1. Otres Beach
2. Angkor Wat
3. Koh Rong & Koh Rong Samloem
5. Siem Reap
Rabbit Island (Koh Tonsay)
I unfortunately did not make it here because I wasn't feeling well, but I did see it from across the water. Friends told me that it's amazing. The best way to visit is to take a short boat ride from Kep. You can go for the day or stay overnight, in which case you can see the bioluminescent plankton. If you go for the day, be aware you need to get there early in the morning (check the schedule as it sometimes changes) and will be there until the late afternoon. They only run a couple boats per day.
Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia. It’s pretty similar to most Southeast Asia cities, but what is really interesting is the history about the horrible events and actions of the Khmer Rouge back in the 1980’s that had a huge impact on the country. The Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields are sad, but wonderfully done. A must see if visiting Phnom Penh. You can visit all the sites in a day.
I only spent an afternoon in Kep, a small fishing town about 30 minutes from Kampot. It has a nice wide open beach and great seafood in the center. There is also a park and some limestone caves in the area I didn’t make it to. From here you can catch a boat to Rabbit Island.
I only spent a day in Kampot, a small town between Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh. It was very chill and beautiful along the river, but I thought it was just ok. Many other people really like it though. For Cambodia, it’s pretty progressive in terms of food, yoga, and stuff like that, probably due to the number of expats that live there.
I wasn't a huge fan of Sihanoukville in the town itself and spent most of my time at Otres Beach. Sihanoukville is a bit dodgy and dirty, but if you want to go out and party, there is fun to be had there. Serendipity Beach I heard was nice and Victory Beach is the pier where you can catch a boat to any of the nearby islands.
- Flights: $48 (Phnom Penh to Siem Reap)
- Lodging: $400 (hotels, guesthouses)
- Transportation: $84 (tuk tuks)
- Activities: $167
- Food: $270 (estimated $15/day)
- Safety. Avoid motorbikes at night because they may ride along side and try to mug you. It is one of the most widespread crimes,. Stay on paths, could be leftover land mines (rare, but possible).
- Visa. Get e-Visa online or via phone app, as it will be faster and save you a lot of hassle at the border. Just check the border you want to cross at to make sure it's accepted there.
- Passport. Never let it out of your sight and only hand it over if absolutely necessary, but generally you shouldn't have to.
- Transportation. Giant Ibis or Ibis bus is popular, safe and reliable for the most part to travel between cities. You will be mostly transported around in mini buses with barely working or no A/C. Around the towns, the best method is tuk tuk.
- Currency. U.S. Dollar is widely accepted in all tourist destinations and even less touristy places too. The only time you will need Cambodian Riel (local currency) is for small purchases at local markets (e.g. buying snacks or water at a market).
- Food. Generally noodle dishes and cooked vegetables are safe, but be wary of fresh vegetables, salads, fruit, etc. you don't peel yourself that may have been washed with non-purified water. Pay close attention to seafood to ensure it's fresh. I brought Ciproflaxin to relieve traveler's diarrhea, as it is quick and effective. Consult your doctor.
- Vaccinations. Check with your doctor and the CDC website. Figure out which ones you need in advance for those that take time to become effective or require multiple doses.
- Weather. Gets quite hot, especially in the dry season, up to 100°F/40°C, so be sure to wear a hat, sunscreen, and even long sleeves/pants if you can bear it. Drink plenty of water.
- More Info. Travelfish has the best in depth information about Southeast Asia.
- Volunteering. Build a House.
Crossing into Cambodia from Thailand
I crossed into Cambodia at Cheam Yeam, which is on the west coast border of Cambodia near Trat, Thailand on my way to Sihanoukville. Coming from Koh Chang, it took about 10 hours to arrive in Sihanoukville and then another 20 minute tuk tuk ride to Otres Beach. There was a mini bus to the ferry, ferry to the mainland, bus to the border, and then another bus to Sihanoukville. It sounds horrible, and it kind of was, but I met a bunch of people on the way and it ended up being an adventure. You can also cross farther north at Kbal Spean which takes you into Siem Reap and is the more popular border crossing. I would recommend getting an e-Visa via the web or mobile app available on both iPhone and Android. It will be faster and save you a lot of hassle at the border. The price is only a few extra dollars for processing. You will need to bring a passport photo with you as well as a hard copy of your approval letter. Also from Thailand make sure you have your departure cards in order to leave the country. If you don't get your visa ahead of time through e-Visa or at a foreign embassy, you can pay at the border in U.S. Dollars, Cambodian Riel, or Thai Baht. It's cheapest in dollars. I don't believe there is an ATM there so bring cash with you. Also pretty sure they don't take credits cards.
Mosquitoes, Malaria, and Dengue
While not really a problem in the popular tourist destinations, some of the more rural areas in Cambodia have a risk of malaria. In urban areas there is a risk of Dengue. The best you can do is cover up with long sleeves, long pants, and socks that cover your ankles. Also, be sure to wear bug spray on exposed skin, especially at dawn and dusk. You can get bug spray in Cambodia, but I would suggest bringing with you from Thailand or even from home if that's your origin. More options and better products.