I have put together a rough itinerary for my time in Cambodia, I will be travelling probably in around June/July so not sure if all my plans will be possible in the rainy season. Would appreciate your thoughts. Will probably be about three weeks but can be extended or shortened depending on how I feel as I'm also travelling around Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. Not planning on spending too much time on the coast in favour of doing this in Thailand.
Arrive in Phnom Penh from HCMC. Take a trip down to Kampot and stay long enough to see Bokor Hill Station then head back to Phnom Penh.
Then up to Battambang and thinking about hiring a bike to cycle round the nearby countryside. I would like to get the slow boat to Siem Reap but have heard some negative reviews. Would I better saving a slow boat trip for somewhere else, in Laos maybe?
See the main sites near Siem Reap then head up to Anlong Veng. How long should i allow too see sites around here? Is it easy to arrange onward travel to Prasat Preah Viheart in the rainy season (I'm aware there can be unrest and sometimes its closed so I will review this nearer the time). Will probably stay there overnight and head back to Phnom Penh. Is it easy to find transport in the rainy season, I'm not expecting it to be direct to Phnom Penh.
Then from there up to Ban Lung via Kratie to arrange some trekking. Is it easy join tour groups with other travellers as I'm travelling by myself and it would be nice to have some company. If I'm short on time would it better to skip this in favour of trekking in other areas, such as northern Laos?
Thanks in advance.
Just a quick note about Bokor Hill. You are no longer able to ride to the top of the hill due to the development work, etc. You could only get there by walking the last part - which is about a 4-6 (?) walk return.
I looked at going there a year ago and that was the situation then (didn't actually go in the end).
Do some homework before you go to get latest updates - I think there has been subsequent discussion on this forum so search around. In particular, be aware of the long walk, but also check out that you can actually still get there. The area is being developed and they may have shut it off to visitors completely? Not sure - but just wanted to alert you to the possibility.
......Just went up Bokor at the weekend. On public holidays, the road is open and you can hire a bike or get a mototaxi to take you up. You might be lucky with the Queen Mother's Birthday on Saturday, 18 June 2011. Entrance fee is $5 into the park. Otherwise you need to walk, but this is still possible.
There's the option of a half walk/half drive there and back in a day, but this doesn't give you so much time at the top. If you're fit and you want a bit more adventure, I'd recommend the full walk and stay at the ranger's station at the top overnight. Did this trek myself in August three years ago - yes it was a bit rainy and muddy, but still possible.
You cannot go on a trek without a guide and a ranger, so you will need to arrange with someone in Kampot town. I'd recommend Mr Cheung Trey, who has a motorbike hire and trekking business. He really knows about the jungle, has great stories to tell and is indefatigably cheerful.
I've not taken the slow boat from Battambang to Siem Reap, but I would definitely recommend the trip in Laos from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw, along the Mekong and Ou rivers. It's definitely slow (up to 8 hours) but stunningly beautiful. You can get a ticket from the river, but allow a couple of days, as the boat only leaves when there's a minimum of four or five passengers.
Definitely possible to join up with others for treks etc - just get chatting in your guesthouse, or ask the guide you want to book with. Usually, we've booked as a couple and always had company of at least two more people on our trip.
Just realised I forgot to check back here. Thanks very much for the info. I guess I can check out the Bokor Park situation when I'm there. I'll make sure to check out the boat option on the Nam Ou as I don't think I will get the boat from the Thai border to Luang Prabang.