Winter in Cambodia: a Hiker’s Paradise

The beauty of Asia is that no matter the time of year, visitors can find the perfect weather and climate for the type of adventure they want to find. As the world’s largest continent, Asia spans nearly 10% of the Earth’s surface. Whether it’s bundling up to explore snow and ice palaces in Japan, or sunbathing on a beach in the Philippines, the diverse climates of Asian countries offer variety and no end of outdoor activities to enjoy.

For visitors who love to be surrounded by the quiet calm of nature, Cambodia is the perfect place to hike and explore remote trails that are teeming with exotic wildlife and beautiful trees and flowers. As an added benefit, the winter months are cooler and driers in Cambodia-- ideal for hiking. There are several well-known hiking destinations in Cambodia. Here are two of the most popular.

Kulen Mountain

Through the protected Cambodian jungle of Phnom Kulen National Park lies one of the most beautiful hiking areas in the world. Kulen Mountain, near Siem Reap, is full of natural wonders that seem virtually untouched by man. Boasting lush forests, rare plants, and even caves full of sleeping bats, Kulen Mountain is also home to a stunning pagoda with a statue of Buddha at the top of a peak that offers 360 views of the landscape. Kulen Mountain is a sacred religious site in Cambodia and attracts visitors seeking a blessing from its waters, which are said to have special powers.

Another popular attraction for locals and tourists alike are the waterfalls at the top of Kulen Mountain where hikers can have a picnic or enjoy a nap in one of the provided hammocks or sun shelters. There are many guided and self-guided tours available for visitors to Kulen Mountain and trails for hikers of all experience levels.

Phnom Penh

The capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, was once known as the “Pearl of Asia.” For those seeking a less remote hiking experience, Phnom Penh offers walking tours of the architecture and rich history of the city. There are many different tours available, with focuses on art, architecture, and history. Guided tours are led by Phnom Penh locals, most of whom have a background in art or architecture, offering an expert view into the rich culture and history of the city. There are self-guided tours available as well, with guided commentary and GPS-enabled maps to guide those who prefer to explore independently.

There are many landmarks in Phnom Penh, including the Independence Monument, which commemorates Cambodia’s independence. Tourists can also take walking tours of the beautiful grounds of the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, a complex of Buddhist temples and the palace of the ex-king of Cambodia.

For historians, the National Museum provides a glimpse into ancient Cambodia, with over 5,000 artifacts from the Angkorian era on display. After a day of immersion in Cambodian culture, visitors will also enjoy shopping at one of Phnom Penh’s bustling open-air markets. Brimming with authentic culture, art galleries and restaurants of all kinds, Phnom Penh has something for everyone.

Whether it’s raw nature and remote exploration, or the rich history of urban architecture and development, there is something for everyone in Cambodia. As much of the world hides indoors for the cold, winter months, the temperate, dry, winter weather of Cambodia makes it an ideal Asian destination for hikers and walking tour enthusiasts from all over the world.

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