Getting Off That Darned Beaten Path In Cambodia

Thursday, July 14, 2011

With prices dropping in the fall and the rainy season letting up in November, now is the time of year travelers start booking those trips to Southeast Asia. And just in time for pre-trip planning, Lonely Planet and CNN both came out with articles on getting off the proverbial beaten path in Cambodia.

Lonely Planet notes that most travelers to the country have one thing in mind: Angkor Wat — and with good reason. But after a few days spent wandering this wonder of the world, LP suggests trekking northwest toward the Thai border to Koh Kong Province, “an area of breathtaking beauty and incredible biodiversity that was almost inaccessible until the completion of Highway 48 just three years ago.”

Here you can explore Cambodia’s budding ecotourism, including the tourist-free beaches of Koh Kong Island, or Chi Pat, a small village with no electricity or running water, but instead chock full of mountain biking and hiking options in some of the country’s best mountains, the Cardamom Mountains.

CNN notes points out that the temples in Cambodia stretch far beyond the confines of Angkor. Outside of Battambang you will find Ek Phnom, a collection of ruins that makes up for its smaller size compared to Angkor by offering far fewer crowds.

Then to the north of the country, near Thailand, is the World Heritage Site, Preah Vihear. A Khmer-era temple, Preah Vihear has the distinction of only technically belonging to Cambodia since 1962 when the ICJ ruled against Thailand in a bitter border dispute. Kind of like the Machu Picchu of Cambodia, Preah Vihear is situated on a steep cliff, and runs in a north-south axis along the top for 2,600 feet.

Now, the trick is to find your way back to that beaten path: chances are it leads to your airport.

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