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  • Top 5 natural wonders in Cambodia

    photo by Michael Cory

    As far as countries and luck go, Cambodia has been pretty much drawing the short stick for at least a couple of centuries. The mighty Khmer Empire has been ravaged by invaders, then the French took it over in the 19th century, and then civil war gave way to the reign of terror of the Khmer Rouge, which left some deep scars that still haven’t completely healed yet.

    However, there is something magical about Cambodia, and this magic doesn’t stop at its many temples or vibrant cities. Cambodia is a place of unique natural beauty that has remained untainted throughout the centuries. No visit to Cambodia is complete without exploring a bit of its nature as well as culture, so here are our picks for the top 5 natural wonders in Cambodia.

    Tonle Sap Lake

    Tonle Lake, photo by Anandajoti on Flickr

    Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Cambodia, protected by Unesco due to the lake’s unique flora and fauna. Tonle Sap is a very interesting place for animal lovers, although you won’t see too many cuddly or fluffy critters here – the faun runs more along the lines of giant catfish (some of 300 kg), crocodiles (there’s a flourishing crocodile farming industry around the lake), and turtles.

    The lake is also home to many floating villages which move around depending on the rise and fall of the water levels.

    Waterfalls near Banlung

    Some of the most impressive waterfalls in Cambodia are located around Banlung, and actually the best time to visit them is during the infamous rainy season, when the volume of the water swells considerably. Cha Ong is the tallest waterfall (18 meters), while Kan Chang is somewhat smaller but it empties into a clear pool where you can stop for a swim.

    Virachey National Park

    Virachey National Park is a place so wild and undisturbed that it hasn’t even been completely explored yet, and some parts of the park are quite difficult to access. Exploring the park on your own can be difficult to arrange, but the Cambodian Ministry of the Environment offers guided tours of the park lead by rangers.

    The beaches of Sihanoukville

    Sihanoukville is known as a popular beach town which is still picking up the pieces after some rather unfortunate historical events. While the town is pleasant enough, the beaches are what make this place so attractive to backpackers and adventurers.

    The beaches of Sihanoukville are some of the most beautiful in Cambodia, if a little crowded. But the most beautiful beaches can be found not on the mainland, but on the handful of pristine islands around Sihanoukville, which you can visit by ferry.

    Kampot mangroves

    photo by Eustaquio Santimano

    The magical mangrove forests around Kampot are somewhat eclipsed by the nearby Phnom Chhnork caves and their temples, but if you are in the area it would be a pity not to take a long-tail boat ride through the mangrove.

    The coastal mangrove is a magical place where you can get up close and personal with many of the most fascinating plant and animal species in Cambodia.

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