Thailand and Cambodia Itinerary – 2 Weeks to 1 Month!

Railay Bay, Thailand

Neighbouring countries, Thailand and Cambodia are great to pair together on one epic trip. But how do you choose which places to prioritise? This Cambodia-Thailand itinerary will track a practical travel route across both countries, providing a plan for your own journey.

Having spent multiple months in both countries, I’ve been able to explore the main attractions, as well as more off-the-beaten-track spots. These Cambodia-Thailand itineraries will help you get the most out of your own visit, whether you only have two weeks to hit the must-sees or a month to explore lesser-visited wonders. 

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Cambodia-Thailand Itinerary – 2 Weeks to 1 Month 🇰🇭🇹🇭

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These itineraries have been designed with flexibility in mind and the recommended durations are just that, recommendations! See where takes your fancy and adjust the allocated days as you like.

Thailand-Cambodia Itinerary 1 Month 📅

Phuket: 3-4 Days 

Recommended accommodation: The Z Nite Hostel

Fly into Phuket to start your Thai-Cambodian adventure with sun, sea and sand! Phuket International Airport services a range of routes from all over the world, making it an ideal place to begin your trip. Make sure you know the entry requirements for Thailand before you fly!

The picturesque Phuket Old Town.

While Phuket is a popular island with holidaymakers, there are still attractions for more intrepid travellers. When you’re done with beach bumming (Karon Beach, Bang Tao Beach and Freedom Beach are often touted as some of the best), don’t miss Phuket Old Town, a wonderful place to get a feel for the island’s history and Kathu Waterfall, the perfect place for a dip. 

There are a range of boat trips available from Phuket, including to Khao Phing Kan (James Bond Island) and Maya Bay, which you may recognise from the iconic Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach. While things have changed a lot in Maya Bay (it was closed to tourism for a couple of years to allow the ecosystem to recover from damage done by overtourism), it is still worth checking out. However, if you don’t like crowds, skip it and hire a motorbike to instead find your own hidden paradise cove!

Phuket is home to an epic Muay Thai scene which every traveller should dabble in at least a bit. If it appeals, you can train in the ‘Art of Eight Limbs’ at one of the esteemed camps on the island or head to the stadium to watch a fight. Even if you’re not usually into boxing, you’ll struggle not to be swept up in the atmosphere! 

Muay Thai boxing ring, Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand
Make sure you catch a fight in Phuket!

Ao Nang/Railay: 2-3 Days 

Recommended accommodation: Baannai Lake View Resort or Railay Bay Resort and Spa

Depending on your method of transport, Ao Nang is only around 2-3 hours from Phuket. Located on the mainland, this picturesque spot looks just like the tourist brochures!

Commonly used as a jumping-off point for the beautiful Railay Beach, the whole area is nothing short of picture-perfect. If time allows, definitely budget an overnight stay in Railay. The only way to access this beach is by longtail boat so you may as well make the journey worthwhile!

 A true hippie haven, Railay is full of backpackers, travel garb and dispensaries. That isn’t to say there is nothing to do here though, there are a few hikes and caves around the bay and it is also possible to spot different species of monkeys as you wander about – if you want to avoid their bad side, do not feed them!

Railay Bay, Thailand
Railay is a favourite destination among backpackers!

This area is also one of Thailand’s premier rock climbing destinations – when you see the karst limestone cliffs, it’ll be obvious why! A range of tour companies offer climbs here but you’ll want to do your research to make sure you’re happy with your choice, safety should be their priority! We love the vibe over at Real Rocks Climbing School.

In and around Ao Nang itself, there is still plenty to do. Embark on the Tab Kak Hang Nak Hill Nature Trail for some of the best views in the area – however, for the most enjoyable experience, make sure you avoid the heat of the day! 

A variety of island hopping tours leave from Ao Nang, the most famous of which is the ‘3 Island’ tour which heads to the nearby isles of Tup, Chicken and Poda. Head out on one of these trips to meet people, snorkel in crystal clear waters and sunbathe on sandy beaches. 

