Cramming all of Cambodia’s diverse attractions into one holiday is not easy. Here’s the perfect 2-week Cambodia itinerary covering Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Kampot and the beaches of Koh Rong & Koh Rong Samloem.

By: Mark | Last Updated: 11 Apr 2024 | Jump to Comments & Questions

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As the essential slow-down country on a Southeast Asia itinerary, Cambodia is a diverse destination with an optimistic personality.

Friendly locals who have persevered through a harsh history, welcome you with open arms, enticing you to explore their country’s star attractions.

While the temples – in our opinion, some of the best in the world – hog the limelight, Cambodia also has majestic rivers, tropical islands, interesting colonial cities and jungle persevering against deforestation.

The challenge is how to cram it all in.

In this 2-week itinerary, we cover all the best sights Cambodia has to offer with a breakdown of suggested day-to-day activities, tips on where to stay and how to get around. If you have less time, we have suggested amendments to fit as much as possible into a shorter timeframe.

aerial shot of the resorts on koh rong island cambodia
KOH RONG

CAMBODIA ITINERARY OVERVIEW

Here is an overview of how we suggest you spend 2 weeks in Cambodia.

  • Days 1-3:  Siem Reap – Temples and floating villages.
  • Days 4-5: Phnom Penh – Grand palaces, markets and nightlife.
  • Days 6-9: Island Beaches – Relaxing on Koh Rong.
  • Days 10-11: Kampot & Kep – Unwind riverside.
  • Days 12-14: Phnom Penh – Cambodia’s excellent museums.

The itinerary begins in Siem Reap and ends in Phnom Penh. Both cities have international airports, or you can take the overland bus from Thailand or Vietnam. There is nothing to stop you from completing the itinerary backwards.

Before leaving read all the things to know before you go to Cambodia

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Cambodia is hot throughout the year with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 35°C (77°F – 95°F). However, the year is split into two seasons.

WET SEASON

The wet season runs from May to October. During these months there can be considerable rain and lots of cloud. Blue skies are infrequent and if you are visiting the islands in the south, crossings can be rough.

DRY SEASON

The dry season runs from November to April. There is little rain during these months and a good chance of blue skies. Within the dry season December & January offer the best temperatures (25°C to 30°C) but it’s busy.

March & April are the hottest months of the year peaking at around 35°C (95°F). February can be a good compromise, with fewer crowds but still good weather.

GETTING AROUND CAMBODIA

For this Cambodia Itinerary, we recommend using buses or taxis to get between the major cities.

BUSES

A cheap, easy, and a pretty comfortable way to travel long distances in Cambodia. Multiple bus companies run different types of vehicles between the major cities. Transport ranges from a mix of minivans, minibusses, luxury buses and night buses.

The quality of service with each company varies but we highly recommend Giant Ibis and Vireak Buntham – our experience of both was excellent.

It’s worth spending an extra $2-$3 for the comfort of the larger luxury buses, some come with on-board service and the price includes coffee and lunch. 

TAXIS

Taxis are also great for long-distance trips, saving time on pickup and drop-off. If you are four people, they can be similar in price and more convenient than long-distance buses. Good bargaining skills are helpful!

We will detail approximate prices for each option in the itinerary below. There’s more information on our Cambodia travel tips.

ARRIVING IN SIEM REAP

This itinerary begins in Siem Reap, there are two common ways to arrive, by international flight or overland on bus.

INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS

Siem Reap has a newly built international airport. There are regular flights from Bangkok, Singapore, Phnom Penh & Ho Chi Minh. Travellers from Europe, India, and US will need to change at least once.

Google Flights is an excellent way to find the best routes and deals. If you are flying via Bangkok or Singapore, consider stopping over for a few days. For ideas check out our things to do in Singapore, or our Bangkok 3-day itinerary.

Siem Reap International Airport is 45 kilometres from the centre of the city. Taxis cost $30 and can be arranged through your guesthouse or hotel. A bus runs 8 times a day from just outside the terminal and costs $8. There are no tuk-tuks at the airport.

INTERNATIONAL BUSES

Regular overland buses run from Bangkok to Siem Reap and take 8 hours and 30 minutes. These bus journeys can be long and painful with often tedious stops at the border.

