Flag of Cambodia

Cambodia forum

Off the beaten track - Cambodia or Laos?

  • wheretogo

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd July, 2013
    Posts: 2

    Hi,
    I'm planning to travel in a group of four in January to SEA. We will have two weeks in total and we're unsure what to do with the time.
    We want to see the less touristy areas for a bit of activity and relaxation. I am thinking Cambodia because we can go to the islands for beach time and Kirrirom National Park intrigues me as well. I am a bit concerned about moving around too much as we don't want to spend days traveling either.
    Please help with where to go!
    Thank you

    #1 Posted: 2/7/2013 - 18:55

  • Advertisement

  • Geer1

    Joined Travelfish
    14th September, 2012
    Posts: 540
    Places visited:
    At least 42

    Based on my experiences with Laos and Cambodian people I would definitely choose Cambodia over Laos when it comes to getting off the beaten track. Cambodian people are very friendly and accommodating where as Laos people didn't really seem to care about my existence. Laos people weren't unfriendly like Vietnam can be but it just had this strange feeling like they didn't really want you there. For example in one town in Laos the tuk tuk drivers could care less about giving us a ride and were too busy sleeping/playing games. Strange since it was about a 2 km walk into town to get to the guesthouses...

    Also Cambodian food and rooms are imo better then what you get in Laos. Thailand was probably my favourite stop on my trip but Cambodia was a very close second and I wish I had set aside more time to actually get off the beaten track and explore it some more.

    If you choose Cambodia definitely get on the beaten track and see the temples in Siem Reap though.

    #2 Posted: 2/7/2013 - 22:39

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6349
    Total reviews: 10

    I also would have suggested Thailand - although I liked PP a lot. There are plenty of "off the beaten path" areas in Thailand and plenty of beaches as well (although I don't like the ocean, so that wouldn't be a factor for me).

    #3 Posted: 3/7/2013 - 00:14

  • wheretogo

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd July, 2013
    Posts: 2

    Thank you both for your advice. A few of us have been to Thailand previously, but it does sound like I need to go back and check out other areas. We are thinking that we will head to both Laos and Cambodia now.
    We have a vague idea of where we would like to go in Cambodia. Is this a decent or rubbish plan?
    I thought we would go to Laos first then fly to Phnom Penh from Vientiane.We will probably be in the South, check out Phnom Penh then head to Kirrirom National Park and then down to Rabbit Island to spend some time on the beach. Around 8 days in Cambodia and 6-7 in Laos - with no idea where to go. Help :)

    #4 Posted: 3/7/2013 - 19:10

  • Geer1

    Joined Travelfish
    14th September, 2012
    Posts: 540
    Places visited:
    At least 42

    I would pick one or the other if you only have 2 weeks. You will be rushed, miss good places and have much higher costs if you try and see both.

    #5 Posted: 3/7/2013 - 23:44

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6349
    Total reviews: 10

    I'm with Geer1. Just not enough time. There's enough to see and do in either place to fill your given time and then some. Sieam Reap, PP and Rabbit Island - presto 15 days eaten alive.

    #6 Posted: 4/7/2013 - 00:05

  • gregmccann1

    Joined Travelfish
    28th October, 2009
    Location Taiwan
    Posts: 163
    Total reviews: 5

    Fly to Phnom Penh, take bus up to Ratanakiri, chill one day at the lake, then do the 7-day trek (first and last nights in animist villages along the Sesan River) to the Veal Thom Grasslands in Virachey NP. By the time you get back to Ban Lung (provincial capital of Ratanakiri) you will certainly feel like you've been off the beaten path. Another night in Ban Lung, then a night or two in Kratie on the way back to PP. That's a great off the beaten path trip.

    #7 Posted: 4/7/2013 - 09:11

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6349
    Total reviews: 10

    Greg - off the beaten path? Sounds like it's off any path.

    #8 Posted: 4/7/2013 - 11:00

  • Geer1

    Joined Travelfish
    14th September, 2012
    Posts: 540
    Places visited:
    At least 42

    I wish I had explored Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri in Cambodia. Would definitely be off the beaten path and Cambodian people are so friendly I am sure it would be great although communication would likely be an issue. I did talk to one guy that spent time in those areas and he absolutely loved it because of the people and experiences.

    #9 Posted: 5/7/2013 - 20:27

  • gregmccann1

    Joined Travelfish
    28th October, 2009
    Location Taiwan
    Posts: 163
    Total reviews: 5

    That's how I like it, MadMac! And the region is still full of surprises. A park ranger from Virachey just sent me this photo of Siamese crocodile captured near Jark Village on the O Lai Lai River in Voen Sai. To my knowledge, most conservation NGOs have written off the Siamese croc from all of Cambodia except for the Cardamom Mountains, and yet here they are! Another ranger tells me that there is a "croc pool" near the headwaters of the O Lai Lai near the Laos border. I'm excited to be going back there in January, for the 5th year in a row.

    #10 Posted: 6/7/2013 - 03:01

  • Advertisement

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6349
    Total reviews: 10

    Have a good trip but stay out of the pool.

    #11 Posted: 6/7/2013 - 08:57

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    That croc is small. Try swimming the rivers in the Northern Territory near Darwin.

    #12 Posted: 9/7/2013 - 09:49

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    You gotta love Leonard's tone.

    #13 Posted: 9/7/2013 - 10:22

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    How do you determine tone on the net?

    Guess?

    #14 Posted: 9/7/2013 - 10:28

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    Pretty easily actually.

