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Anyone been to Cambodia and have any travel advice? :)

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Going to Cambodia in June next year and I'm just wondering if any of you good folks have been there and have any advice/tips/recommendations. I always find the best advice comes from people that hav…
mishmassey Avatar
2m, 18h agoPosted 2 months, 18 hours ago
Going to Cambodia in June next year and I'm just wondering if any of you good folks have been there and have any advice/tips/recommendations.
I always find the best advice comes from people that have been there :)
We've travelled Thailand but not Cambodia before so any in country travel tips or 'must see' places, please let me know!
Thanks in advance.
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mishmassey Avatar
2m, 18h agoPosted 2 months, 18 hours ago
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#1
Get a local guide. It's well worth it. You'll get to see tons more than otherwise. Cambodia is a wonderful, friendly country. Enjoy.
#2
there's a nice chap called pol pot there. ask him for a tour ;)
#3
yes my advice is dont go
#4
Make sure to goto angorwatt amazing place and get a good local guide I went a couple of years back stayed at the raffles hotel pure luxury enjoy your trip
[Travel Expert]#5
I'm here now! Any questions ask away. Arrived Xmas Eve and leaving 28th for Phnom Penh.

I'm in a place called Green Leaf Boutique Hotel, it's a non-profit hotel and all proceeds go back into the Cambodian community, schools, orphanages etc. It's a lovely place away from the chaos of pub street and the food and drinks, although a little more expensive than on pub street are lovely. Nice pool for relaxations and clean rooms.

I hated pub street, full of drunks, teenagers who can't handle their drinks and pickpockets, but each to their own.

In February prices rise for Angkor from $20 for a day pass to almost $40 and for a 3 day pass from $40 to almost $80.

Arrived late Xmas Eve, spent Xmas day chilling out then went to Angkor for sunset at Phnom Bakheng. Did sunrise at Angkor this morning, got up at 4am and was there for before 5am and got a good spot but it was heaving, so so busy. Didnt have a guide but did have a good guide book. We are also going to Phnom Penh day after tomorrow (look at the VIP post vans for transport only $10) you can book on bookmebus.com

I'd of loved to stay longer but we were in Vietnam for 2 weeks and then return back to Vietnam.

Edit - I retyped all this and now my original comment has come back. Seems it was in moderation.



Edited By: rachelandgromit on Dec 26, 2016 09:46: Edit
[Travel Expert]#6
I'll post some pictures later.
#7
One of the best holidays ever. Get a personal guide, and it goes without saying get advise on choosing one from a reputable source, they take you everywhere by luxury car for next to nowt. You will be warned, like Vietnam, there are still landmines everywhere so stay only to correct paths even when visiting landmarks and tourist spots. No need for me to rabbit on here about where to go, you would have obviously researched. Dollars are a must, and careful when handing out dollars to kids or less fortunate, you can get swamped so be discreet (here come the floods of criticism). They people are friendly and sincere, you'll have no issues. There will be armed guards in many locations, but they are not to be feared or avoided, they are normal people and like a friendly chat too. Just be responsible, respectful and play by the rules like visiting any foreign country and you'll look back and be delighted you visited this memorable and beautiful country. On the subject of killing fields and prisoner camps, they are very stressful and can be very upsetting and shocking, you will hear and see things that are unimaginable so please take this into consideration when you decide on where to visit should this be on you itinerary. May you have a tremendous trip and it you have the resources to take in Vietnam and Laos, please don't miss it.

Edited By: herbertsimpson on Dec 26, 2016 09:09
[Travel Expert]#8
https://i.imgbox.com/GxA0dDfT.jpghttps://i.imgbox.com/iVXxLIhW.jpghttps://i.imgbox.com/gojz1RG6.jpghttps://i.imgbox.com/HRDZt0ao.jpghttps://i.imgbox.com/BUtiYhUW.jpg
#9
You don't need a personal guide just buy a guide book.
If you have any specific itinerary questions post them on tripadvisor
#10
iangriffo1066
yes my advice is dont go


​That is neither helpful nor insightful.
#11
scrumpypaul
Get a local guide. It's well worth it. You'll get to see tons more than otherwise. Cambodia is a wonderful, friendly country. Enjoy.


