Angkor Wat is often cited as the eighth wonder of the world, and the breathtaking temple is understandably added to many a bucket list.
Cambodia, though, has so much more to see than this enchanting monument,
In fact, there are thousands of temples in the country, plus stunning beaches, great food and buzzing towns and cities.
Cambodia has suffered greatly in the past century, and it was only by travelling the country that I fully understood the extent of what its people have been through.
Despite this, they are incredibly welcoming and kind, and it’s clear to see that the country is in a period of change.
Cambodia is still much less frequented than neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam and can provide a more authentic travel experience.
Here’s why now is the time to visit the Kingdom Of Wonder.
There is no shortage of temples in Cambodia.
The most famous, Angkor Wat, is the world’s largest religious monument and part of the Angkor Temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Angkor was built during the Khmer Empire between the 9th and 15th centuries.
It’s a 400sq km area consisting of the old walled capital city of Angkor Thom, ancient forest and plenty of temples – personal favourites are Ta Som and Banteay Srei, the latter built with striking, red sandstone.
You’ve heard about and perhaps visited Thailand’s beautiful islands, but what you may not know, is that Cambodia has its own version of much-less developed islands to explore.
For those seeking a party atmosphere, Koh Rong is the most popular island to visit, with backpacker bars and full-moon parties, although still on a much quieter level than Thailand.
If you want to completely get away from it all, then Koh Ta Kiev is the perfect destination, with no wifi and no electricity – just gorgeous beautiful beaches and bamboo huts.
It’s also possible to see and swim with bioluminescent plankton around this island, which is incredible.
Shopping at markets is one of my favourite holiday pastimes and there are plenty of opportunities for retail therapy in Cambodia.
The capital, Phnom Penh, has a number of excellent options including the Night Market, Kandal Market and the Central Market.
Here you will find clothes, food and artwork.
Even if you don’t want to buy anything, it’s a great experience to wander the narrow corridors and see locals enjoying their breakfast.
Don’t forget to haggle.
Kampot is a riverside town in the south of Cambodia.
It’s becoming a popular spot with travellers and lots of lovely riverside guesthouses are popping up.
The area is famous for the production of pepper and durian, a fruit that divides opinion and is so strong-smelling it’s banned from most public transport.
The Kampot pepper is considered some of the best in the world and you can visit a pepper plantation to see how it’s grown and sample the different varieties.
Cambodia’s recent history is shocking and the country is still recovering from the rule of the Khmer Rouge and the terrible genocide of the late 1970s.
There are a number of places to learn about this, including the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek just outside the city.
Though very upsetting, both are important places to visit to understand what happened.
Within Phnom Penh, there are some beautiful old colonial hotels that offer a glimpse of past life in Cambodia.
The former colonial resort town of Kep is located close to the Vietnamese border in the south of Cambodia.
Once a wealthy spot for the French elite, the town became a military stronghold during the rule of the Khmer Rouge and fell into disrepair.
Kep is slowly returning to its former glory, and luxury retreat Knai Bang Chatt has restored some of the old villas into beautiful hotel rooms in a stunning beachfront location.
The hub of Kep is the bustling crab market, a great place to try the regional speciality, Kep crab with Kampot pepper.
Cambodia has beaches to rival those in Thailand and the southern town of Sihanoukville has a number of lovely beaches, including the beautiful Otres beaches.
Some of the best can be found on the islands, and include Southwestern Beach on Koh Rong and Lazy Beach, Koh Rong Sanloem.
Cambodia has a huge range of accommodation, from small guesthouses to boutique hotels.
It’s excellent value and it’s possible to find double rooms with air con and hot water for less than £10 a night, often including breakfast.
In the south, there are lots of bamboo huts, both on the beach and riverside, which are perfect for a bit of relaxation.
If you’re staying in Phnom Penh it’s definitely worth choosing a hotel with a pool as it can be very hot; The Great Duke, is my personal favourite.
Cambodian cuisine is not as well-known as Thai and Vietnamese, but it’s equally delicious.
The country’s signature dish is fish amok, a curry made with coconut milk and served with rice.
Beef lok lak is another popular dish and, in the Kep and Kampot regions, crab served with pepper sauce is widely available.
Rice and noodles are common with most meals, and there is plenty of coconut.
For the more adventurous, some street-food vendors, and a couple of restaurants, that serve fried tarantulas, crickets and snakes.
Cambodian people are incredibly friendly and welcoming and seem determined to put the past behind them and look towards the future.
Whether at hotels and restaurants or just walking along the street, locals were keen to talk to us and tell us about their beautiful country.
Where to stay and how to get there
Rooms at the newly rebranded hotel, The Great Duke, Phnom Penh (previously Intercontinental Phnom Penh) start at £130 a night.
A superior room at Memoire Siem Reap is £47 a night.
Rooms at the stunning Knai Bang Chatt start from £145 a night
Qatar flies from London to Phnom Penh via Doha: £679 return
Main picture: Getty