Cambodia Travel Guide-Koh Rong, Sihanoukville & Siem Reap

Guide to Cambodia- Koh Rong, Sihanoukville & Siem Reap

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My August this year was such a blissful month. I spent 2 weeks backpacking Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam with my college friends and my boyfriend. But here, I will be focusing more on the awesome things we did in our Cambodia trip which was for three days. It was kind of jam-packed but definitely unforgettable and full of adventures. Here’s my Cambodia Travel Guide.

awesome things to do in cambodia

EXPERIENCING THE NIGHT BUS

We arrived at Siem Reap International Airport on a Saturday at 9:30 in the evening. One of us went two days ahead. Our friend fetched us at the airport with the car he rented out from the kind and friendly driver – Pisit. Our first stop was at the Giant Bus terminal to ride an overnight bus going to Phnom Penh as it will be a 7 to 8-hour bus drive from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. After that, we had to ride another bus to Sihanoukville so we could get to Koh Rong Island which was our first stop in our Cambodia adventure. The island is located 25 kilometers from the province of Sihanoukville. There are actually two beautiful islands in Sihanoukville – Koh Rong Island and Koh Rong Samloem. The former has more tourists and is more commercialized while the latter is quieter. As much as we want to explore the two islands, we only had a limited time so we decided to go for Koh Rong Island instead.

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

On the first night, I got excited as it was my first time to be in an overnight bus and I just loved it! Our overnight bus, Giant bus, is air-conditioned, with free bottled water, with wifi, and there’s a comfort room and bunk beds with pillows and blankets so my sleep was just as comfortable as staying in a guesthouse or hostel. I woke up early around 4:00am and looked outside the window. I felt like I was just traveling down south my hometown, Cebu, where trees and rice fields set against the lush mountains are greeting me. At 6:00 in the morning we finally arrived in Phnom Penh. The first thing we did upon arrival was to book a ticket for our bus ride to Sihanoukville. After we bought our bus tickets, we then had a quick breakfast. We’ve found this hawker and ordered noodles with meatballs and steamed chicken. The food was already good at $2 per head. By the way, US Dollar is widely used and accepted in Cambodia so you have a choice to either use US Dollar or Cambodian Riel. For me, it would be better to exchange your money to US Dollar as most of the prices there are in USD.

After our breakfast, we then boarded the bus to Sihanoukville at 7:30am and arrived after almost seven hours. Whew! Quite a long ride huh. As soon as we arrived, we secured first our speed boat tickets, and had a late lunch at one of the restaurants near the docking area in Sihanoukville. You need to buy return ticket by the way as there’s no one-way ticket for the speed boat. We went right away to the docking area after we have filled up our stomachs to ride the speed boat. It was a 45-minute bumpy ride to Koh Rong Island. My friends and I were sitting outside so we got wet by the strong waves getting inside the boat. So that was considered our first bath since we arrived in Cambodia!

HOT TIPS: Check here the list of cheap hostels in Cambodia

RELAXING, TREKKING, AND TAMING THE WAVES IN KOH RONG ISLAND

awesome things to do in cambodia

We finally arrived in Koh Rong Island late in the afternoon, looked for our booked guesthouse in Green Ocean guesthouse and checked in. You don’t have to book in advance for your stay though as there is quite a number of accommodations available in the island from hostels to bungalow houses. Well, except for peak seasons like summer though as it can get crowded. Note that there are no hotels in the area. Speaking of accommodation, you can find a lot of cheap accommodations in Cambodia. You can book for a dormitory type for just $2, to guesthouse and hostel for just around $3 up. Our guesthouse in Koh Rong costs around $5 per head for a fan room while the hostel in Siem Reap costs around $6 per head for an air-conditioned room with television. That’s pretty cheap! Plus those accommodations already provided us comfort.

awesome things to do in cambodia

We did not waste our time so after we settled our things in the guesthouse, we immediately strolled through the white powdery beach. Koh Rong Island has many restaurants available. Some offer local dish, some offer Italian and other foreign cuisine. We noticed that the island was mostly operated by foreigners and not the locals, from the speed boats to the restaurants and accommodations. We had drinks by the shore, chit-chats and of course, never missed to feel the afternoon breeze. We then had our dinner at an eatery near the shore operated by a Cambodian where we ordered Beef Loklak, Tom Yum Shrimp, Khmer Chicken and Amok Chicken. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the food we ordered to show you. Maybe I was so hungry that time, I wasn’t able to take photos. L Anyway, Beef Loklak is similar to Beef Steak, Khmer and Amok Chicken are like Chicken Curry and Tom Yum is a spicy sour shrimp soup. Beef Loklak became our favorite since we tasted it. In fact, it was mostly present in our meals during our three days stay in Cambodia. Haha! After our dinner, we finally took a dip at the relaxing cold water. After a few hours of swimming, staying on the shore, and savoring our first and last night in the island, we then came back to our guesthouse to rest and get ready for the next day.

