If you have been planning to make a trip to one of the Asian countries, then Cambodia might just be the perfect holiday destination for you, so here are our top ten reasons to head to Cambodia this September.
In Cambodia, there are plenty of events, historical landmarks and natural wonders to get you excited during your holiday or short break, and with cheap flights starting at just $50.00 on budget airways including Air Asia, Cambodian Angkor Air, Malaysia Airlines, Eva Air and Jet Star from almost all Asian Cities, a quick visit to Cambodia provides the perfect opportunity for a low cost getaway.
Whilst you might have only read about the dark history of Cambodia online or in magazines, the region has been a popular tourist destination, especially for the neighboring populations in Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and The Philippines for many years.
Now, based on user reviews, expert analysis and research, here are our ten ultimate reasons why Cambodia features as one of the best tourist destinations in the world and why you should come for a short break or extended holiday this September.
1. The Angkor Temples
Situated between the Kulen Mountains and the Tonle Sap Lake, Angkor contains the remains of the Khmer Empire’s ancient capital and one of the most famous Asian Wonders of the World.
The temples not only stand out as a collection of historical architectural masterpieces, but the complex itself is dauntingly massive with over twenty magnificent old temples, many of which are over 1000 years old.
Major temple remains in the Angkor complex include the Banteay Kdei, Pre Rup, Preah Khan, Phnom Bakheng, Banteay Srei, Angkor Thom, Ta Phrohm, Bayon Temple and Angor Wat temple. Angkor served as the capital of the Khmer Empire that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries when the city boasted of a population of more than 1 million people, making it one of the largest pre-industrial city that ever existed. Certainly this should be on your bucket list if you have not seen them yet.
2. A Lesson in Recent History
Obviously due to its history with The Khmer Rouge, Cambodia also boasts sights including the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Choeung Ek (The killing fields) that offer an insight into Cambodia’s most recent, bloody, complex and fascinating history.
The museum chronicles the Cambodian genocide that was executed by Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979, the Choeung Ek is a mass grave and execution complex where people killed at the time of the Khmer Rouge were dispatched and buried.
Understanding this recent history is important if you want to ensure your own country does not descend into the depths of depravity that saw over 4 Million fellow countrymen killed in one of the worlds largest genocides. The Killing Fields and S21 Prison are both located in Phnom Penh which is easily accessible via most budget airlines with a direct and low cost flight.
3. Enjoy The Pristine Beaches
If you are more of a beach person, then Cambodia’s coastal region has plenty of white sandy beaches that come with warm turquoise waters, undeveloped islands and chilled out beach cabanas and resorts that can make your beach fantasies a reality.
Most of the beaches are sparse, so you don’t really have to worry about sharing a beach with so many people. In most cases its possible to enjoy your own space on a pristine beach without worrying about disturbance from big crowds.
Major beaches that you can visit while in Cambodia include Otres beach, Koh Tonsay, Sokha Beach, Koh Pos Beach, Serendipity, Victory Beach, Koh Rong and of course the most famous of unspoilt Islands of Koh Rong Samloem Island – (the photograph above).
4. Enjoy The Incredible Food
In Cambodia there is a wide variety of food, from spicy numbers to flagrant fish curries like the Amok, fresh blue swimmer crab caught directly off of the beach in Kep or any other number of delectable dishes from many five star eateries, street vendors and local restaurants.
There are several fresh seafood restaurants along the beaches of Kep that prepare the food to different family recipes, with the special Khmer crab normally being the center of attention.
Most of the meals are combined with local Cambodian Kampot pepper sauces, Kampot produces what is regarded as the best black pepper in the world. So if you like Asian food, or even if you are searching for high styled international cuisine, there is ample choice in Cambodia to choose from.
5. The Tranquil Towns of Kampot and Kep
When you want to get away from the noisy and busy urban environment, then visiting the Cambodia’s peaceful little towns of Kampot and Kep can provide the perfect refuge for a relaxing few days away from the hustle and bustle. A popular vacation spot for people from other Asian cities, Kampot and Kep are located just two hours outside of Phnom Penh International Airport.
