2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler

Tripoto
17th Nov 2018

The Angkor Wat Temple at sunrise

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

Sou sdey !! (Hello in Khmer)

What does travel mean to you ? Does it mean only seeing only the 'feel-good' in the world, the best in technology, the dream destination with slow covered peaks....or does it mean more ? Does it mean really understanding the evolution of human civilization over centuries, the ingenuity of our ancestors or the hardships faced by people or in this case our neighbor.

Does it inspire you that despite all this, we as humans always overcome and still manage to continue and evolve.

Well, Cambodia is a crash course in all above. From the epitome of medieval human civilization- Angkor Wat to the brutal Khmer regime which wiped off one third of country's population, to the ever welcoming and smiling Khmer people... the country is a window of how we should never take anything for granted, not least our freedom and right to choose.

The following is a complete guide to help you plan a trip to Cambodia all by yourself and enjoy the best the country has to offer. The budget mentioned above it for all activities, food, travel, etc. inside Cambodia. It excludes air cost (30k per person return in our case)

Just an FYI - I do not represent any of the below airlines, hostels,hotels, etc. :) Also except for Airline and Visa expenses, all other expenses have been divided between 3 individuals - Me, Wifey Suchita and our friend Jobin.

Prior to visiting Cambodia, will suggest you to watch a movie called First They Killed My Father to understand the kind of struggle and atrocities which the lovely people of Cambodia have gone through in not so recent past.

Also, do watch a documentary on Angkor Wat and the might of the empire on YouTube to understand the true scale of this ancient wonder.

Finally, do watch the brilliant vlog by Benn TK to get you all excited about Cambodia !!!!

But why visit Cambodia ?

When the sun rises over Angkor Wat, it's easy to understand why the citizens of this ancient city of Angkor considered their leaders to be gods. The rising sun reflects off the massive stone temple complex and the thick green jungle that surrounds it, creating awesome god-like glow. It's no wonder that Angkor Wat draws more than four million visitors every year.

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 1/20 by Sagar Pradhan
Angkor Wat at Sunrise

But the incredible ancient site isn't the only site worth visiting in Cambodia. In fact, Cambodia is so full of wonder, it should go right to the top of your bucket list.

Despite an influx of visitors, mass tourism remains largely restricted to just a few destinations and it remains relatively easy to travel along the tourist highways.

Reasons to go to Cambodia

Untouched Beaches

Everyone knows about Thailand's beautiful beaches, but who wants to be so cramped on the sand that you can basically taste the sun tan lotion on the person next to you? Save that proximity for yoga class, and turn your attention to the less-traveled beaches of Cambodia. Visitors say islands like Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem are what Thailand used to be like 20 years ago.

People

People in Cambodia are kind and industrious, generous, hospitable and open-minded, and an estimated 93 percent of Cambodians practice Theravada Buddhism. While the poverty rate halved from 2004 and 2011, Cambodia is still a very poor country. Visit Cambodia and listen to people's stories. Don't travel to this beautiful country without getting to know those who live there

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 2/20 by Sagar Pradhan
Lovely and ever smiling locals of Cambodia
Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 3/20 by Sagar Pradhan
Khmer people are excellent hosts, there is no doubt to that

Angkor- (Part of our itinerary)

Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument ever built. The massive temple is simply breath-taking. While Angkor Wat is certainly the most iconic temple in Cambodia, you don't just go to see Angkor Wat. You go to visit the whole ancient city of Angkor, the capital of the Khmer empire from the 9th to 15th century. Wandering in and out of ruins, set deep in a thick jungle, is a truly different experience.

Angkor is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it's easy to see why. Every ruin is intricately carved and impressively constructed. The amazing Bayon, the central temple of the ancient city of Angkor Thom, contains 216 massive stone heads whose faces stare down at temple-goers from every direction. Trees grow directly out of the stones and roots sprawl over structures at Ta Prohm, the so-called "Tomb Raider" temple. These, along with all the other ruins and the jungle itself, are magnificent sights to behold and explore.

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 4/20 by Sagar Pradhan
A map representing the extent to which the Khmer empire had spread during its peak

History

Cambodia has a very recent painful history, and learning about it isn't only responsible, it's a way to help the country, and indeed the world, move on. Almost two million people died from starvation, disease, torture and execution under the Khmer Rouge, which ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979.

Five minutes in the country and the tension between the horrific history and the admirable efforts to rebuild is impossible to miss. Monuments marking massacres and celebrating ties with allies stand solemnly in parks and in the middle of traffic circles, paying homage to the countless citizens who were ripped from their lives, stripped of their dignity and families, and ultimately killed or left to die. Visiting the killing fields outside of Phnom Penh and the museum that occupies the former Tuol Sleng prison is excruciating, but important.

