3 weeks in Cambodia Itinerary

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Cambodia is a relatively small country, but it has so much to offer. It’s right on the heart of Banana Pancake Trail, which is popular among backpackers, making it an incredibly popular and affordable destination.

I have been to Cambodia at least four times, and each visit has been a different experience. It’s honestly one of the countries in the world that must be visited at least twice to fully appreciate its beauty and what it can offer.

Cambodia is the country in Southeast Asia where you will find the stunning Angkor Wat. In the 70s, there was a genocide in Cambodia, resulting in almost 2 million Cambodian deaths.

Today, the country honours the people who have died by opening a museum that tells so many stories and showcases that all is not forgotten.

With 3 weeks in Cambodia, you can definitely travel a lot slower, see the top attractions, visit lesser-travelled areas, and get to know a bit of Cambodian history, culture, and cuisine.

RELATED ITINERARIES: 3 weeks in Southeast Asia or 3 weeks in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO CAMBODIA

4 images - top left are the smiling sculptures in Angkor Wat. Top right is the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. Bottom right is a traditional boat in Cambodia. Bottom left is the iconic temples and pagoda in front of water in Angkor Wat- 3 weeks in Cambodia Itinerary

Don’t book anything yet, first, you should know a few things such as when to go, what to budget, the dress code, and other basic but vital information. These details will be covered in this section.

When is the best time to go to Cambodia

The best time to visit Cambodia is between November and February when the weather is cool and dry. This period is also the peak tourist season due to pleasant temperatures.

The rainy season occurs from May to October, and there are expected to be heavy showers and high humidity. Whether you’re coming for the Cambodian coastline or the temples, it’s best to avoid the typhoon season as it can really put a damper on your trip.

The shoulder seasons are March to April and late October to early November, offering a balance with fewer tourists and moderate weather, though March to April can be quite hot. These shoulder months are ideal for exploring Cambodia’s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty with more comfort and fewer crowds.

Are 3 weeks enough for Cambodia

Yes, 20 days in Cambodia is plenty of time. While it’s a big country, travelling overland can be time-consuming, especially if you plan to travel to less-travelled areas. So before putting your 3 weeks in Cambodia itinerary, you need to spend some time checking if the cities you chose are accessible from one another.

Plan to see 4-5 cities and not more to avoid wasting your time in buses, airports, and vehicles. If you feel like 3 weeks is too much time in Cambodia, you can do 3 weeks in Cambodia and Vietnam instead.

What to pack

This is Southeast Asia, so it’s vital that you pack bug spray regardless of the month you plan to visit. You must also bring clothing that will cover your shoulders and legs for when you visit temples, pagodas, and other sacred places.

One last thing: overall, it’s very hot and humid in Cambodia, so make sure to pack breathable and lightweight clothing. Check our what to pack for 3 weeks list, we also have a summer packing list.

How to get around

In Cambodia, the most common way to get around is by tuk-tuk, offering an affordable and authentic experience.

Buses are the most economical for longer distances, with extensive routes covering the country. Minivans are a popular choice when travelling between cities that are not more than a 5-hour drive, such as Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

For the fastest option, domestic flights connect major cities. However, if the flight is not more than 6 hours, it might be better to take the bus, or minivan, or book a private transfer instead.

Ride-hailing apps like Grab, WeGo and PassApp are available, providing convenient and reasonably priced taxi and tuk-tuk services in urban areas. These apps are a reliable choice for short distances and navigating cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, blending affordability with convenience.

Motorcycle rentals are popular for adventurous travellers but require caution. Since you have 20 days in Cambodia, it might be a great idea to rent a motorbike and travel on your own. This is only possible, though if you have small luggage such as a 40L backpack.

You can rent a motorbike for 3 weeks, then return it after. While other young travellers would buy a second-hand motorbike, that’s only common for those planning to motorbike in Indochina, meaning bringing the motorbikes to Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Language and currency

The official language of Cambodia is Khmer. While Khmer is predominant, English is widely spoken in tourist areas, major cities, and by younger generations, making it relatively easy for tourists to communicate. In rural areas, English proficiency may be limited, but locals are generally helpful.

Basic English is often sufficient in hotels, popular restaurants, and tourist attractions. Learning a few Khmer phrases can enhance the travel experience and is appreciated by locals. Install a translator app to help you get around as well.

The official currency of Cambodia is the Cambodian Riel (KHR), but the US Dollar is widely accepted and often preferred, especially in urban areas and tourist destinations. ATMS dispense Riel, but sometimes, you might find one that gives out USD.

USD is so common that you can even buy a bottle of water for a dollar. The price might be shown as $0.75, but it’s highly possible that you won’t get any change. So, only use a dollar when you’re paying an exact amount.

Cash is generally more accepted than credit cards, especially in rural areas and small establishments. However, major hotels, restaurants, and some shops do accept credit cards.

