From unusual celebrations of art to ethical elephant encounters, these are our top five reasons to visit Cambodia in 2019.
1. Immerse yourself in art
Art Box is a trick art museum in Siem Reap that allows visitors to become part of the art they’re visiting. It’s a place where world heritage sites from across the world are depicted – and visitors can take realistic pictures, making it look as if they were actually visiting these sites. So visiting Cambodia in 2019 makes it look like you’ve also embarked on a round-the-world-tour when you show your friends and family your photos!
2. Ethical elephant encounters
There aren’t many places left in the world where you can visit elephants in an ethical way that doesn’t cause harm to them as a species. However, a project in Cambodia’s Mondulkiri region is one place where it is possible to meet elephants in an ethical way. The Elephant Valley Project works with rescued elephants who were previously held captive, and gives them a new lease of life by allowing them to roam the project’s grounds. Paying a visit here therefore helps rather than hinders elephant conservation efforts.
3. Cambodian Living Arts
The art and cultural scene in Cambodia is growing from strength to strength, and the Cambodian Living Arts organisation is central to this in the country. The organisation was set up 20 years ago by a genocide survivor and musician, to protect Cambodian performing arts that were at risk of dying out. The organisation’s calendar of events for 2019 ranges from dance shows to cultural activities – it’s a movement well worth supporting.
4. Celebrate the river
2019 will see the inland region of Kampong Chhnang host Cambodia’s River Festival over three days in March. This is a festival that will see vibrant river races and water activities come to town. There will also be a number of other festivities that celebrate local culture and nature, including Khmer craft markets and tree-planting ceremonies.
5. New island paradise
Sihanoukville is a coastal resort that has long been a favoured holiday destination of Cambodian locals and international visitors alike. 2019 will see two brand new hotel openings on private islands off the Sihanoukville coastline. Six Senses will open a villa hotel on Krabey Island, with a spa, multiple restaurants and an amazing sky observatory. Alila Villas will be opening up on the island of Koh Russey too, offering privacy and tranquillity from one, two, three and four bedroom villas.