Cambodia makes you think; makes you want to escape. Escape from your familiar way of thinking. When in Cambodia, you tend to think that luxury is unnecessary, poverty is omnipresent. Your thoughts are running wild. You are going round in circles: Should I face the poverty? Am I allowed to look away? Cambodia is a country where you feel imprisoned and alive at the same time. Here is our three-weeks-itinerary across a country that exceeded our expectations. By far.
Arrival: From Koh Chang to Siem Reap
Yes of course you can also fly. It saves time and energy. Traveling by land though is in fact much more fun. We crossed the border at Aranyaprathet/Poipet coming from Thailand. Here is how we did it: 7.30 am shared taxi to the ferry (60 THB pp) – 8.30 am ferry (80 THB pp) – 9.30 am shared taxi to the bus station in Trat (60 THB pp) – 10.15 am Bus to Sa Kaeo (205 THB pp) – 15.30 pm Bus to Aranyaprathet (40 THB pp) – 16.30 pm TukTuk to the border (80 THB) – Cambodian Visa 20 $ + 100 THB to bribe the border officials – 5.00 pm Taxi to Siem Reap (2 $).
Siem Reap (A)
Siem Reap remains the only destination for most of the travelers in Cambodia. That is really too bad! Cambodia has so much more to see. We stayed in Siem Reap for four nights. Of course we wanted to visit Angkor Wat, but we also tried to take a deeper look at the culture. We visited a local school and explored the city by bike. Angkor is great, beyond doubt. But Siem Reap has so much more to offer.
Our accomodation: The Purple Mangosteen
Battambang is known for its notorious “Bamboo Train”. The train was originally used by traders. Today it operates mainly for tourists. The journey is adventurous: The trains run a speed up to 50km/h. If two trains meet on the line, the one with the lighter load is unloaded and will simply be removed from the track. If you have time, don’t miss a bike tour with Soksabike. Our guide was great and connected us with a lot of local families.
Our accomodation: Phka Villa Hotel
Phnom Penh (C,G)
Coming from the tranquil setting of Battambang, Phnom Penh might overwhelm you a bit. Don’t give up! Phnom Penh combines beautiful historical architecture with the country’s tremendous history. The past is still present. In fact, we don’t want to miss our time at Phnom Penh.
Our accomodation: One Up – Banana Hotel
Kep is a small little town located on the south coast of Cambodia. There is not much to see, especially because Kep lacks a center. Don’t miss the spectacular sunsets and try some seafood.
Our accomodation: Brise de Kep Boutique
We loved Kampot from the very beginning. We don’t know why – maybe it was because of Kampot’s lovely architecture or probably also because of our amazing hotel (“The Columns”). Anyway, rent a bike and explore the surrounding area. We’re sure you’re gonna love it as much as we did.
Our accomodation: The Columns
To be honest: Sihanoukville didn’t impress us that much. If you’re not into partying, go and search for a tranquil beach section like Otres beach.
Our accomodation: Don Bosco Hotel School
Have you ever been to Cambodia? How did you like it? Tell us about your itinerary and leave us a comment!