9 Best Weekend Trips From Phnom Penh to Escape the City

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Basing yourself in Phnom Penh is a good idea, since Cambodia’s capital is centrally located and has lots of transportation connections to other areas of the country. When you need a break from the hecticness and traffic of Phnom Penh, there are plenty of places that you can go to for a weekend getaway. Whether you’re looking for slow island life or cultural exploration, you’ve got lots of options to choose from.

Ready to escape the city? Here are nine weekend trips from Phnom Penh that you can easily take, with directions on how to get to your destination.


  • Travel time: 3 – 5 hours
  • How to get there: Bus/minivan, train, or taxi/private car.
  • Best for: Small town, chill vibes with an international food scene and lots of outdoor activities.

Let’s start with my favorite place in Cambodia – Kampot. I didn’t know what to expect when I visited, but it didn’t take me long to figure out what makes it so charming. Kampot is the perfect balance of being a quiet city that isn’t too quiet. There’s also lots of things to do, so you won’t get bored here.

You’ll want to take a weekend trip to Kampot if you’re looking for good food and outdoor adventure. The city has a surprising amount of international food, due to the number of expats who live there. Kampot is also an agriculturally rich city. Its known for its salt fields and pepper plantations – both of which you can visit.

Being surrounded by rivers, forests, mountains, and farm fields, Kampot offers lots of opportunities to enjoy its nature. You can go kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, and biking. One of the best things I did in Kampot was taking a bicycle tour around the countryside.

If you’re ready to enjoy a food and nature-filled weekend, learn how to get to Kampot by bus, train, or private car.


  • Travel time: 3 – 4 hours
  • How to get there: Bus, van, train, or taxi/private car.
  • Best for: Eating seafood, slowing down, and enjoying the beach and nature.

Kep is a slow-moving seaside town that sits on the southeastern coast of Cambodia. Being by the water, you’ll soak up the sun at Kep Beach and eat some of the freshest seafood at the Crab Market. For more beaches, you can take a day trip to the island of Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island). And if you feel like switching it up with something more active, Kep National Park is immediately accessible and filled with hiking trails.

Siem Reap

  • Travel time: 1 – 6 hours
  • How to get there: Bus, van, taxi/private car, or plane.
  • Best for: Cambodian culture and history, trendy cafés, and nightlife.
Tourists standing outside the entrance to Bayon Temple in Angkor Wat

If you haven’t been to Siem Reap yet, it’s a must. Siem Reap is the jumping off point for visiting Angkor Wat – the enormous religious complex built during the Khmer empire. Although Angkor Wat is what Siem Reap is best known for, there’s so much more to discover and love here.

Siem Reap is a great place to learn more about the Cambodian Civil War. Places like the Cambodia Landmine Museum, APOPO Visitor Center, and War Museum Cambodia educate visitors on the war and demining efforts and showcase weaponry, vehicles, and artifacts. Animal-lovers should visit the Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre or Angkor Center for Conservation of Biodiversity to learn about some of Cambodia’s conservation efforts. You can also hang out at many chic cafés and then drink the night away on Pub Street.

It takes one to six hours to get to Siem Reap, depending on the mode of transportation you choose. The fastest way is by plane. It’s a quick one-hour flight, but you’ll have to factor in travel time to and from the airport and waiting time once you’re there. Alternatively, you can travel by bus, van, or taxi/private car, which will take about five to six hours. You might feel that it’s a long journey for a weekend trip, but Siem Reap is worth it.

Kampong Cham

  • Travel time: 2 – 3 hours
  • How to get there: Bus, minibus/van, or taxi/private car.
  • Best for: Experiencing an authentic, lesser-known Cambodian city.

Kampong Cham is under the radar among travelers. Largely untouched by tourism, it’s one of the best places to see what real Cambodian city life is like.

In Kampong Cham, it’s all about local exploration. There are a few landmarks to visit, like the French Lighthouse, Kampong Cham Market, Wat Nokor, Phnom Pros, and Phnom Srei. But with not much going on, the most interesting part of visiting Kampong Cham is simply observing daily life along the Mekong River.

You can also walk or bike over the rickety bamboo Koh Pen Bridge to the small island of Koh Pen. Although it’s just minutes away from the city, Koh Pen gives you a look at what rural village life is like. Bike around the island to see the many farm fields, cows, temples, and stilt houses.

