Angkor Wat is what really attracts people to Cambodia. But I highly recommend spending few days in the capital city: Phnom Penh before heading to Angkor Wat.
Phnom Penh is a lovely city to stroll around. It has more of a small town feeling and gives a perfect opportunity for getting accustomed to the laid back lifestyle of Cambodia and its people.
The city wasn’t loaded with tourists when I arrived around Cambodian New Year. Most places shut down for a week or two…even the restaurants during this time.
If you love walking, you can cover the entire city on foot. That’s what I did for the most part and if you get tired or lost..:-) just hop on a tuk-tuk, they are really cheap.
The places that you should definitely make a point to visit are:
Mekong Riverfront: This is probably the most vibrant part of the city. Everybody is here: locals as well as the tourists. Either you can indulge in people watching or enjoy the tranquil banks of Mekong river.
City Palace and National Museum: Beautiful at night and in early morning hours.
Wat Phnom: Historic temple on a hill where you can offer prayers and see the locals lost in their favorite past times.
Cambodian street life, houses, people: Best is to just stroll around the town, there’s adventure waiting around every nook and corner. Definitely very different from the Western world
Click here for more pics and the virtual tour of Phnom Penh. Click on Pause and take time to read the captions.