Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad

Tripoto
Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy

It was the most random decision I've taken in the longest time, and perhaps, one of the best as well! While hunting a destination which has Visa on arrival, as well as friendly to the pockets, I couldn't think beyond Southeast Asia. Deep down, I knew that I didn't want to go for the island hopping & partying in Thailand, so Cambodia definitely seemed to be the best option!

While the country is known majorly for the ruins of Angkor, the largest Hindu temple complex in the world, it surely has much more to offer the travelers. Whether it's the people or the cuisine, the nightlife or the history, the beaches or the temples - Cambodia didn't fail to intrigue me with its beauty.

So if you are thinking about heading off to this mystical land, here's an itinerary that would help you in backpacking across Cambodia!

Day 1

Arrival in Siem Reap

Photo of Siem Reap, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy

The cultural capital of Cambodia, Siem Reap is from where my journey began! I had booked an Airbnb (trust me, that's the best way to experience the authentic Khmer life) and my host was extremely generous to send a tuktuk at the airport, to pick me up! I didn't know then, that this tuktuk driver would turn out to be the best guide for the next 3 days, and touch my soul with his generosity.

Sunly, the most adorable person I've met during the entire trip!

Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy
Day 2

Exploring Angkor Wat

It was time to travel back in the past and walk down the lanes of Angkor, which is located in the outskirts of Siem Reap.

Pro-Tip: The best option is to buy the 3 Days Ticket, so that you can have adequate time to explore all the temple, and there's no need to hurry!

On the first day, I took all my time to just explore the main temple (the Angkor Wat) and some of the smaller temples like Banteay Kdei and Sa Srang.

Photo of Angkor Wat, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Angkor Wat, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Angkor Wat, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Angkor Wat, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Angkor Wat, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy

In the evening, I headed off to explore the Night Market and Pub Street, which was another unique experience! It was a buzzing affair, with street food stalls selling everything from steaks to grills, and insect roasts! There were innumerable shops offering 'fish pedicure' amongst other things! It definitely was something worth experiencing.

Photo of Pub Street, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Pub Street, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Pub Street, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Day 3

Witnessing the beauty of Bayon and the popular Ta Phrom

While most people go gaga over the Angkor Wat, I personally loved the Bayon Temple more than the previous one. The stunning faces carved on stone looks surreal from a distance, and the closer you go, the more magnificent they appear! I kept wondering how difficult it must have been for the sculptors, yet what amazing work they've done, more than 1000 years back.

Photo of Bayon Temple, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Bayon Temple, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Bayon Temple, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Bayon Temple, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Bayon Temple, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy

Ta Phrom, essentially, is the most popular temple after Angkor Wat, and that's because the Hollywood movie Tomb Raiders was shot right here! But the architecture magnificence of the place goes beyond it - as you'll get to see how nature has overpowered man's efforts, and trees have grown over the temple structure.

Day 4

Head off to Banteay Srei and visit the Kbal Spean

Photo of Banteay Srei, Siem Reap, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Banteay Srei, Siem Reap, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy

Located far away from Siem Reap, Bantaey Srei (Citadel of Women) is another unique temple that'd leave you speechless. Banteay Srei is built largely of red sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings which are still observable today. The buildings themselves are miniature in scale, unusually so when measured by the standards of Angkorian construction.

From there, we went ahead to Kbal Spean, which is popular as the 'River of 1000 Lingas'. Located on the southwest slopes of the Kulen Hills, this site consists of a series of stone rock relief carvings in sandstone formations of the river bed and banks. It would appear surreal at the first sight! (Note - You've to hike a bit here, to reach the spot, So make sure you're wearing comfortable shoes.)

Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy

Return back to Siem Reap by the evening, and make sure to head off for a Khmer barbecue! This is a must - and you can't miss it at any cost! The local market of Siem Reap has some authentic Khmer restaurants, offering the unlimited meat barbecue, and brace yourself - 'coz you'll get to cook and eat the best meal ever!

Day 5

Board a bus for Phnom Pehn, the capital city!

Time to bid goodbye to Siem Reap! I took the local intercity bus, which leaves from the city center in Siem Reap and promises to drop at Phnom Pehn in about 4 hours! (It's the best and the cheapest way to travel, although it took about 5 and a half hours to reach, including a lunch stop!)

Phnom Pehn, being the capital city, has more hustle & bustle! That evening, I just explored the local market and took a walk along the riverside, before having dinner! The Independence Monument was close to where I was staying, so I did catch a glimpse of it as well.

Photo of Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Day 6

Exploring The Killing Fields & S 21 Museum!

