Small though it may be, this fascinating country has a long, intriguing history. Majestic temple complexes, archaeological wonders and laid-back beach towns await.

There is a reason that Cambodia has been used as the backdrop for so many blockbuster movies; its diverse landscape of plains, mountains and beaches makes for quite the spectacle. Explore ancient archaeological ruins, discover revitalized cities and relax on sandy beaches.

Known for its turbulent history under a number of different rules and regimes, Cambodia is now establishing itself as one of the most fascinating tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. Make friends with the welcoming locals and admire the dramatic coastline and mountain scenery.

Visit the famous Angkor Wat, an expansive temple complex and archaeological park in the northern province of Siem Reap. Inspect the Khmer architecture and monuments, some of which date back as early as the 9th century. Arrive in the morning to see the Banyan tree-shrouded Ta Prohm temple at its best.

Pay a guide to show you around the golden-spired Royal Palace , the residence of the Cambodian king, located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Ensure you are dressed modestly otherwise entry to the palace may be denied.

Learn more about Cambodia’s turbulent history under the Khmer Regime at the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, also known as the Killing Fields. Ride a shuttle bus from Phnom Penh to the sobering site, which was used as a torture and interrogation center between 1975 and 1979.

Around 9 miles (15 kilometers) outside of Battambang is Phnom Sampeou, a mountain with three natural caves. Visit in the early evening to witness thousands of bats streaming out of the caves and into the sky.

Phnom Penh International Airport is the main hub for domestic and international flights. Use buses to travel between Cambodia’s towns and cities, and consider renting a motorcycle to get out into the countryside and explore at your own pace.

Come to Cambodia during November to attend the country’s most prominent festival, the Water Festival or Bon Om Touk. Spanning 3 days, the festival includes a regatta, an illuminated floating procession and a moon salutation.

With its dramatic landscapes, friendly locals and sandy beaches, Cambodia is much more than just a historical playground.