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Cambodia is a land of wonders. From enchanting temples and timeless ruins to bustling streets and undisturbed beaches. Cambodia also offers a vibrant adventure scene perfect for intrepid travelers. Many make the mistake of spending too little time in this Southeast Asian gem, but now that CAMBODIA MAD PASS is out we’ve put together this list to prove them wrong! Now, If you’re wondering what the best things to do in Cambodia in 2022 are, this is the guide for you!

 

Cruise in the Mekong River
Cruise in the Mekong River, Phnom Penh © Courtesy of Mad Monkey

 

1. Immerse yourself in Angkor’s ancient history

Siem Reap is a town that’s deeply rooted in cultural spirituality and cultural activities. But there is one specific “must-see” if you’re headed up north: The Angkor Archaeological Park. With hundreds of temples spread across more than 400 square kilometers, forested areas included, this ancient Park contains the remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. There is no end to the amount of Siem Reap temples you can visit. 

Start bright and early and zoom around temples on Cambodian tuk-tuk, catching every Insta-worthy moment. Get lost among giant roots and channel your inner Angeline Jolie while exploring the hallways of olden ruins. We’ll organize unforgettable sunrise and sunset tours that will take you through the wonders that Angkor holds. Mad Monkey Siem Reap can’t wait to help you get there!

Wanna prepare and learn more about the largest religious monument in the world? Read more on our Guide to Temples of Angkor.

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap © Courtesy of Daniel Martin/Mad Monkey

 

2. Explore the jungle at Phnom Kulen National Park

Phnom Kulen National Park is located in the Phnom Kulen mountain, is the most sacred mountain in Cambodia, and it’s definitely worth a wander. During your visit, you’ll discover ancient temples and carvings and you’ll enjoy what is deemed as a holy waterfall surrounded by the thick, luscious jungle.

Climb to the summit of the mountain to catch the best views and see the sacred reclining Buddha statue, which is carved into the surrounding sandstone. Also, be sure to add a good swim in the famous and blessed waterfalls.

Phnom Kulen National Park
Phnom Kulen National Park© Courtesy of Phnom Kulen National Park

 

3. Hang out with elephants in Kulen Elephant Forest

Animal lovers, this is definitely a must-visit during your trip. The Bos Thom Community Forest is located in the foothills of Kulen Mountain. This elephant conservation center welcomes small groups with deep respect for these gentle giants.

They offer a fun, educational approach to elephant conservation and contribute to preserving the remaining elephants of Cambodia. Among acres and acres of forest, a special moment with the elephants peacefully living in nature is an unforgettable experience. Check their website for more information and for a deeper understanding of the good work they are doing.

Kulen Elephant Forest
Kulen Elephant Forest, Siem Reap © Courtesy of Kulen Elephant Forest

 

4. Enjoy the show at Phare Cambodian Circus

The famed Cambodian Circus is one of Siem Reap’s highlights. It’s a unique live show that, through a fantastic combination of circus, theater, and music, tells traditional Cambodian stories. Cambodia’s coolest acrobats will leave you speechless! 

You can simply book it at the Mad Monkey hostel if you are staying with us, or you can go to The Cambodian Circus website for bookings, more information about them, and their amazing and inspiring purpose. 

Phare, The Cambodian Circus
Phare, The Cambodian Circus © Courtesy of Kirsten Joelle/Mad Monkey Hostels

 

5. Amp up the adventure on our Quad Bike Tour

Quad bike tours are the ideal (and hands down the coolest) way to explore the Cambodian countryside. 

Spend a day quad biking and you’ll experience a unique and authentic side of Cambodia — meet friendly locals and see their villages, ride past grazing water buffalos, and relax at rice paddies while watching the sunset.

Quad Sunset Tour
Quad Sunset Tour © Courtesy of Casson Spencer/Mad Monkey

 

6. Explore the Floating Villages

Tonle Sap Lake is home to a surreal floating community with unforgettable images of boats replacing cars, floating schools, and more wildlife than you can imagine. It is an aquatic revelation located about a 15km tuk-tuk ride outside of Siem Reap with diverse areas you can visit.

Which floating village to visit first? We highly recommend starting at Kompong Kleang. The local craftsmanship will leave you speechless, rows upon rows of floating houses, as far as you can see. 

Our second choice would be Kompong Phluck. This is also a good option if you’re short on time. The boat journey is indeed very scenic and enjoyable, and the village has kept a lot of its authenticity.

Kompong Kleang Floating Village
Kompong Kleang © Courtesy of Tour Guide Cambodia

 

7. Learn about Cambodia’s History

There’s no better way to understand Cambodia’s dark history than visiting the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former secondary school that was used as Security Prison 21 by the Khmer Rouge regime and that will take you through the Cambodian genocide. We highly recommend asking for a guide at the entrance. And the Choeung Ek Killing Fields memorial, the largest of the killing fields, sits in Phnom Penh and today serves as a monument that remembrance all those who died and those who survived. 

A visit to Cambodia will remain incomplete if you do not visit these sites of historical importance. You can always ask our team in Mad Monkey Phnom Penh for tours and additional information.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh © Courtesy of Daniel Martin/Mad Monkey

 

8. Taste Local Cambodian Street food

One crucial element of Cambodian culture is food. This fascinating country hides the weirdest and most wonderful dishes. You’ll find food on every corner and every street. Very varied, traditional and western too. Lose yourself in the local markets and you will taste some treats you’ll definitely text home about. Have you tried crickets before? Crunchy and BBQ flavor. Simply delicious! 

