Senior Travel Agent, AAA Store, Wilmington, Delaware
“What surprised me most about Cambodia on my first visit was how excited the Cambodian people were to meet us and ask us questions. They learned about us, and they taught us about them.”
Head of Travel Experiences, Luxury Gold
“Cambodia is a really special place with amazing people. New places are always opening up with more services for travelers. I think Cambodia will be a hot destination for years to come.”
Ruins of Angkor Wat, part of Photo by Svitlychnaja/Stock.Adobe.Com
PREPARE TO BE AMAZED
Angkor Archaeological Park in Cambodia’s Siem Reap region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising the ruins of successive capitals of the Khmer Empire from the 9th to the 15th centuries. The Angkor (meaning “city”) complex features the legendary temple of Angkor Wat—widely considered the world’s largest single religious monument—as well as scores of other significant temples, monuments, reservoirs, canals, communication routes and more.
”The Angkor complex exceeds expectations. Make sure that you go at the right time of the day, such as early morning before it gets too hot or later in the evening, either aligning with sunrise or sunset. Take the time to explore the outer temples, and have a guide who can answer your questions to enhance your experience.”—Jen Hirtle
“To experience Angkor Wat in person is awe-inspiring. Also, don’t miss the maze-like Angkor Thom and
Ta Prohm. Both temples were featured in the movie Tomb Raider.”—Corey Green
A SHOW OF SUPPORT
A top ticket in Siem Reap is a show by Phare, The Cambodian Circus. With roots tracing to 1994 and an association begun by men returning from refugee camps after the fall of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, Phare’s performances use theater, music, dance and circus arts to tell compelling Cambodian stories. Moreover, the show supports the lives of local at-risk youth through gainful employment in the arts, lifting them out of poverty and fostering self-esteem and freedom.
Rosewood Phnom Penh; Photo courtesy of Rosewood Pnom Penh
There’s no shortage of quality hotels in Cambodia. Here are a couple of our pros’ favorites:
Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort, Siem Reap
“It is elegant with amazing service. The rooms have plenty of space, and there’s a lush and well-managed property to enjoy when you come back from exploring the temples or a night out with locals.”—Jen Hirtle
Rosewood Phnom Penh
“Be sure to check out the hotel’s sky bar, which is located on a soaring cantilevered terrace that shoots out from the side of the hotel and overlooks the whole city and the Mekong River.” —Corey Green.
Khmer Amok with Fish. Photo by Edan/Stock.Adobe.Com
With a long growing season, rich waterways and timeless Khmer food traditions, Cambodian cuisine is diverse—and delicious. A staple of Khmer food is the kroeung, an aromatic paste base made of fresh herbs and spices. Amok, traditionally fish amok, is one of Cambodia’s national dishes, said to date back many centuries. Along with rice, a popular ingredient in Cambodian cuisine is prahok, a mash of pickled fish.
“Prahok ktis is a delicious dish of a minced pork dip. It contains prahok, which is a pungent ingredient that may have some recoiling. But when combined in this super simple dish with an herb and spice curry paste, coconut cream and minced pork, it’s absolutely delicious.” —Jen Hirtle
“The fresh fruits and vegetables in Cambodia are amazing! There’s even some produce I hadn’t heard of before, such as durian, a spiky fruit that many say tastes like heaven but smells like…well, fill in the blank.” —Corey Green
DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT...
“Visiting a monastery and receiving a monk’s blessing, which is a life-changing experience. Also be sure to explore the markets in the capital city of Phnom Penh and take a tuk-tuk tour,” says Green.
“Immersing yourself in the culture. To put it as simply as possible, Cambodian culture is open, friendly and steeped in tradition yet very modern and forward-thinking,” says Hirtle.