CAMBODIA

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14 THINGS WE LEARNED ABOUT CAMBODIA

What we discovered after a month of travelling in Cambodia, the “kingdom of wonder”

THE KILLING FIELDS OF CAMBODIA

The “tourist attraction” that everyone who visits Cambodia should go and see

3 ALTERNATIVE THINGS TO DO IN CAMBODIA

A haunting hill station, an underwater light show and pedal-powered touring…an alternative Cambodia

 

WHERE WE’VE STAYED

 

SIEM REAP

Malika Resort
Malika Resort, Siem Reap

Malika Resort

Nights
6

Cost
US$30 per night

What that included
Bed & breakfast, air-con, wifi

Rating ****
Friendliness 3 Cleanliness 4 Location 4 Comfort 4 Facilities 5 Food 3 Value for money 4

What we thought
Very clean and comfortable, with a lovely swimming pool – perfect after a day tramping around temples. It’s also in a quiet area, away from the centre of town, which costs $1 in a tuk-tuk (although weirdly it was another $2 to come back).

Website

Trip Advisor reviews

 

 

BATTAMBANG

Ramchang Guest House
Ramchang Guest House, Battambang

Ramchang Guest House

Nights
3

Cost
US$12 per night

What that included
Room only

Rating ***
Friendliness 2 Cleanliness 3 Location 3 Comfort 4 Facilities 4 Food 3 Value for money 4

What we thought
A huge room (surface area and height of the ceiling), with aircon and wifi – this really was incredible value. They even had a swimming pool, although it was surrounded by construction work while we were there. If we had any gripes it was that service was painfully slow, particularly at breakfast.

Website

Trip Advisor reviews

PHNOM PENH

Vacation Boutique Hotel
Vacation Boutique Hotel, Phnom Penh

Vacation Boutique Hotel

Nights
3

Cost
US$35 per night

What that included
Bed & breakfast, air-con, wifi

Rating ****
Friendliness 4 Cleanliness 5 Location 4 Comfort 5 Facilities 4 Food 3 Value for money 4

What we thought
Lovely boutique hotel, with a great room and location, close to the river. We’d return here without question if we came back to Phnom Penh (although it was fully booked when we tried to re-book for a week or so later). Recommended.

Website

Trip Advisor reviews

SEN MONOROM

Nature Lodge
Nature Lodge, Sen Monorom

Nature Lodge

Nights
4

Cost
US$20 per night

What that included
Room only

Rating ***
Friendliness 2 Cleanliness 3 Location 4 Comfort 3 Facilities 3 Food 2 Value for money 3

What we thought
Very much a back-to-nature set up, with very open bungalows in a rural setting, with lovely views across farmland. However with our mozzie net fully tucked into our bed, we slept soundly enough. The lodge is advertised as a training school for young, local Cambodians who are starting out in the hospitality industry, but we found the atmosphere strangely unwelcoming. The food was just about OK, although we resorted to eating their pizza by the end just to have some strong flavours (and to be fair they were pretty good).

Website

Trip Advisor reviews

KRATIE

Le Tonle Tourism Training Centre
Le Tonle Tourism Training Centre, Kratie

Le Tonle Tourism Training Centre

Nights
3

Cost
US$10 per night

What that included
Room only, fan, wifi

Rating ****1/2
Friendliness 5 Cleanliness 4 Location 4 Comfort 3 Facilities 3 Food 5 Value for money 5

What we thought
Incredibly good value for money, great food and helpful, friendly staff. As the name suggests it’s a training centre for disadvantaged young locals – and the training certainly shows (particularly when compared to the service we got at the Nature Lodge in Sen Monorom). Highly recommended.

Website

Trip Advisor reviews

 

 

PHNOM PENH

Monsoon Boutique Hotel
Monsoon Boutique Hotel & Spa, Phnom Penh

Monsoon Boutique Hotel & Spa

Nights
1

Cost
US$38 per night

What that included
Bed & breakfast, air-con, wifi

Rating ***1/2
Friendliness 3 Cleanliness 4 Location 4 Comfort 4 Facilities 4 Food n/a Value for money 3

What we thought
Nice room with balcony overlooking 130th Street (which is actually in the middle of the red-light district!). We just used it as an overnight stop en route to Koh Rong, for which we left early the following morning, so we didn’t get the chance to try the breakfast. Overall the Vacation Boutique Hotel offered better value for money, though.

