Travel made in August 2018
Duration: 10 days
Welcome to Cambodia !!
Do you want to discover new horizons? Today, you land in Southeast Asia. Escape to my Myoxybubble Cambodia oxygen bubble! I absolutely want you to discover this fascinating tropical country, rich in history and culture. Come and explore exceptional sites such as the 800-year-old city of Angkor Wat , with its majestic temples and breathtaking vegetation, Tonle Sap Lake or the paradisiacal islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem.
- Welcome to Cambodia !!
- Cambodia, the treasure of Angkor!
- Day 1 : Welcome to Cambodia!
- Day 2: Excursion to Beng Mealea and Koh Ker
- Day 3: The discovery of the temples of Angkor !
- Day 4: The great circuit of Angkor
- Day 5: The huge Tonle Sap Lake and its floating villages!
- Day 6: Lotus farm, Phnom Krom Temple and liqueurs
- Day 7-8: Koh Rong Island
- Day 9: Koh Rong Sanloem Island
- Day 10-11: Ream National Park
You can click on all the photos in this article in order to view them in large format
Cambodia, the treasure of Angkor!
Day 1 : Welcome to Cambodia!
Landing at Siem Reap airport at 9pm. Don’t worry! Like us, you can negotiate with your host to pick you up by tuk tuk when you arrive.
We had booked our first nights at The river homestay – Siem Reap. The place is run by a pretty Cambodian family very warm, kind and discreet. The traditional house is very clean and nice, with very nice sculptures. The beds are large and comfortable. They can accommodate up to 4 people. A haven of peace. The neighborhood is quiet.
To get around, possibility to have every day a tuk tuk (with driver) at your disposal or a car with driver if the visits are distant. They are very good advice. Possibility to ask to have dinner in the evening or breakfast in the morning with supplement. They cook wonderfully and copiously (note that these are savory dishes even in the morning).You will discover and taste the traditional Kmer cuisine. And you will be only 6km from the Angkor Wat temples.
Day 2: Excursion to Beng Mealea and Koh Ker
# Koh Ker
To start your stay, I suggest you travel by car about fifty kilometers to get to an ancient Kmer city called Koh Ker. You will discover a beautiful seven-level pyramid 30m high called Prasat Thom. It looks like a Mayan pyramid. Here we have the impression of being among the Incas!
You will hasten to climb the wooden stairs to reach its summit. The ascent is rough but is easy.
The 360-degree view of the rainforest is magnificent!
The place is not at all touristy. The price is $10/person.
To get to the pyramid, you will cross another temple called Prasat Krahom or also nicknamed the red temple or the alley of pillars. These forgotten temples are definitely worth a visit! Vegetation takes over and grows everywhere.
# Beng Mealea
You will combine your excursion to Koh Ker with Beng Mealea. The place is engulfed by the jungle! Temples and vegetation are one. Everything is green! Moss, trees, roots and vines invade the ruins. You will fall back into childhood by swinging on the vines and taking yourself for Tarzan or Jane.
Big crush for this authentic temple, in its natural state and very little frequented by tourists. Displacement assured! Do not miss this wonder of nature! The price is $5/person.
Back at our accommodation and at our request, our hosts had prepared a hearty meal for us in order to regain strength! We enjoyed it!
Day 3: The discovery of the temples of Angkor !
Have you ever dreamed of the temples of Angkor? Today, you are there! Myoxybubble transports you to the heart of the emblematic and ancient imperial city Kmer which extends over 400km2. You will discover before your eyes a huge archaeological site, with extraordinary temples listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To access the Angkor site, you will need a pass. Your driver will drop you off at the checkpoint to buy it. We opted for the 3-day pass ($40/person). We advise you to take the 3-day pass to visit the park. There is also a 1-day pass at $20 and a 7-day pass at $60.
The city of Angkor has many interesting and beautiful temples not to be missed during your visit! I strongly advise you to also rent a tuk tuk for your travels within the imperial city (15€ per day for 4 people; bottled water for the day are provided and included in the price).
