What are some of your favorite places in Cambodia that are "off the beaten path" and not well trodden stops on the banana pancake circuit?
The sleepy town you could just move to for a while - or the rest of your days...
Extra points for having a body of water close by (river, lake, beach with sand & big rocks*).
(*I'm a sucker for those - Koh Rong, former site of Snakeyes GH could definitely be an entrant before it gets all turned into some luxury private island w. a golf course & heliport...)
#1 mrdome has been a member since 3/5/2008. Posts: 43
Kampot and Kep fit your criteria - not exactly miles off the beaten path but when I was there I did not find them too touristy TBH. Very relaxing and also a river (Kamopt) and beach (Kep) nearby.
Failing that, try Ratanakiri province (incl. Kratie) and/or the Tonle Sap region.
#2 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
A poster on Flickr had very positive words to say about Anlong San. Anyone ever been there?
#3 mrdome has been a member since 3/5/2008. Posts: 43
I'm sorry but I've got to say it; what is it about Kampot and Kep which makes people so crazy about it? What have I missed?
I took my girlfriend down there last week on the motorbike.She's never been there but I've passed through there a number of times making my way to Sihanoukville.She felt exactly like me.
First of all the pluses.
A great river view with the mountains in the background
It's just like every other Cambodian rural town I've ever been to. Dirty, scruffy rundown and infested with rats and mangy dogs.
I really can't think of any pluses.The beach is just disgusting.
So it's got some forest but so has Koh Kong and a much better beach and estuary but nobody sings Koh Kong's praises.
My advise would be Koh Kong for river life, clean beach and nice people.
Kampong Speu market town, 40 kilometres south of Phnom Penh on Highway 4.
Better killing fields than the one in Phnom Penh. Pretty rural setting by the river if you take a motodop from the market to Ampe Phnom Resort. Lots of pretty country walks through what to me is an undiscovered gem of a province.If you feel more adventurous Kampong Speu province is one of the most beautiful in Cambodia with lots of mountainous forest to explore (though you would need a motorbike to do this.)
Again about 40 kilometres out of PP but this time on Highway 5 going north.
Lovely views of the Cambodian countryside from the top of the mountain but best seen in the rainy season when you get a spectacular view of the lush Cambodian plains, flooded lakes etc.
I would mention Preah Vihar but I don't know what the political situation is at present.If the temple has reopened this is a must trip.An amazing temple set on the top of a high escarpment with an unbelievably fine view.
#4 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
If your serious I'm sorry to hear that.There is so much to see here.This is just my personal perspective.Let's wait for some others to put up a defence of Kampot/Kep
#6 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
On the other hand I love Isan so I'm sure you'll enjoy. I find if you want to be more off the beaten track the southern part of the North-East will be more interesting for you.There are many lovely places/old temples.Start with Pimai near Korat.
#7 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
sayadian - if rats and manky dogs are the criteria, then let's just mark the whole of SE Asia off.
Charming, relaxing, nice people, great food (mainly pepper based), cheap, and amazing countryside. It's not a tick the box kind of place whatsoever, rather somewhere to go and hire a motorbike and explsore the province, returning each evening to enjoy a cheap jug of Angkor by the river as the sun sets.
The best seafood lunches you can imagine, accessible by said motorbike from Kampot.
Give it a shot, you won't regret it!!
#8 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
My point was Kampot is nothing special. I admitted it has a nice vista on the front but the locals have made absolutely no effort to make it attractive.If they think it's a tourist attraction at the very least they could sweep up the trash.When I was there I found it dirty and dilapidated.Charming and relaxing it may be but so are many other places in Cambodia which get no mention in the guidebooks.I just can't see what makes it special or different.
As far as seafood is concerned Sihanoukville, despite its brashness, has a far better variety and at much cheaper prices and you can't get fresher or cheaper beer than the beach as the Angkor brewery is situated just up the road.
You want to hire a motorbike go do something different and try the trails and lanes out of Kampong Speu market town.You just can't beat the scenery there.Then there is Kirirom which is IMO superior to Bokor.It's even got a lake surrounded by the lush forest.
As far as other food is concerned all I saw were a bunch of Western bar/restaurants serving the usual foods that you can get anywhere and kampot pepper, well even my local eatery around the corner (I live in Phnom Penh) has that.It's not exclusive to Kampot.