Everyone we spoke to – expats and tourists alike – recommended Giant Ibis. The bus comes with an on-board service attendant who provides lunch, water and cold towels. They can also assist with the immigration process, making it as easy and stress-free as possible. Buses drop off in Siem Reap city centre.

CAMBODIA ITINERARY


TEMPLES

DAYS 1-3: SIEM REAP


Siem Reap is an essential stop on any Cambodia itinerary. Its calling card are the most remarkable Khmer temples built in the 9th to 12th centuries.

Lost for hundreds of years, these elegant stone cities are partially consumed by the forest, making them the most evocative religious buildings in the world.

Just a few miles south is Tonlé Sap, the largest lake in Southeast Asia, where locals live in homes that float on the water. Tonlé Sap is a memorable experience and something we highly recommend in Cambodia.

DETAILED GUIDES

Day 1 / SMALL CIRCUIT

On your first full day in Siem Reap, complete the Angkor Temples Small Circuit which includes Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Prohm. These are the most impressive temples near Siem Reap and they were the highlight of our trip.

Day 2 / BENG MEALEA & TONLÉ SAP

On day 2, hire a taxi to visit the incredible ruins of Beng Mealea and Banteay Srei. Further from the tourist route, these ruins quieter, more consumed by jungle and far more atmospheric.

In the afternoon, organise a trip out to one of the floating villages. Read our guide covering the best floating villages of Tonlé Sap to decide.

Day 3 / GRAND CIRCUIT

For your final day in Siem Reap, do the Grand Circuit of the less visited, but still interesting, temples. Finish the day at Flare, the Cambodian Circus for a taste of local culture.

You can find detailed instructions for each day on our 3-day Siem Reap itinerary.

WHERE TO STAY

There are some very good-value hotels in Siem Reap and a few luxury resorts on the river.

  • Onederz Siem Reap ($) – Located beside the Old Market, this excellent hostel has private rooms and dormitories with free WIFI and two swimming pools.
  • Jay House River Park ($$) – Located outside the busy area in a tropical garden, this beautiful property has excellent WIFI, air-conditioning, and a very enticing pool.
  • Bopha Wat Bo Residence ($$$) – A smart clean hotel with a pool in a lovely garden setting. The breakfast is superb and it’s just a short stroll into the centre of town.  
siem reap itinerary

PALACES & MUSEUMS

DAYS 4-5: PHNOM PENH


Phnom Penh is one of our favourite cities in southeast Asia with lots of intriguing things to do.

It has all the intensity of Asian culture in a town that’s much quieter than its counterparts in other countries. Dusty, but leafy streets give it a lovely village-like feel. But you can also visit grand palaces, impressive temples and world-class museums.

Due to the logistics of getting around Cambodia, we recommend two separate visits to Phnom Penh. For this first visit, we stick mostly to the riverside area.

Day 4 AM / TRAVEL TO PHNOM PENH

Make the journey from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. The journey time is about 6 hours. SUV taxis cost about $75-85 and buses about $15-18. Vireak Buntham is a great quality bus service that comes with coffee and lunch.

Day 4 PM / SISOWATH QUAY

In the late afternoon wander up to Wat Phnom and then take a stroll along Sisowath Quay. As the sun sets grab a drink overlooking the river, take on a sunset cruise, or try the wonderful local food in the Phnom Penh Night Market.

monk sitting on sisowath quay phnom penh
SISOWATH QUAY

Day 5 AM / CENTRAL MARKET & PALACE

Today, explore the riverside district of Phnom Penh. Start the morning at Central Market when the food stalls are at their busiest. Next, head over to the Grand Palace and Silver Pagoda. Keep in mind that there is a dress code at the palace (short shorts or skirts, hot pants or sleeveless tops at not allowed.)

Day 5 PM / MUSEUMS

Grab lunch at David’s Noodles and then go to either the Cambodia National Museum or Sosoro Museum. You can read about both and much more on our guide to the best things to do in Phnom Penh.

In the evening, head up to Sora Bar, one of the best bars in Asia. They have a whisky library with the largest collection of single malts in Cambodia and a stunning Sky Bar with views over the city.

