Planning a trip to Cambodia? How exciting! This Cambodia itinerary shares three options, 1 week, 2 weeks and 3 weeks, to help you plan the perfect route for your Cambodia travels.
From ancient temples to tropical beaches, charming colonial towns and bustling cities, there is no shortage of adventures to be had in Cambodia. The challenge is fitting it all into your itinerary! These adventures combined with welcoming locals, culture and affordability make Cambodia one of the most popular backpacking destinations in South East Asia.
This guide shares essential information for planning your trip to Cambodia, such as getting visas and when to travel, alongside Cambodia itineraries for a 1-week, 2-week and 3-week trip. They give you a good idea of what is logistically possible, but feel free to modify them as needed to suit your travel plans!
Planning a Trip to Cambodia
So, you’re just getting started on planning your travels to Cambodia – I’m sure you have so many questions! In this section, I answer some of the most important questions like how to get a visa for Cambodia, a daily budget, how long to spend travelling, where to start and end your trip, how to travel around and the best time of year to visit Cambodia.
If you don’t need this information, you can skip to the Cambodia itineraries.
Getting a visa for Cambodia in 2023
To visit Cambodia, you will need a visa. Luckily the process is simple for most passports, with the option of visa-on-arrival or e-visa (both costing $30). Cambodia also has visa exemptions for ASEAN countries.
I recommend getting the e-visa to save time processing at the airport or border crossing. You can apply for an e-visa through the government portal here.
Daily budget for travelling Cambodia
When it comes to travel, Cambodia is very budget-friendly. My average daily spend during the month I travelled around Cambodia was $28. While I was actively travelling on a budget, you can see from my Cambodia posts that we didn’t have to compromise on activities and destinations. Opting to stay in hostels and homestays kept our budget low.
That said, there are some beautiful hotels and resorts where you can experience 5-star quality for a fraction of the price in Europe or North America, so you might have the budget to experience some luxury during your trip to Cambodia.
How long do you need to travel Cambodia?
If you have limited time, 1 week is enough to see the highlights of Cambodia. To dive deeper into the culture and history of Cambodia, you’ll need more time.
Of course, it depends on your interests, but for me, the sweet spot is around 2 weeks. With 2 weeks in Cambodia, you can explore Phnom Penh, Kampot, Koh Rong, Battambang and Siem Reap! It is a fast-paced and action-packed fortnight.
The 3-week itinerary covers the key destinations, as well as the off-the-beaten-path Mondulkiri province.
How to travel around Cambodia
While Cambodia has 2 train lines and a couple of domestic airports, most travellers use buses to get around as the country is relatively small. If you’re on a budget, bus or train travel is the most likely though it does mean that you might have a few long travel days.
I don’t recommend flying if you can avoid it (it’s more environmentally friendly to grab a bus) but if you only have 1 week in Cambodia it will save you a full day of travel to fly from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap.
Best time of year to visit Cambodia
The best time of year to travel to Cambodia is during the winter months, from November to March as this is the dry season. The dry season brings reliable blue skies with temperatures slightly lower, though Cambodia remains very hot all year so this is something to prepare for.
During the summer, Cambodia is in monsoon season which brings rainstorms, humidity and heat. When I travelled to Cambodia during the monsoon season, my plans were rarely affected by monsoon rain as I planned my days around it. It generally rains for a couple of hours in the afternoon with sunshine for the rest of the day (the majority of the Cambodia photos on my blog were taken during the Monsoon season).
Where to start/end your Cambodia trip?
In my opinion, the best place to start your Cambodia travels is Phnom Penh; the vibrant capital. With the main international airport, it is likely that this will be your first stop in the country. Phnom Penh is the main travel hub and you will likely have to pass through the city a couple of times during your trip to transit to another area of the country.
The best way to travel around Cambodia, and minimise backtracking, is to arrive in Phnom Penh and leave through Siem Reap (or vice versa).
In all my itineraries, I leave visiting Angkor Wat until the end of the trip (we love a bit of anticipation). This gives you time to adjust to the heat, culture and timezone before exploring a Wonder of the World!
If you are starting your trip in Siem Reap, just follow the itineraries in reverse.