The driver will drop you off in front of each temple entrance and wait for your return. The distances are large so impossible to walk. The bravest will take a bike, but good luck with the heat! There is a small circuit from Angkor Wat to Angkor Thom and a large circuit.
The small circuit of Angkor
# Angkor Wat
The discovery of Angkor Wat is majestic. To do at sunrise but also at sunset. Photographers will enjoy themselves! The reflection of the towers of Angkor in the basin is magnificent with these lights. Arrange to experience both! It is easier to understand why some call it the 8th wonder of the world.
Bring a paper guide or a local guide on site to soak up the history of the imperial city of Angkor Wat.
Bring a good pair of shoes. Girls will have to wear clothes so that the knees are hidden and sometimes even the shoulders. Have an extra t-shirt in your bag! Also think about sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottles and plan a k-way for heavy showers!
# Bayon Temple and the ancient walled city of Angkor Thom!
Welcome to Bayon Temple ! It is located in the heart of the ancient fortified city of Angkor Thom. I call this city Kmer the forest with many faces. There are 216 Buddha heads carved into the rock in the middle of the jungle. The city consists of 54 towers. Each tower has four mysterious Buddha faces. The expression on their faces is magnificent. The frescoes on the walls are well preserved.
You will enjoy your entrance and exit through the emblematic and majestic gates of the Bayon. This temple is a must in the city of Angkor.
# The Baphuon
Upon arrival in the heart of the angkor Tom imperial city, you will discover before your eyes one of the oldest and most magnificent religious pyramidal building of Angkor, in the Kmer architectural style: the Baphuon. Also called the Mountain of Gold. It consists of 3 terraces with magnificent views. To get to the top, you will have to climb the wooden stairs.
# The terrace of the elephants
Welcome to the Elephant Terrace ! In front of you is a wall 350 meters long, covered with sculptures with elephants engraved in low and high relief. This terrace was a ceremonial observation place for kings. The place is splendid.
# Ta Prohm temple
Here, monstroplant vegetation has taken over the temples. The trunks, the roots of the cheese makers, the vines, the leaves and the moss are an integral part of the décor! Nature has regained its rights. You will be immersed in the heart of the movie Tomb Raider! You will be the explorer of this lush, mythical jungle, with millennial trees and a heavy and humid atmosphere. And you will feel small in front of this gigantic and impressive nature! Welcome to Ta Prohm.
The girls will think of themselves as Lara Croft and the boys as Indiana Jones! Real budding adventurers.
Your little tour is not over. You will discover on your way many other temples all more magnificent than the others: Thommanon, Banteay Kdei, Ta Keo, Prasat Kravan or Sras Srang and many others. Each temple is different and has its own charm.
Day 4: The great circuit of Angkor
# Preah Knan temple
What does Preah Knan mean? In Kmer, Preah Knan means “sacred sword of the king”. The name of this temple was assigned following a victorious battle of the king. It is an ancient royal city that housed a monastery, a Buddhist university and maintenance staff for the temple This one is not very touristy and it is good to walk there. There are still many sculptures and statues. The whole is invaded by the vegetation.
# Neak Pean Temple
Big crush for this magical place! To access the Buddhist temple of Neak Pean, you will have to cross a wooden footbridge. The place is peaceful with a large square basin surrounded by four small pools. You will see dead trees as far as the eye can see that magnify this landscape. Clouds and dead trees are reflected in the water. You will take your time enjoying this very relaxing landscape. This place is unique and unlike any other temple in Angkor. It’s worth a visit!
# Ta Som temple
This small temple engulfed by the forest has a lot of charm. You will enjoy taking a picture of yourself in front of the door embedded in a beautiful and impressive cheese maker. Ta Som is worth a visit. The place is quiet, authentic and not very touristy. Not to be missed!
I then let you discover the other temples of the circuit like Banteay Srei, Banteay Samre, Western Baray, Eastern Baray and many others.
