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Cambodia forum

Independent travel OR Tours? Cambodia / Thailand

Posted by Mattyrud on 21/8/2012 at 22:30

My girlfriend and i want to travel to Cambodia in late October/ early November.
Really confused weather to take our time and travel Independently or do a tour??
Most tours I have found dont seem great value, or spend enough time in Siem Reap .
I have been Phnom Penh and Siem Reap before with Gecko Tours. But i would love to spend about 4 nights in SR, maybe 3 in PP and even try get down to Kep/Kampot?
We have about 2 and half weeks all up.. GF would like to visit Phuket or somewhere similar if possible at end of trip.. any surgestions?

A travel agent we went to Insisted we go through them to ensure the things we do there
are not "Black Market Tourist Trade"?? where the money goes to Khmer Rouge Official still in Gov.?? ANY TRUTH to this??

Matt (Australia)

#1 Mattyrud has been a member since 20/8/2012. Posts: 3

Posted by busylizzy on 21/8/2012 at 23:03

Do it independently - there is absolutely no need for a tour. I answered an almost identical question relating to Laos last night - maybe my answer there will help.

Same stuff applied to Cambodia - but probably even more so.

#2 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by bass_ke on 22/8/2012 at 06:30

Hi Matt,

I've never been much of a fan of travel agents so may have a biased opinion but I definitely prefer the independent option.

I like to just wander when travelling and don't really like to have things set in stone all the way down to meal times etc, you may find that you just want to spend the day at your guesthouse drinking coffee and relaxing or you may want to head out in search of adventure.

You can always try and organise day trips whilst away if you like

I've not spent as much time in Cambodia as other parts of SE Asia so am no expert but I'd say the likelihood of your money heading to Khmer Rogue baddies is about the same as the 18 year old who's dad was taken by the Khmer Rogue.

Bottom line is we are all different when it comes to travelling, if it's your first time the certainty may be comforting. Cambodia is a little harder and slower going than Malaysia or Thailand but definitely not hard to get about.

Hope it helps a little!

#3 bass_ke has been a member since 23/8/2009. Posts: 18
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Posted by indtravhelp on 22/8/2012 at 08:13

Hi Matt

I agree with busylizzy about doing it independently. I travelled around SE Asia, including Cambodia, independently by myself. I went over the border from Laos into Cambodia by bus and then got buses as and when I needed to different places. It isn't difficult. Sometimes the buses are a bit small, cramped, slow and in questionable condition but it's an experience! You may even be the only foreigners on the bus. One time I got stuck in a town (Kampong Cham) because of election day - there were no buses that particular day but that's part of independent travel.


#4 indtravhelp has been a member since 22/8/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by Twerto on 23/8/2012 at 05:17

Hi Matt,

I pondered this for some time before deciding to go the independent route, as other have said before it works out almost 35% - 50% cheaper and even I couldn't justify that just for the peace of mind of someone else beign irresponsible of getting you from a to b to c etc etc.

I am about to go on my 6 week tour a week on Sunday and have really enjoyed researching where to go and what to see.. you will soon find that no time is long enough for all that you want to do and for me has added even more excitement to going on holiday.

Will let you know if i change my mind half way round though :oP

#5 Twerto has been a member since 20/11/2011. Posts: 37
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Posted by Mattyrud on 25/8/2012 at 20:27

Thanks everyone for your great advice!

We have decided to go indy travel! We cant wait to explore cambodia.
The only part of the trip we still havnt worked out is a "BEACH" getting from
siem reap to phuket isnt exactly cheap...

Any one know of similar places to travel? ie. beautiful beaches, shopping and seafood :)
Travel agent suggested Hua Hin or Pattaya? Not too keen on the 'sex capital of the world' lol


#6 Mattyrud has been a member since 20/8/2012. Posts: 3

Posted by busylizzy on 25/8/2012 at 21:40

There are beaches and islands in Cambodia of course - Otres, Koh Rong, etc. If you came back overland from Siem Reap , you could stop at Koh Chang surrounding islands (near Trang in Thailand). Lots of info on this site about them. BUT.. just be aware of visa situation if you arrive in Thailand overland (ie 14 days rather than 30 if you arrive by air).

Otherwise, you can fly from Siem Reap to Krabi, Phuket or Koh Samui in Thailand - but as you said, it won't be cheap.

#7 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by indtravhelp on 27/8/2012 at 01:45

Yes, check out the beaches and islands of Cambodia. Here's a link to a website that has some info If the link is hidden then just search for beaches and islands in Cambodia to find the website.

Enjoy :)

#8 indtravhelp has been a member since 22/8/2012. Posts: 2

Posted by wildlifelover on 19/9/2012 at 03:04

Hi Matt,

Sounds like you getting enough suggestion to make you decided to do indy travellers. I don't want to share anything against everyone, but it is just myself idea if I were you. Yes, you can travel yourself, booking stuff on your own, and do whatever you both want, but in this situation I won't put my fingers to arrange all of these stuff. They are just little things, but sometimes it makes me frustrated because of the words "sorry, we are fully booked. sorry, it's not available today. that kind of the stuff" I'd rather drop on somebody to arrange these stuff for me, i mean it could be a tailor made thing. They are happy to do whatever which suit us.

Then I can spend my best time with my lovely girlfriend. I'm not getting headache to think about arranging anything.

However it's not gonna change your mind.

Don't forget to check out the very new launch in Cambodia about "Gibbon Spotting Cambodia". An amazing wildlife experience if you'd love to try with your girlfriend.

Wish you all best.

#9 wildlifelover has been a member since 9/5/2012. Posts: 6

Posted by AbigailatPenhandInk on 22/9/2012 at 05:45 TF writer

Travelfish has a Cambodia blog with a new poster from Sihanoukville, giving plenty of information about beaches.

You mentioned Kampot/Kep in the beginning - an easy ride from Phnom Penh and a lovely spot to relax for a few days. You can visit there then head down to Sihanoukville.

There are some beautiful islands off the coast, such as Koh Rong Saloem and Koh Rong, but it depends what level of luxury you're after. It's very different from Phuket!

#10 AbigailatPenhandInk has been a member since 9/11/2010. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 178
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