Backpacking Cambodia: Must see places!

We spent roughly 3 weeks in Cambodia and here is what we got up to during our adventures!

Phnom Penh

On our first day in the capital Nicole ventured out to the nearby Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, a former extermination camp and mass grave of victims of the Khmer Rouge. The area is now a memorial to the thousands of bodies discovered at Choeung Ek after the fall of the Khmer Rouge Regime.


Choeung Ek Memorial

Prior to being sent to Choeung Ek many Cambodians had been imprisoned in the infamous S-21 Tuol Sleng Prison. Despicable tortures took place here and S-21 was also used as an execution centre by the Khmer Rouge. A visit to both sites really opens your eyes to the brutality of the Khmer Rouge and also the horror and suffering that the Cambodian people experienced in the genocide of 1975-1979.



I had already visited both of the above during a previous visit to Cambodia so I took a walk around central Phnom Penh instead. The heat in Phnom Penh is something else so I didn’t get too far but I did manage to catch a glimpse of the Royal Palace.


Royal Palace, Phnom Penh


We travelled south after Phnom Penh and stayed at Karma Traders in Kampot. The hostel put on an amazing open mic night on our first night and it was definitely the best live music we had witnessed during our travels so far!


These guys were quality

The following day we rented a moped and went off to explore Bokor National Park. However, we didn’t get too far past the entrance gates when our moped decided to break down. We then had to wait a few hours in the searing heat for a replacement to be brought to us. Not the best start to the day! Our tan was well and truly topped up though!


Waiting for the Cambodian RAC

When our new moped arrived we finally got going and driving up into the hills is spectacular. When you get to the top it’s a bit strange and a bit of a let down as it resembles something of a ghost town up there, especially with the fog and the low-lying clouds that you drive through. However, we did explore an old church that was the scene of a dramatic battle between the Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese!


Spooky Church


The next day we made the short journey to Kep and stayed in a mushroom hut for 3 nights at Bacoma Guesthouse! It was definitely one of our favourite rooms so far during our travels.


Lord of the Rings esq accommodation

Kep is really famous for its crabs and Kampot is really famous for its pepper so it obviously made sense to try them both and this is actually the signature dish of the town. We also caught an amazing sunset that night during dinner which made for a nice evening!

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We were up early the next morning to walk to Kep National Park so we didn’t get stuck in the midday sun. However, as we missed a turn (Nicole’s fault) we ended up walking in it anyway! Not that it mattered as we were already sweating buckets at that point. Trekking in the jungle in 30 degrees heat is tough but we made it and also completed some further Everest Base Camp training at the same time!


Views from the top

Otres Beach and Koh Rong

After a couple of relaxation days in Kep we hopped on board a bus and travelled west along the coast to Otres beach. We were actually staying in Otres village but the beach is only a ten minute walk away and it’s HUGE! It ranks as one of the nicest beaches we’ve visited and the best thing is that there are no sand flies unlike on Koh Rong.


Enjoying a coconut on Otres beach

On our first night we bumped into a few familiar Canadian faces  from our time in Laos and caught up over a few drinks and a few (successful) games of you do!


Canadian reunion

Nicole’s birthday was coming up and I had booked her a surprise stay at a resort on a secluded beach on Koh Rong. The beach was great but unfortunately we had to leave early due to being eaten alive by mosquitoes, sandflies, ants…pretty much anything of that nature! I will spare you the picture of my bitten back and bum and instead show the amazing beach instead 🙂


Koh Rong

We took refuge from the bugs back at Otres Beach and stayed at the really nice Om Home Resort. The place has only been opened for a few months and was exactly what we needed after Koh Rong. You can read more about it here – Om Home – The place to stay in Otres!

Siem Reap

Siam Reap was our last destination in Cambodia and to be honest there is only really one thing that springs to mind when someone mentions Siam Reap….Angkor Wat. You can read about our visit and find out what three temples you definitely have to visit here – The three must see temples of Angkor Wat!


Angkor Wat

You can also watch our YouTube highlights of Cambodia below. Enjoy!


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