How to Travel in Cambodia

Cambodia

I spent nine days travelling through Cambodia during my time in South East Asia. It is a place of fabulous sunsets, white beaches, awful roads, friendly people and a tortured history to say the least. There is far more than meets the eye and I was keen to get under the surface a little of this fascinating country. Here is how I did it.

Koh Kong (1 day)

We entered Cambodia at the slightly dodgy border crossing of Hat Lek/Cham Yeam and spent our first night in Koh Kong. The sunset by the river was gorgeous.

Accommodation – Paddy’s Guesthouse (1 night) – A nice hippy style place – no shoes allowed upstairs. Fun but we did have a mouse in our room (hashtag eek). 3*

Koh Rong (2 days)

To get to Koh Rong you have to spend two hours on the sketchiest ferry I’ve ever seen (well it was only $5) but the second you get there you forget about the hassle, and any other hassle you’ve had in your life for that matter. Koh Rong is the sort of place nice people should go when they pass away – it’s simple and perfect and the place you remind yourself of to relax whenever you’re having a bad day. I just hope the rumoured deveoplments and helipad never happen – some places should remain undeveloped.

Accommodation – Coco’s (2 nights) – A cute bungalow on stilts. Primitive toilets and a bit of a hike up a small hill but otherwise this is paradise. It even had a hammock! 4*

Sihanoukville (1 day)

Coco's, Koh Rong

Coco’s, Koh Rong

We stayed in Otres Beach 2 – I add the 2 on the end because it caught us out at first when our taxi driver didn’t realise there were two Otres Beaches and they are half a mile apart. The beach offered another wonderful sunset.

Accommodation – Footprints – does the job. Confusing as there are two Otres Beaches, which the taxi drivers didn’t even seem to know about. 2*

Journey to Siem Reap (1 day)

We had heard horror stories of Cambodian night buses so spent 12 hours during the day on a bus to Siem Reap. The road on the way offered magnificent views of the countryside though so we didn’t mind too much.

Siem Reap and the Temples of Angkor (1 day)

You could spend a week exploring the Temples of Angkor and still not be done. It is a spellbinding place with an atmosphere that feels like you are stepping back in time centuries.

Accommodation – Downtown Hostel (2 nights) – this was a nice place with a nice pool and well located for the Temples of Angkor. They didn’t even mind when we broke the bed… 3*

Journey to Phnom Penh (1 day)

There’s only one road between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh so we headed back the way we had come up and got to the hustle and bustle of the capital. Everywhere we went people were trying to sell us things.

Phnom Penh and The Killing Fields (1 day)

The S-21 Prison, Cambodia's Auschwitz

The S-21 Prison, Cambodia’s Auschwitz

The Killing Fields and S-21 Prison are places that every tourist should go. Whilst not exactly a day at a theme park, they are perhaps the best insight into the atrocities of recent history you will find anywhere and will haunt you for months after you have left. I’d advise watching The Killing Fields before going to educate yourself a little.

Accommodation – Sunday Guesthouse (2 nights) – a friendly welcome in the middle of the chaos that is Phnom Penh. They put on the excellent The Killing Fields to educate us before our visit to the Genocidal Centre and S-21 Prison. 3*

Journey to Saigon (1 day)

We took the bus over the Bavet/Moc Bai border and got stamped into Vietnam, concluding nine incredible days in Cambodia.

Cambodia essentials

Currency = Cambodian Riel (for small amounts) and US Dollars
Capital City = Phnom Penh
Favourite place = Temples of Angkor for culture or Koh Rong for paradise
Best beer = Klang, Angkor or Cambodia
Best food = red curry with coconut milk
Travel = tuk-tuks and moto-tuks are ubiquitous and easy to use; buses are pretty cheap and reliable although I chose not to use night buses after hearing horror storiesJP

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