How to Spend 12 Days in Cambodia: Travel and Foodie Guide

Imagine a place where time-honored traditions harmoniously coexist with modern marvels, where flavors burst with exotic spices, and where every corner is adorned with centuries of history. Cambodia, the Kingdom of Wonder, beckons you on a 12-day odyssey that promises to be both a feast for your senses and a journey through time. In this travel and foodie guide, we invite you to uncover the secrets of a nation steeped in heritage, where ancient temples whisper tales of a glorious past, bustling markets awaken your inner foodie, and smiling faces welcome you to their homeland. Get ready to embark on an adventure of 12 days in Cambodia that will leave you with memories to savor long after you’ve left this remarkable land.

Why 12 Days in Cambodia?

Cambodia is a country of enchanting diversity and captivating contrasts, a place where every moment unveils a new layer of its rich tapestry. While it’s possible to visit for a shorter duration, 12 days in Cambodia offer the ideal balance to truly immerse yourself in the wonders of this beautiful kingdom.

One of the primary reasons to consider staying in Cambodia in 12 days is the opportunity to explore the iconic sites in depth. The country is renowned for its ancient temples, with Angkor Wat being the crown jewel. Allowing 12 days provides you with ample time to explore not just the famous temples but also the hidden gems that lie off the beaten path.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Another advantage of spending 12 days in Cambodia is the relaxed pace it affords. You won’t need to rush from one site to another, giving you the chance to savor moments and take in the sights at your leisurely rhythm.

Cambodia Weather Overview

Climate plays a pivotal role in planning a successful journey to Cambodia in 12 days. The country experiences a tropical monsoon climate characterized by two distinct seasons: the wet season and the dry season.

The wet season typically spans from May to October, with rainfall peaking from June to September. During these months, Cambodia experiences heavy downpours, particularly in the afternoons. While the wet season brings vibrant landscapes, lush greenery, and lower tourist crowds, it can also mean challenging travel conditions due to flooding and muddy roads in some areas. However, it’s an excellent time to witness Cambodia’s rural life in full swing, as rice paddies flourish, and water levels rise, creating a picturesque setting.

Angkor Wat after rain

Angkor Wat after rain

On the other hand, the dry season, which occurs from November to April, is characterized by sunny skies and lower humidity. This period is considered the best time to visit Cambodia for most travelers. The weather is more predictable, and outdoor activities, temple exploration, and beach trips are at their prime. However, the dry season also attracts more tourists, so expect larger crowds at popular destinations.

Cambodia during dry season

Cambodia during the dry season

Itinerary Suggestions for 12 Days in Cambodia

Itinerary 1: Exploring the Beauty of Cambodia in 12 Days

Exploring the Beauty of Cambodia in 12 Days

Day 1 – Arrival in Siem Reap: Arrive at Siem Reap International Airport, transfer to the hotel, and enjoy a welcome dinner.

Day 2 – Explore Angkor Wat Complex: Visit the UNESCO-listed complex of Angkor Thom, Bayon temple, Baphuon, Royal Palace, Terrace of the Elephants, Ta Prohm, and Angkor Wat Temple.

Day 3 – Visit Kbal Spean and Banteay Srei: Hike to Kbal Spean, visit Banteay Srei, a palm sugar production facility, and Banteay Samre temple.

Day 4 – Visit Kampong Klieng: Explore the floating village of Kompong Khleang and learn about local life and farming practices.

Day 5 – Visit Kampring Village: Visit a silk weaving village in Phnom Srok, explore Banteay Chhmar temple, and dine with a local family in Kampring Village.

Day 6 – Visit Battambang: Boat ride through rice fields to Battambang, visit a colonial market, traditional Khmer house, Damrei Sor Pagoda, rice paper production, and witness bats emerging from a cave.

Day 7 – Transfer to Phnom Penh: Travel to Phnom Penh, visiting marble workshops and Kompong Chnang on the way.

Day 8 – Explore Phnom Penh: Rickshaw ride to Royal Palace, Throne Room, Napoleon III Pavilion, Silver Pagoda, Tuol Sleng, and National Museum of Fine Arts.

Day 9 – Transfer to Sihanoukville & Koh Rong: Leisure time in the morning, then transfer to Sihanoukville in the afternoon and dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 10 – Free Day in Koh Rong: Free day to explore Koh Rong Island at your own pace.