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 5/20 by Sagar Pradhan

Food

Khmer food is humble and comforting. Rice is a staple, served at pretty much every meal. It may come alone, fried into a cake or with curries, stews and freshwater fish. The most famous Khmer dish is fish amok, which is white fish steamed in a banana leaf and topped with coconut cream. Beef and pork are commonly served with rice or noodles, typically with herbs and some kind of curry. Cambodia is also home to the famous Kampot Pepper, which comes from the south of the country and ends up in dishes like stir fried crab.

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 6/20 by Sagar Pradhan
Enjoy snacking on insects :)
Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 7/20 by Sagar Pradhan
Amazing fruit shakes for a dollar !!
Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 8/20 by Sagar Pradhan
Nothing can beat the taste of Khmer food
Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 9/20 by Sagar Pradhan
Juices be like....
Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 10/20 by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 11/20 by Sagar Pradhan
Breakfast be like this :)
Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 12/20 by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 13/20 by Sagar Pradhan
Steaks !
Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 14/20 by Sagar Pradhan
Khmer Noodles !
Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 15/20 by Sagar Pradhan
Amazing seafood prep- A crab with Kampot spices
Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 16/20 by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 17/20 by Sagar Pradhan
The Caramel Pie at Kampot Pie and Ice Cream Palace, Kampot is one to die for !!!!
Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 18/20 by Sagar Pradhan
Khmer fried rice breakfast
Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 19/20 by Sagar Pradhan
Some amazing and unique street food !

Phnom Penh- (Part of our itinerary)

The capital of Cambodia is a cosmopolitan city on the brink of becoming the Asia's next bright destination. Phnom Penh is full of contrast -- between tradition and modernity, poverty and wealth, locals and tourists. Cambodia is less dense than neighboring Thailand and Vietnam, and that relative sparsity is noticeable in Phnom Penh compared to cities like Bangkok or Hanoi.

Phnom Penh is at once eerie and hopeful in its emptiness. The all too recent genocide under the Khmer Rouge that emptied out the city and brutally slaughtered millions echoes in the relative quiet.

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler 20/20 by Sagar Pradhan
View of the city from top of our hotel

Kampot- (Part of our itinerary)

Long described as “sleepy”, the Kampot of today is transforming into a lively tourist destination, with plenty of good restaurants, bars and music to be found. But that doesn’t mean they’ve given up on the hard-core riverside lounging that the city has built its name on. Not by a long shot.

View of Kampot river from outside our hotel

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

Travel Map-

We visited 3 cities in Cambodia- Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Kampot

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

In case you are a beach person, reduce 1-2 days in Siem Reap and 1 from Phnom Penh in our itinerary and head to Koh Rong Samloem (often referred as Maldives for backpackers).

Also if you are on strict budget, avoid hiring a guide in Siem Reap and self explore though it is highly recommended to take one (No guide means savings of 275 dollars)

What to Pack for Traveling Cambodia

No matter when you travel in Cambodia, it’s going to be pretty hot. The tropical climate means high heat and humidity year-round. Despite that, it can still get cool in the evenings.

Ponchos are available most places, but it’s a good idea to bring a rain jacket if you’ll be traveling during the wet season. Major cities like Phnom Penh or Siem Riep will have any amenity you could need, so don’t worry if you forget to pack something; you’ll likely be able to find it there.

One backpack each and one 20L backpack to carry water and essentials everyday

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

Few essentials to carry

• 800 Dollars cash(per person total ,2400 dollars divided by 3)

• Mosquito repellent

• Printouts of ticket, 2 visa approval printouts, bookings, passport photo

• Swimsuit for SUP, Comfortable swimwear

• Hat offering protection from the sun

• Face towels

• Daily backpack( 1 will do for all 3)

• Ponchos(Rain Coat)

Why Cambodia in November-

Cambodia's peak season begins again and the crowds flock to the temples, with temperatures averaging a comfortable 25°C. It is the perfect time to venture out onto Tonle Sap lake. The Cambodian Water Festival usually takes place in November, and hotel prices are often higher at this time of year, so it is essential to book far in advance. It is one of the nation's most popular festivals, celebrated over three days with concerts and boat races

Visa for Indians-

Cambodia is a unique and diverse country that boasts world-famous hotspots, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angkor Wat. However, Indian citizens need to obtain a visa to enter the country.

Indian citizens can remain in Cambodia for a maximum of 30 days with a valid visa. Overstaying will result in a penalty, and overstays of more than 30 days could result in heavy fines and blacklisting to make re-entering the country impossible.

The Cambodia visa costs US$30 plus a US$7 processing fee for Indian passport holders. You can purchase your visa at certain entry points on arrival.

E-Visa of Cambodia:

The best way to get a Cambodian Visa is to apply online for e-visa. There are many apprehension regarding this and people generally don’t trust on this process. The whole process is online and payment can be done by a credit card. After receiving the visa, you have to just keep the print out of this to enter in Cambodia. This service is only applicable to the Tourist Visa. Validity is 3 months starting from the date of issue

Its pretty easy to apply and get a travel visa, we got ours in 12 hours applying online :)

Website: Official Govt website link

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

Currency

Cambodian currency is the Riel but the American dollar rules. Generally, Riel are only used for small transactions – under a few dollars – with dollars used otherwise. Small change dominates in Cambodia, so don’t expect to pay for your tuk tuk with a $100 or even a $20 note.