​Thank you, I'd never thought of hiring a guide!
#12
mattmerch
Make sure to goto angorwatt amazing place and get a good local guide I went a couple of years back stayed at the raffles hotel pure luxury enjoy your trip


​Thank you, I shall!
#13
rachelandgromit
I'm here now! Any questions ask away. Arrived Xmas Eve and leaving 28th for Phnom Penh.

I'm in a place called Green Leaf Boutique Hotel, it's a non-profit hotel and all proceeds go back into the Cambodian community, schools, orphanages etc. It's a lovely place away from the chaos of pub street and the food and drinks, although a little more expensive than on pub street are lovely. Nice pool for relaxations and clean rooms.

I hated pub street, full of drunks, teenagers who can't handle their drinks and pickpockets, but each to their own.

In February prices rise for Angkor from $20 for a day pass to almost $40 and for a 3 day pass from $40 to almost $80.

Arrived late Xmas Eve, spent Xmas day chilling out then went to Angkor for sunset at Phnom Bakheng. Did sunrise at Angkor this morning, got up at 4am and was there for before 5am and got a good spot but it was heaving, so so busy. Didnt have a guide but did have a good guide book. We are also going to Phnom Penh day after tomorrow (look at the VIP post vans for transport only $10) you can book on bookmebus.com

I'd of loved to stay longer but we were in Vietnam for 2 weeks and then return back to Vietnam.

Edit - I retyped all this and now my original comment has come back. Seems it was in moderation.




​Wonderful, thank you! How is the transport once you're in the country? I've heard it can be tricky to get about?
#14
herbertsimpson
One of the best holidays ever. Get a personal guide, and it goes without saying get advise on choosing one from a reputable source, they take you everywhere by luxury car for next to nowt. You will be warned, like Vietnam, there are still landmines everywhere so stay only to correct paths even when visiting landmarks and tourist spots. No need for me to rabbit on here about where to go, you would have obviously researched. Dollars are a must, and careful when handing out dollars to kids or less fortunate, you can get swamped so be discreet (here come the floods of criticism). They people are friendly and sincere, you'll have no issues. There will be armed guards in many locations, but they are not to be feared or avoided, they are normal people and like a friendly chat too. Just be responsible, respectful and play by the rules like visiting any foreign country and you'll look back and be delighted you visited this memorable and beautiful country. On the subject of killing fields and prisoner camps, they are very stressful and can be very upsetting and shocking, you will hear and see things that are unimaginable so please take this into consideration when you decide on where to visit should this be on you itinerary. May you have a tremendous trip and it you have the resources to take in Vietnam and Laos, please don't miss it.


​Brilliant, thank you. We're hoping to visit the killing fields, we did the death railway in Thailand and Hellfire pass and despite the floods of tears it is always food to brush up on history. I really appreciate you commenting :)
#15
Some great advice there, thanks guys. I had also posted on TripAdvisor and barely heard anything back! Thanks again :)
#16
mishmassey
herbertsimpson
One of the best holidays ever. Get a personal guide, and it goes without saying get advise on choosing one from a reputable source, they take you everywhere by luxury car for next to nowt. You will be warned, like Vietnam, there are still landmines everywhere so stay only to correct paths even when visiting landmarks and tourist spots. No need for me to rabbit on here about where to go, you would have obviously researched. Dollars are a must, and careful when handing out dollars to kids or less fortunate, you can get swamped so be discreet (here come the floods of criticism). They people are friendly and sincere, you'll have no issues. There will be armed guards in many locations, but they are not to be feared or avoided, they are normal people and like a friendly chat too. Just be responsible, respectful and play by the rules like visiting any foreign country and you'll look back and be delighted you visited this memorable and beautiful country. On the subject of killing fields and prisoner camps, they are very stressful and can be very upsetting and shocking, you will hear and see things that are unimaginable so please take this into consideration when you decide on where to visit should this be on you itinerary. May you have a tremendous trip and it you have the resources to take in Vietnam and Laos, please don't miss it.
​Brilliant, thank you. We're hoping to visit the killing fields, we did the death railway in Thailand and Hellfire pass and despite the floods of tears it is always food to brush up on history. I really appreciate you commenting :)


