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Trip Report

Southern Cambodia Beach, Bamboo and Boho

Budget eco barefoot luxe - is that even a thing? It is in Southern Cambodia. Think perfect tropical beaches, eco resorts, overwater bamboo bungalows, dawn yoga and pepper crabs with papaya salad.

by xscapeartistryAbout Me:I love the freedom of travel which always inspires the most creative and inspired parts of my soul. I’m a flash packer with a camera, a street food connoisseur. I love street markets, alleyways (in the daytime) and getting utterly and comp... read more

AsiaCambodia11 days / November 2019

Highs & Lows

Undeveloped tropical island paradises, eco accommodation, food journeys and cultural discoveries

Everything about Sihanoukville and crazy taxi drivers

Itinerary Overview

This itinerary has to be my favourite trip ever! I curated this adventure for a girls trip and I was keen to create something that was both budget friendly and entirely memorable. This itinerary nailed it!

The focus of this trip was food, beaches, yoga and barefoot budget relaxation with water views. We wanted some adventure, and we wanted to travel sustainably. But most importantly, I wanted this to be a really unique trip. Nearly every night was spent waterfront, and some of the accommodations in this trip are just unforgettable.

So this trip starts and ends in Phnom Penh, and focusses on the Southern coast of Cambodia. On arrival into Phnom Penh, we set off immediately for Kampot and spent 4 days in the region. Think fresh crabs, Kampot peppers and lying on a hammock in a bamboo overwater bungalow watching the best sunsets you'll ever see.

Hard to beat, but then we headed down to Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem. Imagine Thai islands 25 years ago before the big resorts moved in, eating fresh seafood on the beach and some of the coolest backpacker bars in the world.

Then back up to Phnom Penh to check out Cambodian city life, more amazing food and some history lessons that will change you forever. 

  • 4 Nights: Krong Kampot
    The region is famous for peppers and seafood, and I wanted to go somewhere really unique. Kampot fit the bill perfectly
  • Day trip: La Plantation
    Tasting famous Kampot peppers was always on my list for this trip
  • Day trip: Kep Province
    Because a crab market has to be visited!
  • 3 Nights: Koh Rong Sanloem
    Who doesn't want to spend time on a tropical island?
  • 3 Nights: Koh Rong
    A tropical party island? why not!
  • 1 Night: Phnom Penh
    Experience Cambodian city life and learn more about the countries history

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    I would have made this trip longer. I'd like to have visited Rabbit Island off the Kep coast, and I'd do another day or two in Phnom Penh. And lets be honest, who wouldn't do more time on a tropical Island? I'd done Siem Reap the year before, but I'd absolutely recommend adding Siem Reap to this itinerary if you're visiting Cambodia for the first time.

  • Anything go wrong during the trip?

    There were major road works on the highway between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville during our trip so the road was nothing more than dirt. There is not much in road rules, so the drive down was pretty scary. We opted for a bus on the way back which took longer, but at least we weren't stressed by crazy driving.

  • How was the food?

    The food in Cambodia is amazing. We at so much fresh seafood, but I also suggest trying the local dishes too. Be brave and try street food at local markets.

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Avoid Sihanoukville. You need to go through to catch a ferry to the islands, but do not book a night there if you can avoid it. It really is the worst city I have ever visited.

  • Packing tips?

    Pack light weight clothes, but if you go to Phnom Penh first, you can pick up some fantastic light weight clothes super cheap.

  • Transportation Tips?

    Cambodian transport is a bit of an adventure. The taxis we took from Phnom Penh - Kampot - Sihanoukville were pretty scary rides. They were much faster than the buses, but be warned. Our driver was using 2 mobile phones at one stage, while driving at 100+kms per hour on a dirt highway with no lanes. There are domestic flights available from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, and there is a train that runs a couple of days per week too. Maybe consider these options.

  • Any surprises?

    I'd heard Sihanoukville wasn't great, so I did not book accommodation there. But I was surprised at how awful it actually was.

  • Booking details?

    I booked through Agoda.


  • I couldn't decide between two properties I'd been checking out in Kampot, so I ended up booking 2 nights at each. Both properties were amazing! Nights 1-2 - We stayed at Sabay Beach. The drive from Phnom Penh airport was.....interesting. I've travelled a bit, but this trip was an adventure in itself. When we finally did get into Kampot, we had another 20 minutes of dirt road before we arrived at our destination. By this time, I was worried I'd made a big mistake.....Then we arrived at Sabay Beach, and I can confirm that it was worth every bit of that bumpy dirt road (and the dusty crazy highway from Phnom Penh!). As soon as we arrived at Sabay Beach, I knew we would love it. We booked a riverfront room, and it was VERY well priced! The room was decorated in a boho style and was everything I hoped it would be. And the food....OMG, organic, locally produced, delicious food and with a cool outdoor vibe overlooking the river. And the sunset...I have never seen better sunsets than in Kampot. We were so in love with Sabay Beach that we nearly cancelled the next property...but I an SOOO glad we didn't. Nights 3 -4 Eden Eco Village This place is basic, but absolutely a must do. I'll be honest, 4 nights here might have been a bit rough, but you absolutely must do 2 nights! Overwater bungalows with hammocks over the river, kayaking, free yoga and the most delicious organic breakfasts. I'll let the photos do the talking. Oh and the price is right. Think $20USD a night...

  • We stayed in a beachfront villa (with air con) at Paradise Villa on Koh Rong Sanloem. Our villa was metres from the water and absolutely delightful. This property is located on the eastern end of Saracen Bay Beach very close to the jetty. Paradise Villas is located on the quiter end of Saracen Bay Beach, but the restaurant here is probably one of the best on the island - a real beach boho vibe and a good menu too. The beach is shallow, and there are hammocks in the water that you can just kick back and relax on.

  • We booked another beachfront villa at White Beach Bungalows on Koh Touch Beach. It was located at the quiet end of the beach, but only a 5-10 minute walk along the sand to the party area.

  • We stayed at Point Boutique Hotel in Phnom Penh. It was a great city hotel with a hip rooftop bar located in the main tourist strip and in walking distance to plenty of restaurants, the night market and the riverside.