The beauty and magnificence of Angkor Wat in Cambodia is undeniable. The huge temple was constructed in 1600 as a Hindu place of worship and has withstood the tests of time, war, development, and even the fall of an empire. Angkor Wat is so important to the Khmer people, their history, and their culture that it alone is pictured on their national flag. A visit to Angkor Wat is a remarkable experience, and a visit to Cambodia would be incomplete without wandering through the passageways and grounds of this ancient structure.
Go Beyond Angkor Wat
It is no wonder that so many people venture to Cambodia just for the singular and unique experience of seeing Angkor Wat; however, this growing country offers so much more for travelers who are willing to explore beyond this one temple and tourist town of Siem Reap. When it comes to truly discovering this country, Cambodia tours to the more rural parts of the country are eye-opening and unforgettable.
Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are busy cities with markets to visit, restaurants to try, and architecture to see, but in Cambodia nearly 80% of the population still lives in rural areas. While the cities are filled with activities, the countryside offers a glimpse into the daily life of most Cambodians. A trip out of the urban areas often provides for a more authentic experience amongst the Khmer going about their daily lives.
See What Is Outside
As you leave the urban areas behind, Cambodia becomes a place of vivid colors. The rice fields glisten after a rain, and red dirt roads stretch amongst the fields. In the southern part of Cambodia, the turquoise water of the Gulf of Thailand washes up on small white beaches, and in the west the Cardamom Mountains are covered in a blanket of greens that range from emerald to hunter. Despite the remarkable beauty of Cambodia, the natural wonders are often secondary to the friendliness and kindness of the people.
Go by Transport Less Chosen
When traversing this incredible part of the world, two wheels can be better than four. The most popular form of transportation for locals is by moto. Smaller than a motorcycle but more powerful than a moped, these basic bikes transport people, merchandise, and even furniture all across Cambodia. It is not uncommon to see a family of four comfortably riding along the dusty back roads of this country.
While it can be an exhilarating experience to ride a moto, most travelers opt for cycling. Going by bike, especially over longer distances, is a great way to experience day-to-day life in Cambodia. There are opportunities to stop for a photograph, greet Cambodians also biking to work or school, or relax amid Cambodia’s natural beauty. For these reasons, many companies offer cycling tours of various lengths and distances throughout Cambodia.
Angkor Wat alone is worth a visit to Cambodia, and it would be easy to spend a week at that temple and the thousands of temples in the surrounding area. For many travelers, Angkor Wat is a dream destination. Taking some time to explore the amazing places in rural Cambodia only cements the experience as once in a lifetime.