Hi - I'm now on my PC so it is a bit easier to comment. My wife and I visited Vietnam and Cambodia for our honeymoon in 2011. We had a guided trip by a company called Travelsphere - not terribly cheap but in real terms, superb value for money in respect of the amount we managed to fit in.

A guide is essential if you want to make the best of your trip - sure you can do it slightly cheaper by buying a guide book but (a) you will spend a lot longer trying to orientate yourself and (b) hiring a guide (which isn't very expensive) is putting some money into the economy there.

In terms of places to visit, Phnom Penh is a wonderful, vibrant city - very nice.
S21 (Tuol Sleng Genocide Camp - on the site of an old school) is a horrendously poignant place. We wandered around, stunned at the pain that was palpable in the place. Blood still spattered on the walls and ceilings. We had the good fortune when our guide took us to S21 that we met Chum Mey who is one of just seven survivors from the 20,000 or so killed at the place. He showed us the tiny hand built cell he'd been held captive in and gave us real insight into the horrors of the place.

Humbling.

Our guide then arranged a trip to the Killing Fields. That is another humbling place with its towering glass monument filled with the skulls of the victims. Looking out across the site, seeing the excavated burial pits and those which have been left in peace was very saddening. Look closely and you can see bits of clothes at the surface, sometimes even a tooth or two. :(

We left Phnom Penh and headed (internal flight) to Siem Reap which is a nice small town with a friendly and bustling night market which is great fun with a very friendly vibe. Our guide was great at getting us passes for the monuments which were genuinely awe inspiring.

I'm jealous that you're heading there. We genuinely found it a wonderfully peaceful country, especially after the crazy, noisy, dirty bustle of a lot of Vietnam (that is also great but a totally different experience to Cambodia).


Best of luck,


Paul
#17
andy5and
You don't need a personal guide just buy a guide book.
If you have any specific itinerary questions post them on tripadvisor


Our guide was better than any guidebook he took us in the exit to angorwatt for sunrise so that we missed all the crowds plus your supporting the local community
#18
srp111
there's a nice chap called pol pot there. ask him for a tour ;)

Well done making a joke about genocide ....
#19
scrumpypaul
mishmassey
herbertsimpson
One of the best holidays ever. Get a personal guide, and it goes without saying get advise on choosing one from a reputable source, they take you everywhere by luxury car for next to nowt. You will be warned, like Vietnam, there are still landmines everywhere so stay only to correct paths even when visiting landmarks and tourist spots. No need for me to rabbit on here about where to go, you would have obviously researched. Dollars are a must, and careful when handing out dollars to kids or less fortunate, you can get swamped so be discreet (here come the floods of criticism). They people are friendly and sincere, you'll have no issues. There will be armed guards in many locations, but they are not to be feared or avoided, they are normal people and like a friendly chat too. Just be responsible, respectful and play by the rules like visiting any foreign country and you'll look back and be delighted you visited this memorable and beautiful country. On the subject of killing fields and prisoner camps, they are very stressful and can be very upsetting and shocking, you will hear and see things that are unimaginable so please take this into consideration when you decide on where to visit should this be on you itinerary. May you have a tremendous trip and it you have the resources to take in Vietnam and Laos, please don't miss it.
​Brilliant, thank you. We're hoping to visit the killing fields, we did the death railway in Thailand and Hellfire pass and despite the floods of tears it is always food to brush up on history. I really appreciate you commenting :)


Hi - I'm now on my PC so it is a bit easier to comment. My wife and I visited Vietnam and Cambodia for our honeymoon in 2011. We had a guided trip by a company called Travelsphere - not terribly cheap but in real terms, superb value for money in respect of the amount we managed to fit in.