Day 11 – Free Day in Koh Rong: Another free day to enjoy Koh Rong Island.

Day 12 – Return to Phnom Penh & Depart: Free time before departure, then transfer to Phnom Penh airport for your flight.

>>> Consult the detailed itinerary at our Unforgettable Cambodia 12 Days Adventure

Itinerary 2: Essentials of Cambodia in 12 Days

Essentials of Cambodia in 12 Days

Day 1 – Arrival in Phnom Penh: Arrive in Phnom Penh, transfer to the hotel, and enjoy a Cambodian Living Art performance in the evening.

Day 2 – Phnom Penh City Tour: Visit the Killing Fields, Tuol Sleng Museum (S21), National Museum, Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and enjoy a Cyclo excursion.

Day 3 – Phnom Penh to Battambang: Travel to Battambang, visit Udong and a pottery factory in Kompong Chang, and experience a bamboo train ride.

Day 4 – Battambang to Siem Reap: Visit Phnom Banon and Phnom Sampeau in Battambang, then travel to Siem Reap.

Day 5 – Siem Reap – Angkor Temples: Watch the sunrise at Angkor Wat, and visit Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, and Banteay Kdei temples.

Day 6 – Siem Reap – Floating Village and Angkor Wat: Visit Kompong Phhluk floating village, Tonle Sap Lake, and Angkor Wat, and enjoy a Phare Cambodia Circus performance.

Day 7 – Siem Reap Free Day: Free day in Siem Reap for relaxation, shopping, or an optional Quad Bike Adventure.

Day 8 – Siem Reap to Sihanoukville: Explore Siem Reap, then fly to Sihanoukville and check into the hotel.

Day 9 – Free day in Sihanoukville.

Day 10 – Day tour to Koh Rong/Koh Rong Saloem.

Day 11 – Explore Phsar Leu Market & Kbal Chhay Waterfall.

Day 12 – Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh Departure: Transfer from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh airport for departure flight.

>>> Interested in this tour, please click this link for the detailed itinerary. Or, refer to our well-planned Cambodia classic tours for similar trips.

Itinerary 3: World Heritage of Vietnam and Cambodia in 12 Days

World Heritage of Vietnam and Cambodia in 12 Days

Day 1 – Arrival in Hanoi: Arrive in Hanoi, transfer to hotel, enjoy a welcome meal, and overnight stay.

Day 2 – Hanoi City Tour: Visit Ho Chi Minh Complex, Literature Temple, and ethnological museum, enjoy a cyclo ride, and watch a water puppet show.

Day 3 – Hanoi to Halong Bay Cruise: Travel to Halong Bay, embark on a cruise, explore caves and islands, and enjoy seafood meals on board.

Day 4 – Halong Bay to Hue: Morning activities in Halong Bay, brunch on the cruise, return to Hanoi, fly to Hue, and check into the hotel.

Day 5 – Hue City Tour: Visit the Royal Citadel, Imperial Museum, Khai Dinh Tomb, Thien Mu Pagoda, Minh Mang Mausoleum, and Dong Ba Market.

Day 6 – Hue to Hoi An: Drive to Hoi An, stopping at Hai Van Pass, Lang Co Beach, Danang, Cham Museum, and Marble Mountain.

Day 7 – Hoi An to My Son: Visit My Son Holly Land, and return to Hoi An for a walking tour of the ancient town center.

Day 8 – Hoi An to Siem Reap: Free morning in Hoi An, transfer to Danang airport, fly to Siem Reap, and check into the hotel.

Day 9 – Siem Reap – Angkor Wat: Tour Angkor Thom, Bayon, Baphoun, Elephant Terrace, Leper King Terrace, Angkor Wat, and sunset at Phnom Bakheng Hill.

Day 10 – Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: Fly to Phnom Penh, visit The Killing Fields, Toul Sleng Museum, and Cheung Ek Killing Field.

Day 11 – Phnom Penh City Tour: Visit the Royal Palace, National Museum of Khmer Arts, River Front Park, Wat Phnom, enjoy a boat cruise, and have a farewell dinner.

Day 12 – Departure from Phnom Penh: Check out from the hotel and transfer to the airport for departure.

>>> Check out this exciting tour at World Heritage Sites in Vietnam and Cambodia in 12 Days Tour

What to Savor during 12 Days in Cambodia?