Also, remember to keep notes crisp because many places won’t accept torn ones, especially of higher value. Wrinkled $100 bills are also often not accepted.

Learn the Language

Nobody expects you to become fluent in Khmer but picking up a few bits really does go a long way :)

• Hello: Sou sdey

• Good bye: Li hi

• Thank you: Ah kun

• Sorry: Sohm tou

• How are you: Soksaby?

If you don’t speak Khmer, don’t worry! English is widely spoken in Cambodia. You’ll have no trouble getting around town, ordering food or communicating with local vendors.

Be mindful around Monks

In Cambodian culture, Monks are revered and respected. It’s essential you treat them with the same level of respect. Women, in particular, need to be mindful around Monks. Please do not touch them or sit too close to them. Also, you should always ask before taking a photo of a Monk.

Performing a ritual with one of the monks

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

Banks

Siem Reap is awash with banks and international access ATM's. You should not have any problems accessing your money here. ANZ Royal remains the bank of choice among most foreign travelers. As always, take care to protect your PIN from prying eyes.

Banks generally charge 5$ processing fees hence plan your transactions carefully if on budget.

Sim Card

Prepaid SIM cards (sometimes known as pay-as-you-go SIM cards) are widely available in Cambodia. Conveniently, you can even pick them up at the airport. At airports there is a line of booths of telephone companies offering prepaid SIM cards just after you’ve cleared immigration and picked up your baggage. You can also buy them at the official phone company stores in town, and phone dealers literally everywhere.

Also worth noting, is that you may be asked for a copy of your identification like a passport. Some smaller shops do not always ask. And sometimes you can buy a SIM card at a roadside vendor, no questions asked. Buy Tourist sim card at Airport approx cost is 10 dollars.

Why align travel with Cambodia Water Festival:

Date: 21-22-23 November (in 2018, the dates keep changing every year and hence track for the one in which you plan to visit)

For the people of Cambodia, the Water Festival and Bon Om Touk (The Pirogue Racing Festival) in Phnom Penh is the most magnificent traditional festival. For three days Phnom Penh citizens, foreign tourists and peasants from various provinces gather in the capital to celebrate festival night day.

The water festival has important historical significance. The water festival ceremony was initially army training to do check preparations to do a naval battle. The water is celebrated every year in November to honor the victory of Cambodian Naval forces in the reign of King JayvarmanVII, during Angkor period of the 12th century.

The water festival also includes three other ceremonies: Illuminated float (Loy Pratip), Moon salutation (Sampeas Preah Khe) and the eating of pestle new special rice with banana or coconut juice (Ork Ambok). During the night-time at about seven o'clock the river was lit by jazzy illuminated boats, which floated slowly, and smoothly on the water's surface. Each of them was equipped with thousands of flashy neon lights arranged in different colourful, fancy patterns representing state institutions, ministries and services.

The evenings are filled with fun, crazy scenes on street with DJ parties, lots of water sprinkled around, etc. The lively festive atmosphere helped relive tension and trouble in oterwise harsh life of locals.

Fun water based games

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

Boat races form the core of Water Festival

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

Amazing street parties at night filled with sprinklers, fire brigades splashing water, amazing locals, DJ and lots of fun !!!

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

Angkor Wat Pass:

The entrance fee to the Angkor Archaeological Park depends on the type of admission pass that you choose. There are 3 types of passes available, the mentioned prices are effective from February 1st, 2017.

We were pitched of tickets from 'vendors' before we had met our guide. Never believe anyone who says he/she can get tickets for you. Tickets to Angkor are sold only from 1 official location and requires you to be physically present to click photo

1-day pass – US$ 37

3-day pass – US$ 62

7-day pass – US$ 72

The ticket counters now accept not just cash but also payment with Visa, Mastercard, UnionPay, JCB, Discover and Diners Club. The 3-day pass is valid for 10 days from the issue date, the 7-day pass is valid for 1 month from the issue date. So with both of these passes it’s not necessary to plan your visits on consecutive days.

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

Visiting Hours

Most of the temples in the park can be visited from 7.30am – 5.30pm, but there are exceptions:

• Angkor Wat and Srah Srang can be visited from 5am – 5.30pm, to make it possible for visitors to witness the sunrise;

• Phnom Bakheng and Pre Rup can be visited from 5am – 7pm, to make it possible for visitors to witness both the sunrise and sunset;

• All other Temples: Daily from 7.30am until 5.30pm. (Except for Phnom Kulen and Beng Mealea. you will need to buy an extra ticket to visit these.) Both Beng Mealea and Phnom Kulen are away from the main temples. Beng Mealea is a temple about 40 kilometers East of Angkor Wat. There is a separate US$ 5 admission fee to visit this temple. Phnom Kulen is a mountain range and pilgrimage site about 35 kilometers North East of Angkor Wat. There is a separate US$ 20 admission fee to visit the site.

