Where to go in Cambodia?: A 3-week itinerary

Are you wondering where you should go in Cambodia? What is there to do in Cambodia?

We had to research the same thing ahead of our trip to this bustling and rapidly developing South-East Asian culture centre.

This article has been split into 6 sections to suggest a rough 3 week itinerary of where we think you should go in Cambodia, what you can do there and some useful tips of where you can stay and what you can eat.

We hope this helps you make the most of your time in this beautiful country...

5 nights Siem Reap

2 nights Battambang 

4 nights Koh Rong Samloem

3 nights Kampot 

2 nights Kep

4 nights Phnom Penh

Day 1 - 6 Siem Reap

Once considered a small village, following the re-discovery of the jungle covered Angkor Wat, Siem Reap is now considered to be the must-visit destination in Cambodia's North. Siem Reap is now bustling with hotels, restaurants, shops and other tourist stops. 

We are aware that many people only spend a few days in Siem Reap, normally to visit the great temples of Angkor Wat and move on. However, after our previous travels we decided to add on a few extra days to our stay to have some down time. And we are glad we did, as Siem Reap was one of the best places we have ever visited!

Our must do recommendations: 

  • Explore Angkor Wat at sunrise 
  • Take a walk through Pub Street for the local nightlife 
  • Explore the Art Centre Night Market and pick up some souvenirs 

Other things to do: 

  • Visit Tonle Sap Lake and Floating Market 
  • Check out the Landmine Museum 
  • Learn all about the history at the Angkor National Museum 

Where we stayed:

The Amazing Residence, Siem Reap, $20 p/n, Deluxe King with Roundtrip Transfer including breakfast

This hotel was in a great location near local eateries and Pub Street but not too close to be disturbed by the nightlife.

The hotel boasts great sized rooms, with all necessary facilities. A pool and restaurant sit central in the hotel. We can definitely recommend a happy hour drink...or two. Paul actually compared this hotel to The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and thought it was on par. That is saying something.

We booked the Amazing Residence at booking.com.

Our food and drink recommendations:

  • Wild Bar and Eatery (We absolutely adored this place)
  • Try an Amok Curry at a red chair stall by the riverside

After Siem Reap, head off on the morning bus to Battambang. We recommend the 3 hour journey with Mekong Express VIP mini van. We booked ours on 12GoAsia (seriously - an Asian travelling life-saver).

Day 6 - 8 Battambang

Once Cambodia’s second largest city, the laid-back town of Battambang sits along the Sangker River. The compact city centre provides an ease to get around along with numerous nearby attractions, including hilltop temples, killing caves and the infamous bamboo train experience.

Our must do recommendations:

  • Bamboo train  (If you have never seen on of these before - check out our video!)
  • Explore Killing Caves and Bat Caves
  • Smokin’ Pot Cooking class (A great local experience)

Other things to do: 

  • Visit Wat EK Phnom 
  • See Phare Ponleu Selpak (The Battambang circus)

Where we stayed:

Royal Hotel, Battambang, $11.50 p/n, Superior Room with Air Conditioning

This hotel was basic however had us central in town for a bargain price. Whilst it has a number of floors, be aware there is no elevator. The rooftop decking and hot tub was sadly underwhelming.

We booked the Royal Hotel at booking.com.

Our food and drink recommendations: 

After Battambang, make sure to check out the islands, Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem.

Again, make use of the bus service. We booked ours on 12GoAsia. Where else!?

It should be noted that most companies will travel via Phnom Penh with a wait between connections. In order to travel to the islands, a ferry connection from Sihanoukville is required. Due to timing, we recommend spending a night in Phnom Penh as Sihanoukville is really not a nice place to be in our opinion.

Day 9 - 13 M-Pay Bay, Koh Rong Samloem

Ahead of our visit to Cambodia, a fellow traveller told us to prepare for the heat of inland Cambodia.

The thought of visiting white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters did not cross our minds. This was until we found the tropical island getaway of Koh Rong Samloem. If you are wondering where to go in Cambodia and want to escape the large towns and cities - you'll love it here.

With the contrast between sandy shorelines and inland rainforest, Koh Rong Samloem is considered to be more tranquil and less underdeveloped than nearby Koh Rong. The island acts as not only a peaceful retreat from the mainland, but also give a sense of exploration to untouched lands. 