Cambodian food is a delightful adventure of flavors, where a harmonious mix of spices, herbs, and fresh ingredients crafts dishes that are truly exceptional and unforgettable. Throughout your 12 days in Cambodia, be sure to savor these mouthwatering dishes listed below. Each of these culinary delights provides a window into Cambodia’s diverse food culture, where classic tastes combine with a variety of ingredients, delivering a foodie experience that’s both distinct and unforgettable.

Cambodian Cuisine Highlights

Cambodian Cuisine Highlights

  • Amok: A Cambodian signature, Amok is a delightful dish where fish is steamed in a coconut curry infused with traditional Khmer spices, and wrapped in banana leaves. It’s known for its delicate flavors and creamy texture, a must-try for visitors.
  • Samlor Machu Youn: A Cambodian staple, this sweet and sour fish soup combines fresh fish with a tangy tamarind-based broth, vegetables, and a touch of sweetness, showcasing the balance in Cambodian cooking.
  • Char Kroeung Sach Moan: A fragrant stir-fry with lemongrass chicken, highlighting the aromatic herbs in Cambodian cuisine. Chicken is cooked with lemongrass, garlic, and spices, creating a zesty and satisfying dish.
  • Twa Ko: Cambodian sausage, a unique blend of minced pork or beef with aromatic spices and rice, often grilled for a smoky and hearty flavor.
  • Nom Banh Chok: Known as Khmer noodles, a traditional Cambodian breakfast featuring thin rice noodles topped with fish-based green curry gravy, fresh vegetables, and aromatic herbs, offering the vibrant flavors of Khmer cuisine.
  • Bai Sach Chrouk: A beloved dish, Bai Sach Chrouk combines grilled pork with broken rice, marinated in coconut milk and garlic, creating a comforting and flavorful meal.
  • Kuy Teav: A popular noodle soup in Cambodia, it includes rice noodles in a rich broth, often topped with various meats, bean sprouts, green onions, and herbs, providing a hearty and versatile option.
  • Lok Lak: A Cambodian classic with stir-fried beef in savory brown sauce, served with rice and fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. The beef is tender and flavorful, marinated in soy sauce, oyster sauce, and garlic, making it both hearty and delicious.

Helpful Tips for First-timer in Cambodia

To ensure you make the most of your adventure, we’ve compiled a list of valuable tips and insights to keep in mind while exploring Cambodia in 12 days.

  • Respect the Local Culture: Cambodia boasts a rich cultural heritage, so be sure to dress modestly when visiting temples and religious sites. Cover your shoulders and knees, and remove your hat and shoes before entering these sacred places.
  • Currency and Cash: The official currency is the Cambodian Riel (KHR), but the US dollar is widely accepted. Carry small denominations of both currencies for convenience. ATMs are prevalent in major cities, but it’s wise to have some cash on hand when traveling to rural areas.
  • Learn Some Khmer Phrases: While many Cambodians working in tourism speak English, learning a few basic Khmer phrases can go a long way in connecting with locals and showing respect for their culture.
  • Stay Hydrated: Cambodia’s climate can be hot and humid, so it’s essential to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Bottled water is widely available, but consider bringing a reusable water bottle to minimize plastic waste.

In summary, adhering to these suggestions and taking the suggested itineraries into account will undoubtedly enrich your 12 days in Cambodia. Should you require further assistance or seek a personalized travel arrangement, feel free to explore our array of Cambodia tours or reach out to us for customized recommendations. We are enthusiastic and ready to assist you in crafting an unforgettable Cambodian expedition. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and we look forward to being a part of your extraordinary journey!

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Frequently Asked Questions

To enjoy Cambodian cuisine safely, choose reputable restaurants and street vendors with clean and busy kitchens. Stick to cooked and hot dishes, avoid tap water, and use bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth.

You can easily access the internet in Cambodia by purchasing a local SIM card or using portable Wi-Fi devices available for rent at airports and various outlets. Many hotels and cafes also offer free Wi-Fi.

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Phuong Khanh

Hello, my name is Khanh, I'm a travel blogger at IDC Travel. After my adventures and what I've learned on my trips and from my research, I will help you with planning your trip to Vietnam & Southeast Asia and make your journey remarkable.

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