A guide is essential if you want to make the best of your trip - sure you can do it slightly cheaper by buying a guide book but (a) you will spend a lot longer trying to orientate yourself and (b) hiring a guide (which isn't very expensive) is putting some money into the economy there.

In terms of places to visit, Phnom Penh is a wonderful, vibrant city - very nice.
S21 (Tuol Sleng Genocide Camp - on the site of an old school) is a horrendously poignant place. We wandered around, stunned at the pain that was palpable in the place. Blood still spattered on the walls and ceilings. We had the good fortune when our guide took us to S21 that we met Chum Mey who is one of just seven survivors from the 20,000 or so killed at the place. He showed us the tiny hand built cell he'd been held captive in and gave us real insight into the horrors of the place.

Humbling.

Our guide then arranged a trip to the Killing Fields. That is another humbling place with its towering glass monument filled with the skulls of the victims. Looking out across the site, seeing the excavated burial pits and those which have been left in peace was very saddening. Look closely and you can see bits of clothes at the surface, sometimes even a tooth or two. :(

We left Phnom Penh and headed (internal flight) to Siem Reap which is a nice small town with a friendly and bustling night market which is great fun with a very friendly vibe. Our guide was great at getting us passes for the monuments which were genuinely awe inspiring.

I'm jealous that you're heading there. We genuinely found it a wonderfully peaceful country, especially after the crazy, noisy, dirty bustle of a lot of Vietnam (that is also great but a totally different experience to Cambodia).


Best of luck,


Paul



​Thank you so much, you've been really helpful. Can't wait to go now!
[Travel Expert]#20
Also, not to take anything away from scrumypaul, but Travelsphere are a UK company. Whilst they may be really good at what they do, their packages start from around £2200 per person and include flights, food etc for 10 days. It's sad that the 'cut' that would go to the agent or guide in Cambodia will be so very small. Seriously, you'd be far better of finamcially putting this together yourself and looking at reviews etc to find your own guide locally, Cambodian people at lovely and friendly and it's so easy to find activities, guides etc when you are here. Do you really want to be taken to places to eat and drink, you can easily compile a list of some restaurants from TripAdvisor if there are particular place you want to eat or drink at. Find your own flights and you will easily put together your own trip. You can even 'pinch' their itinerary and then put something similar together.
[Travel Expert]#21
Today we went to S21 and the Killing Fields. So very moving. The two remaining survivors Bou Meng and Chum Mey were present and I purchased both of their books ($10 each) which I'm reading now, a must purchase IMO.

Our guide had uncles who had been prisoners at S21 and was very informative. On the bus between sites she spoke of the current political situation but it is not something that can be spoken about in public and doing so can result in a prison sentence. 17% of high ranking government officials were part of the Khmer Rouge and the current prime minster was a captain of the Khmer Rouge. I didn't know this and she spoke of the frustration of Cambodia people with the impossible task of trying to get the prime minister replaced, rigged voting etc.... But that Cambodia people have now accepted this and hope that when he dies they will have more say.

I'd definitely recommend these as must see sites, very moving and the skulls, bones, clothing still visible at the Killing Fields leaves you questioning how humans can do such thing to one another. Also, if you get chance you must visit a café called Daughters of Cambodia. It's for victims of trafficking/forced sex workers that are retraining and they have a café, spa and shop selling home made goods. It's very close to the Royal Palace if you are heading in that direction.
#22
I spent just under 3 weeks in Cambodia in 2015. An extremely interesting country to visit and I found it distinctly different from some of it's other South East Asia neighbours. There's diverse history from the temples to the horrendous genocide that took place under Pol Pot.