Our must do recommendations: 

  • Enjoy the beach at M-Pai Bay 
  • Trek to Clear Water Bay 

Other things to do: 

  • Rent a snorkel or kayak and head out into the ocean 
  • Boat Trip offered by many of the waterfront accommodations 

Where we stayed: 

Ing Ing Guesthouse, Koh Rong Samloem, $20 p/n, Double Room with fan

The guest house was located up the street from the beachfront, a small establishment with friendly owners. The room was basic and the fan must needed in the Cambodian heat.  

We booked the Ing Ing Guesthouse at booking.com.

Our food and drink recommendations:

After relaxing on the island, hop back on the return ferry and continue along the mainland coastline to nearby Kampot. 

Days 13-16 - Kampot

Sitting on the Praek Tuek Chhu River, the sleepy town of Kampot is known for its French colonial architecture, as well as the famous Durian (smelly fruit) roundabout.

This relaxed town appeared to be a hit with the travellers we encountered. Many of them actually extended their stay here. The old town offers a range of eateries and shopping outlets as well as being in close proximity to exploring the countryside. 

Our must do recommendations: 

  • Sunset and Firefly Boat Tour (really easy to pick a boat with some free beers from the riverside)
  • Trip up Bokor Hill Station 

Where we stayed: 

The Neon Tigress Inn, Kampot, $14 p/n, King Room with shared bathroom

This basic guest house was situated in a very interesting colonial-style villa. The Neon Tigress had everything we needed and was in a very good location. The host was very friendly and it was a great price for two people right in the middle of a national holiday (kings birthday weekend). No aircon though - this guesthouse in fan only!

We booked the Neon Tigress Inn at booking.com.

Our food and drink recommendations:

We then booked a bus at a local travel agent to continue our travels to the nearby town of Kep.

Day 16 - 18 Kep

Kep was once a popular seaside retreat for the French elite in the early 1900’s and wealthy Cambodian’s in the 1960’s. The tourism industry in Kep is clearly rebuilding!

The area was filled with French Villas. While most were sadly abandoned or destroyed during the Khmer Rouge regime, the town now boasts a range of luxury guesthouses and bungalows.

The famous Kep crab is iconic in demonstrating the plentiful and delicious seafood of the area. If the seaside is not for you, Kep also has an extensive national park for exploration.

Our must do recommendations: 

  • Walk around National Park 
  • Head out into the countryside and visit La Plantation Pepper Farm 

Where we stayed: 

Raingsey Bungalow, Kep, $35 p/n, Bungalow

As a little treat for ourselves, we booked a bungalow in Kep. Located approximately 10 minutes from the crab market and with everything we needed on site we settled in for a couple of days. The staff were very helpful in organising activities to do and providing information on the nearby area. A nice little retreat which we totally recommend.

We booked the Raingsey Bungalow at booking.com.

Our food and drink recommendations:

  • Ecran Noodles (This is another Ecran Noodles, so amazing we had to go again) 

Coming to the end of the time in Cambodia, we booked a bus on 12GoAsia and headed north to Phnom Penh for our final few days in preparation for our next flight.

Day 18 - 22 Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia. A mixture between developing modern buildings and the traditional museum and palace, you would be forgiven if you compared to any other metropolitan city

Home to the world famous Killing Fields and S21 museum, Phnom Penh give an insight into the counties bloody history.

Our must do recommendations: 

  • Visit S21 Museum (Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum) and Killing Fields of Cheoung Ek 
  • Royal Palace 
  • National Museum 

Where we stayed: 

TeaHouse Asian Urban Hotel, Phnom Penh, $35 p/n, Double Room, including breakfast

This contemporary accommodation had us in a good location within walking distance to the Independence Monument and Royal Palace. The hotel also has a team of Tuk Tuk drivers readily available to assist you on where you may wish to go. The facilities include a salt water pool, gift store and in house restaurant. We would highly recommend having Afternoon Tea here.

We booked the TeaHouse Asian Urban Hotel at booking.com.

Our food and drink recommendations:

Overall view

We had a great 3 weeks in Cambodia and we were pleasantly surprised with what the country had to offer. From bustling towns and cities to remote islands, there is something for everyone.

Not only were we able to explore the country but we learned a lot about its history and the Cambodians themselves. It's hard to believe that the genocide by the Khmer Rouge regime was not long ago but there is no doubt Cambodia is a country on the up.

We hope this guide has given you some help in planning where to go in Cambodia or at least some inspiration to visit this beautiful country some day.

Rachel Sanders
One half of the Nomadic Scots, Rachel quit her job in 2018 and took off on a travelling adventure around the world.

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