The Perfect Cambodia Itinerary
In this guide, I share 3 itineraries of varying lengths to help you craft the perfect itinerary for your trip! Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect from each itinerary so you can jump to the most appropriate:
1 Week Cambodia Itinerary 📍 Phnom Penh, Koh Rong and Siem Reap
2 Week Cambodia Itinerary 📍 Phnom Penh, Kampot, Koh Rong, Battambang, Siem Reap
3 Week Cambodia Itinerary 📍 Phnom Penh, Kampot, Koh Rong, Mondulkiri, Battambang, Siem Reap
To save repeating myself in each itinerary, as they overlap, I give the full details in the 1 week and 2 week Cambodia itineraries and refer back to these details where relevant in the 3 week Cambodia itinerary.
1 Week Cambodia Itinerary
A whirlwind week of history and culture, paradise beaches and mesmerising ancient temples.
This 1 week Cambodia itinerary has you checking out the bustling capital of Phnom Penh where you’ll get to grips with the sombre history of Cambodia, before dipping your toes in the tropical paradise of Koh Rong Island, and finally heading across the country to Siem Reap where you’ll discover the iconic temples of Angkor Wat.
Day 1 and 2: Phnom Penh
Let’s hit the ground running with a couple of days in the Cambodian capital; Phnom Penh. For backpackers, check into Onederz* hostel which has a social vibe and is perfectly located for a wander through the city!
Get your bearings on your first day by visiting the Royal Palace, climbing up to Wat Phnom temple, browsing at the Central Market and taking a sunset wander along the riverfront (it’s great for people-watching).
The mood is more sombre for your second day in Phnom Penh, as you visit the S21 Prison and Killing Fields. These two museums are dedicated to educating visitors on the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge during their reign of terror in 1970s Cambodia. It’s not fun but it is a worthwhile topic to understand before you travel around Cambodia and these two sites are the best places to learn more.
Day 3 and 4: Koh Rong
It’s time to leave Phnom Penh and head south to the tropical island of Koh Rong. To get to Koh Rong you will first have to take the bus to Sihanoukville where you can catch the speed ferry to Koh Rong. I recommend taking the earliest bus possible from Phnom Penh so you can get to Koh Rong in time to enjoy the afternoon there. You can book the bus and ferry in advance via Camboticket*, a search engine that compares travel options for you to book the most suitable.
💰 $14 bus + $24 return on the speed ferry
⏰ 6hr bus (3hr minivan) + 45min speed ferry
I recommend staying somewhere near Kaoh Touch Beach for the convenience of activities and finding food. Nest Beach Club* is the most popular place for Backpackers, but there are some lovely resorts on the island if you have the budget for it.
While on Koh Rong you have to swim with the bioluminescent plankton – you’ll see it best on a boat trip so join one of the snorkelling tours! Other cool things you can do are kayak through the mangroves, hike to the secret waterfall and party at Nestival.
Day 5: Travel from Koh Rong to Siem Reap
Day 5 of your 1-week Cambodia itinerary is a travel day for getting from Koh Rong to Siem Reap. You have 2 options for travelling this route; flight or night bus. Both start with taking the ferry from Koh Rong to Sihanoukville. As mentioned above, book a return ticket for the ferry so you have it organised in advance.
From Sihanoukville, you can take a bus direct to Siem Reap. The buses run during the night and have you arriving in Siem Reap ready to explore the next morning. You can book tickets via Camboticket*, a search engine that compares the options for your route.
⏰ 12hrs overnight
There is an airport in Sihanoukville with domestic flights to Siem Reap. I don’t normally recommend flights for domestic travel when there is an alternative option, but in this case, it’s a good option if you have the budget and want to save some time.
If you chose to fly, you need to take the earliest ferry back to Sihanoukville. But if you take the night bus, I recommend taking the last ferry and enjoying your day on Koh Rong.
Day 6: Siem Reap and Angkor Wat
For the finale of your week in Cambodia, we’re exploring one of the Wonders of the World; Angkor Wat. Our base for exploring the temples is the gateway town of Siem Reap. For backpackers, I recommend checking into Onederz* which has both private and dorm rooms, and a couple of pools to cool off in after exploring the temples.