Khao Sok National Park: 3 Days

Recommended accommodation: Khao Sok Riverside Cottages

Khao Sok National Park is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Thailand. Famous for being home to the oldest evergreen forest in the world, Khao Sok boasts exotic wildlife, towering limestone cliffs and glassy lakes. The most famous of these is Cheow Lan, where you can actually stay overnight at one of the floating bungalows!

Cheow Lan Lake 4
Have you ever seen a lake this colour?!

Trips to Cheow Lan Lake are an absolute must-do activity while in Thailand but they vary in comfort level, so make sure you do your research before booking a trip! Tours to the lake include a range of activities, including hiking, swimming, boat cruises and cave visits. They usually span two days with an overnight stay. However, you’ll need to factor in time getting to and from the lake itself, as it is a little far from the main transport hubs. 

After your tour has finished, you’ll need to make your way back to Surat Thani, where you’ll hop on board an overnight train to Thailand’s capital; Bangkok. 

Bangkok: 3-4 Days

Recommended accommodation: The Yard

After lazy days spent chilling at Khao Sok National Park, your arrival in Bangkok will likely feel a little overwhelming! With traffic bunching up every road and more weed shops that you can shake a joint at, Bangkok is certainly an experience. 

Khao San Road Bangkok
Khao San Road has long been a cornerstone of backpacker tourism.

Travellers of all stripes head to Bangkok, meaning there are a range of high-quality places to stay. If you’re looking for a social vibe, check out one of the many hostels in Bangkok – there are options to suit every budget! 

While the city is most famous among backpackers for the legendary Khao San Road, there is way more to this city than excess. Despite this, Khao San Road is a must for everyone at least once. Head here for cheap Thai fare, buckets of super strong booze, McDonald’s and all the backpacker threads you could dream of. 

Just a 20-minute walk from Khao San is the Grand Palace, an impressive complex home to the Kings of Siam. Over 8 million visitors grace the palace annually and there is much to see. From the Temple of the Emerald Buddha to Wat Pho, this is one display of opulence you shouldn’t miss while you’re in the capital. 

Temple Dress Code 📿

You should always make sure that you are respectful of the local culture while you travel. When you visit temples or other religious sites, make sure that your shoulders and knees are covered, with no low-cut tops or t-shirts that expose your midriff. For ladies, a sarong is a good travel item which you can wrap around yourself in a hurry. Some places will rent modest clothing to visitors for a small fee but it is far better to come prepared and bring/wear your own. 

Grand Palace in Bangkok
The Grand Palace is one of Bangkok’s most famous attractions.

You haven’t really been to Thailand until you’ve had a Thai massage, so get those weary muscles soothed. There are plenty of amazing massage parlours across the capital offering a variety of spa treatments – we recommend a full-body Thai massage for the quintessential experience! 

Floating markets often get a lot of stick for being ‘tourist traps’ but they aren’t all set up to rip off foreigners. It depends on which ones you visit. When it comes to Thailand’s floating markets, Taling Chan is one of the most highly rated by our community. They say it is more authentic than its counterparts and offers a great opportunity to try Thai dishes with fresh seafood. Be aware, Taling Chan is only open on the weekends so plan accordingly. These markets are a great place to pick up cheap and cheerful souvenirs for your friends back home!

Spend your final full day in Bangkok learning about Thai cuisine through your tastebuds! A street food tour comes highly recommended and allows you to get the lowdown on all the best eats alongside a local expert who knows the food like the back of their hand! A Chef’s Tour runs a range of food tours all over the world and comes highly recommended by travellers. Arrive with an empty belly! 

It’s called the Banana Pancake Trail for a reason!

Kanchanaburi: 1-2 Days

Recommended accommodation: Thai Garden Resort Kanchanaburi

Just a couple of hours from Bangkok, Kanchanaburi offers a welcome break from the city. It is easily accessible by bus, train or minibus. 

