Cambodia Diaries

Aditya Krishna
9 min readJan 12, 2023

Experience the beauty of ancient temples and the warmth of a culture rich in tradition in Cambodia.

Cambodia is a country that is rich in culture and history, making it a fascinating destination for travelers. The country is home to the famous Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most visited tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. This ancient temple complex is a must-see for any traveler, as it offers a glimpse into the country’s rich history and culture.

As you explore the temple complex, you’ll be amazed by the intricate carvings and impressive architecture. The main temple, Angkor Wat, is the largest religious monument in the world and is surrounded by a moat and walls that are over a mile long. You’ll also find other temples within the complex, such as Bayon and Ta Prohm, that are equally as impressive. The best time to visit Angkor Wat is at sunrise or sunset when the light is just right and the temples are less crowded.

Ta Prohm Temple
Bayon Temple
Bayon Temple

In addition to Angkor Wat, visitors can also explore the bustling capital city of Phnom Penh. This city is a great place to learn more about Cambodia’s recent history and culture. You can visit the Royal Palace, the National Museum, and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, which tells the story of the Khmer Rouge regime. Phnom Penh is also a great place to experience the local food, as there are many street food vendors and local restaurants that offer delicious Cambodian cuisine.

If you’re looking for a more rural experience, you can visit one of the many villages around the country. These villages offer a glimpse into traditional Cambodian life, and you can see how the locals live, work, and play. You can also take a cooking class or a bike tour through the countryside to experience the local culture firsthand.

Cambodia is also home to some beautiful beaches, such as Koh Rong and Sihanoukville. If you’re looking for a more relaxing vacation, these beaches offer a great place to soak up the sun and enjoy the clear waters of the Gulf of Thailand.

Overall, Cambodia is a country that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history and culture, or just looking for a relaxing beach vacation, Cambodia has it all. With its friendly people, delicious food, and stunning scenery, it’s a must-visit destination for any traveler.

What I liked about Cambodia?

  • Angkor Wat: This ancient temple complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most visited tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. The main temple, Angkor Wat, is the largest religious monument in the world and is surrounded by a moat and walls that are over a mile long. The complex offers a glimpse into the country’s rich history and culture, and it’s a must-see for any traveler visiting Cambodia.
  • Friendly people: Cambodians are known for being friendly and welcoming to visitors. This makes it easy for travelers to experience the local culture and meet new people.
  • Delicious food: Cambodian cuisine is a blend of flavors from neighboring countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and China. Visitors can enjoy a variety of dishes such as Amok, a traditional fish curry, and Lok lak, a stir-fry dish made of beef or pork.
  • Stunning landscapes: Cambodia offers a variety of landscapes, from lush rainforests and rice paddies to sandy beaches and rugged mountains. Visitors can explore these landscapes on a hike, bike ride, or boat trip.
  • Cultural heritage: Cambodia has a long and complex history, and its culture is heavily influenced by the ancient Khmer Empire. Visitors can learn about this history and culture by visiting the temples and monuments, such as Angkor Wat, as well as the museums and cultural centers in Phnom Penh and other cities.
  • Relaxing beaches: Cambodia is home to some beautiful beaches, such as Koh Rong and Sihanoukville, which offer a great place to soak up the sun and enjoy the clear waters of the Gulf of Thailand.
  • Night Market: Night markets in Cambodia are a popular destination for both locals and tourists. They typically feature a wide variety of goods, including clothing, accessories, souvenirs, and local food. The atmosphere is usually lively and colorful, with vendors selling their wares from makeshift stalls and street vendors cooking up delicious local specialties. Night markets in Cambodia are a great place to find unique, handmade items and to experience the local culture.

How to travel to Cambodia from India?

