Despite it’s dark past, Cambodia is a charming and mysterious country with absolutely everything going for it! There are beautiful beaches, welcoming people, exquisite cuisine and of course – one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions – Angkor Wat. We’ve put together a brief guide outlining all of Cambodia’s highlights and how to make the most of your time there if you only have a week to spare.
Day 1: Siem Reap
Start this trip on a high by visit the breathtaking Angkor Wat. The Angkor UNESCO park is massive and it’s pretty impossible to see it all in one day, so here are our highlights:
- Wake up early and catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat
- Ta Phrom temple, made famous by the movie Tomb Raider
- The Bayon, a temple with giant stone faces on it’s exterior
You’ll probably be exhausted after a full day of playing real life ‘Temple Run‘, so we recommend resting your weary legs with dinner and a show at the unique Phare Circus. Phare was created by a local non-profit troupe that provides disadvantaged young people from the community with the skills needed to be a professional performer. The uplifting energy from the show might give you a second wind, so if you fancy a night out afterwards, you can always rely on Pub Street to bring the party!
Cambodia Bucket List – Watch the sunrise at Angkor Wat and release your inner Lara Croft amongst the Ta Phrom ruins.
Day 2: Cambodia Homestay
There’s no better way to get to know the local culture than by staying in a family home, sharing delicious, traditional meals and learning about their way of life and customs – you just can’t beat it! Stray Asia exclusively visits a remote village near Battambang. You’ll also have the opportunity to sit in on a lesson at the local school, help the school kids with their English or join a friendly sporting match. It’s truly a unique experience and the perfect way to immerse yourself in this rural community!
Cambodia Bucket List – Try the local evening drink – home brew whiskey with snake blood! Who knows, it might be your new favourite beverage…
Day 3: Travel to Sihanoukville
We’ll be honest; it’s a pretty long journey from the Battambang countryside to the popular seaside town of Sihanoukville on the Cambodian coast but it’s worth it – Trust us! Stop en-route to visit the floating markets in the bustling riverside town of Kompong Chhnang. Then, when you arrive in Sihanoukville, take a dip in the refreshing water and treat yourself to a seafood barbecue on the beach!
Day 4: Koh Rong Samloem
After breakfast at one of the beachfront restaurants, head over to the harbour to get a ticket to the beautiful, chilled out island of Koh Rong. The dazzling blue colour of the water is pretty spectacular against the white sand beaches – it’s a photographers paradise! Make sure to enjoy the peace and tranquility and, when the sun starts to set, find a little bar on the beach for a sun downer and dinner.
Cambodia Bucket List – Head down to the beach at midnight and swim with the bio luminescent plankton. Tinkerbell and her fairy dust have nothing on this experience!
Day 5: Koh Rong Samloem, return to Sihanoukville
There’s nothing like starting the day with some exercise! Hike to to Clear Water Bay (about 2 hours return) and soak up those picturesque views. Or just enjoy a lazy day at the beach on Koh Rong before heading back in Sihanoukville early in the evening. You could get a massage or a mani/pedi at one of the reasonably priced spas, enjoy a few beers or head to Ochheuteal Beach to party with the rest of the backpacker crowd.
Cambodia Bucket List – See how many types of tropical fish you can spot whilst snorkelling!
Day 6: Kampot
Just three hours from Sihanoukville, you’ll find Kampot. A quaint little riverside town famous for it’s salt and pepper production (make sure to try their famous pepper sauce on your dinner!).
- Head up Bokor Hill for stunning views of the city and ocean below
- Get in touch with nature and hike to the Popopkvil waterfall
- Board a sunset cruise along the river and marvel at the incredible landscapes
Cambodia Bucket List – Watch the fireflies dance along the Preaek Tuek Chhu River
Day 7: Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s capital city and a vital stop when it comes to learning all about Cambodia’s harrowing history. The terrible story of the Khmer Rouge is bought to life at the Killing Fields and the S-21 Prison. It’s heartbreaking when you think that these atrocities occurred not that long ago but it’s inspiring to see how determined the Cambodian people are to keep progressing and developing. They seem to be endlessly smiling and it’s incredibly infectious! If you feel a bit subdued after visiting these important sites you can always wander along the riverside, mingle with the locals and watch the sunset on the Mekong River.
Cambodia Bucket List – Learn about the cultural impact of the horrific Khmer Rouge regime
From Phnom Penh you can return to Siem Reap for one last memorable night out on Pub Street before connecting to Bangkok (Thailand), or opt to continue from Phnom Penh on to Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam). The possibilities are endless!
Want to spend the week travelling in Cambodia with a local Cambodian Guide and other like-minded backpackers? Stray Asia offers hop-on, hop-off travel passes and flexible tours for adventurous travellers. Our travel mantra is to ‘get further off the beaten track’, explore unique and remote destinations and get immersed in local culture. Come Stray Cambodia with us!