Kanchanaburi is a small town best known for the Death Railway, built during World War II. While learning about the construction of the railway is not an uplifting activity, it offers an important history lesson nonetheless. There are a couple of museums around town offering more insight into this period, the best being the JEATH War Museum. Finish a sobering day learning about the construction of the railway by watching the sunset behind the River Kwai Bridge

The famous Bridge over the River Kwai.

Head to the beautiful Erawan Falls to witness one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Thailand. If you are visiting during the dry season, make sure to check the water levels with a local before making the journey there. This seven-tiered waterfall is a brilliant swimming spot!

Hop on a train or bus back to Bangkok to transfer onto a night bus bound for Cambodia’s Temple City, Siem Reap. The journey will take around eight to nine hours but may be longer if the immigration queues at the border are long. Make sure you download your favourite show on Netflix and charge your phone before you hop on board! 

Bangkok → Siem Reap 

Crossing the Thai/Cambodia Border (Aranya Prathet/Poipet) 🛃

Cross the border into the Kingdom of Cambodia from Aranya Prathet to the small (and shady) town of Poipet, on the Cambodian side. Upon arrival in Cambodia, most citizens will be granted a 30-day visa on arrival. Read more on Cambodian visas and entry requirements here. Like most border towns, Poipet is a seedy, weird little place, home to casinos and rundown guesthouses. It seems that the border town was built mainly for Thai people who cross the border of Thailand to gamble in Cambodia, where it is legal for them (gambling is still illegal for Cambodian citizens, however!).

Siem Reap: 3-5 Days

Recommended accommodation: Treeline Urban Resort

Siem Reap is a great place to begin your Cambodia trip as it’s very tourist-friendly and offers access to the country’s most famous attraction; Angkor Wat. There are countless great places to stay in Siem Reap, including a variety of high-quality hostels, meaning travellers of all stripes will find decent digs here. 

The colonial influence is still present in Siem Reap.

When it comes to exploring Angkor Wat, there are a few options. The following tickets are available: a 1-day pass for $37USD, a 3-day pass for $62USD or a 7-day pass for $72USD. If you can spare the time, we would highly recommend getting the 3-day pass, so that you have more time to explore at your own leisure.

The temples can be toured in various ways; on foot, by bicycle or by tuk-tuk. (The latter is recommended so that you can learn more about each temple that you visit – your driver will likely double up as a guide.) 

Whichever way you decide to explore, don’t miss the awesome Angkor Thom, Bayon and Ta Phrom (featured in the film, Tomb Raider). And, if you have a day spare, why not embark upon an alternative adventure and plan a walk around the secret walls of Angkor Thom – an all-day historical walk around the entire Angkor Thom complex. 

Aside from Angkor Wat, there are a variety of other things to do in Siem Reap. There’s the lively Pub Street with its variety of bars, pubs and restaurants – a backpacker rite of passage! For evening entertainment, you can also enjoy a performance at Phare Circus.  

Red Piano Pub Street
Pub Street is a rite of passage for travellers to Siem Reap!

Don’t miss the APOPO Visitor Centre to learn about Cambodia’s rats which help to clear landmines – you can even have your photo taken with one of these hairy heroes! Other fun daytime activities include taking a trip to the local market, trying a ‘fish spa’, or partaking in a cooking class and learning to cook Cambodian specialities like fish amok and spring rolls. The half-day cooking class at Lily’s Secret Garden comes highly recommended by travellers. 

If you’re looking to escape the city for a few days, there are a couple of great day trips from the city.  Taking a tour of the floating villages of Tonlé Sap Lake is a must-do from Siem Reap. Reminiscent of Inle Lake in Myanmar, the local people in Cambodia have built stilted houses on the lake and use tiny boats to get around their daily business.

