When thinking of Cambodia, most people imagine the temples of Angkor Wat, but the country has much more to offer. Leave the beaten track and discover the country's lesser-known sights during your trip. When planning your trip, remember to apply for your Cambodia visa.
Many travellers in Southeast Asia only make a short stop in Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat, and then travel directly to Vietnam, Thailand or Laos. That is a shame, because Cambodia has many other beautiful places that are worth visiting. Of course, the impressive temple complex of Angkor Wat is an absolute must during a trip through Cambodia, but because the temples are world-famous, it can be overcrowded with tourists. To better experience the authentic culture of the country, it is therefore advisable to visit other, less visited temples. For example, Phnom Banan near Battambang, which is also called the little brother of Angkor Wat.
Battambang: pleasant city with a dark history
A requirement for travelling with an e-visa for Cambodia is that you are only allowed to arrive at a limited number of locations in the country, namely at some of the border crossings with Thailand (Cham Yeam and Poi Pet), Vietnam (Bavet) and Laos (Tropaeng Kreal). In addition, with a Cambodia visa you may arrive at the international airports of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Most travellers arrive in one of these cities by plane. Cambodia also has many other cities that are worth visiting.
For example, Battambang, a city in the west of the country, situated on the Sangker River. Battambang is an atmospheric city with colonial buildings and visible French influences. However, the city has a dark history. During the Khmer Rouge regime, approximately ten thousand people were killed in the Killing Caves (in Phnom Sampeau Mountain) and their bodies dumped in the caves. A relic of the French period is the Bamboo Train, consisting of makeshift carts of bamboo, which is now only used as a tourist attraction. It is the only vehicle in Cambodia that still travels by rail. All train stations in Cambodia are now deserted.
Islands of paradise
When thinking of tropical islands in Southeast Asia, many people think mainly of the well-known islands in Thailand or the Philippines, such as Koh Samui and Palawan. What some people don’t know is that Cambodia also has islands with paradise-like beaches that are generally quieter than the well-known islands in Southeast Asia. For instance, Koh Rong: a beautiful island with pearly white beaches and azure blue water that can be reached by boat from Sihanoukville. Koh Rong is becoming more and more touristy, but on its little brother Koh Rong Samloem, you can still enjoy unspoilt beaches. Another island of Cambodia is Koh Tonsay, also called Rabbit Island, which is located near the Vietnamese border. Apart from relaxing on the beaches, you can also go for beautiful walks in the island's forests.
National parks and untouched nature
Cambodia also has several national parks with beautiful scenery. The country's largest national park is Botum Sakor in the southwest. Here, you will find varied flora and fauna: the park consists of mangrove forests and grassy landscapes and is home to, among others, Chinese tigers, leopards and elephants. Not too far from Botum Sakor is Kirirom, the oldest protected national park in Cambodia. This park is located in a mountainous area where trekking and mountain bike tours can be undertaken. On the way, you pass small lakes and waterfalls.
Even more beautiful nature can be found at Tonlé Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. Admittedly, Tonlé Sap is not really a secret any more, but it is visited by many tourists. Nevertheless, a visit to the lake during a trip through Cambodia should not be missed. On the lake, you will find colourful houseboats and fascinating floating villages.
Applying for a Cambodia visa
For a visit to Cambodia, a visa is required that can be applied for online. In the form, you fill in your contact, travel and passport details. Then, you pay the fee and provide a digital passport photo and a scan or photo of your passport. Take note that your passport must be valid for at least six more months on arrival, and you must arrive at one of the authorised locations in the country.
The electronic visa is suitable for tourists who will not stay in the country for more than 30 days. This is usually more than enough to see the country's famous sights, such as Angkor Wat, as well as other undiscovered gems.