Kampot is a quiet riverside town that is located several kilometers from the gulf of Thailand. Kep is a small town just 20 minutes drive away from Kampot and offers a long beach peppered with crab restaurants. Just 10 minutes boat ride from Kep is Rabbit Island, a small island with lush beaches and basic accommodation that offers the perfect opportunity to relax and recharge on a fantasy island getaway.
6. Lush Jungles & Wild Animals
If you love to experience the beauty of nature, then visiting Cambodia’s intense northern jungles could be for you. Flying into Siem Reap and a five hour transfer by bus to the jungle area in the North East puts you in amongst nature at its most extreme.
The area around Kratie is filled with fauna and packed with wild animals, and has thousands of square miles of nature reserve that is home to some of the most amazing species of reptiles, monkeys and rare river dolphins, many of them can be seen swimming in the river early in the morning.
There are lots of adventures you can take including trekking into the dense forests, encountering hidden waterfalls, bird watching, riding motorbikes through the jungle, visiting an elephant sanctuary or just chilling out and enjoying the jungle environment around you.
7. Encountering The Crazy Nightlife
Very few countries in Asia can come close to the type of nightlife experience that is offered in Cambodia. It is very different to going out in Thailand or Vietnam, and has completely its own style. Siem Reap is known for its famous Pub Street which sees revelers dancing outside in the streets every night of the week.
The bars and night clubs in Phnom Penh are numerous and alive with the soul of the city. There is something for everyone, the area around BKK1 is packed with backpacker bars and cool venues, there is the red light and girly bar district around streets 104 -136, the Riverside area is full of funky bars and swish hangouts, and Street 51 is home to nightclubs that are able to attract top European and US acts to the country.
8. The Amazing Khmer People
The best thing you can enjoy while on your trip to Cambodia is mingling with the locals. People in Cambodia are genuine, kind and welcoming, in fact it should be of no surprise that Cambodia has been regularly voted as the friendliest country in the world by both Rough Guides and Trip Advisor .
The smiles of the local Khmer people are generous and infectious, their humility and gentleness is often unquestionable, and in the whole they have a great sense of fun combined with a great propensity for FOMO ( Fear of Missing Out ). It should be said that although like every country in the world that there is crime, that you are actually statistically safer walking around Phnom Penh than you are London, Paris, New York or many other western countries.
9. September Rocks
September historically falls into the low season for Cambodian tourism which means lower prices, but apart from that September is generally packed with events and festivals that make it one of the best months to visit. The temples are not as busy which means you can enjoy your own un-rushed tour and the temperature is cooler than the sweltering summer months.
It is the best month to enjoy the waterfalls due to the higher rainfall and is also the best time to visit the lakes, floating villages and the best take a river cruise whilst the water is in full flow.
The Pchum Ben Festival is a national holiday in Cambodia that is established for Cambodian buddhists to pay their respects to deceased relatives by cooking meals for monks and making offerings to the “ghost” of deceased relatives. It is also known as “Ancestor’s Day” – and will normally happen over either September or October each year.
10. Value for Your Money
Visiting Cambodia guarantees you the best experiences without really breaking the bank. Hotel accommodation in Cambodia is luxurious and even the hostels offer clean and funky rooms and dorms for less than $5 a night during the September period. The most famous hostel The Mad Monkey Hostels provide great budget accommodation in four locations in Cambodia, including Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kampot and Koh Rong Samloem.
Prices are low during September which means a three day dorm room stay can cost you as little as $5 per night, but if you join The Mad Monkey Club on the website www.madmonkeyhostels.com you can also benefit from a further discount on your room rate!
The Mad Monkey also provides a number of very low cost packaged tour options which often provide a great option for an extended tour through the company or an action packed city break.