Since i came back from an epic trip to this place, a lot of my friends and acquaintances have inundated me with questions about it. Read my ultimate guide to Cambodia and get all the information you need.
South East Asia is a hot destination especially Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore; but sadly people tend to ignore Cambodia probably due to lack of proper information and that led me to writing this post.
ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CAMBODIA
HOW TO GO:
Siem Reap is the nearest town and the base to explore Angkor. Multiple daily flights are available from Bangkok (only one hour duration). We took an Air Asia flight which was approx 4-5k per person from Bangkok to Siem Reap.
Visa on arrival is 30 USD, highly convenient and takes only a couple of minutes. Make sure you carry 2 passport size photos for the visa.
Read more about our smart flight booking tips here⤵
WHO SHOULD GO:
If you have an interest in exploring ancient historical sites and archaeology, then this is probably one of the best places to visit.
Apart from that, the downtown area of Siem Reap is quite fun and lively so you can totally let your hair down and enjoy !
It will get tiring for families with kids and elderly as there’s quite a bit of walking involved. So keep that in mind while planning your itinerary.
And the best part are the people who are some of the friendliest and most humble. Plus, everything is very cheap !
Know more about the UNESCO listed Ancient Town in Vietnam here⤵
WHEN TO GO:
Its hot and humid most of the year. So the best time to go is Nov-Feb, which is the “ON” season.
We went during early July, when monsoon was starting. Early morning starts are very important to complete your sight seeing for the day by 10-11 am. Trust me, its not possible to spend a whole day continuosly walking in the heat and the sweat drizzling down your body wont make a pretty sight in the pictures !
Confused about what to visit and what to leave out in this vast archeological park? Read our complete Angkor planning guide here↓
HOW MANY DAYS:
Angkor archaeological park is Huge. We tend to know only about Angkor wat, but its so much more than that. There is the ancient kingdom of Angkor Thom with its many many temples and attractions that covers a big area.
Passes for the park are available for 1 day/3 days/7 days. In my opinion, the 1 day pass is simply not enough to see everything properly and is mainly used by the bus loads of Chinese tourists, who come to see only the 2-3 big temples and leave by sunset.
We took the 3 day pass which was 62 USD each. It gave us ample time to see whatever we wanted , the way we wanted, without any hurry. We used to wake up at sunrise, leave and come back by noon. The rest of the day was spent in rest and relaxation, getting foot massages and chilling out with a cocktail or two!
WHERE TO STAY:
Trip advisor and Booking.com are the best places to look for rooms. You can get great rooms quite cheaply. Most places offer free airport pick up which is otherwise around 4-5 usd. We always stay close to the downtown area wherever we go, which helps us in saving money on local transport.
Here we went for a youth hostel “ONEDERZ” which is right near the night market and walking distance from Pub street. Though it was a hostel, they have private rooms available too. The rooms are basic but have all the essentials like TV/AC/Bath. There are 2 pools as well as their own in house bar and kitchen and laundry. The staff is fantastic and we loved the ambience! It was totally a new experience for us.
Check out my review here Tripadvisor Review of Onederz Hostel
TRANSPORT: Tuk tuks are the main mode of transport. AC cars are also available but have to be booked before hand. We used only tuk tuks through out the duration of our stay. You can book a tuk tuk driver for all the days of your sight seeing and negotiate prices.
FLASHPACKER TIP: All transactions in Cambodia take place only in USD. So make sure to carry plenty of cash, including notes of smaller denominations like 1 usd and 5 usd. ATMS are available but charges will apply of course.
WHY TO GO ?
- ANGKOR ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK: It truly deserves it’s UNESCO Heritage tag every bit. The ruins are huge and Angkor Wat is just one of the beautiful temples to explore. Read the complete 3 day guide to Angkor archeological park here↓
- WAR MUSEUM AND KILLING FIELDS: Learn about Cambodian history and Pol Pot’s genocide here, where the guides themselves are landmine victims. Shrines made of victim’s skulls unearthed after the war, will make you realize the brutality of war.
3. PUB STREET: Spend the mornings exploring and the evenings bar-hopping! Pub street which is the downtown area, is filled with lots of bars, restaurants and clubs of all types and to suit every budget. Its lively and cosmopolitan and a great place to hang out and enjoy !Beers start at a dollar each . Cheers !
4.ANGKOR NIGHT MARKET: Colorful and vibrant, filled with shops selling souvenirs and knick knacks, ranging from paintings and wooden masks to scarfs and jewellery. Situated near Pub street.We bought beautiful paintings and Bayon wooden carved masks. And the best part, everything is cheap , cheap and cheap ! Most of the stuff usually costs 10 USD . Remember to bargain but with a smile 🙂
5. FISH SPA: A Unique and fun , rather ticklish experience ! Let the fish nibble on your dead skin while you sit and have a coke or squirm 🙂
6. FOOD:WE indulged in a lot of barbeques, sea food, which are very tasty and cheap and had our first taste of Khmer cuisine.
Amok is the national dish and should be tried at-least once. Both Cambodian and western restaurants, whether street side or casual are aplenty. Wash down your food with some local Angkor beer which costs only a dollar a bottle !
7. TAKE A TUK TUK RIDE THROUGH THE CAMBODIAN COUNTRY SIDE: Go to Bantey Srei and you will get a chance to see the Cambodian countryside which will give you a much different picture from the touristy areas of town. An early morning ride is best to escape the heat and humidity and get a feel of the real Cambodian countryside.
8. THE PEOPLE:Despite going through a war and genocide, the Khmer people are some of the most humble and friendliest people we have ever met. They are great ambassadors for their country. Extremely poor but always with a smile.We would go back again just for them.
Love visiting colourful and friendly places ? Read about our guide to Hoi An here⤵