Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia and has a population of over 15 million people. While Cambodia is blessed with amazing scenery, surprising amazing beaches, even inland dolphins, and more. Cambodia has a long history and some of it may be dark history but does have its fair share of historical sites. What are the best historical sites in Cambodia?
Cambodia’s most popular historic site is Angkor Wat it is even on Cambodia’s national flag. The country also has a dark history from the Khmer Rouge regime. Which during this time which millions of Cambodians were killed in what is known as the Killing Fields, and the prison Tuol Sleng became notorious for its history of mass killing.
In this post, we will go through what are the best historical sites in Cambodia. Let’s get started!
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Best Historical Sites In Cambodia
Cambodia is blessed with beautiful landscapes, amazing beaches, and more. The country’s most popular site is Angkor Wat back but there is more.
Here is a list of the best historical sites in Cambodia.
- Angkor Wat.
- The Killing Fields.
- Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.
- Preah Vihear.
- Bokor Hill.
- Sambor Prei Kuk.
- Royal Palace.
- Wat Langka.
- Temple of the Lotus Blossoms.
Angkor Wat is Cambodia’s most famous landmark it is also on the countries national flag. And it is the largest religious structure in the world by land area. The temple was built back in the early 12th century as a Hindu temple but was converted to a Buddhist temple late in the 12th century.
The Angkor temples are near Siem Reap and are definitely one of Cambodia’s biggest tourist attractions. The main Angkor Wat temple lies in Angkor and is one of the largest religious monuments. Angkor is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
There are other temples there to see with the main ones being Bayon temple, Angkor Thom, Preah Khan, and Ta Prohm. The Angkor Thom template was used in the film Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider movie.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
The killing fields are a major part of Cambodia’s history. This is a museum that shows the genocide of the Cambodian people during the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 to 1979. It is located in Phnom Penh.
It once was a secondary school that was used as Security Prison 21 that is often referred to as S-21. The museums tell the story and what happened to the people in the S-21. This shows and explains a lot about Cambodia’s dark history under the regime of the Khmer Rouge.
The Killing Fields
This leads on from the S-21. The killing fields are located outside Phnom Penh about 15 km. Today, it’s a monument filled with skulls and other bones unearthed from just one of the hundreds of Cambodian Killing Fields.
The government chose to leave most mass graves alone, so this is both cemetery and hallowed ground. You can explore the grounds and learn firsthand why it is called the killing fields.
Preah Vihear Temple
Preah Vihear Temple is an ancient Khmer temple that is located on the Thailand and Cambodia border on top of a cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains. There was a dispute back in the 1960s between the 2 countries in which Cambodia won. And was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Preah Vihear has a spectacular view of all the temples of Angkor. This can be a good experience to visit in the early morning sunrise and enjoy the cool breeze. The temple itself has some amazing architecture and beautiful carvings but the claim atmosphere is a stand-out.
The refers to French colonial buildings that were built in the 1920s as a resort. It is located on top of Bokor Mountain in Preah Monivong National Park. It is abandoned and is a ruin but was built for the colonial French to help the French military who were stationed in the region.
This hill offers great views from the top. It takes about 90 minutes to get to from Kampot but if you are taking a moped you do need to give yourself enough time to get up and back down before it gets dark because it can be difficult to navigate in the dark.
Sambor Prei Kuk
Sambor Prei Kuk is an archaeological site which is located in Kampong province. This complex dates back from the late 6th to 9th century. This site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is not as impressive as those in the Angkor complex but still worth a visit.
The temple complex itself is clean and well maintained that is located in the middle of a forest, and you can see some monkeys. The temples themselves including the architecture are completely different from Angkor. The best part is there are few tourists.
You can book a local guide that will tell you about the history, all the stories, and the religion.
Royal Palace is a set of buildings that serves as the royal residence of the King of Cambodia since the 1860s and still does to this day. There was a time during and after the reign of the Khmer Rouge that it did not serve as the royal residence.
The palace and surrounding royal buildings are beautiful and built reflecting the culture It can be expensive to enter the palace at $10 per person. You do need to be covered that includes shoulders, back and knees must be covered.
Wat Langka is a temple in Phnom Penh in Cambodia that was built in 1440. This temple is a famous historical site in Phenom Penh that has beautiful structures and a golden Buddha. This is one of the five pagodas in the city which got its name from its historic ties with monks from Sri Lanka.
There are tours of Wat Langka that well people learn more about Khmer culture. You can meditate there several times a week at the temple but you will need to check online for the schedule. At the temple complex, there are many buildings and monuments to see.
Temple Of The Lotus Blossoms
Temple of the Lotus Blossom’s official name is Wat Botum Watey Reacheveraram. This temple is located in Phnom Penh that was built in 1442 which is south of the Royal Palace on the western side of Wat Botum Park.
You can walk around the temple and go into the temple to see the main hall. Which has a painted roof and wall and panels. There is a couple of impressive buildings, shrines, and stupas around the compound. You will also see friendly monks who are keen to practice their English.
Finally, Cambodia’s most popular historic site is Angkor Wat it even on Cambodia’s national flag. The country also has a dark history from the Khmer Rouge regime. Which during this time which millions of Cambodians were killed in what is known as the Killing Fields, and the prison Tuol Sleng became notorious for its history of mass killing.
And that’s it for now! I’d love it if this post on what are the best historical sites in Cambodia was helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.