Cambodia

Siem Reap | Phnom Penh | Koh Rong Samloem

Cambodia

Cambodia is a relatively small country with only a handful of touristy cities that can be visited in a couple weeks. I visited the country in November 2016 for roughly ten days and had enough time to see everything I wanted to see. Be prepared to spend big money on touristy attractions throughout the country. Even if Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in South East Asia, everything that has to do with tourists is often much more expensive than anywhere else I’ve traveled to in Asia. Taveling in the country is convenient if you stick to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville (Koh Rong). Getting around is cheap and easy (sleeper buses) but can be a pain as the bus system is very unorganized. I recommend avoiding overnight buses as the distances are too short and they will kick you out of the bus at 4am even if they said you would get there at 8am. Do not use overnight buses to cross the border to Vietnam either : the border only opens during the day. Despite all that, Cambodian people are incredibly lovely and the country’s tragic history is heartbreaking yet fascinating. 

November 8 : Koh Samet > Siem Reap
November 9 : Siem Reap
November 10 : Siem Reap > Phnom Penh
November 11 : Phnom Penh
November 12 : Phnom Penh > Sihanoukville
November 13 : Sihanoukville > Koh Rong Samloem
November 14 : Koh Rong Samloem
November 15 : Koh Rong Samloem > Sihanoukville > Ho Chi Minh City

Cambodia is a relatively small country with only a handful of touristy cities that can be visited in a couple weeks. I visited the country in November 2016 for roughly ten days and had enough time to see everything I wanted to see. Be prepared to spend big money on touristy attractions throughout the country. Even if Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in South East Asia, everything that has to do with tourists is often much more expensive than anywhere else I’ve traveled to in Asia. Taveling in the country is convenient if you stick to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville (Koh Rong). Getting around is cheap and easy (sleeper buses) but can be a pain as the bus system is very unorganized. I recommend avoiding overnight buses as the distances are too short and they will kick you out of the bus at 4am even if they said you would get there at 8am. Do not use overnight buses to cross the border to Vietnam either : the border only opens during the day. Despite all that, Cambodian people are incredibly lovely and the country’s tragic history is heartbreaking yet fascinating. 

November 8 : Koh Samet > Siem Reap
November 9 : Siem Reap
November 10 : Siem Reap > Phnom Penh
November 11 : Phnom Penh
November 12 : Phnom Penh > Sihanoukville
November 13 : Sihanoukville > Koh Rong Samloem
November 14 : Koh Rong Samloem
November 15 : Koh Rong Samloem > Sihanoukville > Ho Chi Minh City

Siem Reap

The main reason why most people visit Cambodia is without a doubt the ancient city of Angkor located in the heart of Siem Reap. Therefore, Siem Reap is packed with tourists in every corner. There you will find countless bars, restaurants, hotels and touristy attractions. A full day visiting Angkor ($38 USD) is a must. Other things that are well worth checking out are the circus ($18 USD, no animals) and the landmine museum owned by a guy who used to set up landmines during the war and is now dedicating is life to removing them.

The main reason why most people visit Cambodia is without a doubt the ancient city of Angkor located in the heart of Siem Reap. Therefore, Siem Reap is packed with tourists in every corner. There you will find countless bars, restaurants, hotels and touristy attractions. A full day visiting Angkor ($38 USD) is a must. Other things that are well worth checking out are the circus ($18 USD, no animals) and the landmine museum owned by a guy who used to set up landmines during the war and is now dedicating is life to removing them.

Phnom Penh

Most people I’ve spoken to who traveled to Cambodia didn’t enjoy Phnom Penh, the country’s capital city. Yes, it is hot. Yes, it is dirty. Yes, it is loud. But I found the place fascinating, from my heartbreaking visit to S21 and the killing fields to the joyful celebrations of the water festival, one of Cambodia’s biggest celebrations that happened to be on the same weekend than my visit. Surprisingly, Phnom Penh’s gay nightlife was possibly the best I’ve seen in South East Asia so far. Not only they had several bars to choose from, but the drinks were cheap, the people were friendly and the music was great. 

Most people I’ve spoken to who traveled to Cambodia didn’t enjoy Phnom Penh, the country’s capital city. Yes, it is hot. Yes, it is dirty. Yes, it is loud. But I found the place fascinating, from my heartbreaking visit to S21 and the killing fields to the joyful celebrations of the water festival, one of Cambodia’s biggest celebrations that happened to be on the same weekend than my visit. Surprisingly, Phnom Penh’s gay nightlife was possibly the best I’ve seen in South East Asia so far. Not only they had several bars to choose from, but the drinks were cheap, the people were friendly and the music was great. 

Koh Rong Samloem

There are two popular island destinations in Cambodia : Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem. Again, it all depends on what you are looking for. Koh Rong is bigger, more crowded and therefore more convenient for someone who wants a bit of luxury. My friend and I decided to stay at Driftwood on Koh Rong Samloem, a small hostel located on a remote beach with nothing else than a small dock to bring people and food to the beach a couple times a day. Our experience was fantastic. It is important to note that the hostel does not have wi-fi (or electricity at all for most of the day) or access to any other resort. This means, though, that you’ll have a stunning beach all for yourself, crystal clear waters and even glowing plancton at night!

There are two popular island destinations in Cambodia : Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem. Again, it all depends on what you are looking for. Koh Rong is bigger, more crowded and therefore more convenient for someone who wants a bit of luxury. My friend and I decided to stay at Driftwood on Koh Rong Samloem, a small hostel located on a remote beach with nothing else than a small dock to bring people and food to the beach a couple times a day. Our experience was fantastic. It is important to note that the hostel does not have wi-fi (or electricity at all for most of the day) or access to any other resort. This means, though, that you’ll have a stunning beach all for yourself, crystal clear waters and even glowing plancton at night!