There are four major places in Cambodia that particularly draw the attention of tourists because of a unique matter of interest or attraction that each one offers. These are the city of Phnom Penh, the city of Siem Reap, the city of Sihanoukville and the southern province of Koh Kong. See locations marked by red stars in map below.
What is in Phnom Penh?
Site of Mass Disappearance of Population
While Phnom Penh is now a city of mushrooming tall buildings, hotels, inexpensive guest houses, modern malls, plush restaurants, cozy cafes with free wifi and ubiquitous ATM machines, and friendly people, it still has in it, preserved, the physical representations of the extra-ordinary events that happened there only about three decades ago. In 1975 to 1979 about two million of the then total population of Cambodia were murdered within a period of only four years.
Museums of Genocide
In Phnom Penh, the buildings where thousands of Cambodians and several dozens of foreigners were tortured and the place, now called "killing fields", where they were dumped into shallow graves afterwards, have been made into museums. In these museums visitors can still see exactly what it was like during the period of the genocide.
What is in Siem Reap?
The 900 Year Old Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat is in Siem Reap. "Angkor" means "city" and "wat" means "temple", so "Angkor Wat" can be translated into "Temple City" or "City of Temples".
Angkor Wat is really a very wide land area (over 200 hectares, equivalent to about 500 acres) where well preserved temples, made of about ten million sandstone blocks (weighing over 1,500 kilograms each), still stand up to now. They were built at the height of the Angkorian Empire period, from the 9th century CE up to the 15th century CE. Angkor Wat is surrounded by a moat which can only be crossed through a long bridge made of sandstone bricks.
Awesome Sculpted Structures
Sculpted relief of human and animal figures on the walls and pinnacles of Angkor Wat, depicting events in the past; some sculpted in size that is hundred times bigger than life-size and some delicately smaller than the human finger; still baffle archeological scholars how they were made.
Camera Is A Must
You definitely would want to have your camera with you when you visit Angkor Wat in Siem Reap.
What is in Sihanoukville?
Salt Water, Sun and White Sands
Sihanoukville is in the southern coastline of Cambodia. The salty waters of the Gulf of Thailand laps the white sands of the Sihanouk shoreline and of the islands and islets in front of it. It is where the sea and the sun conspire to thaw cold bones and to warm the spirit.
First Class Hotels and Inexpensive Guesthouses
Tall first class hotel buildings have began to rise in the city near the water fronts, but inexpensive guesthouses, charming restaurants and cozy cafes continue to be popular to visitors who come to get soaked in salty water and year-round sunshine. Isolated resorts, with quaint cottages, in the islands offshore, currently attract the more adventurous who want to be immersed in "mother-nature" settings, where sounds of gently lapping waves, bird calls and breeze combine to replace the noise of urban life in the cities where they came from.
Four Hours By Bus From Phnom Penh
Sihanoukville is about four hours away from the city of Phnom Penh by bus or chartered taxi. Well-paved highway and some scenic mountain views along the way.
What is in Koh Kong?
Koh Kong is the southwestern province of Cambodia that joins the province of Trat on the Thailand side of the Cambodia-Thailand border. It is where you can make a shortcut from Thailand to Cambodia. The ambiance is rural and rustic. It is for the adventurous who will be surprised to find modern hotel accomodations in secluded river resorts. It is for those who are really trying to get away from the madding crowd.