Important:

• Make sure that your shoulders and knees are covered when purchasing the ticket and entering temple. Otherwise, you may not get one.

• The one-day ticket counters are located on the right-hand side of the Angkor Ticket Center. This is also where you will find the largest number of people.

• The counters for the 3-day tickets are in the middle and those for the 7-day tickets are on the left.

• A photo of you will be taken at the counter. Recently, Staff have taken to asking people to smile for their photos :-) Bring few passport size photos and photocopies of Passport

• The Angkor pass is not transferable to another person.

• Very important: Be careful not to lose your Angkor Pass whilst you are on the Angkor site. The penalties are severe. If you lose a 1-day ticket, the penalty is $ 100. The loss of a 3-day ticket will cost you $ 200, and a 7-day ticket will cost you $ 300.

Cost planner

A brief idea of hotels, airlines, shows, buses booked with their individual costs. We used a mobile based application called Settle Up to track and manage expenses.

One of the major expense we failed to gauge initially was - Food. It takes an average of 7 dollar per person to have lunch/dinner/breakfast at any decent restaurant.

Bangkok Airways is both cost effective as well as punctual

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

One Hostel, One budget hotel, One Home stay and one luxury hotel :)

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

The best way to travel between cities

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

Booked online

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan
Day 1

Shared Cab from Pune to Mumbai - KK Travels

Cost: 950/- per person shared, very timely and reliable

Clicked at the lovely Mumbai International Airport

Photo of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Sagar Pradhan

Fly from Mumbai to Siem Reap- Bangkok Airways

Boarding one of the connecting flights from Thailand

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

Total budget for day: 5 Dollar per person APOPO entry+ 30 Dollar Food + 28 Dollars Snap Bambu puppets per person +10 dollars random expense

Reach Siem Reap by 9 AM, immigration and check by 10 AM, go and check in the hostel

Immigration with E-Visa is a breeze, takes max 15 min !

Clicked outside Siem Reap International Airport

Photo of Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Hostel : One Stop@ Siem Reap

Ask hostel to send free pick up, mail them in advance and a Tuk Tuk will be awaiting you at airport !

Booked on : Hostel World

Paid 58 dollars as reservation+170 dollars need to be paid at time of check-in. Room Type: 4 person private with common washrooms

Wall design at One Stop Hostel

Photo of One Stop Hostel Siem Reap, Sivatha Boulevard, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Timing: 2 PM to 3.30 PM

Cost: 5 Dollar per person+ 10 dollar tip guide

APOPO Visitor Centre, which is in charming village next to Wat Thmei on the way to Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, is a global non-profit organization that trains African giant pouched rats (fondly nicknamed ‘HeroRATs’) to save lives by detecting landmines and tuberculosis in economically challenged countries. Discover the issue of landmines and the clearance process, meet the deminers from the minefield and experience a live demonstration of Mine Detection Rats.

A session in progress

One of the Hero Rats and trainers :)

Photo of APOPO - Humanitarian Demining, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Time: 6-8.30 PM

Cost: 44 Dollars per person

Show: SNAP! Bambu Puppets

Address: Bamboo Street | Bamboo Street, Wat Damnak Village, Sala Komroeuk Commune, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Website: Bambu Stage

Email: tickets@bambustage.com

Young, spirited and a little crazy, the Bambu Puppet uses the flickering shadows to bring Cambodian folk, classical and modern stories to life. Using fire, music and special effects this very physical theater is a fun night out; meeting the makers, handling the puppets and experiencing the diversity of Asian puppetry.

Dinner at Bambu Stage dinner buffet as part of package

The hosts are amazing and the dog Archie is adorable :)

Photo of Bambu Stage Siem Reap, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Day 2

Total budget for day: 5 dollar War Museum Entry + 12 Dollar National Museum Entry + 40 Dollar Food +30 Dollar travel

Timing: 9 AM to 11.30 AM

Cost: 5 Dollar per person+ 10 dollar tip guide

The War Museum in Siem Reap is the biggest War Museum in Cambodia. It offers visitors a unique and insightful view of the perils that Cambodia faced during the last 3 decades of the 20th century.

It gives also visitors an excellent opportunity to learn more about what actually occurred during Cambodia’s ‘war years’. It has a unique collection, you will also be able to see war machines like the tank T-54, the jet fighter aircraft MiG-19, the helicopter Mil Mi-8 and the field artillery gun 85-mm divisional gun D-44. Before used in Cambodia, some of these war machines have even seen action during World War II.

Among the collection there are also many sorts of landmines and rare photographs from the defined period of time in Cambodia

We, the posers :)

Photo of War Museum Cambodia, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

We, the posers :)

Photo of War Museum Cambodia, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

We, the posers :)

Photo of War Museum Cambodia, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Timing: 12.30 PM to 3.30 PM

Cost: 12 Dollar per person

Angkor National Museum takes pride in revealing the royal historical path of this Golden Era of the Khmer Kingdom through state of the art multimedia technology to provide visitors a full pictorial story of the legend for easy comprehension. Museum takes its visitors through the journey back in time from the creation to the highest point of Khmer civilization.