You mention some nice points but nothing that makes Kampot 'special.'
#9 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
The OP didn't ask for SPECIAL places, just ones that are relaxing, sleepy, close to water and not inundated with tourists - something I think Kampot meets on every front.
Sihanoukville would not fit that bill, despite having excellent, cheap seafood and a close proximity to the Angkor brewery.
#10 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
'off the beaten path' was his question. I think relaxing was just one of many like having sea/beach/lake nearby.Where's the beach in Kep?
Surely not that strip of dirty sand with a shallow muddy sea?
That's why I mentioned Kampong Speu (unexplored) Kirirom (beautiful lake).Koh Kong (lovely estuary with backdrop of forested mountains just as beautiful as Kampot )
It just seems to me that Kampot has become a cliche.Plus it's hardly off the' banana pancake circuit?'
Kampot's just got a snob value.
Sitting in a whicker chair looking at a few old lampposts, second hand book shops.
It wants to be England in Cambodia.
It's as Cambodian as Blackpool rock (excuse the Brit allusions if your from elsewhere)
#11 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Regarding Kampot & Kep, they will not make my list as I do see them as part of said BPC already. After all these are the 3 'major' places on the Cambo coast. It will only get busier in both of these towns.
I like the suggestions of Kampong Speu and Oudoung.
#13 mrdome has been a member since 3/5/2008. Posts: 43
My vote is Kampong Cham. Not exactly off the beaten path, but a great place to stay and relax. Riverfront isn't too bad, and head over to the island Koh Pine--it's beautiful if it hasn't flooded. There is a bamboo bridge out to it during the dry season and a ferry during the wet. Kind of sleepy, and plenty of places to make day visits to if you ask around--temples, forests, rubber tree plantations, waterfalls, etc. Only issue is I never found a place that made great baay sac chruuk like in Phnom Penh.
#14 candyman has been a member since 20/10/2009. Posts: 20
If you did me the courtesy of reading my whole post you'll see I mention Sihanoukville only in as far as seafood.
I mention places that are off the 'beaten track' as well which is what the OP wanted. BTW Ream and Otres are near Sihanoukville and certainly fit the critria for peaceful and beautiful.
'I'm Irish. So your comments cut particularly deep.'
I mentioned Blackpool Rock NOT the Irish potato famine. Perhaps you'd like to explain why that cuts you up???
Again, have a look at my post I'm suggesting lots of other places which I rate far above Kampot . hardly lazy since I spent some time thinking about what might fit the criteria.
BTW have you been to Ampe Phnom or the rest of kampong Speu? or Oudong or Koh Kong or did you just take the lazy option and go to Kampot because 'Lonely Planet' told you?
OP wants off the beaten track.
Kampot is just a foreign colony where those who want burger and chips and second hand book stalls go.
If you realy want to see Khmer living and Cambodia DON'T go to Kampot.
#15 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
If you want to get off the beaten path try a rural home stay. Sayadian has a distorted view of rural Cambodia. Have a look at http://cambodianhomestays.webs.com/apps/links/ which includes home stays in Vietnam as well. I don't argue with his choices, just his attitude.
#16 phuphum has been a member since 22/10/2011. Posts: 49
all I am looking for is people's opinions about places they really liked as I have not been all over Cambodia.
#17 mrdome has been a member since 3/5/2008. Posts: 43
'Sayadian has a distorted view of rural Cambodia'
Pleases elaborate.I'vespent 7 years here.Do you think 'homestays reflect a true picture of rural life? Their just a glimpse with Western comforts thrown in.I got no problem with this.But the average rural village is pretty poor and most definitely unhygienic.
'I don't argue with his choices, just his attitude.'
Again I don't know what you mean.I criticise Kampot .So what? It doesn't give a true picture of Cambodia.It's very much a Westernised experienceand certainly not off the beaten track.My point that as a so-called tourist destination the locals have made no effort to clean it up still stands
.Like it or not Cambodian standards of hygiene and particularly the disposal of garbage have got a long way to go to become acceptable.