Website

Trip Advisor reviews

KOH RONG

Lonely Beach
Lonely Beach, Koh Rong

Lonely Beach

Nights
5

Cost
US$30 per night

What that included
Room only

Rating ***1/2
Friendliness 4 Cleanliness 2 Location 5 Comfort 3 Facilities 2 Food 4 Value for money 3

What we thought
Large bungalow set amidst jungle just off the gorgeous beach. Very back-to-nature feel so mozzie net tucked into the mattress was a must for us! The restaurant-cum-communal area was lovely – and so was the food, particularly the home made pita sandwiches. Highly recommended.

Website

Trip Advisor reviews

 

KEP

Khmer Hands
Khmer Hands, Kep

Khmer Hands

Nights
2

Cost
US$22 per night

What that included
Room only, fan, wifi

Rating ****
Friendliness 5 Cleanliness 4 Location 4 Comfort 3 Facilities 3 Food 5 Value for money 4

What we thought
It was an absolute pleasure to stay at this place, owned by American, Chris and his Cambodian wife, Naomi. As a host, Chris has a knack of making you feel like special guests. Meanwhile, the food was just gorgeous – a mixture of local Khmer and American-influenced dishes. Our bungalow was large and clean – although there was plenty of flying bug activity during the night as the front is fairly open to the elements. Chris also trains young locals in hospitality and handicraft skills, too. High recommended.

Trip Advisor reviews

KAMPOT

GreenHouse
GreenHouse, Kampot

GreenHouse

Nights
2

Cost
US$25 per night

What that included
Room only, fan, wifi

Rating ***1/2
Friendliness  3 Cleanliness 3 Location 4 Comfort 3 Facilities 4 Food 4 Value for money 3

What we thought
Lovely, quiet location beside the river, with access to scooters and kayaks for exploring further afield. It should have been great, yet we found it a little soulless compared to the fantastic Khmer Hands down the road in Kep. Still worth staying overall – and the Chef’s Gallette for breakfast was just awesome!

Website

Trip Advisor reviews

IMAGES OF CAMBODIA

ANGKOR WAT

Probably the most visited temple complex on Earth. Which means that viewing it at sunrise is an experience shared with plenty of other camera-wielding pilgrims. But you simply can’t visit Cambodia without paying homage to this amazing structure.

THE BAYON

With its dozens of smiling faces carved out of rock, overlooking the 12th-century temple we actually preferred this to Angkor Wat itself.

BENG MEALEA

Situated 40km east of the main Angkor complex, Beng Mealea has been overrun by the surrounding jungle. But its combination of ancient temples, twisted tree roots and mounds of stone rubble is a fascinating sight to see.

KEP

Famed for its seafood, particularly its crab, the south coast town of Kep shows just how proud it is with this statue which sits just off the main promenade.

KOH RONG

While some parts of the island are becoming more and more developed, there are still areas virtually untouched. Such as the gorgeous stretches of coastline along the north, close to Lonely Beach.

BOKOR HILL

Hiring a scooter to ride up to Bokor Hill Station is a great alternative way to spend a morning from Kampot. The now disused Old French Palace at the top is the main draw, but we also found this lovely old colonial villa on the way back down.
Read more at 3 alternative things to do in Cambodia.

CHOEUNG EK

Nothing quite prepares you for the emotional assault to be experienced at Choeung Ek. This fence surrounds a burial site for over 100 women, children and babies savagely murdered by the Khmer Rouge. Upsetting in the extreme but an essential visit for anyone wishing to understand the Cambodian psyche.
Read more at The Killing Fields of Cambodia.

HUMAN SKULLS

Probably an image that’s become synonymous with Cambodia ever since the Killing Fields were discovered. Choeung Ek’s memorial pagoda houses hundreds of human skulls displayed inside multi-storey glass cases.
Read more at The Killing Fields of Cambodia.

MORE ON CAMBODIA

The official site for tourism in Cambodia

Background reading on the Killing Fields of Cambodia

Excellent resource for Cambodia and the rest of SE Asia

The indispensable guide for budget travellers

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