Average travel cost for Cambodia

Haggling is common in Cambodia, but don’t try to bargain too much; an extra dollar here and there could make a big impact on the locals. On average, a local makes between $150 to $300 a month, and that’s for those fully employed. Street sellers and tuk-tuk drivers make a lot less than that.

Visa

Unless you have a passport from the ASEAN country, then you need to apply for an evisa in advance. It allows you to stay for up to 30 days in a single entry. You can also get a visa on arrival, but expect longer queues at the immigration office.

I prefer getting an evisa as it saves time, you should apply at least a week before your trip. Depending on where you’re applying for your Evisa, you might pay the visa fee online or pay it upon entry. For evisa holders, you must enter through a specific entry point:

  • Phnom Penh International Airport
  • Siem Reap International Airport
  • Sihanoukville International Airport
  • Cham Yeam (Koh Kong Province) (from Thailand)
  • Poipet (Banteay Meanchey Province) (from Thailand)
  • Bavet (Svay Rieng Province) (from Vietnam)
  • Trapeang Kriel (Stung Treng Province) (from Laos)

Other travel tips

Book your travel arrangements when you have the dates down and the cities you plan to visit. If you’re arriving during the peak season, you should make the booking at least 3 months in advance or even 6 months if possible.

Here are some travel sites I personally use when booking my accommodation, flights, insurance, and more:

PINNED MAP OF MUST-SEE PLACES IN CAMBODIA

Click the enlarge button on the top right corner. Credit: map data: Google

TRIP COST CALCULATOR

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3 WEEKS IN CAMBODIA ITINERARY

This itinerary for Cambodia is perfect for first-time visitors, honeymoon couples, family vacations, retirees, and friends travelling together.

It’s filled with visits to historical places, exploring the local cuisine, doing water activities, and discovering the jungle (which you can skip if you wish).

This itinerary for 20 days in Cambodia, is designed as Siem Reap to Koh Kong, then to Sihanoukville, then to Koh Rong, and finally to Phnom Penh. On the other hand, you can easily do this the other way around or plan an itinerary that ends in Sihanoukville or Koh Rong to end your trip on a relaxing beach and/or islands.

I personally like finishing my trip where I’ll be boarding my flight out. If I finish my trip in a different city, then my travel day back home will be even longer than needed. If you feel like

Siem Reap for 5 days

Siem Reap is not the capital of Cambodia, but many people get confused too. It’s so popular because it’s the home of the magnificent Angkor Wat. Plus, a lot of flights land here as well. If you’re entering Thailand, you can even take a bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap.

This is a perfect place to start your trip, it’s easy to get around here and lots of accommodations are available. From here, you can also plan a day trip to Battambang and travel by land either to Phnom Penh or to the southern region for some sun and sea adventure.

Angkor Wat is a massive area to explore, it’s over 400 square kilometres, and features temples from the 15th century. The exact number of temples in the entire area is not precisely defined due to the varying sizes and states of preservation, but it is generally agreed to be over a thousand.

It’s so big that you can buy up to 4-day passes and must travel around the compound either with a motorbike, tuk-tuk, or a minivan (by foot is not possible).

With five days here, you can catch up with sleep on the first night, get a local sim card with data, get local money, and plan the rest of your trip or you can explore Angkor Wat better.

2 images - on the left are the pagodas and temples from ancient Angkor Wat. On the right is the smiling faces carved on a rock in Angkor Wat

Things to do in Siem Reap

Accommodations in Siem Reap

Phnom Penh for 5 days

Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia where many sites related to the genocide during the Khmer Rouge are located. Visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum to learn more about it.

You can see beautiful temples, like the stunning Royal Palace, and learn about Cambodia’s past at museums. The markets are super lively, filled with all sorts of cool stuff to buy and delicious food to try.

There’s a 6-hour or minivan from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. You can also book a private transfer or fly, which is more comfortable, but costs more.

Things to do in Phnom Penh

Accommodations in Phnom Penh

Koh Kong for 4 days

Koh Kong in Cambodia is an awesome spot for adventure lovers. It’s a place where you can dive into nature and do really cool stuff. You can kayak through mangroves, trekking in Southeast Asian jungles, and swim through waterfalls that look like something out of a movie.

Plus, there are beautiful, quiet beaches where you can chill and listen to the waves. And if you’re into wildlife, there’s plenty to see, from exotic birds to other native animals. Koh Kong is a really nice place to take a break from the busy tourist trails of Cambodia.

From Phnom Penh, its a 5-6 hour drive to Koh Kong. You can choose between a bus or a minivan, but you can also arrange a private transfer for convenience and comfort.’

Things to do in Koh Kong

Accommodations in Koh Kong

2 images - on the left is the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. On the right is a girl walking on a beach in Koh Kong

Sihanoukville for 2 days

Sihanoukville might not be the most beautiful beach town in Southeast Asia, but it has its moments. For one, it’s where you’ll find a $0.50 beer, while many bars and restaurants offer happy hour every night. Not to mention that many restaurants have a massive menu covering all the cuisine you could ever ask for.

