Sandwiched between Thailand and Vietnam on the southern end of the Indochina Peninsula, Cambodia doesn’t get the same international recognition as its neighbors. Even so, there are fantastic opportunities to see the real heart of a nation and its people; if you’re tired of the tourist-packed locales in Thailand or Bali, Cambodia is well worth your attention. Below, four of The Luxury Travel Agency’s top reasons to visit:

1) Angkor Wat. If you don’t know anything else about Cambodia, it’s likely you’ve heard of this building – or at least, recognize its picture. Angkor Wat is the world’s largest religious monument, a temple complex whose grounds stretch over 400 acres. Built in the 12th Century as a central point in the ancient city of Angkor (which, at the time, was the largest urban center in the world), the temple is Cambodia’s primary attraction for tourists and even features on the nation’s flag. As jaw-dropping as Angkor Wat is, it’s only one of over 70 ancient structures scattered across the area, many of which are just as worth seeing. Fly into Siem Reap, the country’s second-largest city, and stay a few nights in order to explore it all.

2) Untouched Beaches. Along Cambodia’s southern coast, near Sihanoukville, lie stretches of beach as nice as anything you’d find in Thailand – and with almost no one on them. The main reason is development; the region has simply not seen the investment that its neighbors have (although this is quickly changing). However, there are still gems to enjoy for non-backpackers. The Luxury Travel Agency partners with Song Saa Private Island, a five-star resort just off the coast. Sense of place is the key here; gorgeous over-water pool villas are crafted from local materials, and guests can kayak through the mangroves before returning to a blessing ceremony from local monks. If you’re after a really unique getaway, it’s hard to top this destination!

3) Cardamom Mountains. Covering swaths of Cambodia’s southwest, the Cardamom Mountains are one of Southeast Asia’s last great jungles. The biodiversity here is outstanding. Asian elephants, clouded leopards, Irrawaddy dolphins, and tree-swinging gibbons are just a few of the forest’s inhabitants. If you’re an animal lover, a visit is a must! We partner with the few five-star options in the area, including Shinta Mani Wild, which will have you feeling like a royal explorer in no time!

4) The Killing Fields. Unlike the other entries on this list, you will not have fun at The Killing Fields; but in order to understand anything about Cambodia’s recent history, visiting is a must. Between 1975 and 1979, the Khmer Rouge regime carried out a genocide on its citizens; nearly two million were killed, almost a quarter of the entire country’s population. These killings took place at sites around the nation – the most-visited nowadays is at Choeung Ek, where visitors see victim’s skulls stacked in glass cases and can listen to audio tours told by survivors as they navigate the grounds. While far from a pleasant experience, it is certainly an important one, and no visitor to Cambodia should leave without an understanding of what its citizens have gone through. And despite all this, you may never meet more helpful people than Cambodians in all your days.

Talk with The Luxury Travel Agency today about your chance to explore this unique and beautiful country!