Cambodia in Two Weeks
First of all, I don’t feel that 2 weeks is long enough in Cambodia. I have been back multiple times and spent months in Cambodia, and still feel like there is so much more to see in this incredible country. However, if you only have two weeks, this is a great itinerary for hitting all the sights and seeing a little in-between.
Siem Riep is accessible by bus from Thailand and Laos. There is also an airline that connects to other Asian capitals and runs domestic flights. I stayed at the Siem Riep Hostel and I would highly recommend it. The beds are comfy, there is a pool, and it’s a great way to meet other travelers and book tours of Angkor Wat together. Obviously, the main thing to do in Siem Riep is tour Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples. Pub Street can also be a lot of fun if you are looking for drinks and dancing.
I wrote a full post on Battambang here. This is a beautiful little town, and it’s not yet filled with tourists in the way Siem Riep is. You can spend just one day here and book a full day tour to see the bat caves and ride the bamboo train. Accommodation is also significantly cheaper here then many other cities in Cambodia.
Some people hate Phnom Penh. I can see why. It’s busy, crowded and has a somewhat sketchy vibe to it. However, this is one my favorite Asian cities. I can’t really put my finger on why I love it so much. It just seems filled with life and feels way more exotic than Bangkok or neighboring Asian cities.
Discovering a little bit about Cambodia’s brutal history is also important in Phnom Penh. Guesthouses and travel agencies can arrange tours to The Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng genocide museum. I would recommend reading about the history beforehand. First They Killed My Father is a tragic true story written by a survivor.
Whenever I am here, I always stay at the Top Banana Guesthouse. They have a great rooftop bar and it’s an excellent place to meet people. I also really love Friends-International Restaurant, which provides at-risk youth work and essential services.
After Phnom Penh, you can take a 4 hour bus ride to Kampot. Kampot is a great little town with a lot to do if you have the time. You can visit Utopia for water sports and games, hike up Bokor Hill Station, or have a lazy day visiting the many NGO-run coffee shops and restaurants.
Kep is also a day trip a way. This little seaside town can be visited by motorbike or bus. Make sure to try the squid on a stick or one of the seafood delicacies from the local market. Kep is also known for its tasty crab meat.
From Sihanoukville, ferries run straight to the island of Koh Rong. Make sure to trek up to Long Beach while you are there! Delicious seafood barbecues on the beach happen nightly (for only 5$).
Honorable Mention: Nomad’s Land, Cambodia
I visited Nomad’s Land for a week-long yoga retreat, and it is such a beautiful and peaceful island. Nomad’s Land is on the natural reserve of Koh Totang, and is run by a lovely French couple who are passionate about sustainability and the environment. This is a great place to unwind and recharge your batteries after you have been traveling for a while. Although it may not fit into a 2 week itinerary, it is definitely worth it to go if you have the time!