I recommend getting the 1-day Angkor Pass and doing the small circuit of Angkor – this circuit visits the key temples of Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Phrom and the Angkor Thom gates. For details on how to explore the temples, check out the guides below:
In the evening be sure to watch a show by the Phare Circus, people watch on Pub Street, explore the night markets and get one of Siem Reap’s infamous $3 foot massages.
Day 7: Siem Reap (or return to Phnom Penh)
Depending on your travel plans, the final day of your week in Cambodia will be spent exploring more of Siem Reap (if you’re leaving the country from here), or returning to Phnom Penh (if you’re leaving from there).
If you need to get back to Phnom Penh for onward travel, I recommend taking the bus which can be booked via Camboticket*.
2 Week Cambodia Itinerary
In this Cambodia itinerary, we add the lush riverside town of Kampot and the city of Battambang, where you can ride the iconic bamboo train. With so much to see and do in this 2 week Cambodia itinerary, there are more travel days and less downtime but if you want to see it all this is the fastest way to do it!
Day 3, 4 and 5: Kampot
From Phnom Penh, grab a bus to the charming colonial town of Kampot. Surrounded by countryside, from mountains to rivers to beaches, it’s the perfect place to get a dose of nature. You can book the bus via Camboticket*.
Karma Traders* is the place to stay for backpackers, though I highly recommend spending at least 1-night at one of the riverside resorts that Kampot is renowned for. We stayed at Eden Ecovillage* which was the perfect reset, with riverfront access for swimming or kayaking, free yoga and a restaurant cooking incredible healthy food!
There is so much to fill your time in Kampot, from water activities to day trips! Be sure to go for a kayak to the Green Cathedral and play at one of the waterparks. I absolutely loved our day trip to the secret lake & Kep, where we got to try fresh crab at the traditional market. Or you can take a trip up Bokor Mountain for amazing views!
Day 6, 7 and 8: Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem
Continuing south, we’re trading the rivers of Kampot for the idyllic beaches of Koh Rong. To get to Koh Rong, take the bus to Sihanoukville and then jump on the speed ferry. You can find bus and ferry tickets on Camboticket*. I recommend leaving as early as possible so you can spend the majority of your day on Koh Rong, rather than in transit.
💰 $10 bus + $24 return speed ferry
⏰ 3hrs + 45min speed ferry
If you want to add another destination, head back to Sihanoukville via a night on the nearby island of Koh Rong Sanloem. It’s similarly beautiful to Koh Rong, but it’s smaller size and fewer visitors give it a more “private island” vibe. You can take a quick 15min ferry from Koh Rong for $5-10, then use your return ferry ticket from Koh Rong Sanloem back to the mainland.
Day 9: Travel from Koh Rong to Battambang
Today is the biggest travel day in this 2 weeks in Cambodia itinerary, as the only way to travel from the coast to the charming town of Battambang is via Phnom Penh.
I recommend taking the 9am ferry to Sihanoukville, the 11:30am or 12pm bus to Phnom Penh, and the onward 5:30pm bus to Battambang. All buses can be booked directly with Virak Buntham (VET). This travel itinerary has you arriving in Battambang in time for a well-deserved sleep, ready to explore the next day as well as including leeway for delays and time to grab food on route.
💰 $15 bus to Phnom Penh + $15 bus to Battambang
⏰ 45min ferry + 3hr bus + 6hr bus (total will be 12hr+ with transfers)
Day 10: Battambang
Battambang might not be the most well-known tourist destination in Cambodia, but with some of the friendliest locals and some unique sites to see, you’ll find it well worth a spot on your itinerary. For backpackers, THE PLACE hostel* in the heart of the city is a popular place to stay, with some air-conditioned rooms. We stayed at Blue Diamond Guesthouse* which doesn’t have AC but does have a swimming pool to cool down in.
I recommend enlisting Mr Kim, an incredible local guide, to take you into the countryside, where you can learn about the trade villages and history of Battambang, ride the bamboo train, visit the killing cave memorial and witness millions of bats emerge from their cave at sunset. In the evening, watch one of the mesmerising performances at the Phare Battambang Circus.
Day 11, 12, 13: Siem Reap
Saving the best for last, it’s time to head to Siem Reap ready to visit Cambodia’s iconic Angkor Wat. From Battambang, Siem is a quick 3hr bus ride which means you will arrive with time to relax in the afternoon or jump straight into exploring. You can book the bus via Camboticket*.
