Points: 8 (from 1 to 10)
Acommodation for Backpackers: Downtown Siem Reap Hostel (pool, bar, decent rooms)
Arriving in Siem Reap the first thing after checking in in your hostel should be exploring the cute city. It has only a very tiny center with many touristy shops and restaurants. My favorite thing to do was the night market in Siem Reap. The bridges are lightened up and the people working at the market were extremely friendly. You can buy real silver and gold jewelleries for little money.
The real reason why people visit Siem Reap: Angkor Wat.
There are actually 3 different options to visit Angkor Wat, depending on how much time you have and how much money you want to spend. You can do a small tour only seeing the most important/beautiful stops in ONE day. You can do a bigger circle for 2 days. Or you can have it all for 3 days. How you want to visit the Temples, which are not all at one spot but spread, is totally up to you. You can hire a tuktuk driver (incl. tuktuk of course) who can drive you around the whole day, stops for you whenever you want to eat and takes care of your hydration. Other ways would be by a mini van for more people, by renting a bike and being sportive, or a taxi. The entrance fees are not included in the prices.
For our tour of one day with a tuktuk we paid 17 Dollars per person exclusive the tickets. He drove us around, from one temple to the other and waited inbetween. And he also drove us to the floating village as we were quite fast with the temples.
Floating village – Chong Kneas
WARNING: The floating village is a scam. What I mean with this is, it is for sure a floating village but people organizing it will try to rip you off.
They charge an entrance fee of 20 dollars per person. On the ticket it says 1 dollar. This seems to be normal there as the company doing those boat rides has a monopoly. Once you pay that ridiculous amount of money.
All you will get to see are absurdities such as small kids sporting huge water snakes and so-called crocodiles farms which in reality are small ponds where too many crocodiles are crammed together. The boat will stop by a “local floating shop” where it’ll be “strongly suggested”that you/ forced to buy $60 rice bags “for the children” in the floating orphanage. If you have a strong enough will and become pissed of these things you can manage to get back to the mainland without paying money. However, we heard stories of people where the boat left the tourists at a random place and refused to bring them back to the mainland.
Overall I did not enjoy the trip at all, the only positive thing I can see is that I took some great shots during the boat tour.
Points: 1 (from 1 to 10)
Acommodation: Top Banana Hotel Rooftop (great bar, clean dorms, unfriendly staff)
This city is definitely worth skipping!! Just another big city with no charme. After one night we left the Capital of Cambodia.
Points: 6,5 (from 1 to 10)
Acommodation: Monkey Republic Hostel (clean, pool, friendly, helpful)
Utopia ( DO NOT GO THERE!!!! DIRTY!! UNHYGIENIC!!!)
Sihanoukville is a small town which is extremely touristy but still has a great atmosphere. There are many beach bars and restaurants with a breathtaking view on the sea. You can get delicious khmer streetfood and especially fresh seafood everywhere. You can find many foreigners who settled down in Sihanoukville and working in tourism.
Downsides of this town are that the beach is extremely crowded, and going in the sea with your bikini is not really an option as all lokals sit at the beach or in the water with cloths. You would feel very uncomfortable doing so. Furthermore is Sihanoukville very dirty.
But the most annoying thing about Sihanoukville is that you cannot relax at the beach or outside at the beach bars. Local women and girls will continuously try to sell you something. Girls will try to convince you to buy friendship armbands, and then make you promise in case you wanted to buy some later that you would not buy them from anyone else than them. Women will offer you massages, epillation treatment (on the beach!!!) and many other things. In the beginning it is funny but those women keep coming back even though you make clear that you are not interested.
Koh Rong (Island)
Points: 8,5 (from 1 to 10)
Acommodation: Paradise Bungalows (clean, beautiful views, friendly, wifi only at the restaurant, kind of private beach)
You can get to the Island with the speed boat (1h) or the regular boat (2h). Once there you arrive at the area where all the bars and restaurants can be found. From there you need to walk to your hotel/hostel or bungalows. We had to walk about 10 minutes to our bungalows with the backpacks.
The bungalow we stayed in was so pretty and at the same time very simple. The restaurant serves delicious food which is a bit overprized though. The beach in front of the bungalows is clean and free of boats or tourists.
Things to do on the island as it can become boring after 2 days of lying on the beach:
- Zip lining
- Boat tour (BBQ, snorkeling, glowing plankton, swim, coconut beach visit)
- Pub Crawl (at Monkey Island Hostel)
- Try the burger at Vagabonds