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Cambodia forum

Possible trip in January! Help?

Posted by Tinuvielle11 on 8/11/2012 at 21:27

Hello to all!
I am so glad to have found this site, there is so much information!
After years of dreaming, it might be happening and we are talking of going to Cambodia. Now will be the time, before kids.
I'm 30, I have backpacking a lot in Europe, but never been to anywhere in Asia. Fiance is 32, he has never backpacked, but he did travel around a lot with his family and live in different country.
He is a bit overwhelm by the idea of going somewhere with a backpack, where there might be a language barrier and a cultural shock.
Having never fly to Asia, any recommandation from Canada, we lived in Ottawa, but can easily flight from Montreal (YUL) or Toronto (YYZ). Been trying to check to Phnom Phen, to Siem Reap, to Bangkok, was wondering is someone has praticular advise for flying from NA.
We might have only 2 weeks, which in not much is we take the traveling time into account. Do you have any itinerary suggestion for that so little time? We would like to see Phnom Phen, Angkor Wat, pre-Angkor temples, is possible a pretty beach (kol Tonsay?), Battambang, Kompong Chhnang, Kampot and Bogor.
Thank you for all recommendation you can provide! I have order le Routard, but it havent been delivered yet, but its also so better to get recommandation and ideas from people!
Many thanks and have a lovely day!

#1 Tinuvielle11 has been a member since 8/11/2012. Posts: 10

Posted by Geer1 on 8/11/2012 at 22:19

Kayak is a great site for booking flights. A round trip flight will be much cheaper then 2 one ways and since you are planning to stay in Cambodia that should not be a problem.

I would probably fly into Phnom Penh then take boat up to Siem Reap and then you can take bus to Battambang and Kampong Chhang on your way back towards Phnom Penh. Then you could head down Kampot and over to Koh Tonsay and then backtrack to Phnom Penh for your return flight.

With your spots of interest listed I would think 2 weeks would be ok. I would probably do something like the following, 2 days in Phnom Penh, 3 days Siem Reap, 3 days between Battambang and Kampong Chhang, 2 days Kampot, 3 days Koh Tonsay and then that gives you a day comfort to get back to Phnom Penh for flight.

Hope that helps. There are a few guides for Cambodia in 2 weeks etc on here too, I think they are under the planning section.

#2 Geer1 has been a member since 14/9/2012. Posts: 540
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Posted by Tinuvielle11 on 9/11/2012 at 17:00

Oh, many thanks! I've just notice all the guide, very helpful! And thanks for the information about flights.

I've seen that Sihanoukville is somewhat contreversé, should we include it?

#3 Tinuvielle11 has been a member since 8/11/2012. Posts: 10

Posted by altmtl on 9/11/2012 at 17:30

Your cheapest option I think would be to fly from Montreal or Toronto to BK and go to Cambodia via AirAsia - BK to PP return. Two weeks is pretty short considering the 25hr. trip, but at least you're not trying to see all of Asia :)

But keep in mind Air Asia flies out of a different airport when booking. Give yourself some extra time between flights for transport.

#4 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 992
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Posted by Geer1 on 9/11/2012 at 19:12

Air Asia is going to cost you 200 round trip per person from Bangkok to Phnom Penh where as round trips to Phnom Penh cost maybe 300 more per person then a round trip to Bangkok. So between 2 of you might save 200 bucks doing that way.

Imo those savings aren't worth the hassle you would have to deal with, especially if you are limited to 2 weeks travel time. If you have some extra time and want to see Bangkok as well I would say go for it but just as a connection, no way.

As for Sihanoukville, if you are planning Kampot and Koh Tonsay I wouldn't worry about it. A beach is a beach and is best enjoyed when relaxed not when worrying about trying to get to the next location. You are already going to be seeing a lot of Cambodia and might as well leave some for next time after you get hooked lol.

#5 Geer1 has been a member since 14/9/2012. Posts: 540
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Posted by Tinuvielle11 on 9/11/2012 at 21:07

Indeed, I would prefer pay the 200$ more and get directly (if we can say so ;p) to Phnom Phen. But thanks for the recommandation, I did check a flight from YUL to Bangkok, it was about 1300, while it was about 1600 to Phnom Penh. Many thanks!
Hahah, indeed. The beach is not necessary, but as its gonna be January, and we are escaping the snow, it might be nice. Also, the man wanted to go south to the beach, so, if there is a beach somewhere, it might keep him happy ;)
(Oh, les canadiens de montreal!!!!!)
It does seems like a extraordinary place, and totally different from anywhere else we have been.


Also, if we only have 2 weeks and dont be rush, I guess its better to not take the often very long 9h boat to Battambang. (The bus is about 3h, isnt it?).
Is most of the bis ticket and accomodation needs to be book very much in advance? I guess for popular guest houses and such in Siem Reap, its beter to be organised!
Would you suggested a guide for most of the Angkor Temple? Or more like a day with a guide and a day exploring around?


Again many thanks for the recommandation and your time, its very much appreciated!

#6 Tinuvielle11 has been a member since 8/11/2012. Posts: 10

Posted by Geer1 on 9/11/2012 at 23:11

I was just saying why do beach in Sihanoukville when you can just do an extra day in Koh Tonsay and avoid extra travel, less travel the better unless you feel it is necessary.

As mentioned before I would take speedboat from Phnom Penh up to Siem Reap and then bus back since the buses go through Battambang etc anyways. Time is about the same and from what I have read sounds like the speedboat is nice. Seat61 website has some info on boat/buses.

No need to book buses ahead and you will be able to find accomodation as well but like you say if you want to stay in a quality place then booking ahead is a good idea if you know what days you will be where.

