Posted by chriswotton on 6/4/2016 at 09:40
Heading to Cambodia (with a few days in Vietnam) the week after next, for just under six weeks, all overland from and back to home in Bangkok. I've spent time in Cambodia on a couple of occasions but, with the exception of Siem Reap and Sihanoukville town, these are all new destinations for me.
So I'd love any thoughts on my planned itinerary from any more experienced Cambodia hands who have a moment - particularly anything where I'd be better off taking in places in a different order, I've completely misconstrued the practicalities of getting between two places, or where you otherwise think I'm barking up completely the wrong tree with my plans.
One point: I know it might come across as a rushed itinerary, taking in too much too quickly. But with the exception of the first week in Siem Reap, it's all fairly flexible, and I suspect we'll make changes as we're going, to decide to stay longer in one place, cut out another, visit some other spot we hadn't planned on seeing etc.
But the large number of islands I've included is partly due to the fact that I've been waiting to visit these islands for so bloody long, and finally want to squeeze in as many as I can (I'm sure I'll return to some of them, and others that I don't manage this time!)
Many thanks in advance for any and all thoughts!
Day 1: Train from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet, bus to Siem Reap
Days 2-7: Siem Reap (it's a return visit, so lots of eating, drinking, and I suspect a re-visit to Angkor Wat)
Day 8: Bus to Battambang
Days 9-10: Battambang (more eating and drinking - the only other things I have on my list at the moment are the bamboo train and a nice-sounding bookshop!)
Day 11: Bus to Phnom Penh
Day 12: Phnom Penh (haven't given this much thought yet, but the main purpose for coming is to take the newly relaunched passenger train to Sihanoukville the following day)
Day 13: Train to Sihanoukville
Day 14: Boat to Koh Rong
Day 15: Koh Rong
Day 16: Boat to Koh Rong Samloem (direct between them or via Sihanoukville?)
Day 17: Koh Rong Samloem
Day 18: Boat back to Sihanoukville, and bus to Kep
Day 19: Kep
Day 20: Boat to Koh Tonsay
Day 21: Koh Tonsay
Day 22: Boat to Kep, motorbike to Prek Chak/Xa Xia border crossing, bus to Ha Tien, and boat to Phu Quoc (a long day, I suspect!)
Days 23-24: Phu Quoc
Day 25: Boat to Ha Tien, bus to Prek Chak/Xa Xia border crossing, and onwards to Koh Thmei (still trying to work out how best to do this in this direction - are we likely to be able to catch a bus from or near the border that will take us to Bat Kokir for the boat to Koh Thmei?)
Day 26: Koh Thmei
Day 27: Boat to Koh Ta Kiev
Day 28: Koh Ta Kiev
Day 29: Boat back to Bat Kokir (or is it better to get the boat to Sihanoukville?), bus to Poi Yopon, and boat to Koh Sdach (is there anywhere to stay the night in Poi Yopon, in case we get delayed for whatever reason in either direction?)
Day 30: Koh Sdach
Day 31: Boat to Koh Totang
Day 32: Koh Totang
Day 33: Boat to Poi Yopon, bus to Koh Kong/Hat Lek border crossing, and bus to Trat
Day 34: Trat
Day 35: Bus to Laem Sok pier and boat to Koh Kut
Days 36-37: Koh Kut
Day 38: Boat to Laem Sok pier, bus to Trat, and bus to Bangkok
#1 chriswotton has been a member since 7/9/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 99
Posted by MichaelW on 16/4/2016 at 01:40
New poster here, but I live in Kep so I think I can give you some helpful info. You definitely like islands, I can tell!
First, I wasn't sure if you know this, but the train from PP goes through Kampot on the way to Sihanoukville , and Kampot is only thirty minutes from Kep. So I think it would save you a lot of backtracking if you considered getting off the train in Kampot, did the Kep/ Koh Tonsay /Phu Quoc part of the trip, then went to Sihanoukville afterwards.
Two other things I'll note about that section of the trip: getting to Phu Quoc is actually not a long trip at all! From Kep to Phu Quoc, including the ferry, shouldn't take more than three hours at most. But I might allow more time there and a little less time on Koh Tonsay. Phu Quoc is a huge island with a lot to offer, and whereas Rabbit Island is very nice and a place I enjoyed a lot, it is also really small. I think you'll find one night there to be plenty. Also note that while the ferry to Koh Tonsay has a fixed departure, you can actually return to Kep whenever you want (the boat system is slightly bizarre I suppose, but it's great for visitors).
Likewise, while Koh Totang and Koh Sdach are both nice places, I don't think more than one night in either place is warranted. Don't worry about getting stranded in Poi Yopon. When I visited in December, there were no scheduled ferries; instead you just have guys hanging out at the dock with boats, and you pay them 5,000 riel to take you to the island. Super easy and super reliable.
Finally, since you seem to like islands a lot, have you considered Koh Kong Island? It's the largest island in Cambodia by far, and you can visit on a daytrip or stay overnight.
Hope this helps!
#2 MichaelW has been a member since 16/4/2016. Posts: 12
Posted by Nickysullivan on 21/4/2016 at 13:39 TF writer
Sorry about the delay in getting back to you. I believe you're in Siem Reap right now, so I'm going to skip that part, and head straight to a couple of recommendations on Battambang. I'm not sure if you've seen the Phare circus yet, but if not, this is unmissable there. Bric-A-Brac is definitely worth a visit, as is Jaan, the restaurant created with the back of Australian chef, David Thompson. There's a nice architectural tour that you can do on your own, with a map you download from here: http://www.ka-tours.org/MAP2%20bb%20central.pdf. It's much too hot to recommend cycling tours at the moment, so I'll skip that.
You're right, the rest of the trip does look incredibly tight, and I agree with Michael above about hitting Kep , via Kampot , first, then Sihanoukville. I would also add that Kampot is definitely worth including on your itinerary, especially Bokor Mountain, which is an incredible site. But a day lounging riverside is hard to beat too. With a national park that combines adventure with ease of accessibility, and abandoned villas to roam, as well as pepper plantations to visit, I wonder if Kep isn't worth an extra day. Maybe save Koh Tonsay for that next trip you're planning on making.
I hope it's all going brilliant so far.
#3 Nickysullivan has been a member since 9/2/2015. Posts: 8
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