The Kingdom of Cambodia is often remembered as a place of war and genocide. Cambodia has taught us how a people, a culture and a nation can survive unbelievable atrocities and eventually thrive.
Why visit Cambodia? Because it is home to one of Asia's oldest cultures and most important historic places. No matter where you visit, the scenery is spectacular and mostly unspoiled. Khmer people everywhere are genuinely friendly. English is widely spoken. The weather is tropical year 'round and the country is probably safer than your own home town. Everyone should visit Angkor Wat at least once in his life, altough you can explore it ten times and always see something new and exciting.
Cambodia is worth much more time than a quick trip to Angkor Wat. You will be pleasantly surprised if you visit Phnom Penh, which is practically a living museum of French Colonial architecture, colorful temples, fun nightlife, shopping, and the mighty Mekong River.
You can fly between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh in 40 minutes or drive in about six hours. But for an up-close look at the real Cambodia most visitors do not see, take the Road Less Traveled and see some of the country's most spectacular, yet lesser-visited treasures with on an overnight trip that includes crafts villages, the pre-Angkor city of Sambor Prey Kuk, the "temple within a temple" at Kampong Cham, an overnight stay in a lovely small hotel with lush gardens and a pool in Kampong Tom.
Sihanoukville has been called the "Puerto Vallarta of fifty years ago." There are three magnificent beaches and several good hotels, including a world-class resort.
The sleepy town of Kep Sur Mer ("Kep by the sea", near the Vietnamese border, and nearby Bokor National Park, are among the most fascinating places you may ever visit. In addition to a completely unspoiled forest you can see Cambodia's "twentieth century ruins."
Getting ThereBoth Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have international airports with daily flights from Bangkok, Hanoi, Saigon, Hong Kong, Vientiane and Taipei. You can also travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap by road. Door-to door, the trip takes about one hour less than driving to the airport, spending two hours waiting for your flight, making the trip by air, dealing with cutoms and immigration, waiiting for baggage and driving to your hotel. The cost is a bit lower for one person, and significantly lower for two. You can also travel by luxury cruise from Saigon! Two magnificent ships make this epic voyage in eight days via the Southern Mekong and Tonle Sap with stops in places most tourists never visit.
Optional Side TripsHave extra time to spend in Cambodia? You may add one of our optional side trips, which include a private gay guide.
WeatherThere is no bad time to visit Cambodia. August through October are the "green season" when brief daily showers keep things cool and fresh. (As Cambodians say, "No rain, no rice.") The coolest, driest season is November through February. Prices are generally higher during this peak visitor season. The warmest months are March through May.
Gay Life in CambodiaThe percentage of Cambodians who identify themselves as gay or lesbian is probably just about the same as it is in the rest of the world. Unlike in other countries, "gay" is not a lifestyle in Cambodia, although that is changing. Gay men still marry and have children because of cultural tradition and because they want someone to take care of them when they are old. LGBT visitors feel comfortable in Cambodia because most people are non-judgmental Buddhists, to whom someone else's private life is of little interest.
Cambodia's best gay nightlife is in Phnom Penh, where there are six gay bars (including one that attracts drag queens) the last time we counted. There are also several large discos that attract a very large gay clientele. Siem Reap is far quieter. Nightspots there are very mixed. Local gays in Siem Reap enjoy two after-hours places that are off the tourist radar, and appear to account for as much as a third of the clientele.
Cambodia has a small but very active pride organization located in Phnom Penh.
More information about gay life in Cambodia appears in the "before you go" information we provide customers about to travel with us to Cambodia.
Planning Your HolidayPurple Dragon offers five all-inclusive travel programs in Angkor Wat, and one each in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Kep/Bokor National Park, and an overnight trip by road between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh that reveals the Cambodia that most visitors never see--all with Purple Dragon's legendary private guides.
Creating the the perfect adventure could not be easier! Our programs are all modular. Choose a destination and arrive any day. Some of our destinations are off the beaten track. Add any extra nights or optional sightseeing you like and your trip is tailor-made to suit your own schedule, tastes and budget. Your private tour includes personal guides, so you'll never be herded around on a bus with 40 strangers. Although we have already chosen the optimum amount of time to visit each place you can extend your stay in any of our destinations.
Before your trip we will give you extensive "Before You Go" information that includes tips about packing, weather, money, shopping, food, travel practicalities and local culture that will help you enjoy a worry-free holiday.
Passports & VisasA visa is required for citizens of most countries. Visas are issued on arrival, although you can also get one in advance. for more information read our Visas page. If you plan to fly from Bangkok and get your visa on arrial, we can share our little secret about how to get to the front of the queue.
What We DoPurple Dragon is Asia's oldest, largest and most respected tour operator specializing in programs for discerning LGBT travelers. All of our tours are private and include private transportation and one of our legendary private guides. We do not offer group tours. The big advantage to a private tour is, of course, that you do not have to put up with other people or compromise your own schedule or activities to suit others in a group. You can spend a bit more time at places that really matter to you, avoid places that do not, and go at your own pace. We use gay-owned or LGBT-friendly hotels wherever possible and show our guests the Siem Reap gay nightlife and Phnom Penh gay nightlife. You do not have to be gay to enjoy one of our all-inclusive tour packages. A growing number of mainstream guests travel with Purple dragon because they know they will get something better from a gay company.
If you are a Member of Club Sanook, our private travel club, you can learn more about Cambodia from stories published in our Member Newsletter.
"I wanted to let you know how pleased I was with my Cambodia tour. Everything went smoothly and as advertised: pick-ups and drop-offs at airports, hotels, guides, cars. My personal guides--Chet in Phnom Penh and Khoun in Siem Reap--were knowledgeable and fun to be with, flexible, and took good care of me. My regret is that I didn't add a day to the itinerary in Siem Reap, where there is so much more to see and to experience. I've never arranged a tour before, but I'm glad I did. Cambodia's not easy, even for an experienced traveler. Thanks for making my introduction an enjoyable on." -- Bruce G.
An ancient empire rediscovered. Long forgotten by the world and closed for decades by political strife, Cambodia has risen and has become one of the region's most compelling gay vacation destinations for savvy LGBT travelers, including the must-see wonder of Asia, Angkor Wat. Purple Dragon pioneered LGBT travel in Asia.