WHERE TO STAY

For these two days in Phnom Penh, we suggest staying in Riverside or Sangkat Voat Phnum neighbourhoods. You can find all our recommendations for these two areas on our guide to where to stay in Phnom Penh. Here are a few favourites.

  • Onederz ($) – Excellent hostel with a mix of dormitories and private rooms. The rooftop pool and bar has a fun atmosphere. 
  • The Pavilion ($$) – This old colonial house is an oasis of calm in a bustling city. Its trees, garden, and pools offer a fantastic place to cool down after a busy day sightseeing. Adults only.
  • Rosewood Phnom Penh ($$$) – 5-star luxury just around the corner from Wat Phnom with spacious modern rooms and a top-quality spa. Sora Bar is on the 37th floor.
old colonial building in phnom penh

BEACHES

DAYS 6-9: KOH RONG ISLANDS


Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem are two idyllic islands just off the Cambodian mainland. A jungle interior is surrounded by white sandy beaches and crystal-clear water. With just three to four days, we suggest you pick one to visit. Here are your choices:  

Koh Rong is a little larger and more developed with smarter resorts. The beaches are stunning, and many of the resorts are excellent. In places it can feel a bit over-developed, but if you pick a good resort, you’re in for an extremely relaxing stay.

Koh Rong Samloem is smaller and more laid backed. Its main beach is Saracen Bay where mid and upmarket resorts mix with backpacker hostels and local bars and restaurants. The western side has basic bungalows overlooking golden beaches.

DETAILED GUIDES OF EACH ISLAND

Day 6 / SIHANOUKVILLE TO THE ISLANDS

The boats to the islands leave from Sihanoukville Autonomous Port. The journey time to the port from Phnom Penh is about 3 hours. SUV taxis cost about $65-75 and buses about $12-15.

The Rithy Express bus stops just next to the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, whereas the Vireak Buntham bus requires a $3 tuk-tuk ride.

Boats leave to different piers on the islands, so make sure you pick the pier that’s nearest to your hotel and be sure to book the boat in advance ($25 return). We suggest leaving a good 90 minutes between the bus arrival and boat departure just in case there are delays.

Days 7-9 / KOH RONG OR KOH RONG SAMLOEM

Kick back and relax on the islands from days 7 to 9. Take a snorkelling or diving tour, or head out to see the bioluminescent plankton at night. If you’re on Koh Rong hire a scooter to explore the other beaches. If you are on Koh Rong Samloem hike across to the other side of the island.

WHERE TO STAY

For where to stay, read our Koh Rong Guide and Koh Rong Samloem Guide.

RURAL CAMBODIA

DAYS 10 – 11: KAMPOT & KEP


Located at the foot of the Elephant Mountains, Kampot is a green, temperate riverside area that contrasts with the dustbowl of other Cambodian destinations.

It’s a small town with an old colonial quarter that is slowly falling into disrepair; a decay that helps create Kampot’s relaxed, lived-in feel.

DETAILED GUIDE

Day 10 / TRAVEL TO KAMPOT  

Make the journey from Koh Rong or Rong Samloem to Kampot. Get an early morning boat back to Sihanoukville then get either a bus ($10-12) or a taxi to Kampot ($50-60).

In the evening stroll around Kampot town, grab a drink in one of the many bars, and try one of the excellent local restaurants for dinner. We have suggestions in our things to do in Kampot guide.  

Day 11 AM / KAMPOT CENTRAL

Start the day with locally sourced Kampot coffee. Café Espresso Roastery and Monkey Republic both serve an excellent cup with a decent breakfast. Next explore the colonial French architecture as you head to Samaki Market, where locals go about their daily shop.

Day 11 PM / KEP

In the afternoon, organise a half-day tour to visit a pepper plantation, a salt field and the small seaside hub of Kep. Situated around 30 minutes drive from Kampot, Kep is famous for crab and the local crab market is one of the best in the country. All the details are on: things to do in Kampot.

