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Best Way To Do Cambodia In A Week


jaideeguy
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Will be traveling alone and planning a late Oct to early Nov trip to our neighbor Cambodia and trying to plan a trip.

Would like to see the ruins of Angkor for a couple of days as well as an off the beaten track day trip [any suggestions??]....then a couple of days in PP. Or would the opposite direction be better??

A few questions to start with ........

1] I'm not a beer drinker, so can I find decent red wine there easily?? at a decent price??

2] will my Thai cel phone work there with Cambo sim?? and how much $$ ??

thanks in advance and there will be more questions comming

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Angkor Wat has a few "off the beaten track" ruins. I really enjoyed them. I was there for 3 full days and was busy the entire time. IMHO, PP is just OK. AW is worth the extra time...truly an amazing place...

I also enjoyed the floating fishing village not far from Siam Reap. Pretty cool to take a boat out and check out the "town". And then a sunset swim in the lake!

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I have a few good friends that go to Cambodia often and are serious wine drinkers. They always bring back a bottle or two and it is excellent. They tell me that the selection is far superior to Thailand and the cost is a lot less. So I do not think you should have a problem on this. Enjoy you trip

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Good to hear about the wine GL.....it couldn't be any worse [expensive] than here.

And thanks craig for the floating village trip. Have heard about that one.

Any side trips to smaller, older less touristic ruins that anyone knows of??

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The closes i get to Cambodia is Kap Choeng on Highway 214 about 60 Kilometers south of Surin and about 10 Kilometers from the boarder crossing at Chong Chom. I did get to see Preah Vihear Temple before a couple kids started to jump up and down.:whistling: So technically I guess I have been in Cambodia. Any way just an idea take a trip threw issan down to Surin and enter at Chong Chom, grab a taxi at the casino and go to Siam Reap about 160 kilometers of dirt road spend a few days exploring then go on to PP. Friends of mine have done this way a few times. I'm told its a blast. Holes in the road and land mine signs on each side.:o Stay over for a night in Surin at the Surin Majestic (excellent hotel) by the bus station. You would be surprised what Surin has to offer.:whistling:

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The closes i get to Cambodia is Kap Choeng on Highway 214 about 60 Kilometers south of Surin and about 10 Kilometers from the boarder crossing at Chong Chom. I did get to see Preah Vihear Temple before a couple kids started to jump up and down.:whistling: So technically I guess I have been in Cambodia. Any way just an idea take a trip threw issan down to Surin and enter at Chong Chom, grab a taxi at the casino and go to Siam Reap about 160 kilometers of dirt road spend a few days exploring then go on to PP. Friends of mine have done this way a few times. I'm told its a blast. Holes in the road and land mine signs on each side.:o Stay over for a night in Surin at the Surin Majestic (excellent hotel) by the bus station. You would be surprised what Surin has to offer.:whistling:

"You would be surprised what Surin has to offer"

Actually Surin offered me a wife [of 10 yr now] and

nothing in LOS surprises me any more.

Great trip idea GL. I have been to the border and did a trun around at the casino. Didn't know that the road was drivable and may save that one for the future. What about immigration [Thai and Cam?].

This trip is for me to take a break from family and have limited time [1 week] and have to make the most of it and want to do it in mid range comfort and see as much as I can, so flying is best.

Have you seen that border market on the Surin side?? what a sight....now I know where all the 2nd hand clothing comes from.

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Jaideeguy, your Thai cellphone will work with Cambodian SIM cards, and they're cheap. Alternatively you could set up roaming with your Thai service provider, and use your phone without changing cards. It's more expensive that way but then you can still take calls and messages at your regular number. If being out of touch with people who have your Thai number isn't a concern, then buy a Cambo SIM.

You didn't say whether you were planning to go to Cambodia by road or air. If by road, I'd suggest entering at Poipet, continuing to Siem Reap for Angkor Wat, max three days there, then road or river to Battambang to get off the beaten path, spend one night in Battambang (charming former French colonial centre, with Thai history as well), before continuing on by road to Phnom Penh, where two nights is sufficient, IMO. Then fly back to Bangkok from PP.

