Cambodia is a country that is tinged with sadness, but has an underlying strength. It is a country that has experienced terror far beyond what most people could even imagine in this lifetime. Despite the hardships, the tragedies and the many sad tales from the Khmer people and its history, it is a nation that pursues a dream to rebuild a nation for the better.
This nation and the experience will forever be tainted by the wrongdoings of the Khmer rouge. However as this nation opens up its doors to welcome international tourists, there is an opportunity for people to experience a fondness of the country and the Khmer people that was there long before there were any signs of tragedy. Explore Cambodia and see the great things that this country has to offer.
The markets of Phnom Penh
If you are looking for some cheap eats in Phnom Penh, then head down to the local markets. Vendors will try to get your attention for your custom of food and gifts. There are cheap eats in a number of side stalls. Take a stroll down towards the Russian markets.
Drinks on at the Moon Bar
This is an amazing place to check out in Phnom Penh. Overlooking the river and situated on the rooftop, this is an amazing place to watch the city by dusk and with the moonlight. On the streets below you can hear the hustle and bustling of street merchants and savvy customers. On the top deck it is a relaxed and pampered atmosphere that is managed by a restaurateur from Mayfair in London.
Picnic at the palace
The palace in the middle of Phnom Penh is a wonder to gaze upon. Take a trip to the front of the palace in the early afternoon as vendors and people set upon the site and socialise with picnics under the setting of the sun.
Take incredible photos of Phnom Penh’s monuments
This is an amazing sight during the night. Head down on your motorbike and enjoy the wide-open space under the moonlight and take in the LED lights that radiate off the statues and monuments in the centre.
Cruising the streets on the motorbike
Feel the wind in your hair and get the true experience of navigating like a local down the different streets and passageways. Be daring and get lost (relatively) and find your way back. Meet a local or two along the way.
Travel by sleeper bus to Sihanoukville
If you are planning to visit Sihounoukville, it is likely that you will need to take a sleeper bus. It is highly recommended that you get a bus that is as VIP as possible (meaning that you may get extra leg room and better drivers). Be cautious with the travel companies that you choose to travel with and check the reviews carefully. Once you arrive, you can either walk down to the city or catch a taxi, but beware of the taxi drivers trying to rip you off! Once you reach downtown, you will arrive at the beachside backpacker haven.
Cross the waters to Koh Rong Island
Take your journey that bit further and take the boat to Koh Rong Island. Get surrounded by backpackers with their backpacks lodging along the beachside and jam in the many beach bars by night with other festive backpackers.
Play survivor by crossing the jungle and walking 6km to stay at a bungalow
If you are a bit more daring, pack your bags and do a survivor trek over the mountain in search of the bungalows where they filmed the survivor series. It involves a 6km walk, but the sights are well worth it.
Proceed to Angkor Wat
One of the majestic wonders of the world, Angkor wat is a must see place for anyone who decides to visit Cambodia. These legendary ruins tell the story of the ancient Khmer civilisation. See the temple in all its glory during the sunrise and by sunset.
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4 thoughts on “Seek an off beat adventure by backpacking in Cambodia”
Hi, how long was your trip to Cambodia? Me and my buddy is planning to do a budget backpacking travel there but it might be just for 4 days. Would that be enough for us to cover Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville? Thanks.
Thank you for your comment. We went to Cambodia over a 2 week period. We originally planned to go for three weeks, but we found that two weeks was enough for us to travel and see the main spots. If you are going to see Cambodia, you need to spend a week there at least if you want to see all of those cities. Otherwise, I would recommend that you go into Phnom Penh and then travel to Siem Reap if you want to do it over 4 days (which is a really tight timeframe). You will need to take the sleeper bus which I think is about 10h. Seeing those two cities in four days will give you a good experience of Cambodia, but you will miss the beach. Should you decide to go to Sihanoukville, you definitely need to give yourself more time to travel. There is no direct road from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap. It means you have to go back through Phnom Penh and back up to Siem Reap which turns the travel into a 19h trip on the sleeper bus. You could fly, but the plane tickets are expensive (around $100US each way) if money isn’t a problem, then you can consider it, but I was very wary of the safety standard of the transportation in Cambodia. Just be cautious. And always go with a reputable company. It is ridiculous to hear about the amount of accidents that happen out there.
Accommodation can be cheap if you decide to stay in hostel beds. Don’t expect much though. Hot water is taken for granted. Use comparison sites to find good deals. If you want somewhere cleaner, have you and your friend get a private room. Beds can be as little as $3USD and then the prices rise accordingly.
Be cautious with food as well. It is fairly cheap out there if you stick to the local food. And you can buy bottles of water for $1USD.
For the bus travel, you will be spending on average $20USD per person. You should be able to easily budget $30-40 per day (although you could probably drop it down further and do $15-20 a day), depending on your comfort level. Angkor Wat will set you back $20, but it is a must see while in Cambodia.
If time is on your side, definitely go for a 2 week+ option and see the country slowly. If not, stick to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Otherwise if you want to spend time at the beach, add 3+ days to allow you to go down to Sihanoukville. I hope this helps.
Oh, and one more tip. Use US dollars. Do not leave the country with Cambodian money. Hardly anywhere exchanges it. So get rid of it by spending it or changing it to US Dollars before leaving, otherwise you will be left with money that is useless.
If you have any other questions, feel free to comment again. I hope you have an awesome trip!
Hi David. Thanks for a lot of helpful information here, my friend and I will come to Cambodia nextweek.
Hi Philip. I’m glad this helped. Have fun in Cambodia!
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