Kampong Chhnang

  • Travel time: 1.5 – 3 hours
  • How to get there: Minibus/van or taxi/private car.
  • Best for: Discovering off-the-beaten path cultural sights.

Since Kampong Chhnang is only 94 km or 58.4 miles from Phnom Penh, you could visit it on either a weekend trip or a day trip. Despite how close and accessible it is, Kampong Chhnang is actually an off-the-beaten-path destination that few travelers visit.

Kampong Chhnang is a port city along the Tonle Sap River and the capital of the Kampong Chhnang province. There are three main reasons to come here for a weekend.

First, Kampong Chhnang has a floating village that you can visit, which is a great alternative to the more well-known floating village near Siem Reap. The area is also known for its hand-crafted red pottery, which is produced in the nearby village of Ondong Rossey. You can visit the village and even buy some of the pottery. Lastly, Kampong Chhnang has an abandoned airport that the Khmer Rouge built with material and technical assistance from the Chinese and slave labor. Although the airport isn’t used today, it is guarded by the Royal Cambodian Air Force, so you may not be able to get inside.


  • Travel time: 4.5 – 6.5 hours
  • How to get there: Minibus/van or taxi/private car.
  • Best for: Peace and quiet, untouched nature, and mind-blowing sunsets.

A weekend is the perfect amount of time to spend in the very small town of Kratié. There are a few things to do in Kratié, but not a lot given how rural and sleepy the area is. In a weekend, you’ll be able to get to most or all of the things that there are to do there.

The biggest attraction in Kratié is the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins, which you can see by taking a boat or kayaking. After that, walk or bike around the tiny island of Koh Trong. Few people live on the island, making it a beautiful paradise filled with colorful butterflies, pomelo trees, and empty beaches. There are a few cultural sites in and around Kratié, including the Krong Kracheh Pagoda, Phnom Sambok Pagoda, and 100 Column Pagoda.

See how to get to Kratié from Phnom Penh.


  • Travel time: 5 – 8.5 hours
  • How to get there: Minibus/van, train, or taxi/private car.
  • Best for: Seeing a bustling yet less hectic city with many outdoor cultural attractions and a small, growing art scene.
Dog walking on a road in a small village in Battambang

Battambang is the second largest city in Cambodia after Phnom Penh, so why would you trade one busy city for another? While Phnom Penh can feel overwhelming with its insane amount of traffic and towering skyscrapers, Battambang feels more approachable. Its French colonial architecture is charming, and it lacks the international influence that has shaped Phnom Penh.

Although Battambang doesn’t attract as many tourists as Siem Reap, it has some of Cambodia’s best cultural and historical attractions. Like Phnom Penh, Battambang was the site of many Khmer Rouge atrocities. You can learn more about what happened here and see memorials at the Killing Cave and Well of Shadows. Other top attractions include taking a thrilling ride on the bamboo train, watching bats put on a show at sunset, and visiting art galleries.

Get directions on traveling to Battambang from Phnom Penh.

Koh Rong

  • Travel time: 4 – 7 hours
  • How to get there: Bus, van, train, or taxi/private car. Plus, a ferry transfer.
  • Best for: All the beaches, water activities, and partying.

It’s a bit of a trek to get to the island of Koh Rong. You’ll need to either take a bus, van, train, or private car to Sihanoukville and then transfer to a ferry. But once you’re on the island, any travel stress you might have had is going to melt away.

On Koh Rong, it’s all about relaxation or adventure. If you’re looking for a calming getaway, Koh Rong has many beaches for you to chill out on. Alternatively, you can get your heart pumping by snorkeling, kayaking, diving, or trekking to a waterfall. Then at night, watch the water light up with bioluminscent plankton and party it up at a bar.

Koh Rong Samloem

  • Travel time: 4 – 7 hours
  • How to get there: Bus, van, train, or taxi/private car. Plus, a ferry transfer.
  • Best for: Disconnecting, laying on the beach, and doing nothing.

Although Koh Rong Samloem is just a 30-minute boat ride from Koh Rong, it feels like a completely different island. Koh Rong Samloem is a smaller, quieter island where the focus is all on disconnecting from the Internet and escaping the everyday. Popular activities include being a beach bum, snorkeling or diving, watching the sunset, kayaking, paddleboarding, exploring the old lighthouse, and hiking through the jungle.

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Best Weekend Trips From Phnom Penh