Angkor Wat Cambodia
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A Guide for Successful Solo Travel in Cambodia (2024)

If you’re wondering what to expect from solo travel in Cambodia, this article will tell you everything you need to know. I love travelling solo in Cambodia and I think you will too.

Cambodia offers a wealth of natural beauty from dense jungles to tropical islands with turquoise waters and magical sunsets. The country’s history is fascinating and the culture is unique.

Colourful, safe and relatively cheap to visit, Cambodia should be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s the perfect destination for solo travellers.

For me, the highlights of solo travel in Cambodia were exploring the ancient ruined temples at Angkor Wat, visiting the Royal Palace, eating street food at the markets, experiencing the heart-wrenching war memorials in Phnom Penh,  and relaxing on the palm-fringed beaches of the west coast.

Here are some tips to help you plan an incredible solo trip to Cambodia, avoid some pitfalls and have an amazing time.

the towers of Majestic Angkor Wat in Cambodia reflected in the lake
Majestic Angkor Wat in Cambodia

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Are you new to solo travel and looking for advice?

Solo Travel in Cambodia

Is Cambodia good for solo travel?

Yes, Cambodia is a good choice for a solo trip. Solo travel in Cambodia is easy and fun and there are many opportunities to meet other people, especially if you stay at hostels.

Cambodian people are friendly and genuinely want to talk to you. If you’re looking for a chat, go shopping or head to a temple or a monastery.

Monks like to practise their English and love talking to tourists. They’ll probably be happy to pose for photos also. I was lucky enough to be shown around the monastery at Wat Ounalom in Phnom Penh by a monk who lived there.

Best Places to Visit in Cambodia

Siem Reap & Angkor Wat

For solo travellers in Cambodia Angkor Wat is at the top of the list of best places to visit. UNESCO World Heritage-listed and made famous by the movie “Tomb Raider” the ancient temples of Angkor Wat are the main attraction in Cambodia and one of the most visited historical sites in Southeast Asia.

The busy capital, Phnom Penh has lots to offer solo travellers with a stunning Royal Palace, ancient temples, markets, lovely river views and all the conveniences of a capital city.

The seaside town of Sihanoukville has several pretty beaches and offers gorgeous sunsets but Sihanoukville is best known for its nightlife, high-rise apartments and casinos. For a quieter beach holiday head to Otres Beach or catch a ferry to the nearby tropical islands Koh Rong & Koh Rong Sanloem.

The coastal towns of Kep and Kampot have a laid-back country vibe. Kampot is a pretty riverside town on Cambodia’s west coast with cave temples and a pepper plantation to visit. Nearby Kep is a small, sleepy coastal town with pretty beaches and beautiful sunsets. Try the local pepper crab, visit the fish market, or hike in the National Park.

Kep Cambodia
Sunset at the Sailing Clun in Kep Cambodia

Itineraries for Solo Travel in Cambodia

Here are my suggested itineraries for solo travel to Cambodia.

With 10 days in Cambodia, you can see the highlights, the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, the busy royal capital of Phnom Penh and spend a few days relaxing on the beautiful tropical beaches.

For a more in-depth travel experience, I suggest spending 2 – 3 weeks exploring Cambodia.  to see  The Best of Cambodia in 18 Fascinating Days. With a bit more time you can travel by riverboat to the regional capital Battambang, and visit the islands, Koh Rong or Koh Rong Sanloem.

Learn more about travelling solo in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia or Myanmar.

Where to stay as a solo traveller in Cambodia

Solo travellers in Cambodia will find a variety of accommodation choices for all budgets. Hotels are very well set up for tourists and there are some good options that I can personally recommend.

Phnom Penh

Mid-Range: The Bridge Club, Phnom Penh. I loved staying here in a modern high-rise apartment with a spectacular view.

Mid-Range: The Frangipani Royal Palace Hotel, Phnom Penh has the perfect location for exploring Phnom Penh.

Luxury: Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh offers a touch of luxury with a colonial feel.

Siem Reap – The Night Hotel, Siem Reap

Kampot –  Villa Vedici has a lovely river view and a peaceful location just outside town. I loved staying here and spent a whole day relaxing by the pool.

Rikitikitavi Kampot is a more upmarket option in the centre of town.

