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Inquiry Submission By VanHen

After getting so much info and advice for our trip to Cambodia I wanted to give back so hopefully my report will help others. We are a couple in our early 50’s and travelled with our 3 teenagers.Ours was an action-packed 3 weeks which worked for us as a family perfectly. Before we went I was concerned our itinery was too busy and I know others on this forum would probably not even consider packing 9 places into 3 weeks. We had some long travel days (always a private mini-van booked through our accomodation) but we never felt rushed or felt we needed longer in the areas we visited. We had an amazing trip. Loved the people, the food and the difference in all the destinations we stayed. In the last week while on the islands 4 of us got an upset stomach which only knocked us around for a day and gave us an excuse to have a day on the beach-lounges doing nothing. My son got an ear infection(I’d say from either one of the hotel pools or the Tatai river) but we were able to see a doctor in Kampot who gave him antibiotics. Her is our itinery :

Dec 28 Flew out of Sydney & arrived Phnom Pehn around 5pm. We stayed at Plantation for 2 nights which we loved. That night we walked to Romdeng to dinner which we thought was really great.

Dec 29 Got up early & walked along Sisowath Quay which was really interesting.After breakfast we went to S21 & Killing Fields. Back by the beautiful hotel pool by around 2.30 where we spent the rest of the afternoon. We walked out before sunset to have drinks at the Sora skybar but were knocked back because the kids weren’t 18. We then walked from there to Raffles where we had no problem & had beautiful cocktails. Got a tuk-tuk from Raffles to Eleven One Kitchen which was good but not as good as Romdeng. We like walking so walked back to Plantation after dinner

Dec 30 After breakfast we headed off on a 7hr journey to Mondulkiri for 2 nights staying at Mayura Hill Resort. Spent an hour or so around their lovely pool surrounded by jungle. We walked into the village that night for drinks at the Hangout Bar which the kids loved because it had a pool table. Then we had dinner up the road at Bunong Kitchen was simple but good. The next day after breakfast we headed to the Bousra waterfall. Husband & kids did the Mayura zipline which ends flying high over the raging waterfall. They loved it.There were lots of Cambodian families picnicking around the falls so I just walked around while the rest of the family were ziplining. Back to hotel for an afternoon around the pool. New Years Eve we walked back into village for drinks & dinner again at the Hangout Bar.

Alot of people go to Mondulkiri to visit the elephants but we felt we’ve seen enough elephants & wouldn’t of then had enough time for the zipline

Jan 1 After breakfast we headed off on a 4hr journey to Chhlong & stayed in a restored french governor’s office called Le Ralais de Chhlong for 2 nights.Gorgeous. Afternoon around pool which looks onto the Mekong River and we walked around the town before having dinner at hotel restaurant which also looks out across the river and was surprisingly good. There is nothing to do in Chhlong but is only 45 mins from Kratie & we liked this hotel better than what we’d seen in Kratie.

Next day after breakfast spent a couple of hours around the pool then headed into Kratie on tuk-tuks for the day. We had lunch at Le Tonle then hired bikes in the town and went on a barge over to an island on the Mekong which has an approx 9km bike track around it. Was really interesting seeing the farms and how people lived. Caught the barge back, dropped off our bikes and had dinner around 6pm at Tokae before heading back on tuks-tuks to our hotel

Jan 3-6 Off to Siem Reap after breakfast .3& half hr trip. Stayed at Khmer Mansion Residence. Beautiful hotel tucked away from the chaos. Afternoon by pool then headed off to ticket office to purchase one day tickets to Angkor around 3pm. We then went to Angkor Wat for Sunset. That night we walked to Pub Street for a look. Very touristy. We went to Chanrey Tree for dinner. Was only ok.

We found we preferred the little family run restaurants . No air-con but was always nice to sit outdoors and food was just as good or better than the fancier restaurants and half the price. we found we could have been in a Sydney restaurant at Chanrey Tree which defeats the purpose for us

Next morning after breakfast we went to Angkor Thom then Ta Prom which we preferred to Angkor Wat. We didn’t have a guide and just went in tuk-tuks organised through the hotel. Were back at hotel pool around 2.30 and that was enough templing for all of us. Great experience, very inter

esting but hot & crowded. Headed out to dinner to Sita Sousday. Nice little place. Our last day in Siem Reap we went quad-biking in the countryside just out of town. This was for a couple of hours on dirt tracks beside rice paddys. Was great fun but we were filthy from the red dirt dust. Our 15yr old was happy because even he could have a quad-bike to drive himself. Back to pool for afternoon then walked out for early dinner to Tevy’s place then Phare Circus which was SO good. We are not circus people & weren’t really expecting much but were blown away by the talents of the actors

