I am planning to spend a month in Cambodia followed by a month in Laos later this year (Oct/Nov). Bangkok is where I will fly into and out of the region. I would like to find a balance between seeing as much as I can in these two countries whilst not rushing through every town.
I have never travelled before, let alone to the region, so I was wondering if anyone experienced would be able to suggest a good route to take for this trip and which places are good to spend a little time in and which are not that worthwhile.
Best to check first this site or some guidebook to see what attractions fit your interests. Assuming that you go overland from Cambodia to Laos it would be natural to start on the coast in the south and work your way up north. It is however a small country and with most trips only taking half a day from Phnom Penh you would have the freedom to mix it up.
In 1 month you can see almost all places of interest to the average tourist/backpacker.
In general Cambodia doesn't have that many "must see" things, apart from Angkor Wat, so take it easy and stay longer in a place if you like it.
The "must see/do" things (few sights in Phnom Penh, a coastal town and Siem reap) can be done in roughly 2 weeks.
Fill the rest in according to your interests
I have never been to Laos, but have spend a lot of time in Cambodia and I'm visiting for the 4th time in July.
My highlights were - Siem Reap, for the community projects, the restaurants, the beautiful rice fields and countryside sunsets and the temples
Phnom Penh - it's so fast paced and crazy!
Sihanoukville for a seaside escape not ruined by high rise buildings and concrete
Other really worthwhile areas to consider:-
Mondulkiri/Ratanikiri for the lush unspoilt jungle
Kratie - for the Irrawady Dolphins
Kampot/Kep - for sleepy seaside towns and delicious fresh seafood (and Bokor Hill Station if open)
If you want any recommendations on places to stay etc, send me a message. I have a friend whose second home is Laos if you'd like to know more about that too
#4 morningsun has been a member since 17/5/2011. Posts: 5
Rasheed's advice is very useful - plan it, then be prepared to deviate from your plans. Until you arrive, you won't know how tired the travelling will make you, or how long it will take you to adjust to the new culture. Allow yourself time to wander around and soak up the atmosphere without constantly checking your watch. You'll meet plenty of people in guesthouses and en route who can make recommendations to you and share their experiences. And don't be afraid to go off the beaten track of tourists and find your own special places. Asia is generally safe and relatively easy, provided you bring a big dose of common sense in your backpack. Enjoy!
Hey, I am off travelling in Oct, I am planning on doing some volunteering in Cambodia. I will have roughly 7 weeks to do North Thailand and Vietnam, then 3 weeks work in Cambodia, as am meeting friends in Thailand for Xmas. Is this enough time to see everything, as if it isn't I can volunteer in Thailand instead.
Thanks Em. x
#6 emily2310 has been a member since 14/6/2011. Posts: 17
I can recommend an awesome project to volunteer with in Cambodia. They are called KidsCareCambodia-AranhVillage. I'm not sure if we can add websites so google it? It is run by an Australian girl and her Cambodian partner. He does most of the ground work as he lives in the village, and does it all voluntarily, his only income coming from driving tourists around town and the temples in his Tuk Tuk.
It is community based in a village, and they also work in conjunction with other NGO's in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
#7 morningsun has been a member since 17/5/2011. Posts: 5