When it comes to visiting the villages, it’s wise to do your research and choose an ethical tour company so that your visit benefits the local community rather than intruding upon it. Sadly, some villages, such as Chong Kneas, have been completely ruined by tourism and should be avoided – unless you fancy getting completely ripped off! Other villages (that are a little further away from Siem Reap), such as Kompong Khleang and Mechrey have become burgeoning sustainable tourism sites and should be wholly supported by travellers!

Floating village views
Ever seen an actual floating village?!

Another day trip that you can do from Siem Reap is to the lush countryside, mountains and waterfalls of Phnom Kulen. Hire a motorbike from the city and set off for an epic adventure (around 1.5 hours away) on dusty roads.

Boat Trip: Getting from Siem Reap to Battambang 🛥️

If you are not short on time and like getting off the beaten track, taking the boat trip from Siem Reap to Battambang along the Sangker River is an interesting experience. The journey can take up to nine hours (if you’re unlucky), but makes a change from a cramped bus! Along the way, you will see Tonlé Sap Lake and its floating villages, as well as stop at a restaurant on stilts for lunch. At a cost of around $30USD (depending on where you buy it), the boat trip is a more expensive way to reach Battambang (the bus costs around $8-12USD), but it’s a much more interesting journey in my opinion! 

Battambang: 3-4 Days

Recommended accommodation: Pomme Hostel

Introducing the beautiful laid-back arty town of Battambang, a quiet town with a surprising amount of things to do! If you’re not in a rush, we’d recommend chilling here for a few days, exploring the countryside by bicycle or motorbike, sipping coffee in the town’s quaint cafés and visiting the nearby bat cave. Oh, and don’t miss a ride on the famous bamboo train!

Riding the bamboo train is touristy but a great way to see Cambodia’s countryside.

A range of local companies run a variety of cycling tours and day tours around Battambang. These tend to follow a similar schedule and take you off the beaten track into the villages around Battambang where you’ll see locals making rice paper, Khmer noodles, fish paste and rice wine! Of course, you’ll get to try some along the way too!

Not too far away, you’ll also find Sompov Mountain, home to the tragic killing caves, where thousands of people were murdered by the Khmer Rouge during their horrendous reign. Sompov Mountain is also the location of the bat cave where a not-to-be-missed natural phenomenon takes place at sunset every day. Thousands of bats fly out of the cave in search of food, creating huge black clouds in the air. An amazing sight! 

Nature doesn’t get more awe-inspiring than this!

Phnom Penh: 2-3 Days

Recommended accommodation: Onederz Phnom Penh

The capital of Phnom Penh is around five hours from Battambang by bus. While you’re here, be sure to learn more about the tragic history of Cambodia with a visit to the Killing Fields and the S-21 Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. It’s a heartbreaking, but important experience. 

While Cambodia is best known for its genocide tourism, there are other things to do in the city. You can see wreathed hornbills at Wat Phnom, a pretty amazing sight considering you are right in the middle of a bustling capital!  

Wat Phnom is a surprisingly good place to see hornbills!

Phnom Penh is also home to a burgeoning international food scene and you can enjoy some truly unique culinary experiences for a steal of a price. As well as this, the nightlife is pretty good – be sure to check out Battbong speakeasy bar. And if you prefer your entertainment to be more fast-paced, why not head to Kun Khmer International Fight Gym to see Cambodia’s national sport in full flow? Get in a couple of beers and let the hits commence!

Also read: Kun Khmer vs Muay Thai

Kampot: 2-3 Days

Recommended accommodation: Karma Traders

After the smoky capital, we now start to head towards Cambodia’s coastline. Less than three hours from the city, you’ll find Kampot, a lovely little riverside town with lots to explore, especially at nearby Bokor Mountain National Park.  Kampot is also a great place to hire a motorbike and explore at your own pace… Or, if you don’t like motorbikes and have strong legs, then a bicycle will do! 

Just look at that ribbon of perfection!

