If you plan to travel to Thailand and would like to take advantage of your trip to Southeast Asia to visit another destination, trips to Thailand and Cambodia may be the best option for you. Traveling to Thailand and Cambodia is a unique experience. Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia and borders Thailand so, due to its proximity, you can make the most of your vacation by combining both destinations. Travelers who have spent a few days in Cambodia return home highlighting the beauty of its landscapes and its temples -Cambodia is home to one of the World Heritage monuments, the Angkor ruins-, but also the hospitality and friendliness of its population. Not sure whether to combine Thailand with Cambodia on your trip to Asia ? In this article we give you 5 reasons why it is worth doing it. If what you prefer is to know what to see in Thailand, we recommend that you see our article on how to organize a travel itinerary in Thailand.
Temples in the middle of the jungle
Traveling to Cambodia is to enjoy the temples in a completely different way than in other countries. You will discover culture in the middle of the jungle, temples that make their way in the middle of nature, so visiting them is especially pleasant.
Angkor, where nature and architecture come together
One of the most outstanding in Cambodia is Angkor, a complex of temples in the middle of the jungle, where nature and buildings merge into one, making it a unique place. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992. One of the temples that is part of Angkor is the Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. This Buddhist temple was built in the 12th century and is a representation of Mount Meru, the house of the gods, a sacred mountain for Hinduism. Without a doubt, a mandatory stop on any combined trip to Cambodia. Angkor is located just 5.5 km from Siem Reap. Other notable temples that make it up are the Ta Prohm temple, the Byron temple, the Banteay Samré temple or the Terrace of the Elephants.
Apart from the incredible monuments of Angkor, Cambodia has many other temples worth visiting, such as the Banteay Srei, built in the 10th century and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
Traveling to Cambodia is perfect for those who love the landscapes that nature offers. You will be able to witness sunrises and sunsets worthy of any magazine cover. This small country stands out for its leafy mountains, its rivers, forests and also its beaches.
Tonlé Sap and its floating villages
It is exciting to navigate the Tonlé Sap Lake which, with an area that can reach 24,605 km² during the monsoon season, is the largest lake in Southeast Asia. There you can visit the floating villages and learn about the daily life of its inhabitants, who live by fishing and use the river water to bathe and wash their clothes. If you are a photography lover, the landscapes of Cambodia will undoubtedly allow you to capture exotic and unique snapshots that will reflect a lifestyle totally different from the Western one.
Feeling of freedom: a country without crowds
Although more and more travelers are seduced by the beauty of Cambodia, it is still a little known country for European travelers. Cambodia is a country with fewer crowds than other Asian countries and where you can enjoy more freedom. This will allow you to visit its cities, temples and landscapes with ease. Therefore, combining Thailand and Cambodia in a single trip is a good idea. Despite being a less crowded country than its neighbors, Cambodia is a country highly appreciated by travellers. Siem Reap, one of the largest cities in Cambodia, was chosen as one of the best destinations in the world in 2016 in the Travelers Choice Awards, awards that recognize the best destinations in the world according to the opinions of TripAdvisor travelers. In this classification, Siem Reap was only surpassed by London, in first position, Istanbul, Marrakech and Paris, thus occupying the fifth position in the list of 10 cities in the world that are worth visiting according to travellers.
Phnom Penh, a city with history
The country’s capital, Phnom Penh, is a city full of history, perfect for travelers with an interest in the city’s past. It is also the political and cultural center of Cambodia. In its streets you can breathe the harshness experienced not so many years ago, when it lost between 20 and 25% of its population during the Khmer Rouge regime, between 1975 and 1979. Currently its population is about 2,300,000 inhabitants. Despite this, Phnom Penh has managed to survive and establish itself as one of the most prominent cities in the country. In its bustling streets you will find local markets and buildings as imposing as the Royal Palace, the Independence Monument, the Silver Pagoda or the Wat Langka Pagoda. In addition to an important gastronomic scene. Compelling reasons to include it in your route when traveling to Cambodia.
What to do in Phnom Penh?
- Visit the Grand Palace and the Silver Pagoda. The Cambodian royal family lives in the Grand Palace and you can visit it any day of the week. Some areas, however, are restricted access or are closed during official events. Both buildings are of Khmer architecture.
- Stroll along Preah Sisowath Avenue, an area very popular with locals, full of shops.
- Go up to Wat Phnom, a 14th century temple located on a small hill in a park in the center of the city. It is the tallest temple in Phnom Penh, at 27 meters high. This temple is Theravada Buddhist.
- Visit the Central Market and discover the local food ( Khmer gastronomy ). The spicy dishes and the consumption of rice stand out.
- Dine at the Night Market, a flea market near Preah Sisowath Avenue, where you can buy food and eat it on the ground on bamboo mats. A most authentic experience.
An experience that can be enjoyed in a short time
Cambodia is a small country that, unlike the vast majority of Asian countries, can be visited in a short time. In just a few days you will be able to visit its main tourist attractions and learn about its history, its culture and its people. For this reason, Cambodia and Thailand combo tours are perfect if you want to visit two countries in Southeast Asia. If you don’t have many days, you can opt for a two-night trip in Cambodia, although we recommend choosing the three-night trip to be able to go deeper into and enjoy this fabulous country more. To travel from Chiang Mai, Thailand, to Siem Reap, Cambodia, you must take a direct flight linking the two cities. The journey takes approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes. Would you also like to visit Cambodia on your trip to Thailand? Choose the itinerary that best suits you or customize your combined trip to Thailand and Cambodia: