Many flock to Cambodia for the prospect of witnessing its spectacular temples, timeless ruins, undisturbed beaches, and for experiencing its rich, cultural heritage. But not many people know that Cambodia has as much an incredible range of activities for visitors as it has scenic attractions to bewitch travelers. From cruising, indulging in watersports, swimming with elephants, riding through temples on bikes, to venturing on an unstoppable shopping spree, there’s a promising adventure awaiting every kind of traveler that visits this ancient kingdom.
In fact, with the plethora of things to do in Cambodia, one visit won’t be enough!
Best Things To Do In Cambodia
Since, there are a lot of things to do in Cambodia, we have listed the best ones. Take a look!
1. Cycle away in Cambodia: Explore Siem Reap’s shrines & palaces on a bike
Considering that Cambodia is all about lush greenery, pristine temples, and a quiet, relaxed atmosphere, travelers like to keep it that way when they’re exploring it. Cycling tours are thus a convenient way of sightseeing and one of the most popular things to do in Cambodia for backpackers. Riding through quiet trails of the countryside amidst breathtaking natural scenery lets travelers escape the crowd and busy roads These tours typically include sightseeing of Ta Prohm, Elephant Terrace, Bayon, and other prominent Angkor temples.
Average Cost: INR 3,000/- per person
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2. Khmer Performance in Cambodia: Witness the stunning Apsara Dance in Phnom Penh
For the lovers of art, theatrics, & dance, the Apsara Show, or the traditional Khmer performance, is one of the best things to do in Cambodia. This cultural dance form draws its roots from the mythological courts of kings and Gods, from where it has developed into its modern, unique form that we see today. The Khmer dance revolves around a storyline which it narrates through the attractive, flexible movements of the performers and their colourful, eye-catching attires, which is why it is among the top things to do in Cambodia.
Where: Apart from theatres and cafes, many hotels also organise the show and if you’re lucky, you might just get to enjoy it at yours!
Average Cost: INR 1,500/- per person
Tip: Watch the show at Temple Balcony at Pub Street in Siem Reap for free!
3. Go cruising in Mekong: Spot dolphins & enjoy the sunset
Cruising the Mekong is one of the most exhilarating experiences for travelers visiting here. Sailing from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap on a traditional Cambodian boat is one of the most enriching and fun things to do in at Cambodia. Other than the relaxing journey, the stunning views of the sunset that one can witness from aboard the cruise is like a cherry on the cake! On the journey, one can also easily spot the Irrawaddy river dolphins in the water, the rarest of all aquatic mammals. Observing these peaceful, friendly creatures in their natural habitat is undoubtedly among the refreshing things to do in Phnom Penh.
Average Cost: INR 600/- for group tours or backpacker tours; & INR 3,300/- per person for private tours.
Suggested Read: 15 Places To Visit In Cambodia – The Erstwhile Khmer Empire
4. Visit Ta Prohm in Cambodia: Wander through the temple famed for ‘Tomb Raider’
The only structure in Angkor that has been left in its pristine form, Ta Prohm is a fascinating example of the power of Nature and amongst the most preferred places to visit in Cambodia. The enormous roots grasping the shrine seem to be challenging the world to try and alter the structure! This ‘Tomb Raider’ fame sanctum in Angkor with its huge silk cotton trees and strangler figs is perhaps the most photogenic place in Cambodia, and thus among the best tourist attractions in Cambodia.
Admission charges: INR 1,343/- for a 1 Day Pass, INR 2,687/- for a 3 Day Pass, & INR 4,030/- for a 7 Day Pass (per person)
Opening hours: 5 am to 6 pm
Suggested Read: 20 Stunning Places To Visit In Vietnam
5. Try Cambodian food: Gorge on fresh seafood & Amok!
One of the major attractions of Cambodia that drive people to visit this paradise is its food. A typical Cambodian meal consists of rice and a fish item. Often called the ‘cuisine of contrasts’, Cambodian food involves a lot of variations which travelers fall in love with. Among the range of dishes one must try here is Fish Amok (steamed coconut fish in banana leaves), Samlor Machu Trey (sweet and sour soup with fish), Nom Banh Chok (Khmer noodles), and the Num Anksom Sach Chrouk (sticky rice cake). Also, with its vast range of seafood, Cambodia is one of the best places for seafood lovers.
Where to eat: Khema in Phnom Penh, Genevieve’s Restaurant in Siem Reap, & Holy Crab in Kep are some of the best restaurants in Cambodia.
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6. Get to Phnom Penh Palace in Cambodia: Stare in awe at its opulent architecture
The star attraction of Phnom Penh built back in 1860 is not just a glittery palace dominating the city’s skyline, but also an important reminder of Cambodia’s blood-stained history. The elegant structure is characterised by its crown of stupas and towering spires, the handsome Silver Pagoda sitting adjacent to it, manicured tropical gardens, and the tranquility that prevails inside its high-rise walls. With all this and more, the Royal Palace is undoubtedly one of the best Cambodia tourist attractions.
Admission fee: INR 200/- per person (additional INR 134/- as camera charges)
Opening hours: From 7:30 am to 11 am & 2 pm to 5 pm
7. Visit Angkor Wat: Dwell in the ancient realms of the largest temple in the world
The most famous, most ancient, and the largest temple of the world is what drives majority of the world’s travelers to Cambodia. The unrivaled beauty and pristine persona of this UNESCO World Heritage site is unlike anywhere else on earth, which is why it is among the prominent tourist attractions in Cambodia. Built in the 12th century as a dedication to Lord Vishnu, this ancient wonder of the world has stood the test of time.
