During our winter break from teaching in South Korea (Dec. 25, 2015 – Jan. 2, 2016), my friend and I took this well earned nine-day trip to Cambodia. It was incredible. Of course we wished we had a few more days, and we regret not paying our respects at the killing fields, but nine days was enough to see many different places and feel like we got to know the country. We split our time between Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Koh Rong, which was a good mix of city, history, and beach. Cambodia is one of, if not the, lowest priced countries in SE Asia, based on my experience, and one of my favorite countries I’ve visited!
You can find our itinerary below. For more info, see this post.
Day 1: Friday – Phnom Penh
-Arrive at the Phnom Penh International Airport in the evening. You’ll spend around 30 minutes getting your visa, depending on how busy it is.
-Stay at City Centre Hotel. It is $26 for double room with breakfast included. They will send a tuk-tuk to pick you up at the airport.
Day 2: Saturday – Phnom Penh > Siem Reap
-Spend the day in Phnom Penh. We walked through the markets, visited the Royal Palace and then checked out Wat Phnom.
-Take a 45 minute flight to Siem Reap in the evening. This saves a full day of travel and isn’t too pricey, since it is a short trip.
-Stay at the Cashew Nut Guest House. Prices are around $15/person each night, depending on the room. They will send a free tuk-tuk to pick you up from the airport.
-Walk around the Pub Street and Night Market area to get your bearings, a 10-15 minute walk or a $2-$3 tuk-tuk ride away.
Day 3: Sunday – Siem Reap
– Eat at Sister Srey Café for breakfast. They have good food with healthy options and great coffee!
- The Landmine Museum
- The Guest House pool and sun terrace
- The Old Market
– Eat at Peace Café for dinner. It is a 5 minute, $2 tuk-tuk ride from the Old Market.
Day 4: Monday – Siem Reap
-Take the mini-tour of the temples. If you are very energetic, you can attempt the grand-tour instead. These are the basic tour options offered everywhere are are available via the guest house.
Day 5: Tuesday – Siem Reap > Phnom Penh
-Tour Kbal Spean, Bantey Srey, and Bantey Samre. The tuk-tuk ride will be about an hour long, and it is a great way to see the country side. Kbal Spean requires a 45 minute, easy hike through the jungle. This tour was also available through the guest house. We ended up at Bantey Samre for sunset, which was beautiful.
-Take the 11:00pm Giant Ibis night bus to Phnom Penh. It is best to book in advance if you have time restrictions as this is a very popular company for tourists. These schedules may change but the bus did leave when they said it would.
Day 6: Wednesday – Phnom Penh > Sihanoukville > Koh Rong
-In Phnom Penh, transfer at 8am to the Mekong Express VIP Van (or the Giant Ibis mini-bus), which was also on schedule for us, and get dropped off in Sihanoukville at the Paradise Bungalows office around 12:30-1:30. It will take about 4.5 hours. Paradise books your ferry for you when you make a reservation, so you can pick up your tickets at the office.
-Take the 3:00pm speed ferry (the last one of the day) to Koh Rong. You could also stay on Koh Rong Samloem, which sounds like it might be quieter.
-Check in to Paradise Bungalows. Prices start from $50 per night.
-Go for a swim on the beach and dinner.
Days 7-8: Thursday and Friday – Koh Rong
-Explore and relax:
- Hike across the island to Long Beach (an hour-long, easy/moderate hike)
- Go zip lining
- Scuba dive or snorkel
- Get a massage on the beach
Day 9: Saturday – Koh Rong > Sihanoukville > Phnom Penh > Home
-Leave Koh Rong on the 10am ferry. Be sure to book the ferry back as soon as you arrive on the island, as the early one can fill up especially fast Arrive in Sihanoukville around 11am. Note that these ferries do not run on a tight schedule – our 10am left at 11am.
-Get on the 1:30 Mekong VIP Van back to Phnom Penh – the ride is about 4.5 hours.
-Get dropped off at the Night Market and do your last round of shopping.
-Take a late flight home.
By Evy Bround