The number one draw for tourists to Cambodia is certainly Angkor Wat, and many people decide to limit their trip in Cambodia to the nearby town of Siem Reap. But if you have the time and want to see more, why not visit Battambang? The city of Battambang lies about four hours to the south by bus and is fast establishing itself as the new place to visit for anyone who wants to escape the tourist hordes. This riverside town is laid back and has a number of great restaurants some of which are housed in the atmospheric French colonial era shophouses that line the streets. Outside of the city centre are lots of interesting sights within an hours ride by motorbike taxi. There are two temples that sit on hilltops, one ancient and built at the time of Angkor Wat, and one more modern, caves, a home made railway line known locally as the “bamboo train” and even a vinyard.
Ko Rong is one of several islands of the coast of Sihanoukville and is that rare thing in South East Asia – an untouched wilderness tropical island. There are currently no roads across its jungle interior and only a very few people live here, in small fishing villages around the coast of the island. All that is set to change in the next few years when the high end resorts that are planned get built and maybe even an airport. So go there now and stay at one of the bungalow resorts, take a one hour trek over the hills to the far side of the island and be rewarded with a view of a 10km long beach with nothing in sight but sand, sea and jungle.
Beng Melia is the capital of Rattanakiri province, sometimes called the wild east of Cambodia. Its a remote mountainous province reached from Phnom Penh after a 12 hour bus ride. But this is not so bad, a few years ago it would have taken days over some of the worst roads imaginable. If you don’t feel like spending so long on the bus, break the trip in Kratie where you can see the rare Mekong River Dolphin. The main activity in Rattanakiri is trekking and eco tourism, with a large percentage of the local being from hill tribe groups with a different way of life to the lowland Khmers, they live in very unusual stilt houses. A great day trip is to visit the two ancient volcanos which have filled with water to become lakes, and also several beautiful waterfalls.
Ready to visit cambodia? Here is the official tourism website:
Chris Pimlott lives in Siem Reap and runs the travel guide to the town http://www.siemreap-cambodia.net.