We absolutely loved our time in Cambodia. The people, the food and the sites made for an amazing 2 weeks. We easily could have spent longer and think this is one place we will definitely return to. Here is what we did and why we love Cambodia.
First stop: We flew Cambodia Angkor Air from Bangkok to Siem Reap. Small plane, great service, easy customs and visa. We spent 7 nights at The Areca Hotel, outside of the main town area. They offered free tuk-tuk rides into town and back if you arranged it. We easily could have spent 2 weeks in Siem Reap.
Second stop: We took the Giant Ibis bus 7 hours to Phnom Penh were we spent 3 nights at the Homefeel CS Hotel. This was a good location, close to restaurants with a very nice staff. 3 nights was about right.
Third stop: We again took the Giant Ibis bus 4 hours to Kampot. A sleepy town on the river and close to Kep on the ocean. We stayed 4 nights at the Columns Hotel. It was a little pricey, but the only accommodation we found that accepted credit cards. It was a great place to rent a motorbike and explore. If we had more time we would have stayed 3 or 4 nights in Kep as well.
Fourth stop: We headed back to Phnom Penh on the Giant Ibis bus for one night. We stayed at the Mondulkiri Boutique Hotel and although the hotel was nice the area of town was not. From here we left in the morning on a 7 hour Giant Ibis bus ride to Vietnam
5 Reasons we loved Cambodia:
- The people! We met some wonderful people in Cambodia. Many have had to endure so much heartache and pain, yet have come through shinning. They are happy, friendly and open to chat. The English as a whole in Cambodia was very good and they wanted to talk to you, unlike in Thailand where we found it hard to communicate. We were able to make a true connection with the people which is very important for us. We never felt as though we were being ripped off or scammed. Sure people will try to sell you things, but it wasn’t nearly as aggressive as we have experienced elsewhere.
- The food: The food in Cambodia was delicious. Fresh and flavorful. It was not as spicy as Thai food and although they use similar ingredients the food was very different. There were plenty of vegetarian options and lots of good international restaurants as well, especially in Siem Reap where we had Italian, Indian, Mexican and more to choose from.
- The sites: There is so much to see and do in Cambodia and we only scratched the surface. There are the amazing temple ruins of Angkor Wat, beaches in the South and jungles in North. There are cooking classes, village walks, food tours, circuses and palaces. Cambodia has a powerful history that you are able to experience through the Killing Fields and S-21 Museum in Phnom Penh as well as the Land mine Museum in Siem Reap. There are even pink river dolphins!
- The ease of travel: Traveling in and around Cambodia was really easy. The roads aren’t great and make for a bumpy journey, but the buses are reliable and fairly cheap ($6-18 for a Giant Ibis journey). Tuk Tuks in Siem Reap are everywhere and journeys around town are usually just $2. The high level of English meant communicating where you wanted to go was very easy.
- US Money: Cambodia has its own currency but uses US Dollars for everything. This means that ATMs dispense crisp US money, all items in a store or restaurant are listed in dollars and every transaction we made happened in dollars. This meant no chance of handing over the wrong bill or getting lost in currency conversion. It made things really easy!
We would have liked to experience other areas of Cambodia as well, like Kratie with the river dolphins, Battambang with the bamboo railroad and the laid back town of Kep. Cambodia is definitely high up on our list of favorites.