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We were delighted to receive honeymoon inspiration from Pettitts, a specialist tour operator with 30 years experience offering tailor-made holidays and honeymoons. The experienced team at Pettitts are true travel experts with genuine first-hand knowledge of each destination, enabling them to design unforgettable and authentic travel experiences. Today, we are talking Cambodia.
Your honeymoon isn’t just another holiday – it’s an event with memories that should be treasured for a lifetime of happiness. A honeymoon can be made even more memorable by truly experiencing a destination by marching off the beaten path, getting to know the locals and sharing unforgettable cultural experiences with your new spouse.
Cambodia is growing ever more popular as a honeymoon destination, and for good reason. The nation boasts everything from white sandy beaches to humming nightlife and exotic cuisine. But much of the country isn’t touched by typical tourism, leaving endless hidden gems to be discovered by adventurous honeymooners. The bonus: you don’t have to skimp on luxury when venturing off the beaten path in Cambodia. This is ideal for newlyweds – because who really wants to rough it on their honeymoon?
If you’re thinking of honeymooning in Cambodia, read on for some tips on the country’s hidden gems.
Kep may not be one of Cambodia’s hot spots, but it’s no stranger to luxury. Back in the early 20th century, this charming little coastal settlement was the favourite holiday spot amongst the Cambodian and French aristocracy. The area’s popularity fell under the Khmer Rouge, remaining under the radar. Because of this, while the area is still well known, it’s rather undeveloped and known for its slow pace, vibrant sunsets and sumptuous style.
Kep is an ideal destination for honeymooners keen to get away from the hectic tourist track, and the area offers delectable seafood, particularly well-known for fresh crab. Traveller tip: if you’re eager to spend a few luxurious days in Kep, check out the breath-taking Knai Bang Chatt hotel.
Not far from Kep is the tranquil riverside town of Kampot, where honeymooners can take in crumbling colonial architecture and beautiful views of the Preaek Tuek Chhu River. Visit one of the area’s pepper plantations, where, thanks to perfect climate and soil combinations, the world’s best pepper is grown. Kampot makes a perfect base for nearby day trips, as there are lush jungles and ancient temples in every direction.
Bokor National Park is just a short trip away from Kampot, allowing perfect climate, trails and waterfalls for captivating hikes and glimpses of wildlife. Or, if you’re heading up to Phom Penh, stop off along the way at Phnom Chiso, the site of an ancient Khmer Brahmanic temple. Built by King Suryavarman I in the 11th century, the mythical ruins tell the tale of a glittering era of days gone by. The temple’s hilltop location, and resulting sights of the surrounding countryside are well worth the visit.
Preah Ko, Roluos Group Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
This may be Cambodia’s second largest city, but in reality, it feels like a quiet regional town. Battambang offers a taste of true Cambodian life, far from the overwhelming experience some experience in Phnom Penh. The city is also home to a large expat population, which adds to the already friendly and welcoming atmosphere, along with excellent restaurants and bars.
The area’s quirkiest attraction is the bamboo train. The majority of Cambodia’s railway system lies in ruin, but for a stretch of just over 4 miles, visitors can take part in this short alternative joyride. Industrious locals build flat bamboo bases with simple axles powered by small engines to transport goods, people and animals along the abandoned railways. Whizzing along an overgrown track, bordered on either side by lush vegetation, open fields, and livestock, the bamboo trains offer a unique way to experience rural Cambodia and interact with the locals, making for an unforgettable honeymoon memory.
Somewhere between Laos and Phnom Penh, you’ll find the nondescript little port town of Kratie along the Mekong River. The town itself doesn’t hold a great deal to offer visitors, but it’s the best place to spot one of Southeast Asia’s rarest animals. The Irrawaddy dolphin is an unusual looking species, living in the briny waters near coasts and estuaries. Combine the sight of this friendly dolphin with a famous Kratie sunset, and you’ve got a true experience to remember.
This holy mountain is the site of the ancient Khmer city Mahendrapavarta, not far from the world’s largest religious monument, Angkor Wat. Phnom Kulen is the location of roughly 30 Angkorian temples and other archaeological remains, and while knowledge of Mahendrapavarta’s existence had been rumoured for decades, it was only unearthed in 2012. Famed as a lost city, it’s thought to have been part of one of South East Asia’s largest ancient cities and thriving civilisations.
While Phnom Kulen is certainly off the beaten path, it’s a popular pilgrimage and festival site for locals, so there’s never a shortage of sights and experiences on offer, adding the chance of glimpsing something unusual to make your honeymoon that much more special.
It wouldn’t be accurate to describe Angkor Wat as a hidden gem. That being said, any visitor to Cambodia, no matter what type of experience they’re looking for, simply must visit Angkor Wat. This vast complex is the largest religious monument ever built in the world, and is truly a sight to behold.
However, the Roluos Temples are less well known and located a few miles away from the main Angkor complex. The temples were once part of Roluos, which was the capital of the Khmer Kingdom during the 9th century. With their well-preserved millennia-old monuments, adorned with detailed human figures and guardian spirits, a few hours at Roluos is an excellent way to finish off a day spent at Angkor Wat. More information about some of Cambodia’s lesser known ancient and fascinating ruins can be found here.
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