Cambodia has a mystical side which is enticing to foreign travellers who are lured in by the promise of amazing temples and natural beauty. However, Cambodia is also a country with a tragic past, made evident by its numerous genocide centres and museums. Both sobering and thrilling, a trip to Cambodia will certainly open your eyes and flood your senses.
As some areas are not recommended for travel, please check the Foreign Office's travel advice for the country and take any necessary precautions.
Flights to Cambodia can take between 12 and 15 hours, depending on your destination and the route you choose. For example, flights to Phnom Penh can take only 12 hours when arriving from the UK, whilst Svay Rieng flights may be an hour or so longer and require a connection to complete.
The main airlines that offer flights from the UK to Cambodia are KLM, Air France, China Southern and Thai Airways. Depending on who you are flying with, you could be departing from London Heathrow (most flights), Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester and Aberdeen. To find cheap flights to Cambodia, search and book well in advance.
Getting around Cambodia can be achieved in a number of ways. If you're staying in a major city then there will be endless options, from local taxis and buses to rental cars and even motorbikes. The rural areas can be visited on long haul buses but getting between the urban areas can take hours, depending on the road conditions.
Exploring the Cambodian countryside on bicycle is a great option for those up to the physical demands and who like being in the outdoors. If you are not confident, perhaps try hiring a bicycle to get around smaller villages where there is less traffic.
The Tuol Sleng Museum in Cambodia's capital city Phnom Penh is both a reminder of the country's bloody past and a memorial to lives lost. Formerly a high school, the site was turned into a prison and interrogation centre during the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror, where thousands of people were tortured and murdered. Today, the prison is a museum that is filled with extensive records and photographs that educate visitors and reinforce the reality of the horrors that passed there. Another important site to visit is the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek; you will see a large white monument (known as a 'stupa') that acts a memorial for the 17,000 people that were killed by the Khmer Rouge.
To focus on Cambodia's natural beauty, visit the Phnom Kulen waterfalls, situated in the Phnom Kulen National Park near Siem Reap in the country's north. Or visit Otres Beach in the south-west; the soft sand and stunning blue water will surely be enough to tempt you! Also in the south-west is the Botum Sakor National Park, which is home to an array of wildlife, including elephants, tigers, leopards, bears, snakes and gibbon monkeys.
Angkor Wat is one of the kingdom's most famous places of worship and holds the title of the world's largest temple, which should be enough incentive to encourage a visit. Built in the 12th century, the temple is now a hugely popular tourist destination; visitors marvel at the level of detail at the wall carvings, not to mention the ancient world feeling that is evoked.