‘Grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome,' declared the French explorer Henri Mouhot, who rediscovered the fabled temple city of Angkor, the spiritual and cultural centre of Cambodia. These staggering ruins, some partly covered by trees and creepers, others salvaged from the jungle and free to explore during our Cambodia holidays, remain the country's major draw.
But there's plenty more to this beguiling country, which is moving on from the blood-tinted days of the Khmer Rouge and is an increasingly popular destination for travellers. Many of the old colonial buildings from the French protectorate are being restored in pretty towns like Kep, and awareness is growing of the allure of Cambodia's natural wonders alongside its architectural gems.
Rare Irrawaddy dolphins can be seen at Kratie on the Mekong River, an artery that flows through beautiful countryside dotted with small villages and pretty waterfalls. Cambodia's other great waterway is the Tonlé Sap, the ‘Great Lake' that provides food in abundance and floodwaters that, after the summer rains, turn this into the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. Explore both on a tailor-made trip to Cambodia.
Elsewhere, coastal reefs shelter abundant marine life and forest-clad mountains are home to elephants, tigers, monkeys and bears. Of course you'll want to visit the mysterious remains of Angkor, but in the course of your Cambodia holiday leave a little time for some other attractions too.