Onederz* is the perfect place for backpackers to stay, with multiple pools to cool off with a cocktail after hot days exploring the temples. Check out my Travel Guide to Siem Reap for more recommendations.
With 3 days in Siem Reap, you have the option to explore the temples at a slower pace, or the time to dive deep into them. Check out my 3 Day Itinerary for Siem Reap and Angkor Wat for my recommendations on what temples to explore, as well as things to do in the evenings. If you didn’t catch the circus in Battambang, then the Phare Circus in Siem Reap is a must!
Day 14: Return to Phnom Penh (or relax in Siem Reap)
Depending on your onward travel plans, I’ve set aside the final day of your 2 week Cambodia itinerary to make your way back to Phnom Penh, or if you booked to travel out of Siem Reap this gives you a day to relax by the pool and recoup after an adventure fueled trip!
3 Week Cambodia Itinerary
This 3 weeks itinerary takes you beyond the highlights of Cambodia and off the tourist trail in Mondulkiri province. Home to the last wild elephants in Cambodia, this route is perfect for seasoned travellers who want to dive deep into the culture and nature of Cambodia.
Day 1 and 2: Phnom Penh
Start your trip with a couple of days exploring the capital of Cambodia. See the 1-week itinerary above for how to spend 2 days in Phnom Penh.
Day 3, 4 and 5: Kampot
From Phnom Penh, head south to the riverside town of Kampot. All the details for how to get to Kampot, things to do and where to stay can be found in the section above.
Day 6, 7 and 8: Koh Rong (or Koh Rong Sanloem)
After a couple of days of exploring the jungles of Kampot, it’s time to hit the islands. Check out the section above for travel details and recommendations.
Day 9: Return to Phnom Penh
See the section above with details on how to get from the islands to Phnom Penh.
Day 10, 11, 12 and 13: Travel to Mondulkiri
It’s time to get off the beaten path and experience the lush mountains of the Mondulkiri region. Located 320km north of Phnom Penh, Mondulkiri is known for its ethnic tribes, waterfalls and wild elephants. We didn’t have the time to visit Mondulkiri during our month in Cambodia due to work commitments and it’s my biggest regret as it looks incredible!
The main town in Mondulkiri is called Sen Monorom and the only way to get here is via bus. Due to the roads, it will most likely take you 1 day to get to Mondulkiri from Phnom Penh. You can book the bus via Camboticket*.
When I get the chance to travel to Mondulkiri, you can bet I’ll be staying at the Tree Lodge*. The owner runs a local NGO called The Mondulkiri Project which rescues elephants that remain in captivity. Through the lodge, you can trek with the elephants, hike to waterfalls and stay overnight in the jungle with guides from the Bunong tribe, an ethnic group native to the region. The tribe has a deep spiritual connection with nature and a unique culture you can get insight into from the guides.
Day 14 and 15: Return to Phnom Penh
Travelling onwards from Mondulkiri is challenging, and will require heading back to Phnom Penh. Due to the long travel time, I recommend spending the night in Phnom Penh to split up the journey to the next stop; Battambang. You can book the buses via Camboticket*.
💰 $15 to Phnom Penh + $15 Battambang
⏰ 6-8hrs + 6hr to Battambang
Day 16 and 17: Battambang
Day 21: Return to Phnom Penh (or relax in Siem Reap)
The final day is set aside for you to make your way back to Phnom Penh, or to relax in Siem Reap if your onward travel is from here.
Cambodia Itinerary Routes for 1 week, 2 weeks and 3 weeks
This map shares the routes suggested for each of the Cambodia itineraries outlined in this guide. Click through the side panel to see each itinerary separately.
Click the star next to the title to save the map to your Google Drive for later.
Whether travelling for 1 week, 2, or 3 weeks, I hope this guide has helped you to craft the perfect Cambodia itinerary for your trip. You’re going to have an incredible time!
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Planning a Trip to Cambodia
For more information on planning a trip to Cambodia, be sure to check out my Complete Cambodia Travel Guide which includes everything you need to know for travelling around the country and all my local travel guides.