Not sure on Angkor Wat as I haven't been there. I think you just mainly go look around but if a tour is what you want then best to leave that till you get there anyways as it will likely be noticeably cheaper.

#7 Geer1 has been a member since 14/9/2012. Posts: 540
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Posted by altmtl on 10/11/2012 at 08:14

Angkor is a must see, I got a 3 day pass when I was last there, but a lot of people just get a one day pass for $20US - and Geer1 is correct no need to book ahead.

#8 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 992
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Posted by Tinuvielle11 on 10/11/2012 at 09:07

Thanks Altmtl, indeed, we would probably take the 3 days pass.


And thanks Geer1, indeed, thinks Kol Tonsay would probably a more ''remove beach hut'' experience, which is quite interesting!

#9 Tinuvielle11 has been a member since 8/11/2012. Posts: 10

Posted by altmtl on 10/11/2012 at 09:32

Some people like Koh Rong better, I'll like to visit both when I go back in Feb.

Tonsay or Rong? Such a dilemma :) But if you had to pick one which would it be?

#10 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 992
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Posted by Tinuvielle11 on 10/11/2012 at 15:20

hum. The fact that tell you to GO NOW, becuz of the development and all, it might be the time to go. Food for thoughts!

But again, id our time frame, maybe Tonsay is more doable...

#11 Tinuvielle11 has been a member since 8/11/2012. Posts: 10

Posted by Tinuvielle11 on 10/11/2012 at 22:22

Hum, question, is there only sea food to eat on Tonsay? I have allergic reaction to seafood (only if i eat them, not the smell or anything). Just the day there might be an option if its the only available food!!!


Also, the Man got a bit horrified by the 3 hrs boat ride to get to Rong, so i guess its a nono :(

#12 Tinuvielle11 has been a member since 8/11/2012. Posts: 10

Posted by altmtl on 11/11/2012 at 05:24

ok when people start talking about allergies, special diets, fear of boat rides, long bus rides with chickens, cramped spaces or crowds, can't live without air con, fear of insects and geckos in your room etc.... things start to get complicated - lol

You have to be prepared for anything and adapt in most cases, but I'm sure you'll have meat & vegie options to seafood anywhere you go.

I once meet a girl travelling in Thailand who didn't like spicy food and was allergic to rice - :)

#13 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 992
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Posted by altmtl on 11/11/2012 at 18:55

And of course you'll miss out on pepper crab :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtJhjS3l5Qw&feature=relmfu

#14 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 992
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Posted by Tinuvielle11 on 11/11/2012 at 21:06

Hahha Indeed, but if I eat crab, i will get cover in kinda rash and scratch myself for hours lol
lol I don't mind the boat ride, I might be able to convince the Man, so that will be hard lol

#15 Tinuvielle11 has been a member since 8/11/2012. Posts: 10

Posted by TrippinRob on 16/11/2012 at 17:24

I have been all over''taken my wife and teenage kids.
I wouldnt waste time in Battanbang or Kompong Chanang.unless you like dusty hot towns.they can be an eye opener and certainly fine for some....but
.SieM Reap is the princess of Cambodia..spend as much time as poss in nice places-especially if you are a bit unsure and first time.
Get a 3 day pass and use over 7 days to Ruins,,taking a day off in between to see other things,,it can get hot and bothersome.See natural history museum before the ruins--it gives you a great insite to the culture.
Then head south..Avoiding PP as much as possible but im sure you will want to stay a day or 2.
Kep is Lovely-getting a little busier now days-but still great. 2 years ago our whole family stay on Rabbit Island(ko Tonsay) for about 4 or 5 days over xmas..we got boats back to mainland for somthing to do some days-its very quiet,,wooden shaks bamboo floors,chickens and dogs sleeping under neath..not sure how that sounds but we loved it.As for seafood-they make great pancakes,burgers,eggs n bacon and curries...but there may be some seafood on the pots n pand-although washed and very clean-maybe a little wont hurt??
Kampot is a nice little town on a river--I love it,,worth an over night stopover between Kep and Snkvl.
Its not a major exercise to get anywhere!!!
Shianookville is a shitty town,,but the gateway to lovely beaches--and Oceteal beach parties like a rockstar.Serenditpty on the hill is where we stay
Our fav place is a 2 hour boat ride but id hevean-Lazy Beach..look it up
The English guys who own it are tops-
Hope this is helpful(without upsetting the regular know alls..hehe)

#16 TrippinRob has been a member since 16/11/2012. Posts: 6

Posted by Tinuvielle11 on 16/11/2012 at 20:26

Thanks a lot, very helpful.
So, about a week in the area of Siem Reap, that sound about right?
We might be flying to Saigon, for some reason its nearly 400$ less, so I guess we could get to the bus to Kampot, do Kep, and then move to Siem Reap, or will be better to do it the other way round?
Koh Tonsay is back on the list then, I was a bit afraid is there was only sea food available, its not a death danger or anything, but it can get uncomfortable, a bit in a pan wont be a problem tho.


Agina, many thanks for you insights.

#17 Tinuvielle11 has been a member since 8/11/2012. Posts: 10

Posted by Lionel13 on 20/11/2012 at 00:58

You cannot do so many things in only 2 weeks. Siem Reap alone (Temples, Lake, artcraft workshops and countryside) worth 1 week minimum. While in Siem Reap, go to Cuisine Wat Damnak (the best Khmer cuisine in town) and Asana Old Wooden House (the most lovely bar in town) where you can have a glass of the locally made Sombai (infused rice wine).
Phnom Penh does not need so much time. 2 days (1 night) is ok just for visiting the National Museum, The Royal Palace and S21 (and maybe a bite of shopping at the Russian Market).

#18 Lionel13 has been a member since 20/11/2012. Posts: 2


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