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The closes i get to Cambodia is Kap Choeng on Highway 214 about 60 Kilometers south of Surin and about 10 Kilometers from the boarder crossing at Chong Chom. I did get to see Preah Vihear Temple before a couple kids started to jump up and down.:whistling: So technically I guess I have been in Cambodia. Any way just an idea take a trip threw issan down to Surin and enter at Chong Chom, grab a taxi at the casino and go to Siam Reap about 160 kilometers of dirt road spend a few days exploring then go on to PP. Friends of mine have done this way a few times. I'm told its a blast. Holes in the road and land mine signs on each side.:o Stay over for a night in Surin at the Surin Majestic (excellent hotel) by the bus station. You would be surprised what Surin has to offer.:whistling:

"You would be surprised what Surin has to offer"

Actually Surin offered me a wife [of 10 yr now] and

nothing in LOS surprises me any more.

Great trip idea GL. I have been to the border and did a trun around at the casino. Didn't know that the road was drivable and may save that one for the future. What about immigration [Thai and Cam?].

This trip is for me to take a break from family and have limited time [1 week] and have to make the most of it and want to do it in mid range comfort and see as much as I can, so flying is best.

Have you seen that border market on the Surin side?? what a sight....now I know where all the 2nd hand clothing comes from.

Chong Chom is where all the expats in the Surin area do their visa ruins AND 90 reports. Immigration was moved over to Korat only go there one time a year for extension. Closes night life is Prasat half way between Kap Choeng and Surin, it has a few kicking farang venues, Surin has a few more. The Cambodia Markets as the locals call it, my wife buy all my best clothes from there.:lol:

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Flying in to either SR or PP and then do overland thing....staying in SR and PP 2-3 nights ea and maybe try to squeeze in Sanookville for an over nighter. This is just a 'scouting trip' and want to cover as much ground as I can.

Thanks for the cell phone answer Sabaijai.....I just wanted to confirm. I'll most probably go for the local sim, as i will appreciate being out of touch for a whole week......if you know what I mean.

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"Chong Chom is where all the expats in the Surin area do their visa ruins AND 90 reports. Immigration was moved over to Korat only go there one time a year for extension. Closes night life is Prasat half way between Kap Choeng and Surin, it has a few kicking farang venues, Surin has a few more. The Cambodia Markets as the locals call it, my wife buy all my best clothes from there"

So, GL, you can actually cross the border there and get a legal Thai exit and entry stamp into Cam?? If so, the next time the wife wants to drag me to visit the parents in Surin, i may make the side trip south rather than hang out and be bored with the inlaws and their problems.

Yeah, better good quality 2nd hand clothes than bad quality new ones. It is just a shame that the Khmer people who the clothes were intended for don't get them and the [relatively] rich Thais profit from the donations.

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"Chong Chom is where all the expats in the Surin area do their visa ruins AND 90 reports. Immigration was moved over to Korat only go there one time a year for extension. Closes night life is Prasat half way between Kap Choeng and Surin, it has a few kicking farang venues, Surin has a few more. The Cambodia Markets as the locals call it, my wife buy all my best clothes from there"

So, GL, you can actually cross the border there and get a legal Thai exit and entry stamp into Cam?? If so, the next time the wife wants to drag me to visit the parents in Surin, i may make the side trip south rather than hang out and be bored with the inlaws and their problems.

Yeah, better good quality 2nd hand clothes than bad quality new ones. It is just a shame that the Khmer people who the clothes were intended for don't get them and the [relatively] rich Thais profit from the donations.

That's what the boarder crossing is for. Entrance and exit visas (stamps) and 90 day reports. I'll pm you with some extra information.

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you have a few options for your trip depending what you want to do; i have not travelled extensively in cambodia, but have been going to PP and SR for 11 years and a few other places inbetween on-route, stopping off by the ferry to SR (which stopped for a while).

