Cambodia – Travel Tips by Clarissa

Angkor Wat Sunrise
Sunrise at Angkor Wat
What type(s) of travellers would you recommend to visit Cambodia?

Backpackers and those who seek adventures should definitely visit Cambodia.

How long would you recommend for one to spend in Cambodia?

6 days.

What are the top activities/must-sees in Cambodia that you would recommend?
1. Angkor Wat in Siem Reap
Sunrise at Angkor Wat casting a reflection of the temple on the lake
Sunrise at Angkor Wat

– A UNESCO world heritage ancient city consisting of MANY temples

– There are 1-day and 3-day passes available, depending on how much you want to cover. We took the 1-day pass and managed to cover the main temples.

– Beautiful sunrise as captured in the image above.

– How we caught the Angkor Wat sunrise at the image above:
1) Booked a Tuk Tuk with our hotel the day before
2) The Tuk Tuk picked us up at 4 am and dropped us at the ticket counters
3) We joined the queue for tickets (the counters opened at around 4.45am)
4) The Tuk Tuk then brought us to the entrance of the Angkor Wat temple
5) We followed the crowd and walked across the bridge, entered the temple compound and headed towards a small pond (there are two ponds on each side of the concrete bridge, this image was taken from the one on the right) and waited for the sunrise

– Tomb Raiders was filmed in one of the temples, Ta Prohm!

Location of ticket office: View on Google Maps

2. Choeung Ek Genocidal Center (The Killing Fields) in Phnom Penh
Choeung Ek Genocidal Center Memorial
Choeung Ek Genocidal Center Memorial

– A mass grave site of the victims of the Khmer Rouge

– Entrance fee is USD6 which includes an audio guide that gives a very good recount of the sufferings and killings during the Khmer Rouge period in the late 1970’s

– Learnt a piece about the history of Cambodia that I never knew

Location: View on Google Maps

3. Night Market in Siem Reap
Pub Street at Siem Reap Night Market in Cambodia
Pub Street at Siem Reap Night Market

– Here you can find (clean) massage parlours, bars, restaurants, street stalls

– Massages can start from USD1 per hour for foot massage (tip: if you walk further away from the main area, the prices for massages go lower. We found out that this Temple Massage outlet is cheaper than the one found within the main Pub Street Market)

– You can get beers from USD0.50

– Street stalls sell alcohol, snacks (deep fried tarantulas and other creepy crawlers), crepes, etc.

Location: View on Google Maps

What are the top food places/must-eats that you would recommend in Cambodia?
1. Romdeng Restaurant in Phnom Penh
Plate of 3 deep fried tarantulas with sauce, chili and lime, a popular snack in Cambodia
Deep Fried Tarantulas at Romdeng Cafe

– This is a not-for-profit restaurant which trains former street children and marginalised youths

– Food is delicious and can be somewhat adventurous – Try the Creepy Crawly Tarantulas with Black Pepper Lime Sauce and Fish Amok in Banana Leaf

– Slightly pricier than local restaurants, at about USD7 per dish

– They have a sister restaurant called Marum in Siem Reap, that serves delicious food as well, but with a different menu

Address: 74 Oknha Ket St. (174), Phnom Penh, Cambodia (View on Google Maps)

2. Pleng Chan Cafe in Phnom Penh
Glass of mocha with a menu on a round brown coffee table in a cafe
Cafe Mocha at Pleng Chan Cafe

– An off-the-beaten-track cafe that we stumbled upon near the Russian Market

– Food and coffee were both good, nice interior decor

– Serves All Day Breakfast which costs around USD3-4

Address: Phnom Penh, Cambodia (View on Google Maps)

3. Fresh Fruit Factory in Siem Reap
A bowl of fruits with smoothie at Fresh Fruit Factory
A bowl of fruits with smoothie at Fresh Fruit Factory
Carbonara with a poached egg in the centre garnished with mint leaves
Carbonara at Fresh Fruit Factory

– Run by friendly Japanese

– Has graffiti walls which you can let your creative juices flow

– As the name of the cafe implies, they serve refreshing fresh fruit items!

– Apart from fruits, their cold carbonara was delicious – creamy but light (I personally dislike creamy carbonara usually)

Address: Siem Reap, Cambodia (View on Google Maps)

Any recommendations on where to stay in Cambodia?
Phnom Penh – The 252, a boutique hotel that is a 5-minute Tuk Tuk ride to the Royal Palace
Siem Reap – Borei Angkor Resort and Spa, a 5-star hotel that is a 15-minute Tuk Tuk ride to Angkor and 5-minute Tuk Tuk ride to Pub Street.
When is a good time of the year to visit Cambodia?

I went during the off-peak season (June) and we got a free upgrade to a bigger room in our hotel in Siem Reap!

How should one get around in Cambodia?

Taxi or Tuk Tuk. Tuk Tuk within the city usually costs about USD2-5.

Are there any local norms / cultures that a tourist should be aware of in Cambodia?

Not that I know of.

What are the acceptable payment currencies and modes in Cambodia?

You can pay with a combination of US dollars and Cambodian riel. Just bring US dollars as you will usually get Cambodian riel as change. This applies to almost all transactions, ranging from restaurants to street stalls, taxis to Tuk Tuk.

How should one stay connected to the internet in Cambodia?

I bought a pre-paid sim card from one of the telco booths at the arrival hall of the Phnom Penh international airport. It costs about USD2 for 2GB of 4G data.

Cost of Trip

Airfare – Silkair from Singapore to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap to Singapore at a promotional fare of SGD200.

Accommodation – SGD66 per twin room per night at The 252 in Phnom Penh, SGD70 per twin room per night at Borei Angkor Resort and Spa in Siem Reap.

Food – Beers start from USD0.50, food at good restaurants are about USD10-15 per pax.

Transport – Tuk Tuk rides from USD2-5

Any other tips?

– You can practise your negotiating skills for a cheaper deal for Tuk Tuk or purchases of items from the night markets, for the fun of it!

– Getting from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: We made arrangements with our accommodation – a mini van came to pick us from our accommodation and brought us to the bus terminal where we took a coach to Siem Reap. It was about 12 USD.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I love exploring places, learning new things, creating experiences, capturing moments and sharing these with others. As such, I am currently building a travel application with my team at Away Nation, which aims to help travellers plan and book their trips based on recommendations from friends and locals.