Cleaning up and perhaps providing a bar of soap in a restaurant would be nice.They do it in Laos.It's inexcusable and needs to be addressed by the government perhaps with a TV campaign which Thailand did years ago and the improvement is tangible.I feel safe eating on the street there but I see so much uncovered food here and many times people, for example, cutting raw meat then, without washing, use the same hand to put ice in your drink.They pile filthy garbage at the back of restaurants and leave it for the flies and rats.it really isn't a big deal to educate people about the dangers of these things.I don't think these matters are a taboo subject if we don't talk about them we won't see a change for the better.
Kampot is no different, have a look at the rear of some of the restaurants.
As i keep mentioning Kampot is nothing special, try some other places.There are many more beautiful spots, unspoilt still.
Try going up Kirirom. I think you'll be amazed
#18 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
you are becoming offensive and less than truthful.I've contributed to this forum for a long time and I find it one of the most polite and informative on the internet.you should get used to the idea that people have differn opinions than you and accept it.By all means make constructive comments but please refrain from untruths.you know perfectly well Ive never stated Sihanoukville is 'off the beaten track.'i merelyy pointed out it had good seafood and later mentioned Ream and Otres are nearby and fit that criterion.If you have a vested interest in Kampot I think it only fair you declare it and refrain from the schoolyard taunts
#20 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
One of the many villages on the north side of the the Sesan River in Ta Vang or Voen Sai districts in Ratanakiri. You'd had the river out front, Virachey NP in back, and rice wine to drink, home grown tobacco to smoke, and true free range chickens to eat, every day.
If you do the opposite of what Sayadian suggests you'll have a wonderful time. I've lived in Cambodia 15 years, am married to to Cambodian, speak the language fluently, get along with the rural people he looks down on and have lived and farmed in a small village for eight years. He inevitably compares Thai villages to Cambodian ones. Perhaps he should go back. It's not nearly as bleak as he makes it sound. Furthermore, those who visit the countryside see how 70% of the populace live. And frankly I refuse to respond any further to your dogmatic uninformed condescending views Syadian except to add the occasional terse "bullshit".
#23 phuphum has been a member since 22/10/2011. Posts: 49
Is it rude to tell the truth? If you live here YOU know that the place is covered in garbage.The end of my lane is covered in it.Luckily not all Khmer have this attitude, my landlord abhors it (Khmer), but how are you going to teach people hygiene if you pretend in your PC way that it doesn't exist.The beach is full of trash, the Khmer throw all their rubbish out the windows of their foreign-aid paid for Lexus.How the hell is that looking down on People.
I told you, the Thais had a similar hygiene problem many years ago but a TV campaign works wonders.
How many times have you seen a bar of soap in a restaurant?Are yiou REALLY telling me you've never seen anybody handle raw meat and then touch cooked food? You nust walk around with a blindfold but then again it must be difficult married to a local as any criticism is studiously ignored as they prefer the 'harmony' of ignoring the problem until it goes away.
As far as ignoring my advice that means you've got no time for Kampong Speu, Oudong etc??? You didn't read the OP he wants to get away from the banana pancake trail!!
I think I've covered quite a bit of this country and the majority of rural people live in squalor.That's a fact.Don't blame me, take it up with a government that squeezes off all the aid money so they can drive around in their brand new Lexus.You are living in a dream world.If you speak the language I'm sure it won't take you long to find a story of injustice and bad treatment of the rural poor.You astound me on this.You only have to drive on the highways to see the squalid conditions people live. Don't you know anything about the enforced land clearances, overcharging and cheating by corrupt doctors etc. Don't try to point the finger at me mate, it's their own people who do the damage to them.The money is in this country but never filters down.
What the hell this has got to do with Kampot I don't know but open your eyes and look at the reality.You must live in a kind of Khmer disneyland.
#24 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Thank you, gregmccann1. Exactly what I was looking for.
Regarding hygiene, the funny thing is that I tend not to get stomach-sick in Cambodia but I do in Laos - so far on 100% of my visits there.
#25 mrdome has been a member since 3/5/2008. Posts: 43
Glad that your found advice that you like. Enjoy! Nothing funny about it-there is no correlation between poverty and hygiene. Some Westerners come here and learn nothing and try to pass off their superficial "insights" as gospel truth.
#26 phuphum has been a member since 22/10/2011. Posts: 49
'there is no correlation between poverty and hygiene.'