SR has changed so much over the years but we go there for 1 reason which is the amazing temple complex; please visit the quieter places as other posters have said, its worth the rewards.

it might be better to fly into SR, travel to PP, try somewhere on the coast like kep back to PP, then fly back to BKK from PP;

hope this helps,

cheers

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If you want a temple "off the beaten track" could always go to Preah Vihear, it is more accessible now from the Camb side than it used to be, but it will involve a couple of days time at least.

Make sure that your Siem Reap itinery is not limited to Angkor Wat/Thom/Ta Pram but also includes Banteay Srey (about 20 km away) and be sure to visit Phnom Khulen, which of all that is up in Siem Reap is actually the most sacred spot in the minds of the Khmer and where locals will always go. It's a mountain (and likely source of much of the sandstone used in the monuments), not a temple, but has a national park, some waterfalls, some carvings and always Cambodian families making a prilgrimage or just having fun.

You get to it fro mthe road that goes to Banteay Srey, just continue on for maybe another hour. Nice views on the way.

Late Oct/early November should be OK (except for the rains) but be warned of major Cambodian holidays before and after that. The biggest holiday of all, P'chum Ben, runs from end of September until 11 October and everything stops for that. Water festival, during which govt offices close and PP becomes a traffic-jammed madhouse, is in the second half of November.

There is also an 11th century temple in Kampong Cham province called Nokor Bachey which is right on the highway linking K. Cham to P (and K. Cham itself is enroute from Siem Reap to PP, so an easy stopover). Not as stunning as Angkor but quite respectable and certainly off the beaten path tourist wise.

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If you want a temple "off the beaten track" could always go to Preah Vihear, it is more accessible now from the Camb side than it used to be, but it will involve a couple of days time at least.

Make sure that your Siem Reap itinery is not limited to Angkor Wat/Thom/Ta Pram but also includes Banteay Srey (about 20 km away) and be sure to visit Phnom Khulen, which of all that is up in Siem Reap is actually the most sacred spot in the minds of the Khmer and where locals will always go. It's a mountain (and likely source of much of the sandstone used in the monuments), not a temple, but has a national park, some waterfalls, some carvings and always Cambodian families making a prilgrimage or just having fun.

You get to it fro mthe road that goes to Banteay Srey, just continue on for maybe another hour. Nice views on the way.

Late Oct/early November should be OK (except for the rains) but be warned of major Cambodian holidays before and after that. The biggest holiday of all, P'chum Ben, runs from end of September until 11 October and everything stops for that. Water festival, during which govt offices close and PP becomes a traffic-jammed madhouse, is in the second half of November.

There is also an 11th century temple in Kampong Cham province called Nokor Bachey which is right on the highway linking K. Cham to P (and K. Cham itself is enroute from Siem Reap to PP, so an easy stopover). Not as stunning as Angkor but quite respectable and certainly off the beaten path tourist wise.

Welcome back Sheryl.....and thanks for the travel tips. I would like to see the 'source of the sandstone' Phnom Khulen, that i just saw in a documentary film. Also, thanks for the confirmation on my schedule...re Khmer holidays. also may check out Nokor Bachey

due to my domestic situation [that you know about], this trip will be my only real break in 4 yrs......brother and sister are comming to do their duty with Pop, who is doing ok now, but still getting older.

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get the 3 day pass at Angkor ( $40) and go your first day after 4 pm then u get in for free andf the pass starts the next day.

pick up the lonley planet guide or one of the guide books the kids sell around the temple for where to go. Lnley plnets has the best times to go and beat the crowd.

I lived in PP for 10 months in 2008-09 and loved it,. Travelled all over the country. Yiour thia sim will work but the roving charges ( at least on ais ) are crazy,. Pick up a sim card good for Cambodia for cheap. and use it $0.10/minute.

Travel overland is a nice way to see the countryside,. SR-PP is about 5 hours by bus or 4 hours by taxi. You could also take the boat and its a slow 5 hours.

Via Battamabang is nice as well SR-B is about 2 hours and then 2 1/2 more to PP. Forget Snooky as there is nothing worth going there for if u have thai beaches.

