07 Jun 7 Travellers Tips For Visiting Cambodia
Traveling to a new country can be an exciting and amazing experience. Especially when every country has its own unique people, cities & must-see tourist hotspots to explore. But often travellers don’t know where to start or how they can best see, feel & experience a country with the small amount of time they have. Fear not! Here are a few tips from our certified Cambodia Guru & Program Director Rhyle for maximising your time when exploring the Kingdom of Wonder.
Much of Cambodia still lives below the poverty line. Access to clean water, medical services & education is sparse; and many families suffer in silence. If you’ve got some spare time & a generous heart Cambodia is the perfect place to return the favour extended to you by its people.
There are hundreds of great organizations such as hours that are always on the lookout for travelers to volunteer their time. Better yet, come on one of our trips! All of our Cambodian trips have an element of community service or are entirely volunteer based. Check them out here.
Don’t neglect the islands
Koh Rong, Koh Ta Kiev, Koh Rong Samloem and a whole host of other islands are often given the silent treatment by travelers not in the know. These islands are some of the last remnants of island paradise in Cambodia. Especially infamous Koh Rong, which has only recently started development on a Chinese mega resort. Get in quick while you still can!
Hang out with the locals
There’s no better way to truly experience a country than to get to know its people. Coincidently, Cambodians are some of the most hospitable, generous & welcoming people on the planet. Strike up a conversation with a local & you may soon find yourself invited to beers or even a family dinner. You might even find yourself invited to a traditional Khmer wedding. Our Tip: Take ear plugs.
Don’t know where to start? Tuk Tuk drivers know everything! They are the lifeblood of any Cambodian town and are an incredible network of eyes & ears. If there’s something going on in town, they are the first to know about it.
Of course, take normal safety precautions, don’t go off into the jungle with someone you just met!
Do it, eat that spider
Eating a spider is a right of passage for any traveler to Cambodia. These deep fried tarantulas are a delicacy amongst locals and the subject of many screams & squeals from weak-stomached travelers.
Cambodian food may not have the rich, compelling flavours of neighbouring Thailand. But it has some super simple and equally delicious meals that will soon leave you wanting more. Signature dishes include Cambodian Curry, which is significantly more peanutty (it’s a word…) than Thai or Malay dishes. Or the Fish Amok; a green curry mixed with a soft textured fresh fish. Our favourite? Kampot Pepper Crab! Travellers can only try this amazing dish in the seaside town of Kep. Well worth the trip out to the sea.
Why not join a Cooking Class? There are many amazing restaurants in Phnom Penh & Siem Reap that will show you how to make Khmer cuisine the traditional way. Most even take you on an excursion to the local market so you can purchase the ingredients yourself. Just like a local.
Learn the lingo
It may seem obvious, but many travelers don’t take the time to learn the basics of the Khmer language. Learning a few words can go a long way to maximizing your experience in this beautiful country. Check out our blog ‘Speaking Khmer 101’ for a lesson in Khmer.
Visit the ‘Other’ temples
People travel from all corners of the globe to visit the Angkor Wat Archeological Complex. Most travelers visit the main three; Angkor Wat, Bayon Temple & Ta Prom Temple. This leads to serious overcrowding, long lines, and serial selfie-stick offenders. Were looking at you China!But did you know there are over 1000 temples spread
But did you know there are over 1000 temples spread out over 400 square kilometers? 4000! Why not visit one of these lessor known temples. Skip the lines, noise & street hawkers and sit down and enjoy the peacefulness that a temple should bring. Check out our story on 10 Barely Visited Angkor Wat Temples for information on the ‘other’ temples.