My visit included Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Koh Rong Island, Siem Reap and Battambang. I'd recommend them all, but didn't personally want to spend too much time in Phnom Penh. I booked all of my stays and transport (a combination of buses and internal flights) independently. I found this site pretty useful - http://www.movetocambodia.com/

Compared to Vietnam and Thailand I could definitely sense that Cambodia was a poorer country and crime was higher. I encountered a few travellers/tourists on my trip who had had phones, laptops, cameras and passports stolen in different ways in PP and Sihanoukville. I know it goes without saying, but I'd ensure you have a decent travel insurance policy and just be extra cautious with any of your possessions, especially when you're out on the street. In Phnom Penh by the water front I got the impression mobile phones were flavour of the day for local thieves with plenty of second hand phone shops to exchange them for cash swiftly.

In Siem Reap I can highly recommend this Tuk Tuk driver who a friend recommended to me - https://siemreaptuktukhire.wordpress.com/ Bros was always on time, happy to take me to the areas I wanted to see (including the national park away from the temples) and to spend as much or little time there was needed. A really friendly guide too and I know he relies on word of mouth a lot as hotel's making referrals to Tuk Tuk drivers take a 'healthy' cut.

Koh Rong island is beautiful (but expensive), they filmed a lot of the US Survivor series there. I'd recommend it to anyone though, whether you just want to relax on the beach or are more up for activities like snorkelling, quad biking etc.

Edited By: morgie on Jan 03, 2017 20:46
#23
rachelandgromit
Today we went to S21 and the Killing Fields. So very moving. The two remaining survivors Bou Meng and Chum Mey were present and I purchased both of their books ($10 each) which I'm reading now, a must purchase IMO.

Our guide had uncles who had been prisoners at S21 and was very informative. On the bus between sites she spoke of the current political situation but it is not something that can be spoken about in public and doing so can result in a prison sentence. 17% of high ranking government officials were part of the Khmer Rouge and the current prime minster was a captain of the Khmer Rouge. I didn't know this and she spoke of the frustration of Cambodia people with the impossible task of trying to get the prime minister replaced, rigged voting etc.... But that Cambodia people have now accepted this and hope that when he dies they will have more say.

I'd definitely recommend these as must see sites, very moving and the skulls, bones, clothing still visible at the Killing Fields leaves you questioning how humans can do such thing to one another. Also, if you get chance you must visit a café called Daughters of Cambodia. It's for victims of trafficking/forced sex workers that are retraining and they have a café, spa and shop selling home made goods. It's very close to the Royal Palace if you are heading in that direction.


​Wow. Thank you for sharing, we are planning on going there.
#24
morgie
I spent just under 3 weeks in Cambodia in 2015. An extremely interesting country to visit and I found it distinctly different from some of it's other South East Asia neighbours. There's diverse history from the temples to the horrendous genocide that took place under Pol Pot.

My visit included Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Koh Rong Island, Siem Reap and Battambang. I'd recommend them all, but didn't personally want to spend too much time in Phnom Penh. I booked all of my stays and transport (a combination of buses and internal flights) independently. I found this site pretty useful - http://www.movetocambodia.com/

Compared to Vietnam and Thailand I could definitely sense that Cambodia was a poorer country and crime was higher. I encountered a few travellers/tourists on my trip who had had phones, laptops, cameras and passports stolen in different ways in PP and Sihanoukville. I know it goes without saying, but I'd ensure you have a decent travel insurance policy and just be extra cautious with any of your possessions, especially when you're out on the street. In Phnom Penh by the water front I got the impression mobile phones were flavour of the day for local thieves with plenty of second hand phone shops to exchange them for cash swiftly.

