I'll be travelling Cambodia in early 2010, and while drawing up some rough itineraries my fellow traveller and I have a discrepency between our two routes.
We will be heading from Bangkok to Koh Chang, and from there making our way to northwestern Cambodia.
-Ko Chang to Chanthanburi
-Chanthanburi to Ban Pakard, crossing the border at Psar Pruhm
-share taxi to Battambang
-Battambang to Siem Reap via Tonle Sap
-Siem Reap to Phnom Penh
-Koh Chang to Poipet border crossing
-Poipet to Siem Reap via bus
-Siem Reap to Battambang via Tonle Sap
-Battambang to Phnom Penh, stopping along the way at Pursat and Veal Vang
Which route would you suggest is 'better'? ie. easier route, better scenery, any stops that may not be worth the time??
#1 cdnexplorer has been a member since 19/8/2009. Posts: 28
There was a thread recently that suggested the over water option from Battambang to Siem Reap is a headache...
Maybe it was a disgruntled pax, but...
As a suggestion from someone that has only done some sections of either route, if I had the time I'd go the Chanthanburi route - maybe even head across to Ko Chang as well.
Thanks for the input Bruce. The post you referred me to doesn't seem right though, as the tonle sap is a large enough body of water that I can't imagine it would 'run dry' even during dry season.
Also, we're spending 2-3 nights in Ko Chang. In fact it's our first stop after arriving in Bangkok....thought we'd get some beach time in right off the start (we'll be coming from Canada in the middle of winter....much deserved). I was sad to see that the Treehouse lodge is no longer in operation - it looked pretty wicked, but I'm geussing it has been replaced by a pricey resort? Magic Garden looks pretty neat though.
#5 cdnexplorer has been a member since 19/8/2009. Posts: 28
Logistics wise, the Poipet crossing is easier -- there's just a lot more transport on that route to take advantage of.
The other route takes you through Pailin which you might be tempted to slow down at, but in the scheme of things there isn't a lot there to see -- especially as they;ve carted the senior KR dudes off to PP for the show trial. The scenery is pretty enough, but not so much if you're wedged into the back corner of a Toyota Camry (I did the Battambang to Pailin run once in a Camry with 13 other passengers -- nightmare).
The other thing is if there are no taxis at the border, you'll need to get a moto to Pailin anyway (from where it is far easier to get a share taxi) -- or wait till one shows.
Another point is, wile I've never been to Veal Vang, there used to be a dirt road to there from Pailin -- no idea what kind of state it is in now.
The boat crossing can be a bit ropey -- I've done it a few times -- if the weather is calm (and so no waves) then it can be a stunningly beautiful trip -- especially the lower reaches of the Sangker River. But if the weather is bad, and so the lake wavy, it can be a nightmare. A lot also depends on the boat -- they're seemingly randomly chosen day by day. Boats have sunk, though they more often run aground -- which will probably be more the issue for you given the time you're going (middle of dry season).
Treehouse has moved to Ko Pha Ngan -- though I thought the old one was still running though under new management...
I know I haven't really answered your question -- but I guess the latter is faster and easier.