Traveling to Cambodia from India is relatively easy and straightforward. Here are some steps you can take to plan your trip:

  1. Check visa requirements:
    Indian citizens are required to have a visa to enter Cambodia. You can apply for a visa online or in person at the Cambodian embassy in India. The visa is valid for 30 days and can be extended for an additional 30 days if needed.
  2. Book your flight:
    There are several airlines that operate flights between India and Cambodia, including Air India, IndiGo, and SpiceJet. You can book your flight online or through a travel agency.
  3. Plan your itinerary:
    Cambodia has many interesting places to visit, including the ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat, the capital city of Phnom Penh, and the picturesque beaches on the Cambodian coast. Plan your itinerary in advance to make the most of your trip.
  4. Pack appropriately:
    The weather in Cambodia can be hot and humid, so pack lightweight clothing and comfortable shoes. Remember to bring sunscreen and a hat as well.
  5. Get travel insurance:
    It is always a good idea to have travel insurance when traveling abroad, in case of any unexpected events or accidents.
  6. Currency:
    Cambodia’s official currency is the Cambodian Riel (KHR) but US dollar is widely accepted. Make sure to exchange some money or withdraw from an ATM upon arrival.
  7. Transportation:
    Cambodia has an efficient public transportation system, including buses and tuk-tuks. You can also rent a bicycle or motorbike to explore the country.

Buddhism and Cambodia

Buddhism has played a significant role in the culture and history of Cambodia for many centuries. The religion was introduced to the region during the 5th century and quickly became the dominant religion. Today, Buddhism is still widely practiced in Cambodia, and it is estimated that more than 90% of the population is Buddhist.

Buddhism in Cambodia is Theravada Buddhism, which is characterized by its emphasis on monasticism and the study of the teachings of the Buddha. Monks are highly respected in Cambodian society and play an important role in the community, providing spiritual guidance and teaching. The Cambodian Buddhist tradition also incorporates elements of animism and ancestor worship, which are often integrated into religious practices.

Buddhism in Cambodia has also been affected by the country’s recent history, with many temples and monasteries being destroyed during the Khmer Rouge regime. Despite this, Buddhism remains an important part of Cambodian culture and continues to be widely practiced today.

What is the connection between India and Cambodia?

India and Cambodia have a long-standing historical and cultural connection.

  • Historical Connection:
    From the 1st century AD to the 6th century AD, the Funan kingdom was a maritime trading empire that controlled much of present-day Cambodia, southern Vietnam, and parts of southern China. The Funan kingdom was heavily influenced by Indian culture, as evidenced by the many Indian artifacts and inscriptions found in the region.
  • Religious Connection:
    Indian culture and religion had a significant influence on Cambodia, especially during the time of the Khmer Empire, which existed from the 9th century to the 15th century. Many Khmer kings built Hindu and Buddhist temples and monuments, with the most famous being Angkor Wat.
  • Diplomatic Connection:
    India and Cambodia established diplomatic relations in 1950, after Cambodia gained independence from France. India has supported Cambodia’s reconstruction and development efforts, and the two countries have cooperated in the areas of trade, education, and culture.
  • Tourism:
    India is one of the major source markets for Cambodia’s tourism industry, and many Indian tourists visit Cambodia to see the ancient temples, including Angkor Wat, and experience the culture and hospitality of the Cambodian people.

Connection between Cholas and Cambodia

The Chola dynasty was a powerful South Indian dynasty that existed from the 9th to the 13th century AD. The Cholas had a significant connection with Cambodia through trade and cultural exchange.

  • Trade:
    The Cholas were known for their powerful navy and controlled the maritime trade routes in the Bay of Bengal. They established trade relations with Southeast Asian kingdoms, including Cambodia, and traded goods such as textiles, spices, and metals.
  • Cultural exchange:
    The Cholas sent Brahmin priests to Cambodia to spread Hinduism, and this helped establish a strong cultural connection between the two regions. The Cholas also built many Hindu temples in Cambodia and Southeast Asia.
  • Influence in architecture:
    The Cholas were known for their architectural achievements, particularly in building temples and monuments. The Chola style of architecture had a significant influence on the architecture of Angkor Wat and other temples in Cambodia.
  • Political Ties:
    Chola kings sent embassies to the Khmer court and established diplomatic relations. The Cholas and the Khmer Empire had a long-standing relationship and shared cultural and religious ties.

The Cholas and Cambodia had a strong connection through trade, cultural exchange, and political ties. The Chola influence can be seen in Cambodia’s ancient architecture and religious practices, which continue to be an important part of Cambodia’s culture and heritage today.



Aditya Krishna

Exploring the world through art and design. Always on the hunt for new inspiration and adventures.