awesome things to do in cambodia

The second day, before we finally end our short stay in the island, we decided to go to the opposite side of the island called Long Beach. To get to Long beach, you need to go through a 45 minute-1 hour trek through the forest and winding rocks. After an adventurous walk of about one hour, we were then greeted by the literally long pristine beach, its crystal clear water and the glaring mountains surrounding it. It was a bonus that we arrived in the beach with just our group to enjoy it! It was really beautiful that I did wish we had more time to spend at least a whole day in the place. So I just savored the short hours and immersed myself into the water and played with the big waves. We then returned to the guesthouse after 2 hours as we already need to check out and catch the booked speed boat ride back to Sihanoukville. After reaching Sihanoukville, we took a bus back to Phnom Penh, then an overnight bus (Nattakan bus) for Siem Reap. Nattakan bus has almost everything inside in color pink, from the lights to the seats and the blankets. Cute!

awesome things to do in cambodia

TEMPLE HOPPING IN ANGKOR

We arrived in Siem Reap in the morning and checked in our hostel at Meas Surmetta Inn. Pisit, our friendly driver fetched us in the hostel and brought us first to a local eatery for breakfast. We didn’t regret eating there as we have tasted the best Beef Loklak by far in our 3 days of eating the food! Haha! Seriously, I really fell in love with it that I tried to cook it when we arrived home as my boyfriend was also craving for it. Fortunately, my boyfriend liked it and said the taste was similar to the authentic Beef Loklak. Or was it just love speaking right there?

awesome things to do in cambodia

Anyway back to the third day in Cambodia, after the superb breakfast, we already headed to the famous and ancient Angkor where magnificent remains or ruins of the Khmer empire are found. The cheapest and common way to visit the Angkor temples is hiring a tuktuk for a whole day tour. Usual rate is around $10-15 or lower depends on your haggling skills. But Pisit brought a car instead of tuktuk so we were charged $21 for 5 pax. To enter Angkor, you need to pay $20 for a 1-day pass and $40 for a 2-3-day pass. We bought the 1 day pass since it was our last day in Cambodia. We were able to see three major temples – Bayon Temple, Angkor Wat, and Ta Prohm where the movie Tomb Raider was filmed starred by Angelina Jolie.

awesome things to do in cambodia

Upon getting out from Bayon temple, the first temple we visited, we couldn’t find Pisit. We tried to look for him anywhere for about an hour or two and attempted to contact his phone number but we failed to reach him. So we tried to look for a tuktuk driver around to bring us to the other temples. We settled for a $15 charge since the tuktuk driver was also waiting for another group of tourists inside the area who booked him first. Had we found Pisit upon getting out from Bayon, we could have visited other temples. But the good thing was we got to pay only $15 for the tour rather than the $21. Other temples you can visit in Angkor are Ta Prohm, Neak Pean, Preah Kahn, Ta Som, and a lot more.

awesome things to do in cambodia

When we arrived to the hostel in the afternoon, we saw our bottled water and tumblers which Pisit delivered just minutes after we have arrived. I guess we had some misunderstanding with the agreed location on where to meet after Bayon Temple so we ended up looking for him and him looking for us. We tried to contact Pisit via his social account as soon as we were able to connect to the hostel’s wifi to pay him for driving us to Angkor but he refused to get it. Perhaps, we could pay him next time when we come back. Really sorry and thank you Pisit! Anyway, it was still an awesome day and we definitely enjoyed touring around Angkor. And just like how we see the Angkor temples in photos, everything is just picturesque in actual.

Cambodia Travel Guide-Koh Rong, Sihanoukville & Siem Reap

NIGHTLIFE IN PUB STREET, SOUVENIR BUYING IN NIGHT MARKET

After our whole day of temple hopping, we went to the Pub Street and the night market where we bought pasalubong. Pub Street is considered one of the liveliest streets by night in Siem Reap with mostly tourists spending their nightlife here with all the bars and restaurants around. It was our last day in Cambodia and three days is definitely not enough. If you wanted to tour all the Angkor temples and other parts of Siem Reap, explore Koh Rong Samloem and Koh Rong Island in the province of Sihanoukville, and Phnom Penh the capital of Cambodia, then you really need to stay for at least a week. However, 3 days already allowed us to do awesome things in Cambodia. Indeed, the country is true to its tagline, “Kingdom of Wonder”. So Cambodia, wait for me as I shall return and continue to wander around the Kingdom of Wonder! J

Sharing here our itinerary and expenses below:

awesome things to do in cambodia

*Photo credits goes to Joy Oling and Benjo Aventajado

SM Monkey Section Dividersawesome things to do in cambodiaJoy Oling is a graduate of BSBA-Marketing Management and a travel enthusiast. Reading inspirational books and editing videos are the major bliss of her life aside from traveling. She’s been all around the world from daydreaming occasionally. Seriously, as a travel enthusiast but not a full time traveler, she believes she can cross off all the places in her bucket list one step at a time. Follow her itchy feet via her Instagram account @joyeesuchee.

