (3 hours from the capital, Phnom Penh) offer solid holiday accommodation and real tranquillity.
5. Access. Getting there is a doddle. Cambodia is well serviced by the busy regional hub airports of Bangkok and Singapore that deal with holidaymakers the world over. After a neon-lit night of fun in Bangkok or cocktail-based revelry in splendiferous Singapore hop aboard your regional connection to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap to begin you holiday of a lifetime.
6. Accommodation. From 5* hotels such as the Hotel De La Paix (a favourite for celebrities!) or Raffles in Siem Reap to cosy home-stays in rural Cambodia, you will not be left wanting.
7. Tonle Sap Lake. No, not like many ‘lakes’ tourists are sold; Tonle Sap is a real lake. Not only is it a ‘real’ lake, it is also colossal!! In fact, it is the largest fresh-water lake in South East Asia. For those that like factoids its year-round average size is 2,700 square km. A visit is a must.
Author Bio: Kian has travelled extensively in Asia. His favourite destination in Cambodia is the town of Battambang and his favourite holiday experience is watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat away from the crowds.