in March I will be travelling to Cambodia, and during my time in the south, I would like to visit a National park (or 2) and a great island. Afterwords I will enter Thailand through Hat Lek to get back home through Bangkok.
I was wondering if anyone could advise me about the National parks Ream and Bokor. Are they any good? Since I probably won't find the time to visit Khao Yai in Thailand, I would like to know if any of the Cambodian parks were a nice alternative.
At the end of my trip, I would also like to chill for a few days on an island. I've heard about the Sihanoukville beaches being too touristy, so I would like to know which one is worth a stay (for swimming, nice beaches, nice walks, snorkelling...). Are the Cambodian islands any good, or would Ko Chang near the Thai border be a better option?
#1 PadThai has been a member since 8/1/2013. Posts: 7
Can't tell you anything about Ream but I visited Phnom Bokor last year in July. It was a nice motorbike ride from Kampot which took about an hour, and the new road up the mountain is fresh new tarmac, so it's a very nice ride. As far as seeing much of the wilderness it was disappointing, there seemed to be a lot of construction going on all over the place, but then again we didn't venture far from our bikes since we had limited time, and apparently you can take guided treks along jungle paths which take a few hours.
I also went to Koh Rong off Sihanoukville, which had its positives and negatives. If you want to see incredible post-card blue sea and white sand, and don't mind witnessing it being systematically ruined by unregulated, short-sighted development, it could be the place you're looking for. It has a mellow party vibe on the main beach, then you can explore the island and see some really untouched places, but the main beach itself is slightly depressing, what with the poorly built bars and bungalows, blue pipes running waste directly into the sea, and rising crowds of westerners who apparently don't seem to mind swimming in the sea directly next to them!
There are others like Koh Tonsay (Rabbit island, off Kep), Koh Russei (Bamboo island) off S'ville, and Koh Rong Samloem, but Koh Rong seems to be the place to go at the moment. That being said, you may prefer to go somewhere with fewer people and less development, and I wholeheartedly encourage that!
EDIT: If you like getting wasted with crowds of backpackers, and aren't bothered by lots of begging and sleaze going on around you, you'll like Sihanoukville. Otherwise, you may find it a bit tiresome.