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 in peace and harmony.
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.
Angkor Wat. Everyone should visit what remains of one of Asia's biggest empires at least once in his life, although you can explore it ten times and always see something new and exciting.
Phnom Penh. Cambodia is worth much more time than a quick trip to Angkor Wat. You will be pleasantly surprised if you visit Cambodia's capital, which is practically a living museum of French Colonial architecture, colorful temples, fun nightlife, shopping, and the mighty Mekong River.
In Between. 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 Traveledand 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.
Sihanoukvillehas 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."
The Great Eastern Circletakes you to the Cambodia's northeast, visiting Mondul Kiri and Renatakiri. A little hiking is involved but you will be rewarded with a vast landscape of spectacular natural beauty, ethnic minority villages, waterfalls and elephants. This region gets very few visitors, so you probably will not see a tour bus anywhere.
When to Go
Cambodia is an all-year destination with a climate similar to Thailand. "Winter" is October through February, "Summer is March through June, and "Green Season" is July through September, more or less. Prices are higher in winter, and lowest in green season. It's "green" because you can expect rain about every other day for half an hour or so, usually in late afternoon. Rain clears the air and helps temperatures to drop. And, as we say, "no rain, no rice."
The countryside is especially gorgeous during green season (July through October) when rains paint the landscape in electric greens. Oxen plowing rice paddies, haystacks straight from a Monet painting, charming wooden houses on stilts, motorcycles stacked sky-high with wicker baskets, children chasing chickens or swimming in ponds of blooming lotus--just some of the unforgettable sights in a rural Cambodia little changed from the days when god-Kings ruled its endless horizons.
Gay Life in Cambodia
The percentage of Cambodians who self-identify 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. Many 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. LGBTQ 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 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 that produces annual Pride events.
Planning Your Holiday
Purple 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 roadbetween Siem Reap and Phnom Penh that reveals the Cambodia that most visitors never see--all with Purple Dragon's legendary private guides. Just choose a destination and arrive any day,
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 & Visas
A 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 are a Member of Club Sanook, our private travel club, you can learn more about Cambodia from stories published in our Member Newsletter.
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Gay Cambodia Travel is Full of Surprises!
There is more to Cambodia than Angkor Watand Phnom Penh. We have so much to show you in one of Asia's most fascinating, culturally unique places in Asia. We can take you to every corner of the Kingdom.
Picture yourself in Angkor Wat
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 LGBTQ travelers, including the must-see wonder of Asia, Angkor Wat.
Purple Dragon pioneered gay travel to Cambodia, but everyone is welcome on our tours!