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Recommended Accommodation in Koh Rong, Cambodia

Inn the Village Hostel Koh Rong

Inn the Village Hostel Koh Rong is located in the traditional Sangkat Village. There is scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming nearby. This is one of the few hostels within the traditional village area of the island, offering a glimpse into real life in a Cambodian village, making it one of the best and well recommended accommodation in Koh Rong, Cambodia.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

Reef On The Beach (By Reef Resort)

Reef On The Beach (By Reef Resort) offers guests with comfortable bungalows with sea views. It also has an amazing secluded beach, white sand, clear water, and magnificent views of the surroundings. Staff is very accommodating and helpful too. Best value for money and definitely one of the best and well recommended accommodation in Koh Rong, Cambodia.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

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Recommended Accommodation in Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Serendipity Beach Hostel

Serendipity Beach resort is well situated in the entertainment area of Ochheauteal, within walking distance to the beach. It offers guests with wooden rooms, with grass roofs, giving a rustic charm and ambiance. It also has great communal areas, mushroom-shaped grass sunshade with and tables and chairs in a nice garden setting. Truly, this is one of the  best and well recommended accommodation in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

Sokha Beach Resort

Sokha Beach Resort is a fantastic beach resort, quiet, beautiful and very relaxing. Amenities provided are great, hotel is equipped with an outdoor Jacuzzi, deck furniture and a well designed and cosy interiors. Food is amazing too, plus the staff is very attentive. This is definitely one of the  best and well recommended accommodation in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

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Recommended Accommodation in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Mad Monkey Hostel Siem Reap

Mad Monkey Hostel Siem Reap is close to the famous pub street in Siem Reap and close to the temples of Angkor Wat. It also has a rooftop bar with swinging chairs. This hostel has a great atmosphere, clean rooms, and an amazing vibrant and party atmosphere, making it one of the  best and well recommended accommodation in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel

Angkor Palace Resort & Spa

Angkor Palace Resort & Spa is a top notch accommodation, with extremely friendly and courteous staff. It’s a great base for temple hopping and a good place for relaxation as well. It also has spacious and nicely decorated rooms, large bathrooms and other great amenities. Truly, this is one of the  best and well recommended accommodation in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Read Reviews on: TripAdvisorCheck-Rates of the Hotel


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Comments 30

  1. Hello! I wanted to ask if… is it possible to cross border from ho chi minh going siem reap and goes back to ho chi minh vietnam again? Where from Philippines by the way. Thank u! Hope you can leave a reply!

  2. I’m traveling to Cambodia in December (looks like it’s good weather and not scorching heat!) . Looking forward to it. Thank you for the tips and the article which is fantastic.
    Nadia

  3. Long Beach on Koh Rong is probably the prettiest beach ive ever seen!
    We went there early so it was quiet…..worth the hike through the jungle,

    x

  4. Wow,

    I thought my trips are always in a rush until I see yours 🙂
    No need to fill bad for the driver which you did not pay. He must have found other customers who are are paying more.

  5. Wow the temples look stunning! The closest thing I’ve ever seen is Chichen Itza in Mexico, which is so interesting!

  6. Wow it looks like you had an amazing time! I wish I had visited Cambodia when I went ti Thailand. The night buses are something else aren’t they!

  7. I have wanted to go to Cambodia for as long as I can remember. Angkor Wat is on my list to visit, I love ancient cities and the history behind them. I WILL get there one day

  8. I don’t know how I’ve never come across your blog before it’s amazing! Great for travel. I’ve never been to Cambodia but your post has made me want to! x

  9. It’s nice that you were able to get some relaxation in with all of the exploration. Checking out those temples would be fun!

  10. WOW the nightbus sounds cool! I’ve just travelled overnight by bus in Spain and we just had seats! No bottled water, wifi or beds! LOL! Cambodia looks beautiful x

  11. Мy brother recommended I wouⅼd possibly like
    this website. He was once totally right. This post actuɑlly made my ɗay.
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  12. Fantastic information, we plan to do the over night buses in Cambodia. In Phnom Pehn now then hitting Sihanoukville, Siem Reap and then off to Vietnam…

    Looking for some tips on nice places to photography but not to packed with people.

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