Where to stay in Cambodia, a land of wonders
Cambodia has had a bloody history but it managed to rise from the ashes. Once associated with genocide and death, it has become one of the world’s most beloved destinations. Nicknamed the Land of Smiles, now it is known for its authentic vibe and friendly locals.
No one could stay indifferent after seeing its architectural wonders, historical landmarks, and cultural attractions. But Cambodia isn’t just a county for history buffs. It has a great nightlife, exotic jungles, and gorgeous beaches. With so many wonderful things this country offers, it’s not easy to decide where to stay in Cambodia.
Photo credit: keoponha
Top 5 cities to stay in Cambodia
Each of Cambodia’s major cities has something to offer, from cultural sights to wild parties. To help you find the city that will suit your personal interests, we’ve made a rundown of our favorite places:
- Siem Reap
- Phnom Penh
|Where to stay in Cambodia|
|Best for the first time||Siem Reap||A gorgeous city with lots of remarkable landmarks and activities|
|Best for culture vultures||Phnom Penh||The capital city with immense historical and cultural significance|
|Best for nightlife||Sihanoukville||A port town that never sleeps|
|Best on a budget||Battambang||An affordable city known for authentic Khmer culture|
|Best for long-term stay||Kampot||An exotic expat epicenter with a laid back vibe|
Photo credit: beautifulcambodia
Where to stay in Cambodia for the first time: Siem Reap
Once dubbed “Paris of the East”, Siem Reap has plenty to boast about. Dating back to the early 9th century, this gorgeous city is bursting with culture and history. It is most famous for being the gateway to Asia’s greatest landmark, Angkor Way, but it also has countless other attractions to offer. Besides historical sights, Siem Reap is also notable for its jovial lifestyle, energetic nightlife, and fantastic cuisine.
Top places in Siem Reap to visit
Siem Reap has something for anyone’s taste, which is why we think it’s ideal for first-time visitors to Cambodia. From museums and temples to boho bars, the city’s treasures will surely make your visit memorable. Here are some of our top places:
- Angkor Wat
- Angkor National Museum
- Wat Thmei
- Apsara Dance Show
- Phare Circus
- Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary
One of the new 7 wonders of the world, Angkor Wat is a place no one should miss when visiting Siem Reap. An architectural masterpiece and the largest temple on the globe, Angkor Wat is unique in every sense.
Photo credit: experienceangkorwat
Where to stay in Siem Reap
Another reason Siem Reap is ideal for first-timers is the fact that it offers countless AirBnBs, hotels, and hostels that will suit anyone’s price range. The downtown area is a bit more expensive than the outskirts and a night in an AirBnB close to major landmarks will cost you around $50. Check out our favorite places:
Budget option: a room in a boutique guesthouse in the ancient city.
Midrange option: this amazing villa with a swimming pool.
Luxurious option: this gorgeous high-end villa.
You can find more AirBnBs here.
Where to stay in Cambodia for culture vultures: Phnom Penh
In order to understand Cambodia and its people, you need to learn about the country’s bloody history, and, for that, there’s no better place than Phnom Penh. What this amazing city is most known for is being the cradle of Pol Pot’s reign of terror. As the Khmer Rouge seat of power, its cultural and historical value is incredible. Besides historical attractions, Phnom Penh is an attractive destination for its authentic Cambodian atmosphere and countless entertainment options.
What to see and do in Phnom Penh
If you’re a culture vulture and a history buff, you’ll never run out of places to visit in Phnom Penh. Here are some places we highly recommend:
- The Killing Fields
- S21 Prison
- The National Museum
- The Royal Palace
- Silver Pagoda
- Phnom Penh Night Market
- Daughters of Cambodia Visitor Center
The Killing Fields
Although Pol Pot’s killing fields are spread all over Cambodia, Phnom Penh’s Choeung Ek Killing Fields are by far the most grotesque and infamous. This genocide site serves as a memorial to over two million people who were killed during the four years of Pot’s regime. The fields are packed with skulls and bones, so this is not a destination for the faint-hearted.
Photo credit: loveocheve
Where to stay in Phnom Penh
As Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh is more expensive than other cities. Luckily, that doesn’t mean you can’t find affordable accommodation. On average, one night in an AirBnB will cost you around $55. Check out our favorite places:
Budget option: this comfy studio near the National Museum.
Midrange option: a room in this fantastic hotel.
Luxurious option: a room in this fascinating pavilion.
You can check out more AirBnBs here.
Where to stay in Cambodia for nightlife: Sihanoukville
Sihanoukville is a place where parties never stop. This fantastic port town is packed with nightlife options, and its bar scene is absolutely unique. It is also the gateway to places such as Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem, so, when you get tired of partying, you can go island hopping. Sihanoukville is not as crowded and polluted as the big cities, and you can also unwind on one of its pristine beaches.
Where to party in Sihanoukville
Choosing where to go after the sunset in Sihanoukville is not an easy feat. There are so many fantastic places you won’t know where to start. Besides clubs, restaurants, and casinos, Sihanoukville will provide you with any sort of bar you can think of. Common bars, pool bars, beach bars, girly bars, disco bars, rooftop bars—you name it, it’s got it. Here are our favorite nightlife places:
- Jack & Daniels Bar
- Boudoir Sihanoukville
- Shipwreck Bar
- Why Not Bar
This luxury lounge is the best spot in the city for party animals. Music is always amazing, the place is usually packed, and the service fantastic. The alcohol offer is amazing and, above all, inexpensive.
Photo credit: queencoasia
Where to stay in Sihanoukville
As Sihanoukville is a small port town, accommodation is more affordable than in big cities. A night in an AirBnB costs around $40 on average. Here are some places we recommend:
Budget option: this minimalist studio with swimming pool access.
Midrange option: this entire house.
Luxurious option: this beautiful bungalow with a swimming pool.
Browse for more AirBnBs here.
Where to stay in Cambodia on a budget: Battambang
Battambang is probably the most underrated city in Cambodia, and not just because the cost of staying is so low. The city is impressive in every way and has lots of historical and cultural attractions. The architecture is truly unique, mixing the well-preserved French colonial architecture with the authentic Khmer style. Usually called Cambodia’s “rice bowl”, it is also a heaven for foodies. We’re sure you’ll adore the traditional Khmer cuisine.
Best Battambang attractions to visit
Battambang is the heart of the Khmer culture, so it is an ideal place for sightseeing. It also offers many entertainment options, so you can be sure your stay in this awesome place will never get boring. Make sure not to miss our top picks:
- Wat Banan Temple
- Phare Ponleu Selpak
- Battambang Bat Caves
- Ta Dumbong Statue
- Mrs. Ban Roeng’s Ancient House
- HUMAN Gallery
- Romcheik5 artspace
Phare Ponleu Selpak (Battambang Circus)
Phare Ponleu Selpak is an attraction unique to Battambang. These circus performances are fascinating and include lots of acrobatic and dance shows. They are hosted by Phare Ponleu Selpak, an NGO fighting poverty and education issues, and many performers were victims of the Khmer Rouge.
Photo credit: ruthio1985
Where to stay in Battambang
Battambang is packed with gorgeous, traditional Khmer houses that also happen to be amazingly affordable. AirBnBs cost around $35 on average. Have a look at our top picks:
Budget option: a private room in this hostel with a beautiful balcony.
Midrange option: this entire romantic bungalow.
Luxurious option: this traditional Khmer bungalow with a pool.
Check out all Battambang AirBnBs here.