There is certainly a correlation between lack of basic education on matters of hygiene and sickness. Cambodia needs a great deal of education in this department as there seems to be (among many uneducated people) no idea that leaving food uncovered and flyblown, throwing garbage at the side of the road is acceptable. By hiding your head in the sand you are doing a disservice to uneducated rural and urban dwellers here who clearly suffer the consequences.Just look at the terrible infant mortality rate Cambodia has compared to its neighbours.Diarhoea is endemic here.I don't know what sort of sanctimonious kick some people get from trying to brush the problem under the carpet.As far as one person not getting sick...well we have stronger immune systems than your average malnourished child in the 3rd World.If you live in Cambodia and you can honestly say hygiene is of an acceptable standard, well you are walking around with your eyes shut.Identifying and recognising the problem here is halfway to curing it. A basic hygiene programme is essential if Cambodians ar to have a better standard of living.
#27 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Myself and the missus were in Cambodia last Febuary. We spent about a week in Kampot and had a great time. We rented a scooter and explored the surrounding areas. There's loads to see. Villages, salt plains, beaches, secret lakes and the towns of Kampot and Kep. The food is amazing too. It may not be off the beaten track but if you're in that area its worth a visit.
#28 humpdawg has been a member since 18/5/2009. Posts: 40
Kampong Speu, one of the mentioned places now unfortunately making headlines for the sad reason of a quintuple homicide and/or suicide.
#29 mrdome has been a member since 3/5/2008. Posts: 43
At first, I thought you knew nothing about rural Cambodia, but it is clear you know nothing about Cambodia. If you think my head is in the sand, yours is certainly in a darker and more unhygienic place. Pull it out and see the sunshine.
#31 phuphum has been a member since 22/10/2011. Posts: 49
lI've posted on this board a long time and i really think that kind of rhetoric belongs in the playground not on a serious travelsite.
If you think taking hygiene matters is so frivlolous there's not more that I can say.
We need to pull together and try to get some sort of basic hygiene program here .Throwing playground insults does a disservice to the Khmer.
The country could profit greatly from improved hygiene standards.I really can't see what's offensive about offering education.We all have to learn from somewhere.
I still can't believe you seriously believe standards of hygiene are acceptable.
Why for example do some street vendors leave food uncovered for the flies? Others seem perfectly able to cover their food with a muslin cloth.The ones who have bad practices just need that little bit of education.
This is the sort of thing I have in mind:
#32 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
sayadian, while I don't disagree with you in general, you are hijacking the thread and I find that rude. You've made your points - let it rest now, same applies to phuphum.
#33 mrdome has been a member since 3/5/2008. Posts: 43
While I sympathise that you are a sensitive soul if you read my posts I am the only one who has offered any suggestions for places to go (apart from someone mentioning Kampong Cham and the north side of the the Sesan River in Ta Vang or Voen Sai districts in Ratanakiri) other than that you all sing from the same sheet-Kampot/Kep, which I am tired of reiterarting; do not fall into the category of 'off the banana pancake trail.' As required by OP.
Have another look at my suggestions. Kampong Speu, Kirirom and apart from Oudong all undervisited and very beautiful. The places might pleasantly surprise you.
Nowhere have I used childish insults like some of you.Which I would cetainly call 'hijacking a thread.'
It's YOU who cannot accept there is anywhere else to go bar Kampot.
I also mentioned the fact that, for a tourist destination nothing has been 'spruced up' there and it is far from beautiful when you are confronted with bags of rotting trash.
Go look at the estuary view in Koh Kong-it's spectacular especially at dusk.
Kampot is just typical 'Lonely Planet' banana trail.
#34 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
'Kampong Speu, one of the mentioned places now unfortunately making headlines for the sad reason of a quintuple homicide and/or suicide.'
Yes, I've just read about this; perhaps you'd like to explain what relevance it has to the OP desire for places off the beaten track?
I mention it in relation to your following remark:
'you are hijacking the thread'
#35 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
"It's YOU who cannot accept there is anywhere else to go bar Kampot ."
You gotta be kidding me, sayadian. I clearly said at the beginning that Kampot would never make my list. Also, others made suggestions as well.
If you don't want to read what other people write, then just stay out of it. Sorry for you if you have some free-floating aggression that just targets anyone who comes along with a different opinion.