However, if you’re feeling peckish and want some pizza, you should really be aware of “happy pizza”. Sounds great, but “happy pizza” actually means having weed or hallucinogenic mushrooms on your pizza toppings. There are also “happy shakes” and “happy smoothies”, so be aware.

Sihanoukville offers boat trips, day tours, and hiking trips to the Preah Monivong Bokor National Park. This is also the gateway to Cambodia’s island gem called Koh Rong.

To get to Sihanoukville from Koh Kong, you can take the bus which takes about 4 hours and 30 minutes. You can also book a private transfer, although that will only maximise your money if there are 2-3 people in your group as it can be costly.

Things to do in Sihanoukville

  • Queenco Hotel and Casino – if you want to play some games
  • Independence Beach

Accommodations in Sihanoukville

Kong Rong and Koh Rong Samloem for 4 days

Koh Rong is easily one of the most remarkable spots in Southeast Asia. This is because it’s one of the few places where you can see bioluminescence (a.k.a, the glowing plankton in the ocean). There are night boat tours specifically for this trip, or you can book an afternoon boat tour featuring snorkelling, fishing, and plankton trips.

Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloen are two different islands, but they are near one another. Koh Rong Samloen is more serene and has fewer accommodations. On the other hand, Koh Rong is lively and a hot spot for the party crowd.

Either way, if you choose to stay in one of the islands, you can easily book a boat tour to check out the other island.

Before you leave Sihanoukville, you must decide which island you’re going to since the ferry is most likely not to stop on boat islands. There are plenty of ferries that go every day, so you can leave the booking ticket the day before you plan to go.

You can get to Koh Rong from Sihanoukville through a boat. There are boats leaving throughout the day so you don’t need to book the tickets in advance. If you book a faster boat, it’s only a 45-minute sail, there’s a slower boat that is more affordable, but it’s almost 4 hours.

It’s a great place to end your 3 weeks in Cambodia itinerary you can just relax on the islands, and enjoy a classic beach vacation.

However, from here, you’ll need to travel back to Phnom Penh for an international flight. There might be international flights leaving Sihanoukville if you book in advance since they are limited and only available to limited Asian countries.

2 images - on the left are the wooden beach chairs along the beach of Sihanoukville. On the right is a hammock set up in a beach in Koh Rong Samloem

Things to do in Koh Rong

From Koh Rong to Phnom Penh, you have to take the boat to Sihanoukville first. From there, you can take a minivan, a bus, or a private transfer, which only takes 3 to 4 hours.

Accommodations in Koh Rong

MUST-TRY CAMBODIAN DISHES AND DRINKS

2 images of Cambodian dishes - on the left is amok on a banana leaf. On the right is a plate of Lao Khmer with vegetables and chilli - 3 weeks in Cambodia Itinerary

Cambodia might not be known for its cuisine, but this country has lots to offer. Here’s a list of tasty local dishes that you must check out during your visit.

Apart from that, many restaurants in Cambodia especially those in the touristy areas have a massive menu offering wide choices of cuisines.

  • Amok – A traditional creamy curry often cooked with fish, coconut milk, and Khmer spices, typically steamed and served in banana leaves.
  • Bai Sach Chrouk – Grilled pork marinated in garlic, soy, and coconut milk, served with rice and pickled vegetables.
  • Lap Khmer – Lime-marinated Khmer beef salad flavoured with herbs, spices, and fish sauce, often served spicy.
  • Nom Banh Chok – A popular breakfast dish, also known as Khmer noodles, served with a fish-based green curry gravy.
  • Kuy Teav – A noodle soup made with pork or seafood broth and topped with various meats, bean sprouts, and herbs.
  • Fish Amok – A signature Cambodian dish, similar to Amok, but specifically made with fish, giving it a distinct flavour.
  • Prahok Ktis – A spicy pork dip made with fermented fish paste, coconut milk, and served with fresh vegetables.
  • Bai Damnak – A Cambodian sticky rice cake, often coloured and flavoured with pandan leaves.
  • Sankhya Lapov – A pumpkin custard, where the pumpkin itself is used as a bowl filled with a creamy coconut custard.
  • Num Chak Kachan – Layered jelly made with coconut milk and cassava, visually appealing due to its vibrant layers.
  • Teuk Ampil – A refreshing sugarcane juice, often sold by street vendors and served cold.
  • Kuy Teav – A popular Cambodian coffee, typically strong and sweet, often served iced.
  • Sraa Tram (or Palm Wine) – A traditional alcoholic beverage made from the sap of palm trees, mildly sweet and refreshing.

SUMMARY OF 3 WEEKS IN CAMBODIA ITINERARY

Cambodia is an extraordinary destination for many people who seek different types of travel. As an affordable destination, Cambodia is suitable for backpackers, young families, retirees, working individuals, and everything in between.

I hope that this itinerary for 3 weeks in Cambodia has been helpful in planning your own trip.

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