A tour of the museum is joyful for both visitors who have a good understanding of ancient Khmer civilization and visitors who do not have any previous knowledge of the ancient Khmer empire. All artifacts are divided into 8 galleries in the order of the evolution which are enhanced by a realistic atmosphere.

Photo of Angkor National Museum, Vithei Charles De Gaulle, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Timing: 6 PM to 9.30 PM (Includes dinner)

Cost: 40 Dollar per person

Book in advance on: Website

More than just a circus, Phare performers use theatre, music, dance and modern circus arts to tell uniquely Cambodian stories; historical, folk and modern. The young circus artists will astonish you with their energy, emotion, enthusiasm and talent.

Acrobatic shows with stories !

Photo of Phare, The Cambodian Circus, Sok San Road, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Some of the performances are cliff hangers and downright brilliant

Photo of Phare, The Cambodian Circus, Sok San Road, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Day 3

Guided tours with Happy Angkor Tours : Mail on saomony.pheng@gmail.com to reserve 3-day tour, 274 USD total including AC car (Lexus),Free water,cool face towels and guide. Its money well spent, great historical background, amazing insider info and lots of time saved.

Total budget for day: 100 dollar guide per day+ 50 dollars food total

First the guide takes you to visit to the city of Angkor Thom. Tour starts from South gate of Angkor Thom as we can see the giant 4 faces tower of the gate and 2 side statues: demons & gods carrying the giant snakes flank along the side of the road .

Scene depicts 'samudra manthan' (churning of the seas) with gods on one side and demons on the other

Photo of Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

We then continue to Bayon temple located in center of Angkor Thom as it’s the highlight of all the temple - one of Angkor Thom city with 49 towers which every tower has 4 faces so that’s mean all towers have 196 faces of Budhhistsatva Avalokestesvara .

Bayon is probably 'The temple' which will leave you spell bound

Photo of Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Walk to nearby temple called Baphoun which is Hindu temple built before Angkor Wat in 11st Century . The big Reclining Buddha behind built in 16th Century & continue to Royal Palace and visit temples inside such as Pimeanakas, Pools ( Sras Srei & Bross ) then we walk outside to the front of Royal Palace to see Elephant & Liper King Terrace & Palilay.

Photo of Baphuon, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

From the view of Elephant & Leper King Terrace you can see Sourprat & North & South Kleang temples.

After finishing the whole complex of Angkor Thom stop by at South gate of Angkor Thom again for visit small mountain temple Bakseicham Krong.

At around 1:30pm or 2:00pm in the afternoon visit the world famous Angkor Wat temple. Believe me, everything written about the temple is too less !! It is a spectacle to behold...

The reflection of Angkor Wat temple in Lotus pond is mesmerizing

Photo of Angkor Wat, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Clicked against my bucket list :)

Photo of Angkor Wat, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

The gang ticked off one wonders of current world from the bucket list :)

Photo of Angkor Wat, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of Angkor Wat, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Afterward continue to Phnom Bakheng and climb the hill and temple for enjoy watching sunset view. After sunset when getting dark then we climb down the hill and return to your hotel or guesthouse by 6:00pm or 6:30pm.

Due to the limited number of tourists on Phnom Bakhengit is advisable to climb up Phnom Bakheng a bit earlier and wait a bit longer waiting for sunset.

Unfortunately though it was cloudy on our visit, we still had some great views from the top

Photo of Phnom Bakheng, Angkor Archaeological Park, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Day 4

Total budget for day: 100 dollar guide+ 50 dollars food+ 60 dollars Kulen mountain fee

Visit Phnom Kulen Mountain located more than 60 km from Angkor Park. This place is not the temple but a river bed covered with sculptures of Lingas that we called 1000 Lingas, the symbol of the God Shiva’s supreme essence.

1000 Shiv Lingas are beautifully carved all along the river bed

Photo of Phnom Kulen, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of Phnom Kulen, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Continue to visit Big Reclining Buddha built from natural giant rock called Prah Ang Thom and after go to see Waterfall. At waterfall is good place for swim also if you like swimming.

After busy couple hours in the morning and drive down from Kulen Mountain around 1:00pm or 1:30pm pm. Visit a secret cliff and get some amazing clicks :)

Some of the best group clicks were captured here :)

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

Stunning views of the valley

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

After lunch around 2:00pm or 2:30pm in the afternoon, visit Banteay Srei or called Ladies temple, the one which built from the pink sandstone in half of 10th century by Hindu King Rajendravarman II for dedicated to trinity Gods in Hindu mainly Shiva.

