To enter Cambodia you need to pay for the visa. This is not a big deal – visa on arrival costs about 30 USD (you have to pay in US-Dollars). When you arrive at the airport of Siem Reap you will even find an ATM next to the immigration desk where you can withdraw some money (fee is 5 USD). And yes, US-Dollar is the main currency in Cambodia which is really strange, but you get used to it. They also use their own currency called Riel, but most of the time it will only be used as change. 1 USD corresponds to 4.000 Riel (So 1.000 Riel = 25 Cents).
|1. Siem Reap||We came by plane.|
|2. Battambang||4 hours by bus.|
|3. Koh Rong Samloem||Around 12 hours from Battambang to Sihanoukville by night bus. The boat to Koh Rong Samloem takes around 1,5 hours.|
|4. Kampot||1,5 hours by mini bus from Sihanoukville.|
||4 hours by mini bus.|
In general Cambodia is an easy country to travel around and well connected. We haven’t seen much of the east, so we can’t give you any advice on that. All places we visited, we travelled by regular busses, night busses or mini busses – we always went for the cheapest deals and it was always a quite “safe” way to travel (we have experienced worse in other countries).
If there is any must-see in Cambodia it’s Siem Reap and the temple of Ankor Wat. You need at least one or two days to visit this stunning temple complex. The city itself is quite touristy though, so to experience the real Cambodian lifestyle you either need to get out of the city or visit some other less frequented places of Cambodia. It is definitely worth it to hire some bikes or a scooter and get out of the city center for a while.s)
That’s why we visited Battambang or Battambong – because we wanted to see a ‘normal’ Cambodian city. Battambang is actually not that small, as it is the second biggest city of Cambodia. Of course you can also find some tourist attractions over here and especially Tuk Tuk drivers beg you to visit them:
the bamboo train
the killing cave
the bad cave
Koh Rong is famous! People tell you the sand is white and the parties are wild. Jungle parties, drugs, loud music…,
If you are just looking for a place to relax, it is actually a little bit confusing, when you start your research about the Koh Rong islands. We read many reviews, talked to people and heard different stories. Some people say it is heaven on earth, on the other hand we heard the parties can be so loud annoyingly loud and the beach is dirty. So at the end we didn’t go to Koh Rong, but to the smaller island Koh Rong Samloem. Compared to the big one, it is relaxed, calm and clean – but no parties (for everyone who is into parties)! Here you can find your inner peace and even the sea is very calm. But be aware that they are building resorts everywhere right now, so even this paradise will probably be destroyed soon.
Kampot is another great city to experience the relaxed Cambodian lifestyle. You will meet many expats over here as well. One of our the highlights in Cambodia was to visit the salt and pepper fields. You can book a tuk tuk tour or just hire a bike and go there. On the way you will drive through smaller, poorer villages, but the people are so happy to see you and getting so close to the locals is an unique experience.
The capital of Cambodia is huge – this is probably also the reason why many people told us they don’t like Phnom Penh. “It’s dirty and dangerous”. But that’s not true! If you visit the right spots and if you stay at right places, the city is actually quite nice. The Indepence Monument looks great as well as the Royal Palace. Every now and then, when you walk through Phnom Penh you see some nice squares, statues or buildings. It is also the place where you can learn about the sad history of Cambodia – the bloody reign of the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge killed more than a third of the population of Cambodia – including many women and children. It is very hard to understand how this could happen. When you do a Tuk Tuk tour you can visit the Toul sleng Museum and the killing fields. Start with the museum on day one and do the killing fields the second day (don’t do both at once as it is very hard to digest). Our Advice: Read the book ‘First they killed my father’ by Loung Ung.
Tarantula served in different ways
Grilled pig nose