You can either book an online for the Killing Fields & S 21 Tour, or ask your Airbnb/ Hotel folks to book it for you, or just head out, bargain with a tuk-tuk for a day's ride and set out. I chose the last option since it was the most affordable one! (For the entire day, my tuk-tuk person charged about 15 USD)

Both these places would take you back in time and show you the dark days that the Cambodians faced during the Khmer Rouge. The Killing Fields are the places where more than a million people were killed and buried by the Khmer regime under Polpot, during his rule of the country from 1975 to 1979, immediately after the end of the Cambodian Civil War (1970–1975). The mass killings are widely regarded as part of a broad state-sponsored genocide. As I walked down, I got goosebumps listening to the audio guide (available at the entrance for a minimal price, and in different languages) where they narrated the story of how brutally people were assaulted and killed. There's a museum tower, which preserves several skulls of the people who died at that place!

Photo of Killing Fields, ផ្លូវជើងឯក, Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Killing Fields, ផ្លូវជើងឯក, Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Killing Fields, ផ្លូវជើងឯក, Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy

S21, also known as Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, was initially a school which has now become a witness of brutal killings! From 1976 to 1979, an estimated 20,000 people were imprisoned at Tuol Sleng (the real number is unknown). You'll see photographs of the prisons who were tortured to death inside the classrooms, the tools used for murdering and listen to horrific stories as you walk down the corridor. (This place isn't for the weak-hearted ones, and trust me when I say this, I saw people breaking down into tears.)

Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy

It was an exhausting day, and I chose to just head back and get some sleep. In the evening, I went out for a stroll by the riverside, which I had grown fond of.

Day 7

Explore the Royal Palace, the National Museum and the Silver Pagoda, before boarding the night bus to Sihanoukville

The Royal Palace, as the name suggests, is a complex of buildings which serves as the royal residence of the king of Cambodia. It's a fine example of Khmer architecture with a slight French touch featuring its layout of the defensive wall, throne hall, Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Preah Keo Morakot), stupas, towering spires and mural paintings. You'll be left in awe with the unique architecture and pristine beauty of this place.

Photo of Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy

The next stop was the National Museum, which is Cambodia's largest museum of cultural history and is the country's leading historical and archaeological museum.

The museum houses one of the world's largest collections of Khmer art, including sculptural, Khmer ceramics, bronzes, and ethnographic objects. Its collection includes over 14,000 items, from prehistoric times to periods before, during and after the Khmer Empire, which at its height stretched from Thailand, across present-day Cambodia, to southern Vietnam.

Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy

In the evening, I boarded the bus for Sihanouk and reached there by late night. My plan was to head off to the island next day, so I booked the ferry tickets from the bus station for early next morning!

Day 8

Journey to Koh Rong Sanleom - Cambodia's beach paradise!

I took the ferry at 7.3o am the next day, and traveled to Koh Rong Sanloem! (If you've always been excited about Thai islands, let me tell you - Cambodian islands are no less beautiful, and you'll find less crowd here!)

Photo of Koh Rong Sanloem, Krong Preah Sihanouk, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy

This, surely, is one of the secluded islands, and there are only a few resorts which makes staying, an expensive affair! However, since I was mostly cutting my expenses staying at Airbnbs, I chose to indulge a bit and booked The One - one of the fanciest resorts in the island with private boats, private beach, and an infinity pool! (It was time for a staycation, after backpacking!)

Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Backpacking Across Cambodia: What You Can Experience In About 10 Days! #photosabroad by Riyanka Roy
Day 9

Exploring Koh Rong, before heading back to the mainland!

My morning began with the sound of the waves and an amazing breakfast at The One's restaurant, followed by some beachtime!

Photo of Koh Rong Sanloem, Krong Preah Sihanouk, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Koh Rong Sanloem, Krong Preah Sihanouk, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy
Photo of Koh Rong Sanloem, Krong Preah Sihanouk, Cambodia by Riyanka Roy

There were options to snorkel or go for kayaking, but I chose to relax and stayed at the resort, enjoying the views and soothing my senses.

Koh Rong, like I've mentioned already, isn't much explored, and I figured that out at the resort, when a waiter thought I was from Sri Lanka, and showed me a currency note, saying, "Someone from your country gave me this!" I corrected him saying I was an Indian, and he said that Indians rarely visit them! They have more Australians & Japanese coming over to the island.

Well, needless to say, Koh Rong was definitely one of the best places I've ever been to, in the last 27 years of my life!

I took the 4 PM ferry for returning back to Sihanoukville, and then, the night bus for Phnom Pehn!

Day 10

Return back to Phnom Pehn & catch the flight back home!

With some amazing memories, and lots of stories, it was time for me to return back home, and start planning for another backpacking adventure!

Be the first one to comment