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Cambodia forum

Cambodia - September 2015

Posted by Soe on 2/5/2015 at 11:15

I am planning a trip to Cambodia for early September - as of now I'm traveling solo (female) and even though I've done a fair amount of this in the past, it's been a while since I struck out on my own so I'm trying to decide between my own itinerary and something like joining an Intrepid tour.
There's a tour that hits most of the places on the itinerary I put together (see below). I've priced out my accommodations and internal travel (I'm not on a super-tight budget, but not going high-end either - so far, my average per night cost for accommodation (mostly looking at airbnb) is $38) and the difference in price between what I've planned and what Intrepid would cost is about $300.
From what I've read on here, it seems as though traveling solo I'll end up running into people, although I should also add that I'm about to turn 42 (this is my "life, the universe, and everything" trip) so I don't know that I want to spend time with 20 somethings getting drunk - no offense, but been there, done that). I'm also not naturally outgoing (and it's getting worse as I get older). I don't mind being alone at all - in fact, I often crave it, but I also imagine that it would be nice to have some companionship on occasion or someone to eat dinner and get a drink with.

Also, if anyone has advice on the itinerary it would be appreciated. If I'm going alone, I don't care all that much about the beaches - but am I trying to do too much?

And finally, if anyone is planning a trip for September get in touch!

1 Depart for Phnom Penh

2 Arrive Phnom Penh late evening - Sleep
3 Phnom Penh - Explore
4 Phnom Penh - Explore

5 Fly to Siem Reap - morning. Explore SR & Angkor Wat
6 Siem Reap - Explore SR & Angkor Wat
7 Preah Vihear Tour from SR
8 Siem Reap - Explore SR & Angkor Wat
9 Koh Ker & Beng Mealea tour from SR

10 Early boat to Battambang – 6 hours
11 Battambang

12 Banteay Chhmar via Sisophon. Overnight?

13 Siem Reap airport – fly to Sihanoukville

14 Islands?

15 Ream – leave for Kampot

16 Kampot

17 Return to PP and catch flight

18 Arrive home

#1 Soe has been a member since 2/5/2015. Location: United States. Posts: 3

Posted by mikal83 on 3/5/2015 at 04:36

Don't let "age" worry you, we are mid 50's and 2 yrs ago, "flashpacked" Thailand and Malaysia for 6 weeks, then campervanned OZ for 3 months. WE are also off to Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos this October for 3 months!
Are you flying due to time constraints?

#2 mikal83 has been a member since 19/1/2015. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 140

Posted by Soe on 3/5/2015 at 10:13

Thanks Mikal - I'm not worried about age - I absolutely plan to travel well into my 50s, 60s, and 70s and longer if my body is holding up! ;) The age thing is more that I've realized the older I get the less outgoing I become!

I guess my slight concern is that as much as I enjoy traveling alone (and even when I'm accompanied by my partner or a friend I tend to go off by myself for chunks of time), there are still occasions when I know I'll miss having people to be with - probably mostly in the evening for dinner and conversation, but perhaps I can address this by staying in places where I'm likely to run into other travelers. For most accommodation I had thought of doing airbnb, but that would mean setting myself apart - perhaps instead I should find a guesthouse/BB/hotel.

As for flying, yes, I decided I'd rather spend more time in certain places than go for a long bus ride to get there. While I recognize that the bus rides allow for seeing more of the countryside, I figured I'd get some of that on side trips from SR and coming back from the beaches via Kampot etc. I'm open to alternatives though!

Three months sounds amazing - if only I could get that much time off! I need to keep working on my plan to retire young enough to enjoy it!

#3 Soe has been a member since 2/5/2015. Location: United States. Posts: 3

Posted by wanderingPoet on 4/5/2015 at 23:34

To be honest there isn't a lot to do in kampot proper. The best attractions are Siem Reap all the temples and the royal ballet. Shanoukville is awesome. Very relaxed the food is the best in Cambodia ( western foods leave a lot to be desired ) there are some out of the way restaurants that serve the best sea food but are pricey. Beach restaurants are a good bet. Make a local friend they can show you the best places to eat.
Phnom Phen the river walk is where I spend most of my time early mornings and late evenings after you see all the various sights. I have never made it to Battambang but I have lots of friends from there.
I never fly in country the busses are comfortable and cheap. Be careful if you go to the temples on the Thai border there are disputes over their ownership and fighting breaks out from time to time.

You will have to cross the border sometime during your trip as you can only get a 60 day visa with the extension. It will cost you if you go over a considerable amount.

It's a beautiful country and the people respond well to friendliness but remember they are very conservative in their dress and actions. They will respect you better if you refrain from showing too much skin in other than Sihanoukville

Just some tips, I'll be in Takeo province for three months with my fiancee.