Photo of Banteay Srei, Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of Banteay Srei, Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

On the way back visit Banteay Samre and Pre Rup temple, a temple with 5 levels that you’ might be enjoy with very nice view when you get up to the top of this temple.

(The Cambodian Landmine Museum was unfortunately closed down during our visit. Do check during your visit if it is operational as have heard its a definite worth visiting)

Day 5

Total budget for day: 100 dollar guide+ 50 dollars food +12 dollar Apsara show per person

Start tour early at 5:00am to watch sunrise at Angkor Wat after view of sunrise come back to hotel for breakfast (or outside Siem Reap) and then start again.

Sunrise at Siem Reap

Photo of Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Start again to visit Prah Khan which was built by King Jayavarman VII dedicated to his father. It is a huge, highly exportable monastic complex, and served as a Buddhist monastery and school, engaging over 1000 monks.

Continue to Neak Poan, a small island temple located in the middle of the last Barray, constructed by a Khmer King in the Angkor Area

The temple with 2 snakes coiled up at the base

Photo of Neak Pean, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Continue to nearby temple Ta Som, the small temple but classic, East Mebon, a large temple-mountain like ruin, rising three levels and crowned by five towers temple the most distant on the grand circuit road.

Photo of Ta Som, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

After lunch around 1:30pm or 2:00pm in the afternoon we visit Ta Nei as small temple still covered by jungle

Continue to visit Ta Prohm temple the one with a lot of gigantic root of trees over the temple and It's the place where Hollywood Movie featuring Angelina Jolie "Tomb Raider" was shot .

Photo of Ta Prohm Temple, Banteay Chhmar, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of Ta Prohm Temple, Banteay Chhmar, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of Ta Prohm Temple, Banteay Chhmar, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of Ta Prohm Temple, Banteay Chhmar, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Dinosaur carving at Ta Prohm- a stegosaurus, to be exact

Photo of Ta Prohm Temple, Banteay Chhmar, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Several different theories have been advanced to explain its presence. Some say it’s a modern day carved hoax, while others believe that the ancient Khmers had unearthed a fossil. Another theory is that the image actually shows a cow or rhino with a palm tree in the background . Maybe the carving does actually mean that dinosaurs really did live among humans until much later than previously thought- long enough to register themselves in the Khmer folk-memory.

Continue to Banteay Kdei temple nearby Ta Promh. On the way back to hotel visit a small Hindu Temple Krovan.

Banteay Kdei temple

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

At night,have Buffet dinner while Watching Cambodian traditional performance (Apsara Show).

Apsara Dance show in progress, lovely graceful dance- but can be bit boring after a while

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan
Day 6

Total budget for day: 18 dollars per person shared cabs+ 5 dollars per person boat ride + 50 dollars food

There are lot of agencies which take shared AC vans to visit floating village on Tonle Sap Lake at Kampong Pluk village, hence we let go of the guide as the tour is pretty much self explanatory.

It is a good experience to see the long stilted house and flooded Mangrove forest. We booked at 2.30 PM ride to the Tonle Sap with the help of our hostel.

Mangrove forest boat ride takes 5 dollar per person extra.

Clicked against the Tonle Sap lake

Photo of Tonlé Sap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Panorama with moon and sun in same frame along the lake

Photo of Tonlé Sap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of Tonlé Sap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Houses on stilts in the lake

Photo of Tonlé Sap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Hawkers sail to your boats and sell you the nick-knacks while you enjoy the cruise

Photo of Tonlé Sap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of Tonlé Sap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Picture perfect sunsets

Photo of Tonlé Sap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of Tonlé Sap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Floating through the Mangrove Forest

Photo of Tonlé Sap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

We came back and had rest, later checked out Siem Reap streets on feet and enjoyed night away at Pub street.

Post 7 PM the Pub Street converts into an amazing party magnet with loud music, energetic atmosphere, great crowd and unlimited flow of beer !

Photo of Pub Street, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Scenes inside Temple Bar at Pub Street

Photo of Pub Street, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Day 7

Explore Siem of foot- We kept one day just to explore Siem Reap city on foot, not have an itinerary but to just roam around and discover the city.

So apparently Suchita is a very common name in Cambodia. Every time they came to know her name was that, we got smiles and curious faces asking if this name is famous in India, and every time we said the same thing 'Yes, we are neighbors and we share many similarities' :)

Photo of Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Its not everyday you get an opportunity to drink Beer with a straw while walking down a road

Photo of Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Wonderfully decorated restaurants along the 'tourist' areas of Siem Reap

Photo of Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

After scenes of Water Festival

Photo of Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Cambodian Cotton and silk market

Photo of Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of Wat Preah Prom Rath, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Wat Preahpromrath pagoda at Siem Reap

Photo of Wat Preah Prom Rath, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Do try the Bubble tea at Chao doi Coffee near Pub Street

Photo of Wat Preah Prom Rath, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Night market at Siem Reap

Photo of Wat Preah Prom Rath, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Massages are very very cheap in Siem Reap, make the most of it after walking around every day, e.g.: A half hour foot massage costs only 4$, a half hour body massage in range of 6-8$ !!!

