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.