Easy question, easy answer. Even though Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world, it is also a beautiful country with a truly welcoming population.
It is also home to our partner Smateria
A social enterprise supporting less fortunate communities in Cambodia through fair employment opportunities, free day care for its employees’ children and general support of the local community. So, we thought it would be nice to go on a little adventure in Smateria’s amazing home country and give you an overview of Cambodia’s best sites.
The best way to start our short trip in this amazing country is to arrive in Siem Reap by plane. The name of the city is less well-known than its most famous attraction Angkor Wat, a breathtaking temple complex.
Covering more than 160 hectares, Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site. Be sure to extend your stay beyond this world-famous site though, as Siem Reap offers a nice little city centre with lots of nice hotels, bars and restaurants. Staying for 4 days is perfect to see great parts of the temples, enjoy some good Khmer food and buy some locally produced handicraft items like bags or jewellery.
Before leaving Siem Reap make sure to drop by the newly opened Footprint Cafe – a social enterprise giving 100% of its net profits to educational projects in order to support the local community.
Battambang is a smaller town off the beaten tourist track. Although close to Siem Reap, the bus ride will still take up to 4 hours due to the somewhat underdeveloped roads. If you want to see the real Cambodian life, it is certainly worth the effort. The town is famous for its handicrafts and its local food.
We will continue our short trip again by bus, this time from Siem Reap to Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh.
The ride takes about 6 hours and gives us the chance to see quite a bit of the country’s inland. For all water enthusiasts among us, taking a ferry from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh is also an option, taking 4 to 8 hours but operating only during the wet season. Phnom Penh is a busy city with nice architectural sites, beautiful temples and amazing food.
Get ready to try some of the best Cambodian food like fish amok (a kind of curry), which you can find in Romdeng Restaurant (located at 74 Street 174, Phnom Penh). For the more adventurous, they also serve deep-fried tarantulas! After relaxing in Phnom Penh for 3 days and filling our bellies with delicious food, it’s time to move on to Cambodia’s most famous seaside province Sihanoukville.
Sihanoukville is a 4 hour bus ride from Phnom Penh, thus giving you enough time to see even more parts of Cambodia while relaxing in your minibus. Sihanoukville itself is a cute town with quite a few tourists and an international flair. What’s really special about this province is its vast amount of white sandy beaches.
There is the right place for everyone – 5* luxury hotels like the Sokha Beach Resort for some proper relaxation time, fun hostels with travellers from around the world and even more secluded islands just a short boat trip from the mainland for people looking to get away from all the hustle and bustle. If you want to get the real paradise feeling, take the ferry to Koh Rong Samloem – it will be even more beautiful than you could ever imagine.
Alternatively, try Koh Rong if you don’t mind sharing paradise with a few more fellow tourists. All in all Sihanoukville is the perfect place to refuel your energy tanks in order to be perfectly prepared for everything that lies in front of you, whether it’s going home to your busy life or some more adventures across South-East Asia.
Some last advice before your adventure
You have to see these 5 places when you are in Cambodia
- Angkor Wat to get a temple-overload
- Battambang to see the real Cambodian life
- Koh Rong Samloem to get rid of all your stress
- The Killing Fields to learn about the country’s past
- Romdeng restaurant in Phnom Penh to try deep-friend tarantulas
Remember these few things for an unforgettable trip to Cambodia
- Visit Cambodia during the dry season, with less rain and moderate temperatures, between November and February
- Try to talk to some locals to learn more about Cambodia’s history – most don’t want to talk about it but maybe you are luckily and you will get a great insight into the country’s saddest part of history
- Go visit the Footprint Café in Siem Reap to support the local community
- Travel by bus rather than plane to see more of Cambodia’s landscape – but use minibuses, they are slightly more expensive but also more comfortable
- Visit Tongle Sap near Siem Reap to see how closely Cambodian life is connected to this main waterway
- If you want to save money, simply avoid buying drinks in bars/restaurants as they are more expensive than food, transport and accommodation
- Don’t expect Cambodia to be like its neighbour Thailand – it’s not nearly as developed but thus still has its own rustic charm
We would love to hear from you
You are a true travel genius in Cambodia? You know some great attractions we missed out on our short trip? You know the best place to eat, visit or relax? Yes, yes, yes – then please let us know in the comments below and we’ll make sure you get a small Paguro thank you