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Cambodia – Phnom Penh & the south

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the local story – what happened

Before I could travel on from Laos to Cambodia, I unfortunately had to make a detour via Bangkok in Thailand. The direct way was unfortunately not possible for me, the reason for this was quite banal. My passport was full – there was no free page for the full page Cambodian visa. I thought it would be no problem to use an already stamped page for a new visa, which means to paste over the existing entry. When I had made this suggestion to the border guard when entering Laos, he got quite angry and the way he looked at me, I was lucky that he lowered himself to use the last free page for the Laotian visa and I was allowed to enter at all. The only Austrian diplomatic representation for the countries Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand is in Bangkok – so back to square one. After I had heard from the embassy that it takes 4 weeks until a new one is issued and forwarded to Bangkok, I had already prepared myself for a longer stay on one of the many Thai islands. So it was all the more pleasing that my passport could be released for visa use by a simple confirmation of 3 more pages. I had the new passport forwarded directly to the embassy in Singapore, because according to my planning I was going to pass by there once in the next weeks, so there was nothing in the way of a quick onward journey.

3 days after arrival in Bangkok I already crossed the border between Thailand and Cambodia with the destination Sihanoukville, a town in the south of the Khmer state. My destination was Kho Rong, a small island in front of the town.

The island was very small and somehow relaxed, but the audience was quite young, mainly backpackers – so partying was a daily routine until the early hours of the morning, sleeping was hardly possible before 4am.

Most of the restaurants and guest houses were run by foreigners who knew exactly how to serve their international audience. During the few months of high season, things are pretty busy there, many islanders find (rather underpaid) employment during this time..


To get away from this hustle and bustle, you could take a boat to one of the remote bays and rent an exclusive resort. But the prices there are more than my travel budget, so I left the island after 2 nights and took the fastest way to the north – to the capital Pnomh Penh.

About 2 million people live in Phnom Penh. It is situated on a side arm of the Mekong and life in this city is still relatively peaceful compared to other capitals of the region. Extensive green spaces and avenues make the city seem quieter than the other capitals in the region – although Phnom Penh also has more than 500,000 small motorcycles on the road.

There is a lot to see in this city, the main attraction is probably the royal palace located directly at the river. After I had skipped the palace in Bangkok because of “overcrowding”, I couldn’t miss this one here in Phnom Penh of course.

Of course there are also a number of Wat’s, buddhist monasteries that can be visited.

By coincidence I was also lucky enough to observe the handing over of a stone sculpture at the Historical Museum. The ceremony was quite solemn, the statue and a high-ranking personality were in the centre of attention, in whose honour a traditional dance was performed.

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