Admission charges (Angkor Complex): INR 1,343/- for a 1 Day Pass, INR 2,687/- for a 3 Day Pass, INR 4,030/- for a 7 Day Pass (per person
Opening hours (Angkor Complex): 5 am to 6 pm
8. Explore national parks in Cambodia: Engage with the wild
Not interested in temples? We got you covered. Apart from an endless number of temples, Cambodia attractions also includes various national parks and wildlife sanctuaries housing some of the rarest species of the world’s flora and fauna. Paying a visit to these is one of the most fun things to do in Cambodia for adventure seekers and nature lovers. While Virachey National Park is home to elephants, sun bears, tigers, clouded leopards, and various birds, the Ream Park is famous for globally endangered birds of prey, like the Brahminy kite, grey-headed fish eagle and white-bellied sea eagle.
9. Swim with elephants in Cambodia: Take a dip with the noble beats of Southeast Asia
The Elephant Valley Project at Mondulkiri is a group of dedicated, passionate individuals whose work is directed towards care and conservation of abandoned, injured, overworked, and orphaned elephants. Popularly known as a place where ‘elephants get to be elephants again’, EVP feeds, protects, and provides shelter to elephants. Travelers can come here with prior booking for a chance to be with these adorable, gentle beings. Visitors can play and swim with these elephants which is anyways better than riding on them and adding to their misery.
Click here for more information about the Project and on how to book an excursion.
10. Visit Tuol Sleng: Discover heart-wrenching secrets of the torture house
The War Museum in Tuol Sleng, though not exactly a cheerful place, is an important place to visit in Cambodia for its gruesome history. Back in Khmer Rouge era (between 1975-79), the school-cum-execution ground was used to detain and brutally torture inmates. This S-21 Detention Centre today acts as a haunting reminder of the endless genocide of the period. Visiting the museum might not be one of the most joyous things to do in Cambodia, but one must definitely pay their respects to the brave men and women who lost their lives here.
Admission charges: INR 134/- per person (additional INR 402/- for guide)
Opening hours: 7 am to 5:30 pm
11. Hangout at the laid-back beaches in Cambodia
Cambodia has some of the most relaxed, laid-back beaches in Southeast Asia. Among the varied popular Cambodia tourist attractions are the sandy, pretty beaches of Sihanoukville, Kep, Koh Rong, and Ream which provide travelers with every bit of comfort and splendid views. Travelers can bask in the sun lying comfortably on hammocks and recliners, get a massage, dine at the beach shacks, go snorkelling, fishing & boating, among other things. Travelers looking for a rather relaxed holiday must check out the islands and beaches in Cambodia.
Average cost for Island Trip: INR 1,500/- per person
12. Go diving at Sihanoukville: Swim amidst the vibrant world underneath
The beauty of Cambodia isn’t just limited to what one sees on the surface, but also in the vast, vibrant world underneath. The diving sites in Sihanoukville are blessed with crystal clear water, favourable water temperature, colourful corals, and a diverse range of marine life including seahorses, whale sharks, sting rays, eels, triggerfish, barracuda, nudibranch, starfish, and many more. The world’s adventure seekers find diving to be one of the most fun things to do in Cambodia. With an year-round favourable climate for diving, except a little less visibility in monsoons, the seas of Cambodia attract divers from all over the world every year.
Best time for diving in Cambodia: November to May
Average cost: Diving: INR 12,000/- per person | Snorkeling: INR 1,700/- per person
13. Check out attractive Khmer artwork in the National Museum
What to see in Cambodia will not be your concern because it offers a lot. The National Museum of Cambodia takes pride in its impressive art collection from the Khmer era, most of which disappeared at the time of the Khmer Rouge due to illegal smuggling. Some of the finest examples of Khmer artwork on display here include ancient stonework, bronze tools and weapons, attractive bronze drums, ceramics, statues, sculptures, and more items with intricate carvings of Gods and Goddesses on them. Apart from being visually alluring, the artifacts also provide a deep insight into Cambodia’s history and the lives of its people back then, which is why it holds a prominent place on the list of tourist attractions in Cambodia.
Opening hours: 8 am to 5 pm
Admission charges: INR 335/- per person (free for children)
14. Engage in shopping in Cambodia: Grab souvenirs and handicrafts from the local markets
With its massive variety of inexpensive handicraft products, Cambodia is a haven for shopping freaks.
What to buy: Some of the best things to buy in Cambodia include silver trinkets, precious gems and stones, betel nut boxes, rice paper prints (imprints of Angkor temples), checkered Krama scarves, weaving silk, carved wooden items, and more.
Where to buy: Travelers can buy quality Cambodian items at reasonable prices from Angkor Night Market, Made in Cambodia Market, Angkor Handicraft Association, Old Market, and the Russian Market in Phnom Penh.
15. Experience Cambodian Spa: Get pampered with a relaxing, magical spa experience
Another of the enlivening Cambodia attractions are its spa therapies that are rather different from the usual Southeastern spa. The traditional Khmer spa has a distinctive approach to health and relaxation, which is reflected in its unusual variety of spa treatments and therapies. The major cities of Cambodia house many certified massage and spa centres. The spa and massage therapies of Cambodia popular among visitors include the Khmer Traditional Herbal Spa, Aroma Spa, Hot Oil Massage, Deep Tissue, Slimming Massage, Hot Stone, and various types of facials and scrubs.
Tip: Don’t forget to try the ticklish Fish Spa for a fun, yet relaxing spa experience which is one of the best things to do in Cambodia.
Delighted much? Now share this with your buddies and plan an adventurous getaway to Cambodia right away. And if you know of any more things one can indulge in at Cambodia, let us know in the comments below.