Angkor Archaeological Park
No trip to Cambodia is complete without a visit to see the ancient temples of Angkor (below), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These magnificent monuments were part of a thriving capital city from the 9th to the 15th century.
Tip: Get the three-day pass and spread your visit out for a more comfortable pace. Also, be aware of the Angkor code of conduct and keep knees and shoulders covered.
Experience Khmer cuisine
One of the defining characteristics of Cambodian cuisine is terroir — the locality where ingredients are grown. At Cuisine Wat Damnak, you’ll sample a modern take on authentic Cambodian flavours, made entirely with locally sourced and foraged ingredients.
Tip: A well known Cambodian dish is prahok (below), a fermented fish paste with a distinctive flavour. Don’t be afraid to try it – it’s delicious.
Siem Reap’s art scene
Immerse yourself in Siem Reap’s burgeoning art scene with a bespoke art, fashion, and shopping experience led by Robina Hanley, the curator of the McDermott Gallery. You’ll visit a range of galleries, artisan workshops, and design stores on this two- to four-hour tour.
Tip: The cost is US$150 for up to three people, with an optional refreshments supplement.
Wat Phnom, built in 1373 on top of Phnom Penh’s only hill, is the city’s most important religious monument. Legend has it that an elderly woman named Penh found four golden Buddha statues in a koki tree. To house the sacred relics, villagers built a shrine on an artificial hill, which Phnom Penh is named for. Today, locals come here to pray for success at work and in their studies.
Tip: Although visiting Wat Phnom is free for Cambodians, foreigners will need to pay a US$1 entrance fee.
Khmer architecture tours
KA Tours offers a look at Cambodian architecture that’s surprisingly interesting, even for laymen. Led by Cambodian student architects, the tours include classic colonial buildings and the work of Cambodia’s most illustrious architect, Vann Molyvann, as well as other examples of the modernist 1960s New Khmer Architecture movement.
Tip: Book in advance. Free walking tour maps are also available on the KA Tours website.
– TEXT BY LINA GOLDBERG
PHOTOS: SUPPLIED, 123RF
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.