Top things to do in Cambodia

By: Bobby Nguyen

There are so many exciting sights in Cambodia thatyou’ll hardly find yourself without things to do. Just scramblingaround the ruins at Angkor can keep you busy for days if not weeks, oryou can climb up for a bird’s-eye view of the complexby hot-air balloon. The country is beautiful, and even more incrediblefor rising out of the intense history of war and genocide. Take time tovisit major sites that give you a glimpse into the history of thecountry, but also make sure you get to meet some of the friendly and positive people who have weathered through the history.

Cook Khmer-style curry or other cuisine.There are plenty of Khmer cooking classes in the capital, held inEnglish or French. The Frizz restaurant on Sisowath Quay operates someof the most popular courses and will have you creating an amok fishcurry to die for.

Explore the temples at Angkor.You could spend oodles of time watching the sunrises and the sunsets atthis amazing temple complex. Especially if you’re interested inphotography, there is so much to see and so many nooks to explore. Hirea guide for a day or two to hear the stories behind the temples.

Fire a rocket launcher or M-16.You won’t find a lot of places in the world where you can go crazyfiring weaponry. There are two venues that offer this bizarre form ofentertainment, one in Phnom Penh and one in Siem Reap.

Get high over Angkor.The best way to see Angkor by far is from the air. It’s a spectacularsight that you will remember for the rest of your life. The tetheredhot-air balloon offers a budget way to soar above the temples for about15 minutes; or you can go all out with a helicopter tour.

Hold you nose at Stung Meanchey Garbage Dump.Your entire outlook on life will change in this one visit. Shocking,alarming and filled with despair, this garbage dump is an example ofhow many of Cambodia’s children spend their time – sifting throughgarbage all day long to survive. If your kids complain about going toschool, they probably won’t after they see this. Donations can also bemade to the humanitarian organisation Pour Sourire D’un Enfant at theironsite office.

Ride an elephant.If you’ve never ridden an elephant, there’s no experience quite likeit. The activity is most popular in Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri. Be sureto go with a reputable company and take a guide as land mines and otherdangers may spoil your day. You can also ride an elephant around Angkoror at the zoo on Mekong Island, a daytrip from the capital.

Take a sunset cruise along the Mekong river.One-hour cruises are available and will give you great insight on thelives of the people living on and around the river. The sunset isespecially brilliant from the boat and this is a relaxing way to endyour day.

Visit the Memorial at Choeung Ek. Located 15kms from Phnom Penh, this is a memorial to those who died in the infamous Killing Fields. Here you can view around 8,000 skulls arranged by sex and age behind a glass panel.

Visit the Stone and Woodcarving School in Siem Reap.This is a great place to see how stone and wood is carved intoreproductions of the ancient Khmer temple carvings. Prices are cheapand you’ll be supporting a good cause.

Volunteer for a good cause or donate blood.There are numerous NGOs and charity organisations doing good work inCambodia. Additionally, only about one-third of the country’srequirement for blood is being met, so you can make a donation at theCambodian Red Cross to help.

Watch traditional Khmer theatre.A few different venues in the city offer the chance to watch Khmerperformances with the most popular being the Aspara Theatre at theAngkor Village Resort, which is also a restaurant. The evening showsfeature a wealth of traditionally dressed performers, meaning there islots of gold finery on display and the chance to experience classicalKhmer music and dance.

Watch traditional Khmer kickboxing.Khmer traditional boxing, or Pradal Serey, has made a huge comebacksince it was banned by the Khmer Rouge. The biggest fights are held atthe Olympic Stadium, but you can find smaller bouts at other venuestooFree Web Content, so ask around.

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