# Kbal Spean waterfall
Are you hot? Are you looking for a corner in Angkor to refresh yourself? After visiting the many temples of Angkor, you will appreciate this little corner of jungle with its river and waterfall with cool waters! Kbal Spean is known for its sacred waters with backgrounds carved in natural stone. You will make a hike of 1.5 km in the shady forest to finally arrive at the famous sacred river with a thousand lingas. Open your eyes wide! All along the route are hidden everywhere sculptures on the river bed and rocks! Exotic, relaxing and refreshing walk.
Day 5: The huge Tonle Sap Lake and its floating villages!
# Village on stilts of Kompong Phluk
Tonle Sap Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. The lake is so big that one could compare it to a sea because it is so vast. Except that the water of the Tonle Sap is brown and cloudy unlike the sea which is clear and blue. There may even be waves!
To get there from Siem Reap, you will have to drive 30km. On site, you will have several possibilities of visits. We opted for a private tour including a combined visits to the floating village, Tonle Sap Lake and its mangroves (3 hours of visits and 20 € / person). The price also includes the entrance fee to the village. I grant you it’s not given for Cambodia, it’s a bit of a scam! But I couldn’t see myself visiting Cambodia without going to Tonle Sap! Kompong Phluk is a floating village built on stilts.
The houses are on wooden stilts with a height reaching 6 to 8m. Depending on the season, the lake is more or less high.
From October to January, the lake floods the village of Kompong Phluk and the stilts are no longer visible. The overflow of the Tonle Sap is mainly due to the overflow of the Mekong because of the monsoon rains and the melting of the Himalayan snows. The Mekong and the Tonle Sap come together. Life there is very rudimentary for the inhabitants. You will discover and understand their lifestyle. They live mainly from fishing. The lake is rich in fish, crocodiles or reptiles. People are smiling, children play and bathe in the lake while mothers take care of household chores. The price of the visit is high but the ride is interesting.
# The mangroves of Tonle Sap
You will board a boat operated by a Cambodian woman in the middle of the mangrove forest. The place is peaceful and very pretty. The forest is flooded by Tonle Sap Lake at this time of year. The only downside of the walk is the meeting and the rather touristy stop in front of some merchant boats for 5 minutes.
Day 6: Lotus farm, Phnom Krom Temple and liqueurs
# Lotus farm
On the way to Phnom Krom temple, stop and visit a lotus farm.
The place is peaceful, beautiful and relaxing in the middle of lotus fields. Do not hesitate to settle in a straw hut to enjoy lotus seeds and a fresh coconut. Everything is edible in the lotus from the root through the stem to the seed…. Lotus is cooked all over Cambodia.
The place is worth a visit.
Photo lovers will feast.
# Phnom Krom Temple
Phnom Krom Temple is an ancient temple perched on a hill. Go for sunset! The view of Tonle Sap Lake, the floating village and the rice fields is magnificent. The site is not very touristy and is definitely worth a visit.
Once our visit was done, and just down the hill, we witnessed an impressive thunderstorm as you can see in the photo:
# Sombai shop
I suggest you end the day at Sombai shop. This is a rice liquor store.
Nothing to do with the sake we know. Here rice alcohol is subtly flavored with exotic scents. A French-speaking student will show you around the workshop and discover the manufacturing processes before offering you a tasting from the comfort of an armchair. Sombai shop also makes jams with the same fragrances. A real delight!
A pleasant moment to end the day.
The visit of the angkor region being over, I propose you to take a sleeper bus to go to Sihanoukville, in the south of Cambodia, by making the trip at night. We had booked our seats a few months in advance because they are limited and fill up quickly! The safest airline is Giant Ibis. The price is $25/person. The departure is at 20:30 and the arrival at 6:30 after 10 hours of travel.
The ride went very well. The bunks are simple but comfortable. The bus is equipped with toilets. Remember to take water and eat just in case. You will even have the option to charge your smartphones and use WiFI!
