Top 6 places to visit in Cambodia | Travel Adventure | i Travel Blog

 

 


Top 6 places to visit in Cambodia

 

For Cambodia initially, I wanted to get off the beaten track and leave the capital Phnom Penh and Siem Reap for later in the trip.

We first decided to head to the south west of Cambodia to explore the islands for some relaxation. Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem are gaining the image of being the new Thailand islands but in my opinion, they are still a bit away from that yet. They still have an undeveloped and untouched feel.

 

Koh Rong - Cambodia Island

We visited Koh Rong for 2 nights and unfortunately, we happened to visit during rainy season (June to September). I would advise against travelling this part of the country at this time of year and I think we were particularly unlucky as the rain did not let up for a full 7 days, so we did not get to experience the destination in all its glory.

 

The sand was soft and white, and we did take a few walks around the island. The beaches are beautiful and there are lots of bungalows you can stay in that are right on the beach both basic and ones that offer a bit more comfort. The electricity cut out at times and the wi-fi signal is barely there, so it really is a real-world getaway.

The main beach of Koh Toch offers a strip of bars and restaurants most of which double up as simple guesthouse or hostel accommodation. There is evidence of building and development to cater for the increase in visitors. A handful of high end resorts can be found here such as the beautiful Song Saa private island resort offering amazing quality villas for those looking for something more luxurious.

 

Koh Rong Samloem - Cambodia Island

The neighbouring island of Koh Rong Samloem we skipped due to the weather but had heard that it is more remote and quiet than Koh Rong; bliss for someone looking for just that.

 

Otres and Sihanoukville - Cambodia mainland

We headed back to the Cambodia’s mainland towards Sihanoukville which is the main port town but opted to stay a few kilometres away in a village called Otres.

We had heard that Sihanoukville was not very nice and just from driving through it both times it did seem extremely dirty and run down.

 

Again, the weather did not allow for much exploring around Otres itself but the beach here is nice and stretches far enough to divide the resort into 3 main parts. Otres 1 being the busiest, Otres 2 is quieter and offers more upmarket accommodation and dining and Otres Village is located between both where we stayed.

A few cute restaurants and cafes which I think would be lovely during the sunny weather in Cambodia, there just was no atmosphere when we were there.

 

Kampot - Cambodia mainland

Our next stop we heard about while in Koh Rong and it happened to be on the way back to Phnom Penh so we stopped off at the town of Kampot for 2 days to break up the journey. There is the famous Bokor Mountain here which you can rent scooters and explore yourself or take organised tours.

It is a small enough town that you can explore on foot and there are many little cafes and restaurants, with a slight French influence which reminded us of a smaller Luang Prabang in Laos.

We took a day trip to the smaller seaside town of Kep by tuk-tuk about 40 minutes away. This small town is famous for the crab market and we had freshly caught crab for lunch while watching the women fetch the crabs from the cages in the sea... Definitely worth a visit if you are a fan of seafood.

 

Phnom Penh - Cambodia mainland

Spending 2 nights in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, was enough to go to the ‘must-sees’ of the Killing Fields and the S-21 Genocide Museum. We visited both in the same day and most people rent tuk-tuks for the day – they are very reasonable ($15 dollars for the day for 2 people) and will wait for as long as it takes you to visit the sites.

 

This was an extremely harrowing experience but they are well worth a visit to learn about the cruel and recent history of Cambodia. Both sites include audio equipment for you to listen to as you make your way through, they are very well put together and really informative.

You could easily spend another night or two in the capital exploring the temples and markets that it has to offer but we continued on to the next and final stop.

 

Siem Reap - Cambodia mainland

We stayed in Siem Reap for 3 nights. One could spend a week here if you wished depending on how many temples and activities you want to do.

The famous Angkor Wat Archaeological park covers an expanse of over 100 square kilometres in Cambodia!

 

You can get 1,3, and 7 day park passes to explore the temples. We opted for the 1 day pass for $37 each. Along with a tuk-tuk driver for the day was $8 per person. We chose the short route which took about 4 hours but we still managed to see over 5 temples including Angkor.

As someone who had seen their fair share of temples throughout South East Asia at this stage, I was a little bit sceptical at how impressive the temples in Cambodia would be. But I was absolutely blown away especially by Angkor Wat itself.

 

Wat Ta Promh also known as the "Jungle Temple" was absolutely amazing also. Given the name as a result of monstrous trees growing out of it where all the roots have entangled themselves through the rocks, it is really beautiful.

I was pleasantly surprised also by Siem Reap itself. It has had to develop quickly due to the tourist numbers Angkor Wat draws in, but it is quite a nice town with plenty of cafes, bars and markets. The infamous Pub street is where the nightlife can be found but we stayed on the quieter Sok San Road which I would recommend for being close to the action but still in a quiet area (10-15 minutes walk).

 

On your bucket list?

Cambodia is magnificent and definitely worthy of a visit.



 

Ellen

Travel Consultant at J Barter Travel

Currently travelling around Asia, with stops in SingaporeMalaysia, Thailand, Laos, VietnamCambodiaPhilippinesIndonesia and Hong Kong, and also Australia and New Zealand.




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