How Many Days to Spend in Cambodia
How many days do you need to see Cambodia?
Cambodia is a small but culturally rich country, so the answer depends on your interests and how much you want to see outside of the touristy areas. For most, two weeks is the perfect amount of time to see the highlights and some less visited parts of Cambodia. If you have more time though, one month will give you a thorough experience of all that Cambodia has to offer.
Here’s what you can expect when visiting Cambodia based on the amount of time you’ll spend there.
Less than a week
In a few days, you’re able to see one or two of the things that Cambodia is most known for. In Siem Reap, you’ll find Angkor Wat, one of the largest religious sites in the world. It’s the biggest draw for many people. There’s also Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Phnom Penh is one of the best places in the country to learn about the Khmer Rouge, which is an extremely sad but important event in Cambodian history.
With less than a week, you’ll only be able to see the most popular places in Cambodia. Hit up Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, or both, depending on how many days you have. Each city is worth at least two days to see its main attractions.
With that being said, you’re doing a quick flyby of a country that deserves more time. If you think it’ll still be worth it, go for it! If not, I recommend rethinking your travel plans to either cut out Cambodia or spend more time here.
In one week, you’ll be able to go to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and another city of your choice.
Battambang is Cambodia’s second largest city and provides a more authentic look at local life. Even though it hasn’t been developed for tourism much, there’s plenty to see and do in Battambang. You can take a thrilling ride on the old bamboo train, explore the countryside on a bicycle, discover the city’s small but vibrant art scene, see a bat show at sunset, learn about the Khmer Rouge, and more. Battambang is a four-hour ride from Siem Reap and seven hours from Phnom Penh.
For a slower pace of life, add Kampot to your itinerary. It’s a small city with an expat community that has created a global food scene, and there’s easy access to outdoor activities, including rock climbing and kayaking. Kampot is an agricultural hub that’s best known for producing high-quality peppercorn. So while you’re there, visit a pepper farm to see how it’s grown and taste the product that gets used by many Michelin-star restaurants.
If you prefer outdoor activities and really want to go where few tourists go, spend two days in Kratié. You’ll get to see the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins, be one of a handful of tourists on the small island of Koh Trong, and see some of the best sunsets in Cambodia.
Two weeks is the perfect amount of time to visit four or five places in Cambodia at a relaxed pace. You’re able to have a more complete experience in each place you visit, rather than only seeing the top attractions. With two weeks, you should visit Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Battambang. Then, add one or two more places based on what you want to do.
You can go to Kampot and Kep, which provide the best mix of good food, relaxation, and adventure. In Kampot, you can take it slow by dropping into a yoga class or sitting in one of the city’s many cafés. Adventure-seekers can kayak, rock climb, go caving, or swim in the Secret Lake. There’s also Bokor Mountain, which is historically interesting and kinda an eerie place. In Kep, eat fresh seafood at the Crab Market, hike Kep National Park, and catch some sun at either Kep Beach or Koh Tonsay.
Kep and Kampot are on the southwest coast of Cambodia. If you go in the other direction, toward the Cambodia-Vietnam border, you’ll find some of the best nature Cambodia has. Go to Kratié and then go even further to Mondulkiri, where you’ll escape most civilization and find jungles, waterfalls, and elephants.
The last option is to head to the islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem. They’re the ultimate destination for disconnecting and doing nothing. Laze around on one of the many beaches. Or go snorkeling and scuba diving – although, Cambodia’s marine life isn’t as exciting compared to other places in southeast Asia.
With three weeks, you’ll be able to see most of Cambodia. For the best combination of must-sees, less touristy places, and variety of activities, I recommend visiting Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang, Kampot, and Kep. Then, add in either the islands (Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem) or Kratié and Mondulkiri since they’re a bit out of the way.
Get my three-week Cambodia itinerary. Follow it exactly for a well-planned trip or use pieces of it to create your own plan.
When I visited Cambodia, I spent a month there. There was more than enough to see, which is why I recommend giving Cambodia this much time if you have it. In a month, you really see all the different sides of the country. You’ll get to all the destinations listed above while having a few slow days to catch your breath. Check out my one-month Cambodia itinerary for a complete list of all the places you should go and what to do there.
If you’d like, you can even swap out a few places for volunteering or doing a Workaway.