Day 7-8: Koh Rong Island
Just arrived in Sihanoukville, I propose you to go to the island of Koh Rong (45min journey) by the 1st speed ferry. We opted for the company Buva Sea which seemed the least worst. We did not have any particular problem except that the schedules are approximate, especially for the return where we had to wait about 1h30.
Attention there are several small ports (or pontoons) on the islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem. Not all companies serve all ports.
Find out where your accommodation is located.
The island of Koh Rong is ideal for idleness, white sand beach and swimming. It will do you good to rest a little after the intensive visits of the 1st week.
You can also visit a fishing village, go diving or snorkelling.
Finally, one of the main attractions is to be able to observe the starry sea at nightfall.
What is it? These are actually phosphorescent plankton that illuminate the water when it is agitated.
It’s beautiful to see!
Day 9: Koh Rong Sanloem Island
Then, head to the nearby island of Koh Rong Sanloem, just a few minutes by boat. This is the twin island of Koh Rong.
The activities are identical: idleness and beach.
Unfortunately the weather conditions were not favorable to us, and after a rainy day we decided to shorten our stay.
Day 10-11: Ream National Park
After taking a speed ferry back to Sihanoukville, I invite you to go to Ream National Park, along the river of the same name.
We had booked with Roy whose accommodation is ideally located (Editor’s note: the accommodation no longer seems available at the moment): both in a quiet location and 2 steps from Sihanoukville airport. Roy’s wife prepares good, hearty and cheap meals. And you will enjoy an exceptional view of the river to have your meals.
Between 2 showers we were able to visit Ream National Park by motorboat with guide (thanks to our host). You can observe the fauna and flora, the mangroves as well as climb in an observation tower overlooking the forest.
Possibility also to go canoeing for free on the river. A very pleasant moment.
After these 2 days in the middle of nature, we flew to Thailand to continue our adventures. But this will be the subject of a new story to follow in MyOxyBubble Thailand ! I
f you want to discover even more activities and places to visit in Cambodia, we invite you to click on the banner below:
As you might have guessed, this is the end of our adventure in Cambodia. I highly recommend this destination! The people are lovely, the scenery beautiful, the history is rich and the temples are breathtaking!!
I hope you have made a pleasant trip with me and I tell you very soon for a next MyOxyBubble destination!
Feel free to leave your comments on this article and share your own experiences (the form can be found a little further down).
Need advice to organize your trip? Contact me!
We made most of our trips in the Siem Reap area by Tuk Tuk. Very convenient, inexpensive (especially at 4) and fun.
For long trips I recommend the car with driver or taxi.
Finally to reach the south of Cambodia from Siem Reap, we took a night bus which we were very satisfied.
We didn’t rent a car.
The currency is the Cambodian riel but it is the US dollar that is used everywhere: 1 € is worth about 1.11$.
Only small change is made in riels.
Distributors (delivering dollars of course) are quite easily found in major cities (Siem Reap, Sihanoukville).
It is better to have liquid before embarking for the islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem. Better to withdraw money. Beware of bank charges. It may be helpful to purchase an option from your bank that allows you a number of withdrawals and payment at no cost.
CB is beginning to be accepted in major hotels and restaurants.
Before you go
Your passport must be valid for another 6 months after the scheduled return date. It is therefore better to be in possession of your return flight.
You also need a tourist visa (35€/person) valid for a single entry into the country and a maximum of 30 days.
The visa can be taken in advance at the Cambodian Embassy in Paris or upon arrival at land border posts and international airports (inquire about the documents to be provided). There is also a tourist e-visa (evisa.gov.kh) but it is not accepted at land and sea border posts because they are not equipped to read this type of visa.
Otherwise, do not forget to take:
– sunscreen and sunglasses
– rain clothing according to the season
– seasickness medicine if you want to go to the islands and are sensitive.
– Your fins, masks and snorkel if you want to snorkel, your diving license if necessary.
For electrical outlets, they adapt to French sockets.
No worries at that level.
Don’t forget your hiking shoes.