Solo traveler in Cambodia: 5 things to do
Traveling is great, and if you are on your own, it’s even better. You make new friends, you can arrange your own schedule and you are independent in what you are doing. We want to give you some tips about being a solo traveler in Cambodia. Our 5 things to do in Cambodia are carefully curated from us. We live here, and we know exciting places, some very exclusive and off the beaten track.
1. Learn Apsara dance in Siem Reap, cook and share a meal with a former dancer
Srey Moch is one of our hosts in Siem Reap. She was a Apsara dancer for a long time and even performed in Tokyo the ancient art of the Khmer dance. She will tell you the basic of the amazing hand and arms movement (and legs to if you want). Equally exciting for a solo traveler in Cambodia is cook a local meal together: Fried fish, the classic beef lok lak and bitter melon filled with minced pork. Vegetarian options are available too. More about her on our host page.on our host page.
2. Chat and dine with a Khmer artist in Phnom Penh
Vannak Khun is a Khmer artist, renown for his photography art and his sculpture. His work was exhibited in Paris and Tokyo, and he is one of the few contemporary artists in Cambodia. You cook with one of the most popular Cambodian dishes: fried chicken with ginger. another dish you prepare together with your Cambodia host is a Khmer fish soup with onions and mixed vegetables. While having dinner or lunch together, have a chat with Vannak Khun about his life as an artist, his oversea trips and his lovely cat. (Vegetarian options available, more information here)
3. As a solo traveler in Cambodia cycle along the Siem reap river
When in Siem Reap explore the city from south to north on a bicycle. There is no need to book a tour (although or friends at Siem Reaper have some great guided tours), every solo traveler in Cambodia rent a bike everywhere in Siem Reap. If you have a smartphone and internet access, here is our tour suggestion: Look for a place called Angkor Wat Put and cycle there. You will soon be in the rice fields and villages. From there you turn west until you reach the river. Now go all along the riverside. You cross a local market, pass by Cambodian schools and temples (and feel free to take punctures or talk with the locals).
Go further north and stay right off the river. On Road 6 you have to do a bit of a go around, so on Road 63. Then the landscape changes and you will enter the Angkor forrest. You will pass through small palaces where poor people live in huts and tin roof flats. Look for the infrastructure they build and have a stop at the small market. For this tour you don’t need a ticket. You will go all the way straight until you reach a red bridge on your left. Cross the river here and go back south until you reach the Royal gardens. The tour takes about 2-3 hours and is for sure one of the things to for a solo traveler.
4. A solo traveler at a organic farm in Battambang in Cambodia
Cambodias second biggest city is becoming a favorite spot for solo travelers and people interested in local culture. There is a famous bamboo train (take the old one, not the new), the Battambang bat cave (watch the leaving at sunset) and many galleries to visit. And there is Yem Panha, a young Khmer woman passionate about organic farming and a healthy lifestyle. She will take you around her farm in the south of Battambang, explain the concept of organic farming and how it is done in the Kingdom of Wonders. You help her picking some flowers and harvesting vegetables. After your first experience as a Khmer farmer you prepare with her the meal. Three dishes are on the menu: an omelette filled with organic veggies form the farm, Tuek Trey Pa-Em, a famous Cambodian dish served with bacon or fish and Sngor sup Lahaong – papaya soup with pork rip.
5. Follow the work of Cambodias most famous architect
When it comes to the work of Vann Molyvann, no other architect came even close to his amazing work, mainly in Phnom Penh. His building, most of them made in the 60s and 70s are outstanding pieces of contemporary art of this era. He started what is still known as the New Khmer Architecture, supported by then King Norodom Sihanouk. some of his work is already destroyed, most recently the famous White Building in Phnom Penh. He died 2017 in Siem Reap, where he spend his time after retirement. Vann Molyvann is also now a role model for young Khmers.
Our small tour takes the solo traveler in Cambodia a to his most important works, Just get a tuk tuk, tell the driver the locations an negotiate a price. Should not be more than 10 USD.
Chaktomuk Conference Hall; the most iconic building, used now for cultural events.
Independence Monument: Build to celebrate Cambodias Independence, it is a landmark in the city’s heart (also opposite the Prime ministers residence).
Olympic Stadium: still used for sports events and sometimes concerts, it is almost hidden now behind some modern developments. On weekend join locals for doing some exercise there.
Royal University: The university is located on the way to the airport, but worth a visit. You an enter and chat with Khmer students about university life and their dreams for their future.