Photo of Wat Preah Prom Rath, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Day 8

Travel from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh

Total budget for day: 50 Dollars ticket+35 dollars food+10 dollars Tuk Tuk

Bus Details:

Bus: Giant Ibis Bus

Time: 9.45 AM (Time taken to reach Phnom Penh is 6 Hours)

Type: Universe Luxury

Cost: 16 dollars per person

Book: Online

From Siem Reap Giant Ibis Bus Terminal, Phum Salakanseng, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Krong Siem Reap

To Phnom Penh Giant Ibis Bu Terminal, Street 90, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Giant Ibis Bus- Probably one of the safest, cleanest and economical option to travel between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh

Photo of Siem Reap, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Hotel to stay: Okay Boutique Hotel

Booked on: Make My Trip

Lovely comfortable rooms of Okay Boutique Hotel

Photo of Okay Boutique Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

View from top floor of hotel

Photo of Okay Boutique Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Day 9

Book Tuk Tuk driver for 1 day in advance(reserve months in advance as he is very famous)-

Apart from being a good English speaking person, Mr. Vann also has some personal stories associated with the 'War years' and will give you a different perspective on the war.

Booked: Mr. vannarith narith

Email: vann@cambodiatg.com

Cost: 25 dollars per day for 3 days

Contact on Whatsapp: + (855)17798268

Total budget for day: 25 dollar Tuk Tuk + 50 dollars food+ 18 dollar killing field entry+ 15 dollars genocidal museum

Killing Fields and Genocide Museum-

The two main places to visit if you want to understand the 75-79 period of Cambodia is the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21 Prison) and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Both are an important part of Phnom Penh’s bloody history under Khmer Rouge, the prison stands as a monument to the thousands that were murdered and imprisoned, while the killing fields finally stand as peaceful grounds.

The experience is so powerful and moving that it is an experience you can’t miss. While the entire thing is slightly depressing, a visit to these museums is vital to understand the culture of the Cambodian people and seeing how they have remained resilient and strong.

Warning: The experience is too strong, I personally broke down twice at S-21 prison

Russian Market-

This sweltering bazaar is the one market all visitors should come to at least once during a trip to Phnom Penh. It is the place to shop for souvenirs and discounted name-brand clothing. We can’t vouch for the authenticity of everything, but along with plenty of knock-offs you'll find genuine articles stitched in local factories.

The Russian Market, so-called by foreigners because the predominantly Russian expat population shopped here in the 1980s, also has a large range of handicrafts and antiquities (many fake), including miniature Buddha’s, woodcarvings, betel-nut boxes, silks, silver jewellery, musical instruments and so on. Bargain hard, as hundreds of tourists pass through here every day. There are some good food stalls in the Russian Market if you are feeling peckish.

Day 10

Total budget for day: 30 dollar entry fees + 50 dollars food+ 45 dollars sunset cruise

Royal Palace-

With its classic Khmer roofs and ornate gilding, the Royal Palace dominates the diminutive skyline of Phnom Penh. It's a striking structure near the riverfront, bearing a remarkable likeness to its counterpart in Bangkok. Being the official residence of King Sihamoni, parts of the massive palace compound are closed to the public. The adjacent Silver Pagoda is open to visitors.

National Museum-

Located just north of the Royal Palace, the National Museum of Cambodia is housed in a graceful terracotta structure of traditional design (built from 1917 to 1920), with an inviting courtyard garden. The museum is home to the world’s finest collection of Khmer sculpture: a millennium’s worth and more of masterful Khmer design.

Excavated statue of Lord Ganesha indicating a strong Hindu influence in past

Photo of National Museum, Preah Ang Eng St. (13), Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma depicted as one

Photo of National Museum, Preah Ang Eng St. (13), Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Lord Vishnu

Photo of National Museum, Preah Ang Eng St. (13), Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of National Museum, Preah Ang Eng St. (13), Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of National Museum, Preah Ang Eng St. (13), Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of National Museum, Preah Ang Eng St. (13), Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of National Museum, Preah Ang Eng St. (13), Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Central Market-

Shopping in Phnom Penh is a major attraction for tourists who love to buy back some souvenirs from this exotic Asian land. Central Market (Phsar Thmei) in Phnom Penh is one of those busy bazaars that are always filled with effervescent crowd from one end to the other. The Central Market (Phsar Thmei) of Phnom Penh stocks everything right from food items to clothes, silverworks and jewelleries. The market building is a beautiful one, a spectacular instance of Cambodian architecture.

(Reach hotel by 4 PM as pick up Tuk Tuk comes at 4.30 PM or reach venue direct)

Memorable Cambodia Cruise- Preah Sisowath Quay (Between street 90 and 94), Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Contact: memorablecambodia@gmail.com (Mail sent and paid in advance)

The 1.5 hours sunset cruise costs USD15 per pax which is inclusive of free flow of beer, soft drinks or water and fruit platter.

