My partner and I will be traveling from Vietnam (overland or flying) sometime in April 2014. We are planning to spend 3-4 weeks in Cambodia, but we are flexible. We have to be in Thailand for a course in early May.
I also posted an itinerary in Vietnam.
We want to see the "best of" Cambodia since we don't know when we will be back. We are interested in everything, we don't care too much about partying.
These are the places we want to go:
Phnom Pehn, Siem Riep, Battambang, Kep, Kampot, Sihanoukville (islands and beaches nearby), Ko Kong, Kampong Cham, Kratie (any other suggestions?)
We might do Ko Kong last so we can head across the boarder into Thailand.
We were looking at the travel fish map (one month itinerary): https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=114019800160868835664.0004937bac32ec94bf170&ll=12.297068,105.029297&spn=3.756351,6.591797&z=7&source=embed
We are wondering how to see these places with minimal backtracking. (We are okay flying if it is reasonable, to save sitting hours on a bus on the same road we already have driven). It obviously doesn't look as easy as vietnam since it is not north-south.
Another concern is how regular itineraries and travel are affected since we will be traveling in "hot" season before it turns to the rainy season.
Thanks in advance!
You have the main places. If you go first to battambang from PP and then Siem Reap you could go direct to Kratie and down to the south to save a bit of back tracking. I am not a fan of Sianoukville myself but each to their own.
Without too much deviation you might consider Chi Phat a small village in the jungle on the way to Koh Kong see link
Your best option likely is to enter in to Phnom Penh . Then decide if you would rather go to Battambang or Kratie next. Do a loop Phnom Penh - Battambang - Siem Reap - Kampong Cham - Kratie - Phnom Penh or vice versa. Then head down to Kep /Koh Tonsay - Kampot - Sihanoukville - Koh Rong etc - Koh Kong - Thailand.
Alternatively you could enter via Ha Tien and go straight to Kep then - Kampot - Sihanoukville - Koh Rong - Koh Kong - Phnom Penh - Kratie - Kampong Cham - Siem Reap - Battambang - Thailand. Probably not any quicker this way but it depends on how you want to enter/leave Cambodia.
go overland in Ratanakiri and do the 6/7 day trek in Virachey National Park to the Veal Thom Grasslands. It will be a highlight. From there take your time getting down to Phnom Penh, stopping off in Kratie by the Mekong. My 2 cents.
You should allow 6-7 hours travel time from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, and 5 hours from PP down to Sihanoukville. Be prepared not to do too much on travel days, other than finding your bed for the night and eating.
Siem Reap deserves a few days - you can get a 3 day temple pass and there's other things to see too.
For one of the islands, boats usually leave about 9am and return to the mainland about 6pm, so you'll need to stay close-by. The islands require at least two nights stay to get the benefit, but I always go for longer!
Two to three days minimum in Phnom Penh if you want to do more than just visit the genocide museum.
If you like a bit of activity - visiting caves, walking, river cruise, kayaking etc then you could happily spend a week between Kampot and Kep.
Regarding the travel bit, Khmer New Year is 13 - 15 April this year. The roads get busy, transport and accommodation needs booking in advance and expats tend to head to the beach. Phnom Penh is usually pretty empty and not all restaurants/attractions are open. However, if you can arrange a trip in the countryside around this time, it's a fascinating time, with dancing, traditional games and 'road blocks' of kids who will throw white powder on you, spray you with water and require a 'toll' for passing through.