I recommend staying at least a couple of days here to get a feel for the place and explore the surrounding countryside. Kampot is also famous for its pepper plantations, which are worth a visit, as well as an evening boat trip on the river where you can see thousands of fireflies lighting up the night sky.

If the mountains are where you find your zen, look no further. Kampot is home to one of Cambodia’s best yoga retreats! At Yoga Barn Kampot, you can stay for a week or drop in for classes as you like, it is entirely up to you!

Kep: 1-2 Days

Recommended accommodation: The Beach House

With its crumbling colonial mansions and excellent seafood, the coastal town of Kep is a nice place to spend a relaxing day. The town is just half an hour from Kampot and can be visited on a day trip or if you have more time, for an overnight stay. The town is famous for its crab dishes so make time to enjoy a seafood feast at Kep Crab Market while watching the sunset!

Kep Crab dish
Kep is famous for its fresh crab dishes.

Koh Rong OR Koh Rong Samloem: 3 Days

Recommended accommodation: Palm Beach Bungalows or Sleeping Trees 

While we don’t recommend you spend the night there, seedy Sihanoukville is still the best place to catch a ferry to the nearby tropical islands. While it was once a backpacker paradise, the town of Sihanoukville has been overtaken by casinos and can get pretty dangerous at night too. 

The boat company that you choose to travel with will indicate which pier you depart from but speedboats to the tropical islands of Koh Rong and Koh Samloem take just 45 minutes. 

Your tropical beach time in Cambodia has finally arrived! Sipping a coconut on a beach, reading in a hammock and swimming in clear waters is a great way to end your Cambodian adventure! But which island will you choose? Aaah! Decisions, decisions!

Sunset Beach KRS
When it comes to beaches, it doesn’t get much better than this!

Which Cambodian Island to Choose? 🏝️

Deciding between Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem is a difficult decision that many backpackers have to face. Koh Rong is the livelier island of the two with a pretty well-established party scene going on, while Koh Rong Samloem is still catching up. Most backpackers consider Koh Rong Samloem with its amazing white sandy beaches, clear waters and castaway island vibe, to be the more beautiful of the two. However, as tourism grows and more hotels appear on the shoreline, we fear it won’t be too long ‘til Koh Rong Samloem loses its chilled hippie vibe. 

If you’re up for a spot of island-hopping and time allows, check out these other Cambodian islands, which are well worth a visit. As rich investors line up to take their slice of these under-visited tropical paradises, the time to visit these islands is NOW before the peace and solitude are gone forever. 

FINISH: Phnom Penh

From Kep, jump in one of the regular minivans to Phnom Penh where you can catch a flight onto your next destination. Trips to neighbouring Southeast Asian countries tend to be pretty cheap from Phnom Penh and there is also the option to fly to the US and Europe, with stop-offs in the Middle East. 

Phnom Penh at night riverside
Phnom Penh is home to an international airport.

Thailand-Cambodia Itinerary 2 Weeks 📆

Got less time? Never fear! The following bullet-pointed itinerary follows a similar route to the above but cuts the fluff, allowing you to hit the must-see spots!

  • BEGIN → Phuket – 3 Days
  • Khao Sok National Park – 3 Days
  • Bangkok – 2 Days
  • Siem Reap – 3 Days
  • Koh Rong – 2 Days 
  • FINISH → Phnom Penh – 1 Day

Thailand and Cambodia both offer incredibly rich cultural experiences, with a variety of landscapes and activities for you to get stuck into. These two itineraries will help you plan your trip and get the most out of your Southeast Asian adventure! 

Got anywhere you’d add to this Cambodia-Thailand itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

Sheree Hooker | Editor @ South East Asia Backpacker + Winging The World

Sheree is the awkward British wanderluster behind Winging The World, a blog designed to show that even the most useless of us can travel. Follow Sheree’s adventures as she blunders around the globe, falling into squat toilets, getting into cars with machete men and running away from angry peacocks. In recent years, Sheree has also taken on the role of editor at South East Asia Backpacker.

Find her on: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

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