WHERE TO STAY

  • Kampot Riverfront Boutique ($/$$) – Bungalows set amongst the trees right on the river, run by a very friendly family, where you can swim or kayak from just outside your rooms. It’s a 10-minute tuk-tuk ($2) from the centre of town.
  • Hotel La Java Bleue ($$) – There are just 5 rooms in this relaxed yet elegant hotel. It’s uniquely decorated, in a great location, and has a very helpful host.
  • Hotel Old Cinema ($$) – A former cinema converted into a quirky art-deco hotel. Lovely gardens and pool with very friendly staff. It’s in a great location just set back from the river.
white tent market kampot

HISTORY

DAYS 12 – 14: PHNOM PENH


Over the last decade, since our previous visit, Phnom Penh has become increasingly trendy. The lively traditional markets remain, with stylish cocktail bars and chilled speakeasies tucked among small tree-lined streets.

The most lively areas are Bassac Lane, Langka Lane and Toul Tompoung. These areas are also home to the museums that tell the story of Cambodia’s recent tragic history.

We suggest spending the next two to three days exploring these neighbourhoods.

Day 12 / KAMPOT TO PHNOM PENH

Before departing for Phnom Penh, have a morning kayak ride or just relax by the river.

The journey from Kampot to Phnom Penh takes about 3 hours and costs $10 by bus and $50-60 by taxi. In the evening head to Bassac Lane, dine on the pavement and drop into one of the speakeasy bars. You can find more details on our what to do in Phnom Penh.

Day 13 AM / TUOL SLENG & RUSSIAN MARKET

Start the day at Tuol Sleng S21, a concentration camp used by the Khmer Rouge. It’s a sobering reminder of the atrocities the country has endured, but an essential way to understand the resilience of Cambodia.  

Next head to the Russian Market. It’s more for locals than tourists with a great energy and excellent photo opportunities.

Have (an excellent) coffee and lunch at Lot 369 overlooking the market. 

Day 13 PM / KILLING FIELDS

In the afternoon go to Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre (Killing Fields) for an even more challenging reminder of the Cambodian genocide. A tuk-tuk driver should charge around $10US to take you out, wait and bring you back.    

Day 13 Evening / LANGKA LANE

End the day on Langka Lane trying one of the excellent restaurants for dinner. Follow up with cocktails at any of the very cool bars in the area. We liked: Battbong, TicTic and The Groovy Room.   

Day 14 / DEPART

Depart from Phnom Penh on day 14.

Phnom Penh International Airport is 12 kilometres from the centre of the city. Tuk-tuks charge about $5-10 and taxis $10-15. Both are easy to pick up on the street or order from your guesthouse. Overland buses head over the border to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

WHERE TO STAY

For these three days in Phnom Penh, we suggest staying near the BKK1, Bassac or Tuol Tompoung neighbourhoods. You can find all our recommendations for those two areas on our guide: where to stay in Phnom Penh. Here are a few favourites.

  • La Chronique Hotel ($/$$) – The modern hotel with a French jazz vibe is great value for money. It’s a short walk to the bars and restaurants surrounding the Russian Market.
  • Patio Hotel & Urban Resort ($$) – This great boutique hotel rises above the restaurants and bars of Langka Lane, and is just a short walk from Bassac Lane. The rooftop pool and bar are excellent.
  • White Mansion ($$/$$$) – Former American Consulate in leafy surrounds. Outdoor dining, lap pool, and gardens wrap around the lovely exterior, creating an intimate feel.
patio urban hotel phnom penh
PATIO URBAN HOTEL

CAMBODIA ITINERARY ADJUSTMENTS

7-Day Itinerary – If you only have 1 week in Cambodia, we recommend spending 4 days in Siem Reap and 3 in Phnom Penh.

10-Day Itinerary – If you only have 10 days to visit Cambodia, we recommend spending 3 days in Siem Reap, 3 days in Phnom Penh and 4 days on either Koh Rong or Koh Ron Samloem.

Slower 2-Week Itinerary – This 2-week itinerary requires four longish bus or taxi journeys. If you want to slow the trip down, skip Kampot and spend longer on the beaches. You could spend all 6 days on one beach or split your time between Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem, which is what we did.

Remote Wildlife – If you are not a beach person, you could skip the islands and go to Mondulkiri. This province, in the northeast of Cambodia, is home to 25% of the country’s wild elephants, as well as primates and hundreds of bird species. For what to do and how to get there, read our complete guide to Mondulkiri.

MORE TRAVEL TIPS FOR CAMBODIA

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