When the rising sun reflects off Angkor Wat, and the green jungle surrounding it, a purple and blue hue emanates from the sky. The ancient site is a favorite tourist spot, attracting almost two million visitors annually. However, the ancient stone temple is not the only destination worth a look in Cambodia. The Land of the Khmer boasts a rich culture and breathtaking views that travelers need to experience its beauty in their lives.

The best time to visit Cambodia is during its dry season, which runs from November to May. The country’s rainy season, from June to October, have fewer tourists. The months November to February is Cambodia’s peak season because of cooler temperatures. April, May, and June, according to the Selective Asia website, are the best months to fly to Cambodia.

Travelers can fly into the capital city Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, where the Angkor Wat resides. Also, tourists can fly to Bangkok, Thailand, and ride a bus across the border to Cambodia. Bus trips travel from Bangkok to Sihanoukville, a Cambodia city that doubles as a famous beach and an entry point to the country’s majestic islands.

The visa process of Cambodia is simple. Travelers can obtain it in the major airports in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Visas are also available online for those who want to apply. Traveling guidelines aside, here are a few reasons why a visit to the Land of the Khmer will be worth a traveler’s time.

History and Culture

The magnificent Angkor Wat is the largest religious temple ever built. It is the most iconic temple in Cambodia, but it is not the only site you will cherish. The city of Angkor is the capital of the Khmer Empire. The Angkor is a haven for tourists who want to delve into the historical ruins in a thick jungle. The carvings and construction of every ruin are intricate and impressive.

Bayon, the central temple of Angkor Thom, has 216 stone heads facing down at travelers from every direction. Trees grow from the stones as the roots lie over the structures of the “Tomb Raider” temple, Ta Prohm. These sights are only some of the most memorable views visitors can explore.

Temples are beautiful to admire, but learning about Cambodia’s dramatic history is what will draw you in. Learning about its painful past will help the citizens, and the rest of the world, move on and move forward. Over two million people died from 1975 to 1979, the dark days when the Khmer Rouge ruled over Cambodia.

One of the worst mass murders of modern times, the brutal regime under Marxist leader Pol Pot force millions of people to work in communal farms. Families died from execution, starvation, disease, or exhaustion. However, light is found in the darkest of times. You will notice that the country is making an effort to rebuild from its horrific experience. Monuments stand to mark massacres and traffic circles pay tribute to the countless citizens that lost their lives in a span of four years. Tourists will find that sharing the pain, the sorrow, and the hope for a better tomorrow when they visit the killing fields outside of Phnom Penh, the museum that is formerly the Tuol Sleng prison, and many others.

Cambodia is slowly leaving its brutal history behind and blending in with the modern world. Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, is on its way to becoming the next hottest tourist spot in Asia. Once empty during the genocide under the Khmer Rouge, the city is slowly recovering and moving forward. The waterfront on the Mekong River, historical monuments, restaurant scenes, and non-profit organizations help attract tourists in hordes.

The markets in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are full of overwhelming choices that boast exotic and tasty Khmer food. Because of the narrow space between different stalls, a tourist can find more food and goods than space to sit. Visitors can step into a market and feel getting consumed by the daily activities Cambodians are experiencing. It is one of the most enthralling ways to enjoy life.

Khmer food is a comforting delicacy. Every meal comes with rice, a staple for Cambodian dish. The fish amok, a white fish, steamed in a banana leaf and covered with coconut cream is one of the most popular Khmer dishes. Cambodia also boasts the favorite Kampot Pepper, a cultivar of pepper that goes well with dishes like the stir-fried crab. The plates commonly serve beef and pork with rice or noodles. Herbs and curry are also some of the available side dishes that go with a typical Cambodian meal.

Untouched Paradise

Thailand and Vietnam are surging in tourism because of their beaches. However, the popularity of the two countries’ top destinations makes for a cramped environment. Travelers can turn their attention to the untouched beaches of Cambodia. Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem are some of the country’s best beaches. These islands are paradise.

You have to get to know the people living in Cambodia before traveling to the beautiful and historic country. If you happen to get lost, do not be afraid to approach a Cambodian native. The locals are kind-hearted and generous people who are more than happy to assist guests with the country’s top tourist spots. It will not hurt to engage the citizens in conversation and listen to their stories. About 93 percent of Cambodia locals practice Theravada Buddhism.

You may encounter people who have lived through the Khmer Rouge. You may enjoy the beauty of Cambodia through its ancient sites but listening to the people’s engaging stories will make you appreciate the country’s history even more.

Cambodia offers an exciting and educational trip for tourists. Travel and explore the Land of the Khmer for an unforgetable journey.