Jan 6 Off to Battambang for 2 nights. 3hr trip because of a lot of roadwork. Really enjoyed this interesting town. Stayed at Ravorn Villa Boutique which was basic but fine. Afternoon by pool then tuk-tuk to the bat caves for sunset. Strenuous walk up the hill to a temple and killing cave and back down in time for sunset when the bats leave the caves. Tuk-tuked to Coconut Lyly for dinner. Next day after breakfast we went on the Bamboo Train then to a 100yr house in the Old Town where the owner gives a thorough informative tour. Back to pool for afternoon then headed into town for a wander around the streets. Lots of crumbling french colonial architecture. Had nice drinks at a french style bar called Libations then dinner at Nary’s Kitchen. Yum.

Jan 8-10 Massive travel day for us today to Tatai in the Cardamon Mountains. Left Battambang at 7am and arrived Tatai River 10 and half hrs later. Apparantly the quicker route was closed due to roadworks. Kids were not impressed but hey this is what travelling is all about. Interesting drive though as we saw rats, cats ,dogs & snakes being bbq’d along the roads for sale to the locals. We were staying at Rainbow Lodge which was unique . We were met at the river then whisked in a boat along the river for 10 mins to the lodge which was lovely after our long travel day and the sunset was amazing. All meals were included in the price as you are in the middle of the dense forest . No roads or restaurants on this side of the river. Was so quiet & peaceful for a change. Next morning we did a 2hr trek with a guide employed through the lodge to the Tatai waterfall which we were able to swim in. We then kayaked back to the lodge which took around 45mins. After lunch spent the afternoon lazing by the river. Kids used the lodge’s stand-up-paddleboards & it was fine to swim in the river. We loved our time here. Was so scenic & chilled out.

Jan 10-13 Now for the total relax. Drove from Tatai to Sihanoukville to catch the ferry to Sok San Beach Resort at Koh Rong. They have their own private jetty away from the destruction of Sihanoukville. Was pleasantly surprised by the resort after reading many negative reviews. The beach is beautiful. White,white sand & clear,crystal aqua water. The bungalows are basic & beachy

perched on the sand.Spent our days on the beach chairs. Went around to Koh Touch which is the busy side of the island for a look & lunch one day. We walked half way there & when we realised how much longer we had to go we paid someone to drive us the rest of the way. Caught a taxi-boat back. Were glad we weren’t staying there. Loads of rubbish & jam-packed with back-packers. We always had dinner in the little Sok San village which was a 5 min walk either down the beach or along a dirt track from our accomodation. We went to the Moon restaurant, Kim Song restaurant &

( never thought i’d do this ) Eat Pray Love italian restaurant. All were good & better options for us than the resort restaurant. One day we hired motor-bikes and rode across the island to the most beautiful beach called Coconut Beach. Again the 15yr old couldn’t believe his luck that he was allowed to drive a motor-bike. I was worried about this but there were no cars on the island. We had lunch at one the many restaurant/shacks along Coconut Beach

Jan 13-16 Went on the back of motorbikes back to Koh Touch Pier to catch the ferry to Koh Rong Samloem. Ferry took around 1 hr. Another beautiful island. Stayed at The One Resort which had its pro’s & con’s but all in all was very pleasant. All the restaurants along the beach do bbq’s with fresh catches of the day and the tables are set along the sand. We never wore shoes on this island except when we did a 45min walk to Lazy Beach which again was a beautiful beach with one very good restaurant. This island is a lot quieter than Koh Rong. There is no roads.

Jan 16-18 Getting sad because our adventure is coming to an end. Left KRS for Serendipity Pier in Sihanoukville. What a hell-hole of a place. So sad this is happening to such a beautiful country. Organised mini-van from our hotel in Kampot to meet us at Pier and was roughly a 3hr drive to Kampot. Stayed at Hotel Five S which we really liked. Had a nice lunch at Rikitikitavi. Dinner at Atelier which we found only ok & pricier than usual. Next day we used the hotel bicycles & went for a long bike ride to Greenhouse on the river. Lovely swimming in the river & having a nice glass of wine

in their open air restaurant on the river. Back for lunch at Rikitikitavi. Last afternoon by the hotel plunge pool. Last dinner at Veronica’s Kitchen. Very good. Kampot was a nice place to end our trip as it’s very laid back. There are a few touristy options to do but we had an unwell child & husband was queasy by this stage so didn’t want to go to far. Mini-van to Phnom Pehn airport next morning. Roughly a 3hr trip

We absolutely loved Cambodia & found it so easy to get around. We also never felt unsafe.

Back to the routine of work & school now unfortunately. Hope you enjoyed this report