Backpacking Cambodia – Why to put it on your bucket list
To travel Cambodia might not be the easiest thing to decide. On my side, I was afraid to start my journey in Asia with backpacking Cambodia solo. But I wanted a destination less touristy than Thailand and still pretty safe for a female solo traveler.
It turned out that it was the right choice. It’s the place to be for crazy parties on the beach, for exploring Asian Nature but also for visiting famous places like Siem Reap or Phnom Penh. A good compromise between fun, tourism and off-the-path places. Backpacking Cambodia is a good way to take the leap on a solo travel in Asia, as it’s pretty easy to move around by bus, and to meet other solo travelers. Alike Australia, it's a hotspot for solo backpackers.
What to do in Cambodia
Exploring the Nature – Landscapes are already impressive enough to make the trip worth it, especially for those learning and practicing photography. The North East is different from the rest of the country. It’s home to national parks with jungle and reserves for elephants. Mondulkiri is an incredible off-the-path destination in Cambodia.
City sightseeing in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh – The 2 most famous places in Cambodia are hold by the historical town of Siem Reap and the capital Phnom Penh. You can’t miss Siem Reap for its chill vibes and the worldwide known archeological park Angkor Wat. Also the perfect place to socialize and go dancing at night, Siem Reap is a really good starting point to backpacking Cambodia.
Backpacking life on Koh Rong island – My absolute favorite place ! I stayed there almost a month, and it was like being cut off from the world – in a good sense! If you go at low season, you’ll enjoy the calm of beautiful beaches and jungles at day, and chill parties on the beach at night.
Meeting locals and traveling at a slow pace in authentic towns like Kampot – Backpacking Cambodia is definitely the occasion to feel the local life. Towns like Kampot are still not invaded by tourists and are surrounded by nature.
Best places to visit in Cambodia
What should you not miss on a Cambodia travel? Of course, it depends of your interests, your time schedule and your budget. Though, the country is quite cheap (even if not as much as Laos) and many places are quite easy to access.
For me, the best places to visit in Cambodia are definitely : Angkor Wat and Siem Reap, Kampot’s area, Koh Rong, Phnom Penh for a short time, Mondulkiri if you have the time to go North.
How to travel Cambodia
If traveling South East Asia scares you, you should know that backpacking Cambodia is actually quite straight forward. I traveled by bus during almost 2 months, and I didn’t get many issues to reach my destinations. In comparison to Vietnam and Laos, it’s even easier.
Traveling by bus is the easiest way to do your road trip. The new busses, especially from the national company Giant Ibis, are quite comfortable. Distances are not as wild as in Vietnam.
What I found really cool : the possibility to visit Siem Reap or Phnom Penh by foot or by bicycle, as everything is pretty much concentrated in the central areas. Another common thing to do in Asia : the tuk-tuk ! They’ll take care for you of the traffic chaos… and here as well, it’s nothing near to Vietnam’s craziness!
When to visit Cambodia
The question we all give (too much) importance: the weather. I went backpacking Cambodia in July / August. Because the monsoon happens between May and November, backpacking Cambodia at this period has a bad reputation.
What they don’t say is that the rain will fall heavily, but only for a few hours. Personally, I saw heavy rain and wind in August on Koh Rong, but it didn’t last more than 3 hours. So, it didn’t impact my travels. Good point is that it was low season, and really relaxed. The peak season in Cambodia is between April – March, and it can be very full of backpackers and tourists.