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Cambodia forum

Help planning first trip to Cambodia

Posted by remsam on 26/3/2014 at 11:55

I will be visiting Cambodia for the first time later this year and would greatly appreciate some input on where I should visit. I am flying into Phnom Phen and will be traveling solo for the first 9 or 10 days of my trip. I will then be joining a friend in Siem Reap for 4-5 days.

I'm not sure how I should divide the first 9 to 10 days while I'm on my own. I assume I should spend the first 2 or 3 days in Phnom Phen but am not sure where to go next. I know I want to visit Battambang on my way to Siem Reap but am not sure if I should go to Sihanoukville , Kampot, Kep, or somewhere else first. I will be traveling by land and don't want to spend too many days on endless bus rides. At the same time, I would like get a sense of different parts of Cambodia in my limited time.

Does Phnom Phen, Sihanoukville (or somewhere else on the coast), Battambang, then Siem Reap make sense? I am completely open to other suggestions.

I have traveled a lot around Central and South America on my own but this is my first time in South East Asia. I am in my mid-thirties and a low to mid-range traveler (ideally I would like to spend less than $40 a night for hotels).

Thanks so much for your help!

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Posted by amnicoll on 27/3/2014 at 07:39

Budget on hotels will not be a problem - check out accomodation pages on Travelfish in towns for prices.

Where to go depends on what you are looking for.

Sianoukeville -beaches bars nightlife tourists not my cup of tea

Kampot nice town but a bit out of the way as have to go back to PP before going to battambang, You could hop up the road to battambang stopping off at various towns on the way

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Posted by AbigailatPenhandInk on 2/4/2014 at 03:22 TF writer

Kampot is quite a favourite! Given your budget for hotels, I would guess you don't mind spending a little extra on travel. In which case Kampot's only 2.5 hours on a VIP minivan from Phnom Penh (tickets are $8 compared with $5-6 on a bigger bus). You can also easily get to Kep from there - another 45 minute ride with interesting scenery. And from Kep, you can pop over to Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island) for a day trip or overnight. The accommodation there is definitely not in the $40 range!

It's true that Phnom Penh is a transport hub, and you'll end up back there if you go south first, but it's an interesting city to spend an extra night.

You could also think about Kompong Cham (going north) - there's few tourists and you can arrange a fascinating and beautiful motorbike tour through agricultural land, seeing tobacco plantations, jackfruits bigger than your head and an old wooden pagoda. In the dry season, there's also the bamboo bridge, large enough to take cars ...

On you way up to Siem Reap, there's also Kratie, which is a peaceful Cambodian town where Irrawaddy dolphins can be seen.


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Posted by amnicoll on 2/4/2014 at 05:34

Agree about kampong Cham and Kratie although Kratie is a bit of a detour

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Posted by JaiYen88 on 5/4/2014 at 06:38

There are a few options - going south to Kampot, Kep and Koh Tonsay is one that has already been mentioned. Another option could be the northeast Ratanakiri province, which is more geared towards nature and wildlife tourism. It's a bit further out of the way than going south, and to get to Siem Reap you must come nearly all the way back to Phnom Penh, but it could be nice if you are interested in that sort of thing.

Bus travel in Cambodia is not particularly comfortable a lot of the time, so it is definitely recommended to spend a minimum amount of time moving around. I would suggest limiting yourself to maximum four locations in the timeframe you have, that way you won't be wasting your precious time on boring bus journeys!

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Posted by amnicoll on 5/4/2014 at 06:43

Jai yen

Good suggestion and if so change bus at Kampong Cham for Siem reap (may need to overnight there) to save going back to PP

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Posted by louiisamarie on 12/5/2014 at 22:13

If you go to Sihanoukville and you are not into the party scene in town, Otres beach 2 is really pretty and very chilled out. You will still get harassed on the beach by hawkers though. It's just a $3 tuk tuk from town and has budge to high end accommodation. I would definitely recommend Kampot. It's very relaxing to stay at a hostel/guesthouse across the river. The sun rise and sun set are always impressive.

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Posted by Bridgequeen on 1/6/2014 at 16:44

It really depends what you are into. I have never been to Sihanoukville because of its reputation. I would though thoroughly recommend Kampot and Kep especially if you like laid back. The Giant Ibis minivan service from Kep to PP is fast and reliable, you would not even have to spend an extra night in PP as the 8.00 (I think, if not it was 8.30) would connect with Siem Reap, or Battambang through a different company (though that is a long old day). I personally love Battambang and would not leave it out - don't forget to go to the circus there. Enjoy, Cambodia is my favourite country in SE Asia and whilst overland travel is not luxurious, it is cheap and easy to organise. Certainly beats the buses in Laos!

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Posted by Petersemail on 2/8/2014 at 18:51

Hi , I have written a book on travelling for 7 days around Cambodia. You can down load it free from iTunes.

Its called "7 days in Cambodia". Hope it can help you.

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Posted by gnomeqat on 20/8/2014 at 13:18

You say you are going later this year but not when ? If it's the wet season then the coast may not be much fun.It depends what you like to do. Kampot and Kep are nice but you will have to go back to Phnom Penh to go to Siem Reap . Otres Beach in Sihanoukville is good if you just want to hang out, but you will also have to backtrack to PP. If it's raining I would avoid the islands.

If you want to go up to Kratie, Sen Monorom or Banlung (dolphins, elephants or trekking), it is now possible to go on to Siem Reap via Stung Treng without going back to Kampong Cham, and the new road to SR is good, or so I heard.

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Posted by fontanillamarga on 16/9/2014 at 04:31

I just want to say that this thread is really helpful to planning my own trip to Cambodia. Thank you for the tips!

#11 fontanillamarga has been a member since 16/9/2014. Posts: 2

Posted by remsam on 16/9/2014 at 10:29

Thank you so much for all the great suggestions!

Any thoughts on how many days I should spend in Kampot , Phnom Phen, and Battambang? Right now I am considering 4 nights/3 full days in Kampot (with a day trip to Kep), 3 nights/2.5 days in Phnom Phen, and 3 nights/2 full days in Battambang. Should I be spending more or less time anywhere? I will be heading to Siem Reap afterwards for 4 nights.

#12 remsam has been a member since 26/3/2014. Posts: 5

Posted by Bridgequeen on 16/9/2014 at 13:28

My first trip I spent 5 nights in siem reap, which was perfect to see everything without having to rush, you can then spend 2days on Angkor etc, 1 day floating village and 1 day for the waterfalls, river of the thousand linga and the women's temple. I would take a day from kampot. Make sure you plan Battambang to coincide with the circus, check the website but it is usually on a Thursday.

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