#36 mrdome has been a member since 3/5/2008. Posts: 43
Anyway, this is typical of what happens on discussion threads.Everybody is misinterpreting because there is no actual contact.Why don't we just leave it there.The places I mentioned are all that's important.just some ideas for someone.BTW I did acknowledge the other suggestions.Look above.
I still don't know why you mentioned that horrible incident in Kampong Speu province, it will, unfortunately, put people off visiting and that would be a shame.
#37 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
"lI've posted on this board a long time..."
Judging from the poor quality of your answers and your sweeping generalizations about a country you don't know you would be well advised to come here to receive, not give advice. Never let it be said that you allowed your ignorance to come between you and your strong opinion.
"but then again it must be difficult married to a local as any criticism is studiously ignored as they prefer the 'harmony' of ignoring the problem until it goes away...."
Here is another example of your presumption-quite offensive in this case. You know absolutely nothing about me or my Cambodian wife of ten years so you interject a hypothesis based on ignorance that might explain why I dare to disagree with you. Let's understand each other. I disagree with you because your presumption approaches fraud. How to hide my contempt?
#38 phuphum has been a member since 22/10/2011. Posts: 49
well said phuphum.
#39 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
Give it a break, you are getting a little boring. I made my peace I can't do more. I notice the same is happening to Mac on other posts (he's given a lot of great advice on here and suddenly he's under attack).If you can't appreciate someone's opinion just let it go stop the playground behaviour.I've had many disagreements with Madmac but he's alway been a gentleman and stuck to constructive argument.You two seem intent on turning this forum into a quarrel.Take a look at Madmac's posts, you'd learn a lot.We don't use personal attack, you're on the wrong board.If you are so sensitive you can't accept others honest opinions let it go.We're talking about places to go.I'm still waiting for you to offer something.I have to presume you live in Kampot,sorry about the fact that not all of us care for it but that's life.
BTW It's a well-known fact that South-East Asians prefer to not answer questions they don't like as it interferes with the 'harmony'.They think differently to Westerners.It's hard to fathom, but there it is..
Everybody is so sensitive these days.it's so fashionable to be affronted by others views.The UK is a perfect example but, thank God we ain't there and I can voice an opinion without being harrassed.
All I did was make some nice constructive suggestions for places to go, then you come in like a battering ram.
#40 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Poor little sayadian is getting all defensive. Ah pooh pooh, did somebody steal your rattler?
#41 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
You really are showing how foolish you are.Why don't you take your playground behaviour somewhere else.I've tried to explain politely that this is a serious site dedicated to travel advice.You really should consider another forum.Nobody else behaves in this manner.Try to concentrate on what this site means to a lot of people.I'm sure Stuart ,who runs the site and obviously puts in a lot of work to make it so successful expects it to be used for what's intended.If you have any interesting observations on places to visit let's hear them.I've offered some places I find might be of interest.Don't embarress yourself further.If you have any travel experience here try to share and encourage and help others instead of being like this.It really is much better to hear constructive and interesting travel advice.Tell the OP where you recommend and something about it.
#42 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Another interesting trip, much nearer to Phnom Penh is to take the road across the Japanese bridge (a motorbike is essential) about 12 kilometres along the road you'll see a golen pagoda (actually it's the 2nd one but this one has a large advertising hoarding across the road.If you turn right just after the pagoda you reach a lane which parallels the Mekhong.There are many restaurants on the right with decking built over the river wher you can lay in a hammock, eat, drink and take in the splendid view of the river and Koh Dach,There are a number of little ferries which take you to the island there too.It's amazing to realise you are so close to PP when you arrive on the island.There is not a lot to do but the island is pretty and many of the homes use hand-looms to make silk cloth.Personally,I prefer the silk from Isan,Thailand but either side of the river has plenty of fine views and is pretty laid back.We go there some weekends for the peace and to drink a few beers.I hear there is one Barang who has lived there 15 years,I can understand this if you like rural life but also enjoy the odd foray into the city.
#43 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
sayadian, yes I was actually thinking about taking that trip to Koh Dach. Had already printed it out for my last visit but then didn't do it.