Riverside Market, Phnom Penh
Riverside Market, Phnom Penh © Courtesy of Daniel Martin/Mad Monkey

 

9. Take a Cruise along the Mekong and Silk Island

A trip to the Mekong and Silk Island is a must during your stay in Phnom Penh. Early in the morning, take a tuk-tuk to cross the Japanese Friendship Bridge and then take a ferry boat to reach Mekong Island, where you can enjoy a tour of the island and meet the friendliest folks. There, visit the Silk Island (Koh Dach) by bike, observe actual silk-weaving in the village, and buy handcrafted local products for souvenirs.

Mekong Cruise, Phnom Penh
Mekong Cruise, Phnom Penh © Courtesy of Daniel Martin/Mad Monkey

 

10. Lose yourself in the colorful local markets

Most Cambodian commerce and life occur in markets, and that’s why these magical places hide very interesting stories, surprising architecture, deep roots in the local culture, smells, and colors you don’t wanna miss, and play an important role in Cambodian people’s life.

There are several markets to visit in Cambodia: once you are in Phnom Penh, make sure you don’t miss the Central Market, the Night Market (open from 5 pm to 10 pm), and the Russian Market. Our musts in Siem Reap: the Angkor Night Market and Psar Chas (the Old Market).  You’ll make your trip more educational, exciting, and meaningful by discovering any of them, and you’ll find the best-handcrafted souvenirs and the most amazing Cambodian food!

Psar Chas Market, Siem Reap
 Shop at Siem Reap Old Market (Psar Chas) © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

11. Walk along  the Riverside

A riverside walk in Phnom Penh is a great way to observe the local culture, from seeing the elderly doing aerobics classes and Tai Chi early in the morning, to teens breakdancing. You’ll find people selling souvenirs and exotic food, offering lotus flowers, and lighting up some incense in the Royal Palace.

A must-visit is the Royal Palace, home to Cambodia’s royalty since 1866, then take a relaxing stroll at the nearby Sisowath Quay, a popular boulevard home to cafes, shops, palm trees, and manicured lawns.

You can join us for the Mad Monkey Phnom Penh Riverside Walking Tour almost every day. Discover great city spots, jump on a boat to cross the river, try local food, and enjoy the best Cambodian beer! 

Royal Palace, Phnom Penh
Royal Palace, Phnom Penh © Courtesy of Daniel Martin/Mad Monkey

 

12. Party and discover buzzing  Cambodian nightlife

The Cambodian nightlife scene varies from backpacker bars playing your favorite tunes to bougie speakeasies hidden down alleyways. There are designated ‘pub streets’ and riverside boulevards in the main towns of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh where you can find many restaurants, bars, and clubs.; Pub Street is a must in Siem Reap, there you should go to Banana Leaf, Cambodian BBQ, and Angkor What? among others. And in Phnom Penh, make sure you visit the lively Bassac Lane or one of the capital’s iconic nightclubs, Love Club is our fave!

The best way to see it all is by joining our famed Pub Crawls! We do it twice a week in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Pub Street, Siem Reap
Pub Street © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

13. Enjoy the best sunsets

Sunsets on Cambodian Islands are a must-see before you leave this beautiful country. Take a boat to Koh Rong Samloem Island and make sure you enjoy the best sunset at Mad Monkeys Pier Bar while sharing some beer with your friends. You can also find the best spot on the beach and take your time for some relaxing sunset meditation.

Mad Monkey Koh Rong Samloem
Sunset at Koh Rong Samloem © Courtesy of Mad Monkey

 

14. Go snorkeling and try other water activities

Koh Rong Marine National Park takes in the seven islands of the Koh Rong archipelago and the web of coral, seagrass, and mangrove ecosystems around them. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking are some of the activities that will show you how incredible Cambodian waters, landscapes, and biodiversity are. 

Snorkeling and fishing tour, Mad Monkey Koh Rong Samloem
Snorkeling and fishing tour Koh Rong Samloem © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson/Mad Monkey

 

15. Relax on the beach

After completing this list, you’ll have seen and visited all of the must-see places in Cambodia. What better way to end this trip than finding the best place to relax and chill on the beach, having some coconut water, and enjoying the best sea views you can find? 

Mad Monkey Koh Rong Samloem Beach
 Koh Rong Samloem Beach © Courtesy of Kirsten Muolic/Mad Monkey

 

Cambodia MAD PASS

We surely must have inspired you to adventure Cambodia the Mad Monkey way! To make this even easier for you, we have just launched CAMBODIA MAD PASS – an unlimited 14 or 30-day Mad Monkey Hostel pass that will give you access to all our dorm beds or give a 50% discount on our private rooms. We have a mad deal on Mad Passes NOW and this is hands down the most affordable, flexible, and cool way to see the Kingdom of Wonders!

Secure your Mad Pass today so you can start planning that long-awaited adventure! The countdown begins when you check in to your first Mad Monkey.

 

 

About the Author

Mad Monkey is Southeast Asia’s leading hostel operator — born in Cambodia with more properties in Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Laos, and the Philippines. We pride ourselves in creating meaningful and sustainable travel experiences for our guests, whilst promoting socially responsible tourism.