From the mystique of Angkor Wat to Phnom Penh’s leafy French-influenced boulevards, Cambodia’s enduring charisma and exotic allure make this a destination of tantalising adventure.
Nourished by the mighty Mekong River, enriched for centuries by the intricate craftsmanship of long-standing dynasties, Cambodian culture retains a distinct old-world grace. The ‘Lost City’ that's home to Angkor Wat is a wondrous 12th-century temple complex, and an iconic tribute to the creativity and skill of ancient times. Under the gaze of giant god-kings carved into high vestiges, you'll walk through temples covered in jungle creepers that seem intent on seizing back what was once theirs.
Marvel at the water-based economy of Tonlé Sap Lake, where wooden boats laden with the day’s catch ease between floating and stilted villages. Journey through the misty Cardamom Mountains on elephant-back, or luxuriate on the tropical islands of Cambodia’s Koh Rong Archipelago. Charismatic capital Phnom Penh, a riverside city undergoing a cultural renaissance presents colourful markets, incense-burning shrines attended by amber-robed monks, atmospheric cafés serving sumptuous Khmer delicacies, and the glistening Royal Palace, all golden spires and brightly-tiled roofs. Outside the city, head for Battambang and seaside Kep, where pastel-coloured colonial buildings of the French protectorate offer timeless charm.
Dominated by its five ornamental towers, this pinnacle of Khmer architectural prowess reveals different tableaus of timeless beauty as the sun passes over its ancient, weathered surface. Most romantic when reflected in its adjacent pond at sunrise and sunset, you’ll want to set aside ample time to admire this eighth wonder of the world.
A short drive from luxury bases in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh, astounding landscapes and rural villages await. Day-trip to wildlife sanctuaries, home to tigers, elephants and bears; witness waterways replace roads on Tonlé Sap Lake, or take to the coast to sample melt-in-the-mouth seafood dishes in peaceful seclusion.
An easy-going fishing village famed for its sumptuous seafood and sleepy atmosphere, Kep boasts spectacular sunsets, lazy promenade walks and a central market scented with the aroma of freshly cooked crab. Once a favoured seaside haunt of the French, abandoned colonial villas still overlook the bright white sand of Kep’s nearby tropical islands.
For perhaps the most authentic voyage into Cambodia’s fertile heart, take a luxury river cruise through the Mekong’s countless meandering waterways. Dining in style and lodging in cabins fit for a king, watch rural Cambodia’s palm-fringed beauty drift silently by. Deeply relaxing and uniquely revealing, Mekong cruises operate from as far as Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City through to Angkor’s gateway, Siem Reap.
While spectacular Angkor Wat steals the spotlight, Cambodia possesses a host of truly remarkable temple ruins, both inside the Angkor complex and beyond. From the serene hill-top temples of Kampot to the darker, more mysterious corners of jungle-smothered Ta Prohm and lavishly-ornamented Banteay Srei, Cambodia is a country heavy with architectural riches.
Best of Cambodia
14 days from £3,100 pp incl. flights
Ride an elephant through Angkor Wat, explore traditional floating villages and stay in everything from tented suites on rainforest rivers to luxury boutique boltholes overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, all on this ideal introduction to Cambodia.
Highlights of Indochina
18 days from £5,200 pp incl. flights
Stay in the region's most luxurious accommodation, enjoy excursions including an overnight cruise at Halong Bay, cooking course in Hoi An and traditional Mekong boat trip, amongst other tours on this truly special itinerary.
A River Journey through Indochina
13 days from £7,500 pp incl. flights
Sail the mighty Mekong River to discover riverside monasteries and floating markets linking Ho Chi Minh City's (Saigon) buzzing energy charm with the golden palaces of Phnom Penh before ending with Cambodia’s national treasure and icon, Angkor Wat.