#4 wanderingPoet has been a member since 4/5/2015. Posts: 1

Posted by amnicoll on 5/5/2015 at 06:24

I would do it under your own steam. In most of Cambodia you can get good accommodation with A/C for much less than your $38 and I would not book but simply turn up with an idea of where you might want to stay but decide when you arrive - at that time of year unlikely yo be any problem although you might wish to book your first night in Phnom Phen given the late arrival and it will make life much easier (do not forget to inform them of your late arrival)

I am in a similar position to you albeit even older and meeting others is not a problem so again go for it

I am worried about you trip to Banteay Chhmar as you are likely to spend all your time traveling and then will need to get straight back to the airport at SR for the flight which means that you will not see much

I might give Sianoukeville and the islands a miss and just head to Kampot (I like Kampot) and visit Kep for the day for some wonderful seafood and a not so nice beach (if you are not on a budget just splash out on a taxi from the airport)

There is much to see and do in Cambodia but you have little time so there is a need to prioritise AND to consider the fact that internal public transport is slow - more than happy to provide ideas and feedback to specific questions

#5 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

Posted by Soe on 5/5/2015 at 11:55

Thanks wanderingpoet - I'm just there for 2 weeks so no worries on the visa and yes, the dress is very important. Having traveled throughout the middle east, I'm used to covering up! I appreciate your tips :)

Also thanks amnicoll. I agree that not booking places in advance will give me more flexibility and it's how I've typically traveled in the past. I also appreciate the thoughts on Banteay Chhmar. I wanted to get off the beaten path a little, but was also worried about the timing of this trip.

Given that (and I agree prioritization is key) is there anything you would recommend doing/seeing that I don't have? I like the idea of visiting Kep. I'm okay skipping the beaches/islands and if I also skip Banteay Chhmar, that gives me a few extra days.

Thanks all!

#6 Soe has been a member since 2/5/2015. Location: United States. Posts: 3

Posted by amnicoll on 6/5/2015 at 04:56

the world or at least Cambodia is your oyster!

with limited time and slow travel you are limited and although not strictly off the beaten track the village of Chi Phat is a favourite of mine however you need to plan a sensible route and I am reluctant to make further suggestions that might complicate your planning. However please feel free to come back and bounce ideas


As I said you could save a lot on your accommodation budget and still stay in comfort and you might therefore consider in some cases spending the money on private hire taxi for some trips

#7 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

Posted by JimTokay on 11/5/2015 at 04:46

Hi, welcome to Cambodia. First of all; Cambodia is very safe to travel alone I live here with my wife (close to your age) and my 11 year old son and we never had any problems whatsoever. You need to be aware of your surroundings in Phnom Penh, because occasionally "bag snatching" are happening.
When you arrive to Siem Reap , contact me I like to take people to tour countryside and introduce you to local food pallet. Any questions about what, when and how to see best in Siem Reap- I am happy to help.
I am also happy to read that you are planning to visit Preah Vihear - it is amazing place. I have some other people visiting me about same time as you will be in Siem Reap so if interested may be can share some tour- traveling costs.

#8 JimTokay has been a member since 11/5/2015. Location: Cambodia. Posts: 7

Posted by netip_m on 13/8/2015 at 13:09

Hi Soe,

I will be in Cambodia in second week of September. Reaching PP on 12 then SR.on 13th by road or speed boat. Back to PP on 18th and leaving on 20th. If you can join somewhere then that will be great. I am still young, just 2 years elder to you😀

#9 netip_m has been a member since 13/8/2015. Location: India. Posts: 4

Posted by MADMAC on 19/8/2015 at 11:17


#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Doggie55 on 4/9/2015 at 06:02

When you are in Phnom Penh Brooklyn Pizza & Bistrois the best place to eat in Phnom Penh...or just go to this site; http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g293940-Phnom_Penh.html
I will be there on the 27th to 29th of Sept also...I like to stay at the Hotel Zing Phnom Penh.
I am from San Diego, CA...Ret U.S. Army. I live in Thailand now.
If you would like a drink, just ask for Robin at the hotel...

#11 Doggie55 has been a member since 4/9/2015. Posts: 1

Posted by amnicoll on 19/9/2015 at 04:12

Brooklyn Pizza & Bistrois the best place to eat in Phnom Penh???????

I am sorry but these are the last places I would want to eat

#12 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

Posted by Bridgequeen on 6/10/2015 at 06:08


I am somewhat older than you and have travelled through South East Asia on my own several times. Personally I cannot stand organised tours - a) my interests are not necessarily the same as the rest of the party's, or the tour organisers, eg on a tour in China (the only group tour I have ever done) the terracotta army was allocated just 2 hours with equal time given to an uninteresting mosque. b) Also you are kind of forced to eat and share transport with a bunch of strangers with whom you may or may not get on. c) if you are really unlucky teh tour will also include unmentioned stops at souvenir stores.
I love the freedom of doing it yourself and in Cambodia you can afford to have a tuk tuk driver to yourself. My budget is similar to yours and I never came across hordes of drunken 18 - 30s. I did however meet some interesting people on my travels and love the freedom to just walk away or read a book if you don't want to talk. As for your itinerary I have not been to all teh places but do love Battambang and Kep. My first trip I did SR over 5 days to keep the pace relaxed, temple exploration can be hard hot work!

#13 Bridgequeen has been a member since 29/7/2013. Location: Earth. Posts: 55

Posted by amnicoll on 6/10/2015 at 08:26

bridgequeen - sound advise but OP is back home now!

The hordes of of drunken 18 - 30s (or expats) are easy to avoid

#14 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

Posted by Bridgequeen on 6/10/2015 at 14:28

I now know jeez.need to give more attention to original date,,,,,,

#15 Bridgequeen has been a member since 29/7/2013. Location: Earth. Posts: 55

Posted by amnicoll on 7/10/2015 at 04:54

easily done

#16 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

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