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All You Need To Know About Cambodia In 10 Books

Cambodia is a little known paradise with a dark history. Learn more about it with these incredible books and stories

These are your 10 must read books you’ve got to read before making your way to this little known country in South East Asia. Its sometimes rather dark history will put a certain perspective on your trip, while the key foods and destinations to visit will let you relax in South East Asian style.
Now, whether you’re actually going on a trip to Cambodia or just fantasizing about the future, these books are definitely worth a read.

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#1 First They Killed My Father by Luong Ung

First They Killed My Father by Luong Ung
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Hannah Dixon from Digital Nomad Kit.

This may not be the easiest book to read, but this harrowing personal account of a young girl growing up during the Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia gives a unique perspective on this tragic time in recent history. Simply put, this is a must read for anyone looking to understand the incredible and complex country that is Cambodia today.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#2 Survival in the Killing Fields by Haing S. Ngor

Survival in the Killing Fields by Haing S. Ngor
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Laura Peters from Mike & Laura Travel.

Survival in the Killing Fields is a true account of a young man living in Cambodia during the Pol Pot regime. Reading about his desperate struggles in war-time is eye-opening. It is vital to truly understand what happened to the people of Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge genocide before visiting this country. Haing S. Ngor’s story will bring you back to the years of brutality and help you comprehend the catastrophic carnage that rampaged Cambodia.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#3 Pol Pot by Philip Short

Pol Pot by Philip Short
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Silke Wolf from Local Insiders.

A great read that I couldn’t put down. In my opinion, a must read for anyone who wants to get a better grasp of Cambodia’s (Red Khmer) history.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#4 Cambodia’s Curse by Joel Brinkley

Cambodia's Curse by Joel Brinkley
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Will Hatton from Hotel Jules.

I could not put this book down and read it in one day . Brinkley’s prose is super readable and his arguments balanced and reasonable. There are relevant examples to prove his statement s and his compassion and sympathy for Cambodia’s repressed citizens is palpable.

The history of Cambodia is complicated and I felt as a reader this book gave an unbiased record. This book can be a very sad read at times but it is essential reading to get the full scope of Cambodia’s history.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#5 Leap & Hop Cambodia by Isabelle Demenge

Leap & Hop Cambodia by Isabelle Demenge
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Isabelle Demenge from Leap & Hop, Limited.

The book’s purpose is to help children het engaged in a cultural trip that’s generally catered to adults.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#6 Lucky Child by Loung Ung

Lucky Child by Loung Ung
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Tara Caguiat from She Needs Less.

I bought this book at a book store in Siem Reap and it taught me so much about Cambodian history, culture and of course, the horrific genocide under the Khmer Rouge. This book will cause anyone to feel tied to Cambodia by hearing Loung’s story and struggles of living under the Khmer Rouge then immigrating to the US. It also is especially relevant for helping people to understand the kind of challenges war victims and immigrants face.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#7 Destination Cambodia by Walter Mason

Destination Cambodia by Walter Mason
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Elisse Jo Goldstein-Clark from Elkhorn Inn & Theatre.

He is knowledgeable about Cambodia, and obviously loves the place and her people, and the book is fun to read, as well- it makes you want to get on a plane and go to Cambodia! (He also wrote Destination Saigon: Adventures in Vietnam, which I enjoyed very much as well. My chef husband and I have spent much time in Vietnam, and we’ve found Mr. Mason’s books to be well worth reading).

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#8 Lonely Planet Cambodia

Lonely Planet Cambodia
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Torben Lonne from DIVE.in.

I would have to go with Lonely Planet Cambodia as an essential book for anyone looking to explore this magical country and the home of the iconic Angkor Wat. In fact, one of the highlights of the book is the illustrations and maps of the Angkorian temples. In typical Lonely Planet fashion, the book also covers the more hip parts of Cambodia such as popular bars and nightclubs in Phnom Penh.

Overall a great guide for anyone who is interested in exploring Cambodia, a small country that is usually overshadowed by its more popular neighbor Thailand. Lonely Planet offers a hands-on guide, filled with insider tips that will help you immerse yourself in the culture of this fascinating country on the other side of the world.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#9 The Road of Lost Innocence By Somaly Mam

The Road of Lost Innocence By Somaly Mam
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Alissa Bell from Exploring Wild.

This is a challenging but extremely eye-opening memoir by a woman who escaped the brutal grip of Cambodia’s sex trade, and now advocates for the girls and women still trapped. Her astounding strength will carry you through a dark story that needs to be brought to light.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#10 The Girl Who Said Goodbye By Heather Allen

The Girl Who Said Goodbye By Heather Allen
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Melanie Musson from CarInsurance101.

This book exposes its readers to the horrors of Khmer Rouge through the story of a young girl and her family caught in the middle. Their will to survive and their strength to continue brings the events of that regime to life and makes it feel personal and real to the reader. It is compellingly written and the reader will have a hard time putting the book down.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Contributors to this article
Hannah Dixon from Digital Nomad Kit

Laura Peters from Mike & Laura Travel

Silke Wolf from Local Insiders

Will Hatton from Hotel Jules

Isabelle Demenge from Leap & Hop, Limited

Tara Caguiat from She Needs Less

Elisse Jo Goldstein-Clark from Elkhorn Inn & Theatre

Torben Lonne from DIVE

Alissa Bell from Exploring Wild

Melanie Musson from CarInsurance101

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Written by Zak Parker

Journalist, writer, musician, professional procrastinator. I'll add more here later.

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