3 days in PP is plenty and hit toul sleng and the killing fields. Whats the best about PP is just walking around and enjoying. Make sure u hit the riverside in the late afternoon and pay a visit top Wat Phnom. Wide streets great bulidings and friendly people (although the motos with their constant "you want Moto" can get to ya. Plenty of nighttime activities and dont forget streets 104, 108, 136 and the infamous Walkabout at street 51

Check out my pics on Cambodia w.phuket.zenfolio.com

The water festival is great or a nightmare depending on who u are. I loved it!!

Edited by phuketrichard
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If you like quieter beachside places I would go to Kep rather than Sihanoukville. While the beach isn't as atmospheric, you can go on a boat over to Rabbit Island which is beautiful and does have nice coves to hide away in. You can also walk around Kep town, which is quite spread out, and look at the many ruined old French-era houses.

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Any one done boat trips up or down the Maekhong river. Sure looks interesting on the map. Google tells me that because of road improvements, the river is no longer the main transport. An, what's to see besides the dolfins [if you can spot one of the few left].

The beaches don't interest me much any more, but may read up on Kep town.

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Kep is good for half a day and the other half could be spend in Kampot eating crabs.

Both have some decent places to stay for $25-50/night and still only 4 hours from Phnom Penh.

Times i hvae been thru Kep i have seen Backpackers walking around town with the lonely planet guide and u can see the look on their face, " what the [email protected]#k are we doing here" :rolleyes:

Nice place to do nothing if thats ur interest as nothing really to do

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At this time of year I'd skip Kep.

The dolphins are only up in Kratie, way off your itinerary.

One nice thing you could do, that not a lot of people do, is take a boat across the Tonle Sap from Siem Reap to Battambang, spend a night in that town (second largest city in Cambodia) and then on by road to Phnom Penh. Or, there are day trips from Siem Reap out onto the lake you can take.

I think you'll love Phnom Penh. Great restaurants of just about every possible cuisine at great prices, and far more authentic than what you can get in Bangkok... the Indian restaurants are actually owned/run by Indians/Bangladeshis, the Italian restaurants by Italian, Lebanese by Leabanese etc thanks to the very relaxed visa rules. And quite a few "lounging out" type spots where you can eat great food and just relax on a sofa or by a poolside all day.

Right by the riverfront is a bit of a tout haven/tourist ghetto, would steer clear of that.

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Great restaurants of just about every possible cuisine at great prices, and far more authentic than what you can get in Bangkok... the Indian restaurants are actually owned/run by Indians/Bangladeshis, the Italian restaurants by Italian, Lebanese by Leabanese

Dont know when u were last in Bangkok Or Phuket BUT all the restaurants i have been to are run by the Nationality of the cusine . Lemontree off of Riverside is the best thai rest in PP and doesn't hold a candle to the thai rests in Phuklet and same goes for most Cusine.

Cambodian food is worth a try and you can find some good local restaurnats that do sukiaki (one place past Wat Phnom heading towards the japanese bridge right past the Hospital on the left side)

Riverside is touristy but well worth hanging out as some very nice places to stay, drink and eat as well. Every evening many Cambodians stroll along the riverside from in front of the Royal palace down to the Temple where poeple are making merit releasing birds and praying.

You can also catch an evening boat ride along the Tonle sap for $10-15/person for a nice 90 minute trip.

Reason i love Phnom Penh is the people not the food. Its a easy city to navigate and for sure go across the Japanese bridge and have a drink at Snows, A long time establishment with great views of the sunset over the city.

You can take the river from SR to Battamabag but only when its high and its very boring. Better off taking the bus.

Plenty of nightlife in Hostess bars and freelancer establishments such as Walkabout, Sharkies and of course Martinies.

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If you want to get off the beaten track, fly into SR, go overland by bus (or via river, by boat) to Battambang and then bus to Phnom Penh, easy trip. Battambang is easily one of the most charming towns in Cambodia, from what I've seen. Lots of good places to stay these days. And the Angkor period sites nearby - especially Ek Phnom, and Phnom Banan, see relatively few tourists.

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