We’re on to the second stage of our blog series with photographer Sian Owen. This time she takes us through her journey from Phnom Penh to Koh Rong in Cambodia. She gives us suggestions on where to stay, what to do and shares great insight on what backpacking through Southeast Asia is like. This is a fantastic read for anyone wanting to travel or teach in Vietnam.
After an awesome day in Battambang, a $10 US minivan bus trip and 6 hours later, she was in Phnom Penh.
This is the capital of Cambodia, “Phnom Penh is like any other big Asian metropolis: busy streets, thousands of motorbikes and lots of interesting street foods. But still so much to do and see here.”
Dj Guesthouse. This hostel is the only music themed hostel in the whole of Phnom Penh. It only houses 15 beds, which means it’s got a very close knit and homely feel. This makes it very easy to connect with travelers from around the world.
What to do and see
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
This is a museum chronicling the Cambodian genocide that happened between 1975 and 1979 during the infamous Khmer Rouge regime. The site was a high school turned into a torture prison, at one time it held more than 1500 prisoners.
A tuk tuk from the hostel here is about $20, its entrance to the center is about $6. This is just to enter into the whole complex. The tour is about 2 hours long.
“You get given headphones and walk from platform to platform and listen. It really is such a deep insight into the very worst of humankind. The whole experience in the museum though is very moving, definitely worth a visit.”
Sian only spent one night in Phnom Penh. But these are some of the other things she wishes she’d have gone to had she stayed longer:
Visiting The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda – Official residence of the Cambodian royal family and houses numerous religious relics.
Visiting Silk Island – only a short drive and ferry away, Silk Island’s peaceful and therapeutic aura feels a million miles away from the city’s hustle and bustle.
After a very hectic day in Phnom Penh, the next day Sian took a minibus van to Koh Rong which cost her $15 and took +/- 5 hours.
Monkey Island – “We’d booked to stay here for three nights, but when we got here it was not what we were expecting. Hundreds of bars and pubs playing Cambodian house music pretty much all night, so we just stayed for 1 night instead.”
“If you like partying then you’re in for a treat in Koh Rong, we were so exhausted after a hectic day on the minivan which explains why we did not enjoy it.”
After a day in Koh Rong, Sian took a ferry for $6 which took 20 mins to neighboring Koh Rong Sanloem.
Eco Village – “We spent 2 nights here, it was very basic but it was everything we needed – our thatch cabin was literally 20 meters from the edge of the ocean, it was absolutely beautiful!”
Paradise Villa – “We decided to treat ourselves for 1 night here. Slightly more expensive but also more secluded on the other side of the speed ferry pier. Definitely a breathtaking experience as it feels like you are completely alone on the island.”
What to do and see
Chilling, tanning and relaxing is what this gorgeous island is for. “This place is perfect for just vegetating on beautiful beaches all day long. It’s very mellow, so quiet and exactly what we needed at this point of our trip”
“If you stay on the sunrise side, you can walk through the jungle (beautiful path) to the sunset side which only takes about 30 minutes”
“You can usually organize a day tour to go snorkeling, fishing and swimming with the luminous phytoplankton, but we unfortunately went during full moon so we couldn’t see the phytoplankton sadly.”
Sian Owen is a South African Business Science graduate and photographer. She specializes in wedding and lifestyle photography. This series of bog posts follows her recent trip through Cambodia and Vietnam, showcasing the incredible beauty of these two fascinating countries.
To see more of Sian’s amazing photography, here are her contact details:
Interested in Teaching English, volunteering or interning abroad? We’ll send you more info!