#44 mrdome has been a member since 3/5/2008. Posts: 43
" We're talking about places to go.I'm still waiting for you to offer something.I have to presume you live in Kampot "
Syadian, you are so self-absorbed you didn't even see the suggestions I posted which were contained in ". Have a look at http://cambodianhomestays.webs.com/apps/links/ which includes home stays in Vietnam as well." It is a list of rural hometays "off the beaten path"which I have compiled from visitors to my homestay, And no , I don t live in Kampot I never mentioned one word about Kampot, just one more of your assumptions
+,.I'm sure Stuart ,who runs the site and obviously puts in a lot of work to make it so successful.."
Dropping namess are we? I'm certain that if he finds my criticisms offensive he will ban me.
"BTW It's a well-known fact that South-East Asians prefer to not answer questions they don't like as it interferes with the 'harmony'.They think differently to Westerners.It's hard to fathom, but there it is.."
Well known is it? Maybe someone should tell the Cambodians. This is just some more of your posturing as an "expert" I speak with them in Cambodian and have noticed nothing of the sort. Yes, there it is...Bullshit!
#45 phuphum has been a member since 22/10/2011. Posts: 49
phuphum, let's give it a rest. I didn't start the thread for fighting.
#46 mrdome has been a member since 3/5/2008. Posts: 43
I appreciate your desire for reliable information but unfortunately sometimes tangential issues arise which need to be addressed. It seems to me however that that is the purview of the moderator and not the initiator of the thread who may unfortunately lose control over the thread once posted. That's democracy. So, pick what you need and discard the rest. So, no round table and lfags.
#47 phuphum has been a member since 22/10/2011. Posts: 49
I'm looking into doing an trip from Laos to Cambodia, prefferably a bit off the beaten track (renting a dirt bike where ever i can), with the following stops:
Stung Treng (1 night) -> Ban Lung (3 nights) -> Kratie (2 nights) -> Kampong Cham (2 nights) -> Phnom Penh (maybe 4 nights, doing a lot of trips outside of PP, as i know the city already) -> maybe Kampot (yeah, i loved it too, maybe 1-2 nights) -> SH (2-3 nights) -> Koh Krong (2-3 nights) -> Bangkok
Any ideas if these places are already heavily touristed ? If yes, anybody has any idea, on how make the trip a bit more interesting (read more off-the-banana-trail?). I found a lot of good ideas for Laos, but not so much in Cambodia. And i don't want to visit SR or BB again. Hated the first one, liked the second one (but don't need it too much for a second time).
#48 3drazor has been a member since 13/10/2011. Posts: 16
3drazor, spend a few nights in those villages north of the Sesan River along the buffer zone of Virachey NP. The are populated chiefly by the Brao indigenous people, most of whom are still animists. You will find ritual alters with the jawbones of pigs being devoured by red ants, you will see "spirit gates" which are portals to the realm of supernatural beings, you will not find running water nor electricity but you will be offered many a chance to drink their homemade rice wine, and if link up with a translator, you will hear about many a damn good folk tale!
Off the beaten track seems to be anywhere other than Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Kampong Som (Sihanoukville). You will get lots of stares. That's when you know you're truly off the beaten track. I was intrigued by Battambang. The roads weren't busy and it looked like a great province to go cycling in. I saw one barang cycling and a couple on a moped touring about. There's a place near Kamping Pouy Reservoir that you can rent a boat and go for a tour. It's a favourite destination for the Khmer people to relax and keep cool. Also, after going to the meat market and seeing that the money comes into direct contact with stinking raw pork and chicken, I made sure keep the hand sanitizer closer by.
Disclosure: I'm Khmer but it's unfortunate that I couldn't blend in very well (due to being 6 foot 5 and looking too similar to a Sri Lankan).
#50 lynardo has been a member since 4/12/2011. Posts: 3
I've also heard that there are some beautiful places along the river near Stung Treng.Most travellers just stay in ST one night to move on into Laos.
Does anyone have any experiences/recommendations for this area? I'd like to try to visit there sometime.
#51 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
I’ve not been to Stung Treng. Just passed south of there on the way from Ban Lung to Kratie . I admit I have an affection for small towns that even I cannot quite explain at times. Having said that, here are my thoughts based upon travels through Cambodia the last year or so.
