Beyond Angkor and Pnom Penh

This tour, you will visit Sihanoukville, Kampot, Kompong Cham, Battambang, Phnom Sambeou, Rattanakir,…

The attractive riverside town of Kampot was once a fashionable haunt of the French colonial elite, and has stunning offshore islands and a beautiful bay. The ruins of the luxurious mansions, destroyed by the Khmer Rouge, can be seen all along the coast. Bokor hill station with its pleasant climate, mountain streams and breathtaking sea views was another favourite resort of French colonials.

To the east of Kompong Cham, half way to the Laos border, is the small riverine town of Kratie that can be reached in 6 hours by boat from Phnom Penh or 3 hours from Kompong Cham. Heading due north up the Mekong from Kratie just 40km south of the border with Laos is the frontier town of Stung Treng. Stung Treng is most easily reached by air from Phnom Penh, but can now also be reached overland from Laos via the Mekong River, opening up new possibilities for combining Laos and Cambodia.

In the far northeastern corner of the country is the rugged mountainous province of Rattanakiri. There is little in the way of facilities here and few travellers visit this remote province at the present time. However those that do will find mountains, rainforests and indigenous hill tribe minorities as well as an idyllic volcanic lake surrounded by forested mountains three kilometers north of the main settlement at Ban Lung. Road conditions can be rather challenging, even for the seasoned traveller, and flying is the only recommended way to get to Rattanakiri. To the south of Rattanakiri is Mondulkiri province, another sparsely populated and remote region of natural beauty inhabited by ethnic minority hill tribes.

Sihanoukville, also known as Kompong Som, is Cambodia’s only maritime port, located 230km to the south of Phnom Penh and accessible via one of the best roads in the country. Sihanoukville however, is not just a seaport, but also an area famous for its picture-postcard tropical beaches. Boats can be chartered from local fisherman to the nearby islands where the coral, teeming with tropical fish, is perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving. The white sands, warm waters, blue skies and delicious fresh seafood of Sihanoukville can be experienced and savoured all year round.

Kompong Cham, 124km north east of Phnom Penh, is the fourth largest town in Cambodia and can be reached either by a recently constructed asphalt road or by riverboat. Located on the banks of the Mekong this attractive provincial town has its own Angkor-era temples and makes an ideal stopping point if heading further north. Another 140km further up National Route 6 is Kompong Thom, a quiet provincial town that makes a good base for exploring the pre-Angkorian Sambor Prei Kuk temple complex. It is a scenic drive of around 150km to Siem Reap from Kompong Thom.

Cambodia’s second largest city, Battambang, is a quiet city on the main road to Thailand. Its attractions include the nearby Angkor-era temples of Ek Phnom and Phnom Banan and the cliff side pagoda of Phnom Sambeou. Battambang is being increasingly visited as a stopover by tourists travelling overland to Thailand and it can be reached by airplane, road or by boat from Siem Reap.

Leave a Comment