From its century-old history and rich culture to unrivalled natural beauty and incredible cuisine, Cambodia has a lot to offer. While it might not be as popular a destination as neighboring tourism hotspots Thailand and Vietnam, it’s every bit as diverse and exciting. In fact, Cambodia has its own unique charm that demands attention. If you aren’t yet convinced as to why you should visit, you’re in the right place. Read on to discover just some of the many reasons you should go to Cambodia.
Cambodia’s long history is marked with both great achievement and great despair. Dating back over 2,000 years, the nation has experienced periods of both prosperity and devastation under the rule of the Angkor monarchy, the French, the communist Khmer Rouge, and the Vietnamese. Though now an independent nation, its tumultuous past has visibly shaped the landscape of today. In fact, Cambodia’s past acts as the number one draw for tourists year after year.
Both proud and unafraid of educating people on the different periods of Cambodian history, visitors can enhance their understanding of this wonderful nation through many museums and attractions. Providing an insight into various eras, you don’t need to be a history buff to find something that interests you!
Though it might be the region’s smallest country, Cambodia boasts incredibly diverse scenery. Most who make it here explore bustling Phnom Penh and historical Siem Reap, but in doing so miss out on so much. That’s not to say that a trip to Cambodia shouldn’t include these hotspots, but if you have the time to stick around a bit longer, there are many other places worth exploring.
Cambodia is divided into 25 provinces, each boasting its own unique appeal. Of course, we aren’t saying you should visit them all (though we would if we had the time) but venturing off the typical tourist trail will only enrich your experience. From the jungle covered north to the peaceful coastline of the south, the country is brimming with areas just waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re looking to explore jungles, swim in waterfalls, climb mountains or come into contact with wildlife, you won’t be disappointed here. The best part? These places tend to be free from the swathe of tourists you’ll find elsewhere.
Often used as a cut through or stop off on a tour of Asia, Cambodia tends to be little more than an afterthought for many travelers. As such, the country’s tourism industry is somewhat lagging behind that of its neighbors, where millions more head to each year. While this certainly has economic downsides, it can’t be denied that there’s a positive: it’s authentic.
The smaller number of tourists that descend on the nation each year mean that Cambodian culture is still very much alive and kicking in even the most overrun of places (Siem Reap, we’re looking at you). Sure, you still see the odd McDonalds or Starbucks, but it’s far more common to see local vendors selling local goods. This offers the increasingly rare opportunity to experience a culture untouched by westernization. You only need to look at Thailand to see what the future holds for Cambodia, so there’s no better time to explore the nation while it’s still got its charm.
Cambodian’s possess an undeniable resilience that can be attributed to the suffering they’ve endured in previous decades. Their tumultuous history and turbulent politics make them a tough people that are seemingly unafraid of facing hardships. Cambodian’s are extremely proud of their heritage, and they hold great respect for others’. Therefore, they relish the opportunity to show visitors their home country and learn about of their guests’.
You can expect to be well looked after here, whether you’re visiting a family, meeting friends or dining out. Cambodians will go above and beyond to look after you and make sure you have a great time, making your experience that extra bit special.
So, if there’s one reason to consider Cambodia, it’s the warm-hearted people who will take you under their wing and make you feel right at home.
If you’ve visited Southeast Asia before, you’re probably familiar with the hospitality afforded to foreign visitors. Now, times this by 10 to get an idea of what it’s like in Cambodia – a country well-known for its friendly population and the iconic Khmer smile.
You might not have heard of any Cambodian dishes before your trip, but we guarantee you’ll soon be hooked on this wonderful cuisine. Featuring flavors similar to those of Thai and Vietnamese, Khmer cooking adds its own unique twist to offer a huge selection of dishes that are just as, if not more, delicious as their Thai and Vietnamese counterparts.
From the flavorsome national dishes of Fish Amok and Lok Lak to the exotic sounding Red Ant Beef stir fry, there is a whole new variety of Southeast Asian cuisine just waiting to be discovered. So, if you’re more of a foodie than a history buff, don’t worry – Cambodia will not disappoint.
Cost of Living
If you’re wondering where you can get the most bang for your buck, this is it. As one of the poorest countries of the region, Cambodia is an extremely affordable place to live, work and travel. In fact, it has one of the lowest costs of living in the world. Combine this with the relatively high standard of living, and it’s no wonder that many expats who intend to stay for a year find themselves sticking around for longer.
Even in the country’s capital, it’s possible to find well-decorated, comfortable apartments for a just few hundred USD per month. And while utilities aren’t usually included, they are very reasonable, amounting to around $30 per month.
Expats in Cambodia can also enjoy a colorful social life for minimal cost. You’ll be able to dine out for anything between $2 – $15, the lower end getting you a delicious local meal at a roadside restaurant, and the higher a filling burger, pizza or pasta dish. If you’re looking to enjoy Cambodia’s nightlife, you’ll be happy to hear that drinks go for as little as $1 a glass.
It’s possible to live a far more luxurious life here than you may expect for a just a fraction of the cost. Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in local life or live like a king, one thing’s for sure: Cambodia won’t disappoint. Between the low rental costs, cheap street food and affordable drinks, your money really will go a long way.
Want to experience life in Cambodia? Find out more about our teaching programs in Phnom Penh and immerse yourself in the nation’s many culinary, cultural and linguistic delights.