Ban Lung: Probably the most remote place I’ve been (and stayed) in Cambodia. We came over from Viet Nam. I enjoyed seeing the minority people who came in to the market in town, and in their villages in the countryside north of town. We hired a wonderful man there as a guide (Mr. Bun Long), went north to the Tonle San river, then up the river about an hour and a half’s journey to a Tampoung village, where we were able to visit the graveyards they have there. You can also arrange treks up into Virachey (Wunsei) National Park.
Kratie: My first impression was, oh, a dirty little river town. Next day, though, I thought somewhat better of it (our accommodations at Balcony GH notwithstanding). The best part was going across the river to the island Koh Trong. It was a nice slice of rural Cambodia. You can also go up to try and see Mekong Dolphins (we did, and saw a bit of them), and to the 100 Pillar Wat (which we did not make it to). Stay – and eat – at Sunset Inn and Restaurant, down river from Heng Heng and the bus stop. They have internet access in their ground floor lobby, behind the restaurant. Red Sun Falling is ok, but in my opinion, over-rated.
Chhlong: Down-river from Kratie a bit. Small, with an interesting market and some atmospherically deteriorating Colonial-era buildings. I highly recommend traveling the road from there to Kampong Cham that parallels the Mekong. You can take a ferry across at Stung Trong (not to be confused with Stung Treng), and thence down to Kampong Cham. Do it before it’s all paved and heavily traveled. There are Cham (Muslim) villages along the road. They raise tobacco there, and have built tall, mud-stuccoed structures in which the tobacco leaves are dried. We made the trip in the 1950’s jeep of Mr. Vannak, who lives in Kampong Cham.
Kampong Cham: A larger town. In the countryside nearby are Wat Maha Leap (oldest surviving wooden wat, endangered by termites), a silk-weaving village, the old Michelin rubber plantation and factory at Chub, Man & Woman Mountains, Wat Nokor, etc. Eat at Two Dragons Restaurant (An Duong St.) and request anything with aubergine.
Kep : Ok, not a lot going on there, but a great place to catch up on quietude if you’ve been missing some. Great crab and other seafood there. Go to the little strip of restaurants along the water where the Kim Ly Restaurant is located, then eat at one of the others. Choose the one with the most Khmer people … or least Westerners, as you like. For us, the best part of Kep was Koh Tonsay – Rabbit Island. We spent two days there.
Kampot: Can’t say with authority, as we only spent part of a day there. A smaller town, though vastly larger than Kep (which wouldn’t take much). The market is pretty nice, and there are some attractions in the area. Pepper plantations, cave temples, and access to the Cardamom Mtns. and Bokor.
Kampong Thom: Not many Westerners in town when we were there, and most seemed to be NGO folks. Those who were actual tourists all seemed to be clustered at the Arunras Hotel. Stay at the Mittapheap and eat breakfast at the hotel across the road, the name of which escapes me just now. Down from the Arunras, on the side street, are 3 restaurants. The so-called American Restaurant is totally forgettable. Next, headed west, is the Angkor . Best food of the lot. Next, on the corner, is the Bayon. Completely Khmer place. Decent food, great people watching. However, food at the Angkor is better, and the family that runs it is quite charming.
Battambang: Also a larger town. Several day and longer trips can be made from here. Check elsewhere on Travelfish. I liked the town. Some nice buildings along the riverfront and a lively market. We stayed at the Seng Hout Hotel. There are several good places to eat. You can look at reports here on TF for that.
There you go. That’s my thousand Riels’ worth of thoughts.
Archmichael, thank you for a great post and summary.
#53 mrdome has been a member since 3/5/2008. Posts: 43
Yes, I second that, lots of informative stuff put together well. Kratie: been there a couple of times, beautiful countryside and that temple is well worth a visit.Do those dolphins ever jump out of the water though? since both times I've been all I've see is a small part of their backs in the water.
I've been told now that if you get to Stung Treng there's a trail map available which maps out the areas to visit.Where can I get a copy outside of Phnom Penh?
#54 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Mrdome: Glad to be able to do it.
Sayadian: We mostly saw the backs of the dolphins, though once or twice one raised its head up. Nonetheless, it was wonderful spending an hour or so out on the river. I don't know about trail maps for Stung Treng area. Anyone else?
Thanks.First time I was there, there was no river as such, the whole countryside was covered in water.Just one gigantic lake.A lovely experience.He stopped the engine so as not to frighten the dolphins and we were drifting between majestic trees covered by the flood.
#56 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557