In Siem Reap I can highly recommend this Tuk Tuk driver who a friend recommended to me - https://siemreaptuktukhire.wordpress.com/ Bros was always on time, happy to take me to the areas I wanted to see (including the national park away from the temples) and to spend as much or little time there was needed. A really friendly guide too and I know he relies on word of mouth a lot as hotel's making referrals to Tuk Tuk drivers take a 'healthy' cut.

Koh Rong island is beautiful (but expensive), they filmed a lot of the US Survivor series there. I'd recommend it to anyone though, whether you just want to relax on the beach or are more up for activities like snorkelling, quad biking etc.


​Thank you.
This is way more in depth feedback than I've had from TripAdvisor. It's really wonderful that you're all happy to share and advise, there's nothing better than a real persons experiences.
We've heard a lot about Phnom Penh being a bit boring, we're just going to use it as a hub I think.

How did you travel? Internal flights are so expensive seems as everyone 'pops in' to see Angkor Wat.
#25
mishmassey
Thank you. This is way more in depth feedback than I've had from TripAdvisor. It's really wonderful that you're all happy to share and advise, there's nothing better than a real persons experiences.

Glad it's useful.

mishmassey
How did you travel? Internal flights are so expensive seems as everyone 'pops in' to see Angkor Wat.

As mentioned a mixture of buses and flights. A few main companies operating both, but I used:

Buses:
* Giant Ibis - http://www.giantibis.com/
* Mekong Express booked via http://www.camboticket.com or http://catmekongexpress.com/ (they didn't show all of their routes on their main site (the second one), hence the need to use the camboticket site too. Weird, I know.

Flights:
* Cambodia Angkor Air / BudgetAir.co.uk via SkyScanner.net


You'll need to know a bit of playing around with your itinerary no doubt to work out the cheapest routes etc for the places you wish to see. Hopefully some of the above sites will help with that.

Edited By: morgie on Jan 03, 2017 22:31
[Travel Expert]#26
There are many local buses in Vietnam and Cambodia and bookmeabus.com is good for tickets but most hostels and guest houses were happy to help.

Some bus companies we used were Futa (orange buses), some of the sleeper buses such as Sapa Express that had bunk bed style beds inside, and also the VIP post vans in Cambodia, basically travelling with the mail, reliable and safe. Certainly Cambodia is poorer than Vietnam but just as easy to get about, people friendly, etc.

For internal flights we used Vietjet which have a god awful reputation but actually left on time and arrived early, but by contrast Vietnam Airlines left late and arrive late, perhaps we were a minority here as I know Vietjet rarely arrive on time.

If anyone really wants a good homestay in Vietnam then the Green Village around 4 miles outside Can Tho is amazing. You need to accept though you'll be in a bamboo hut and whilst there is a toilet and shower, it's cold water only, you'll have gekos and perhaps an odd frog in your room and we did spot a couple of rats or mice running in the roof! It sounds terrible but it was lovely, free bikes to cycle around the local village and some amazing spots for sunset on the Mekong Delta.

You can go by boat between Cambodia and Vietnam. We flew Danang to Siem Reap, spent 4 nights here, bus to Phnom Penh (Futa) then 2 nights. We then got the Hang Chau 'speedboat' which took around 5 hrs (allow an hour of this for visa stuff) to arrive back into Vietnam (Chau Doc). We never really got to spend time here because the boat was late so we arrived in the evening but I wish we had longer (recommend the Murray Guesthouse). We then caught the bus to Can Tho (just under 3hrs) where we then got a taxi to the homestay and spent 2 nights on the Mekong Delta before getting a bus to HCM.

Edited By: rachelandgromit on Jan 04, 2017 07:58
#27
Cambodia is such a beautiful and unique country! I would highly recommend spending a few days in Siem Reap - it is an incredible place. We hired a local guide who took us around the temples and explained the history and stories behind them. She was so friendly and informative that I'm glad we had her to show us around, despite my usual hesitance to get a tour guide. Watching the sunrise over Angkor Watt is a really popular thing to do. It is pretty touristy but still a wonderful experience and definitely worth waking up early for!

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