I am going to be traveling around Saigon and want to pop into Cambodia for a few days because I love the people and vibe so much. Been to Angkor and I don't know if PP is worth it, since I'm not really a city person. I also don't really care about beaches cause I am going to get those in Vietnam. So if you were going to spend four days in Cambodia in a quiet place off the beaten path that is relatively easy to access by road from one of the border crossings, where would you go, and what would you do there? I'm looking for something like a homestay, a great trek, river-front markets, etc. Time on the river would be great. Is there a must-do river trip? I want a place that is chill and has things to see and do.
#1 ccalvin09 has been a member since 27/8/2009. Posts: 20
#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,738
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................... Has to be Kampot for sure if you're coming from Saigon. You can stay right by the river at somewhere like Boddhi Villa or Olly's Place, swim and kayak or take a river cruise.
Sunset is best from the other side of the river, where most of the guesthouses and restaurants are, so you can see Bokor Mountain. The town itself is quiet and laidback with interesting, mostly unrefurbished colonial buildings. There's also places like Villa Vedici on this side, which are a bit further out but very relaxing.
You can trek up the mountain to visit the abandoned French hill station at the top - there's development work happening so this is an opportunity that's running out.
There's a day trip to Kep, to eat crab in Kampot pepper sauce and see more empty French villas and the big-bottomed mermaid statue. Also nice walks to be had from here.
I'm a big Kampot fan, so perhaps a little biased, but I can't think of a better place to spend four days!
Come to Ratanakiri. Overnight bus to Pleiku. Cross the border then to Banlung. A beautiful lake to swim in. Waterfalls. Small town. Trekking. Village homestays in Ethnic minority villages.
See you here.
Kampot !!! Do it!!!
It is an easy (but kind of long of course...) day bus trip from Saigon. We found a Cambodian bus place (just look for Khmer writing) in Saigon near the "backpacker" district and only paid I think $15 to go all the way from Saigon to Kampot. We left early in the morning (7:00ish I believe) and didn't arrive till later at night (maybe 8:00 or so) in Kampot. BUT the buses that we took were all AC and didn't stop a million times like other ones do. Also, they were very helpful at getting us to the correct bus in PP where you have to make a changeover to get to Kampot. And of course the boarder crossing-the least painful one yet! They literally take your documents to the desk for you and get you through as fast as possible (which says a lot for a bus full of people you have to wait to cross..). Kampot isn't beachy, but if you feel like a day trip the beach is close. Bikes to rent for a dollar are a great way to spend the day. Motos for rent for $5. Lots of hiking, caves, pepper fields (Kampot is famous for this) you can explore on a tour, or easily on your own. We chose to do all these things by ourselves (with people we met in Kampot). If you run into a guy named Gary (tall dready guy from Europe), he was the guy who showed us all this great stuff just for fun. He lives in Kampot and I know he was planning to buy a boat to do boat tours...
Anyways, hope you enjoy your trip!!
I like Kratie. The town itself is a little grotty, but I love it by the river and the dolphin watching is nice. There's also a great temple up on the hill on the way to where you get the boats to see the dolphins. Not many people take the time to go there. Don't know if it's still there, but there was one very aggressive monkey. A nun told my wife it was the reincarnation of a criminal or soldier who had been captured there. It lost something in the translation, but I thought it was a pretty cool story anyway.
What I especially like about Kratie is that you can go from there to Ratanakiri or Mondulkiri easily or even the southern border into Laos. I haven't been there for almost 4 years, so I don't know if it's changed. I was relatively new to Cambodia then and it seemed refreshingly different at the time. There are a few pics on my blog, Sihanoukville Journal.