    #15 Posted: 9/7/2013 - 10:34

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Really? How so?

    What was my tone on the other post?

    #16 Posted: 9/7/2013 - 10:49

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6349
    Total reviews: 10

    Small croc, big croc, frankly, I don't want to get bit by any croc. If there are crocs in the water, I think I'll just steer clear.

    #17 Posted: 9/7/2013 - 13:26

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Which makes me wonder why he wants to visit a croc pool.

    #18 Posted: 9/7/2013 - 21:29

  • gregmccann1

    Joined Travelfish
    28th October, 2009
    Location Taiwan
    Posts: 163
    Total reviews: 5

    To see if they're really there and hopefully take photos of them to inspire the big NGOs like FFI and WCS to go back to Virachey to work on a protection program. Currently FFI is only working to protect the critically endangered Siamese crocs in the Cardamom Mountains (see some articles here and here ), but if what the villagers and the rangers are saying is true -that there is a breeding population on the river (or in several locations on the river) then steps need to be taken -urgently- to ensure their survival. Thailand has something like 3 wild Siamese crocs left, one in Pang Sida NP and maybe 2 in Kaeng Krachan. Laos probably has no more than a handful. Probably extinct in Vietnam. Another area of Cambodia that still harbors a few is Prey Lang, and that place is going up in smoke fast. I also like trekking in the jungle, so the journey of trying to find them will also be fun.

    #19 Posted: 10/7/2013 - 00:21

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6349
    Total reviews: 10

    I hate moving through the jungle... I'm glad someone likes it.

    Good idea on the crocs though. Why not see what can be done. We have a very few wild tigers still out here in Issan - there just isn't enough room for them. And I'm hoping the habitat that does exist out between Mukdahan and Sakhon Nakhon doesn't get eaten up.

    #20 Posted: 10/7/2013 - 01:26

  • gregmccann1

    Joined Travelfish
    28th October, 2009
    Location Taiwan
    Posts: 163
    Total reviews: 5

    A friend who works for conservation NGO in Thailand sent me a camera trap photo of a wild tiger taken in daylight in Surin near the Dangrek Mountain Range. I was surprised to learn that there are still some out there in that part of the country. And there are still a few in those mountains between Mukdahan and Sakhon Nakhon? Do many of the local people know about them? Can tourists go trekking there?

    #21 Posted: 10/7/2013 - 09:20

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6349
    Total reviews: 10

    Anyone can go trekking there. Sure, the people who live here know about them. That's how I know about them. But I doubt there's many left. As far as I know they are not actively hunted, but that area, while still reasonably large, is hemmed in on all sides. I could imagine a Tiger has the capacity to roam quite a ways. If you pull up google maps you can see the forested area is large - but still... As far as trekking goes, it's not a hospitable environment and there are no "guides" per se. I've climbed a mountain on the south side of the forest and it wasn't a difficult climb in the dry season, but in the wet season - forget it. The vegetation is brutal, snakes and insects are everywhere. We got about 100 meters and decided it was a bad idea. Someone was going to get seriously hurt or killed if we kept going. It was ugly. I was the only non-Thai in the group that time. I must say I had been warned it would probably suck a lot.

    #22 Posted: 10/7/2013 - 10:26

  • Duxnuts

    Joined Travelfish
    1st July, 2013
    Posts: 10

    Bought a bike in Cambodia and spent a month riding around the country. There are plenty of parks and stuff to do. I went to some amazing temples that had no one else there because the buses don't stop there, just short ride down a dirt path. Some great national parks too, waterfalls etc. Great waterfall at Siem Reap, can't remember the name though... It's a national park bust costs $20 to get in.

    Anyway, I am making a video of the ride, have only done Phnom Penh for now unfortunetly. Can take a look if you want.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPFKAAMHMtY

    #23 Posted: 11/7/2013 - 03:04

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Footage is ok but music is horrible.

    #24 Posted: 12/7/2013 - 12:57

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6349
    Total reviews: 10

    Jesus Leonard, it's back up music to a bike ride. Cut him some slack.

    #25 Posted: 12/7/2013 - 13:31

Have questions? Jump to our menu of forum quicklinks

Add your reply

Your reply

Check this box if you want to be notified of replies.

Please be familiar with our user guidelines before you post. Thanks!

Businesses planning on plugging their guesthouse / hotel / karaoke bar should read our "Addition guidelines" very carefully.

You need to be logged in to answer an existing post on the Travelfish forums. Please login via the prompts just above and refresh this screen -- before writing your post -- and you'll be in business.

Possibly related discussions Replies  Views  Latest reply
Cambodia off the beaten track ... By rocketgirl on 26 Oct 2007 10 5078 2 Jan 2008
Help getting off the beaten track ... By soontobewrldtrv on 24 Mar 2012 12 6495 31 Mar 2012
Somewhere a little off the beaten track between Hue and Da Lat? ... By jacquelinehope on 5 Jan 2012 1 2327 7 Jan 2012
Off The Beaten Track ... By nutmeg47 on 25 May 2006 7 2601 17 Jun 2009
Off the beaten track in Nan province ... By vientianepmc on 25 Nov 2006 0 1891 25 Nov 2006
Off the beaten track : places to recommend ... By millionario on 6 Sep 2009 22 9962 3 Jun 2010
Islands off the beaten track - which best for xmas 09? ... By alexlazarus on 15 Apr 2009 8 2837 23 Apr 2009
Yang Tone Farmstay, Chiang Dao - off the beaten track ... By 73Chip on 10 Feb 2008 0 3346 10 Feb 2008