Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and recently Japan—these are the countries favored by Filipinos when in need of a quick getaway outside the Philippines, but within Asia. Airfare is more affordable (hello, promo fares!) because it only takes roughly two to four hours to get to these nearby destinations, and good food and shopping are also guaranteed. But have you ever thought of adding Cambodia to your travel bucket list?
If you don’t mind the intense heat (for someone who lives in the Philippines, this should be a non-issue), then we suggest you book a trip to Siem Reap. Below are a few reasons why it’s a great idea.
1. It’s a visa-free country
The majestic Angkor Wat.
There’s no need to apply for a visa to visit this nation so that’s one less hassle down. The best part is that plane tickets can go as low as P7,000 for roundtrip fare. You just need to hone those seat sale stake out skills of yours and book that trip, fast.
2. Food is good
It doesn't look like much, but this was the best pho I've tasted in my life.
If you love strong Asian flavors and can appreciate good coconut milk, as well as various curry dishes, and happy pizzas (they have so many flavors to choose from just like in Italy; they even have banana- flavored ones), you will love Cambodia. Every corner of this country is filled with dining spots that boast of fresh flavors. Don’t be afraid to try the crepes you can buy on the streets, the pho from some random corner eatery (the best bowl I’ve ever tried in my entire life was from a random kiosk near my hotel), and even some fried spiders if you’re daring enough. Food trip is never complete without street food, remember that.
3. You don’t need a lot of pocket money.
You live on a budget of just P20,000 for your airfare, lodging, food, and tours, and you will be fine! Seriously, everything in Cambodia is so affordable, you’ll even be able to shop for spices and some locally embroidered purses with the same budget.
4. There’s so much to do.
Aside from the Angkor Wat (go there before sunrise!), there are so many temples you can visit, you need more than two days to appreciate them all. They’re exactly as beautiful as they are in movies, mind you. But when you’ve had your fill of wondrous architecture, you can explore the city on a bike, visit museums, get a Cambodian massage (go to Bodia), and then party all night in Pub Street. Yes, even the drinks are affordable, too!
5. The people are friendly.
The tour guides can take some mean OOTD shots, too!
Cambodians are really kind to tourists. Like us, they are also a smiley, friendly bunch who can speak English—meaning communication won’t be a problem. Befriend your tour guide because he can do so much more than just share their history with you.
All directions point to the fact that Cambodia is a good idea. Go for it!
Images from Yayay de Castro, Jae Pickrell, @chicavillarta on Instagram, and Benjwan Sittidech, Denise K. Johnson, and Corbis Documentary’s Nik Wheeler for Getty