Cambodia is arguably the most underrated country in Southeast Asia. Long Thailand's shadow, Cambodia has emerged as a historian's paradise with a growing infrastructure and services industry, shuffling tourists to its epicenter, the Angkor Wat and its hot spots Siem Reap, the floating villages of Battambang, and the quiet refuge of Sihanoukville Beach.
If you have seven days in Cambodia, be sure to check out the following sights.
Angkor Wat and Siem Reap – Angkor Wat is the largest piece of religious architecture in the world. This temple complex was the backdrop to the Tomb Raider series and spans over a 15 mile radius with Angkor itself and smaller structures like the TA Prohm temple and the Angkor Thom monuments with the rocky faces of past god-kings staring at you. Revel in its more than one kilometer of art along walls and its majestic rise above the sunrise. Dawn is the best time to visit this complex.
Floating Villages – Entire villages are built on 6 m long sticks on the water. Everything from small pharmacies to markets bob above the water with everyone dependent on catching fish for a living. The most popular floating village is Chong Kneas and Kompong Phhluk with a special shout out to the Prek Toal floating village bird sanctuary that is home to some of the rarest birds in the world.
Battambang – Battambang is Cambodia's second largest city after capital Phnom Penh and is a rural paradise, with a mix of wetlands, mountains, and Angkor inspired temples. It is not highly trafficked and is predominantly a colonial themed farmer outpost with dirt-cheap accommodation. When you're here, check out Phnom Sampeau, a killing spouted during the Khmer Rouge during the Pol Pot period now lined with Buddhist statues in caves, and Wat Banan, a miniature version of Angkor Wat.
Sihanoukville – For relaxation, head to the beaches of Sihanoukville. Although not as picturesque as a Ko Lanta or Ko Phi Phi with its grainy sands, Sihanoukville is a blow to the senses with dive bars and large sprawl. However, this area is a bustling sex tourism spot with large amounts of unfinished construction around. Look to the out islands for as close to turquoise waters as you can get.
All in all, Cambodia has taken countless strides towards becoming an ideal tourist destination after the Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970’s.