Cruise will commence at 5pm sharp and will sail along the river. Do take lots of photos as it’s amazing.

In addition, the guide will explain throughout the journey, communicated in English.

Windy evening on top deck of the cruise

Photo of 2 weeks in Cambodia for an Indian traveler- A complete guide for mid budget traveler by Sagar Pradhan

Total budget for day: 30 dollar Random spend + 50 dollars food

We took one day to explore city on foot, understand how Phnom Penh operates.

The Independence monument

Photo of Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Angkor Flag on one of the buildings

Photo of Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

I work for Dell, so this was a very pleasant surprise #iwork4dell :)

Photo of Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Day 12

Total budget for day: 45 Dollars Bus+ 50 Dollars food + 165 dollars per person SUP Asia Paddle Boating

Reach Kampot by 11 AM by Giant IBIS bus. Check in and lunch by 2

Stay at: Rikitikitavi

Reserved on: Hotel Site

'The Hotel' to stay when in Kampot- Rikitikitavi

Photo of Rikitikitavi, Krong Kampot, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Lovely Rooms on offer at Rikitikitavi

Photo of Rikitikitavi, Krong Kampot, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

SUP Asia Paddle Boating (2.30 PM to 6.30 PM)

Cost: 55 dollars per person

Go on a new adventure with paddle boards. The most popular option, the 1/2 day tour, allows for more time on the river and access to super SUP locations in and around Kampot. Lessons are included. A visit to local fishing community and paddle to the sea to learn about a mangrove conservation project. There is also a journey up river to explore hidden palm groves and remote locations along the Kampot River.

The 1/2 day tour involves plenty of paddling and lots to see and explore. They offer drinks and snacks on this tour free of charge. This trip is offered twice daily. 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Includes offer pick up from guesthouses in Kampot.

The stilted huts created at the junction of river and sea

Photo of SUP Asia, Krong Kampot, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Picture perfect sunsets

Photo of SUP Asia, Krong Kampot, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Enjoying the sunset :)

Photo of SUP Asia, Krong Kampot, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Paddle boating in Kampot river

Photo of SUP Asia, Krong Kampot, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of SUP Asia, Krong Kampot, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

One of the best experiences in Cambodia !

Photo of SUP Asia, Krong Kampot, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Day 13

Booked Tuk Tuk driver for 1 day in advance(reserve months in advance as he is very famous)-

Booked Mr. Rany (ranytuktukdriver@gmail.com) in advance for 30 dollars per day

Total budget for day: 35 Dollars Tuk + 50 Dollars food +20 dollars entry

Guided Tuk Tuk tour around Kampot - ‘Country-side tour’ which will take you through the Salt fields, one of the pepper plantations, Lime caves and Kep where you could have lunch at the Crab Market.

This tour takes you (as the name suggests) through lovely rural scenery. This is best done with a Tuk Tuk. The price for this tour is $25, there is a fee for entering the cave of $1 per person, and lunch is extra.

Explore Kampot's unique pepper plantations Marvel at the gorgeous natural landscapes of Kampot from a temple cave Find the secret lake that was created during the Khmer Rouge regime Explore the livelihoods of the locals in Kampot, with a local guide

Country side and fields

Photo of Kampot Province, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Kampot-Phnom Penh route

Photo of Kampot Province, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

The secret lake

Photo of Kampot Province, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Click with our Tuk Tuk along the lake

Photo of Kampot Province, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of Kampot Province, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of Kampot Province, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

The 'secret route' along the secret lake

Photo of Kampot Province, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Stilted huts along the lakes

Photo of Kampot Province, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Pepper plantations

Photo of Kampot Province, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of Kampot Province, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan

Kep (and one one Vietnam's islands just visible on horizon)

Photo of Kampot Province, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Day 14

Total budget for day: 45 Dollars Bus+ 50 Dollars food+ 20 Dollars Tuk Tuk

Enjoy time at Kampot town. Afternoon 2 PM bus to Phnom Penh

From: Kampot Giant Ibis Terminal, 37, Street 7 Makara, Behind Sokimex Gas Station

To Phnom Penh Giant Ibis Bu Terminal, Street 90, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Dinner: Happy Herb Pizza

Address: # 345 Preah Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia (approx 15 min walk from hotel)

Budget: 25 Dollars

Simple put, this is pizza with 'Happy' toppings. A 13 dollar large pizza and 4 dollar 'Happy' topping, along with one beer possibly will lead to a very 'good' evening and a night sleep.

Photo of Happy Herb Pizza, Preah Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Photo of Happy Herb Pizza, Preah Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Sagar Pradhan
Day 15

Day 15

Return to India with memories :)

Return from Mumbai International Airport to Pune- KK Travels

Hope this will help you have an amazing time in Cambodia as well, would love to read your experiences !!! In case of any queries, just message me or Mail Me and I would love to help.

Do visit our Travel Blog for other travel stories.

Ah-kun (Thank you)

Photo of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Sagar Pradhan
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