Sihanoukville – Manoha Villa Serendipity Beach, Sihanoukville is a family-run guesthouse with clean spacious rooms. I enjoyed staying here on the way from Koh Rong Sanloem to Phnom Penh.

Koh Rong Sanloem – Sara Resort Koh Rong Sanloem. Escaping to this beautiful tropical island was a highlight of my solo trip to Cambodia, relaxing by the pool, eating mangos, exploring the island on foot and enjoying the lovely water views.

How to get around Cambodia

On a solo trip to Cambodia, there are many options to choose from when you travel around the country including air, train, bus, boat, or taxi. I found getting around the cities uncomplicated & I loved riding around in a tuk-tuk.

I used the Grab App for booking transport and found that it was better for hiring a tuk-tuk than flagging a driver down on the street. The Grab App sets the fare, Translates the instructions and provides a map so that you can check that you’re going to the right place. The App also goes a long way towards eliminating the language barrier with local drivers.

For long-distance journeys, I used buses and domestic flights to travel solo in Cambodia.

TIP: Booking buses and trains online in Cambodia is very easy with 12Go Asia and I found hotel receptions were also very helpful for onward travel advice.

Train travel in Cambodia is slow and routes are limited but you can catch a train from Phnom Penh to Kampot and Sihanoukville or from Phnom Penh to Battambang with connections by bus to Poipet on the Thai border and on to Thailand.

TIP: I didn’t enjoy travelling by minibus and would suggest booking a larger coach for long-distance travel. Even though distances between tourist destinations are not so long in Cambodia, I found the minibuses were cramped and uncomfortable on longer trips. You can expect delays and changes in schedule so don’t book things too tightly.

Cambodia has International Airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Domestic travel by air is relatively inexpensive and a good option for travelling longer distances if you’re a solo traveller in Cambodia.  

palm trees lining the beach and sunset views at Otres Beach Cambodia

Getting from the airport to your hotel

Before you travel solo to Cambodia, book your airport transfers ahead of time. This will take the hassle out of your trip and help you to feel more confident when you first arrive, especially if it’s your first time travelling solo in Cambodia. Expect to be hassled by taxi drivers when you exit the airport.

If you’re arriving in the capital you can book your Phnom Penh International Airport transfer here.

Or if you’re flying directly to Siem Reap, book your Siem Reap International Airport Transfer here.

Alternatively, solo travellers in Cambodia can pick up a taxi or a tuk-tuk at the airport. At Siem Reap airport there’s a flat fee for a tuk-tuk into town but you can expect to be hassled by a throng of eager taxi drivers when you leave the airport.

Visas for Cambodia Solo Travel

Yes, most nationalities need a visa to visit Cambodia. Australian citizens need a visa to enter Cambodia and you can apply for an e-visa online from the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or get a Visa on Arrival.

To apply for a visa on arrival you need:

  •  a recent passport photo
  •  a passport that is valid for at least 6 months
  •  2 empty pages in your passport
  •  a completed visa application form is supplied on the plane or at the airport on arrival
  • visa fee in US dollars cash.
The Throne Hall at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh Cambodia
The Throne Hall at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh Cambodia

Is it expensive to travel to Cambodia?

Cambodia is one of the cheapest countries for travel in South East Asia. If you’re spending AUD$, US$, Euros, or Pounds it’s an inexpensive country to visit. Solo travel in Cambodia is a bit more expensive but foreigners do very well on the exchange rate and can live very comfortably in Cambodia without spending a lot of money.

Accommodation is relatively cheap and I enjoyed staying in a modern apartment on the 32nd floor of The Bridge Club in central Phnom Penh with a stunning view over the river for around US$30.

Food is more expensive than in Thailand or Vietnam with an evening meal costing around US$6 and upwards.  

Can I use US$ in Cambodia?

Yes, take US$ on a solo trip to Cambodia but the local currency, the Cambodian Riel, is most commonly used and it’s easy to change money at banks, money changers and hotels.

You can use US dollars rather than local currency but you may be charged more if you pay in US dollars.

Credit Cards are widely accepted and ATMs are easy to find. Many ATMs will give you US$.

If you take US$ in cash, make sure your notes are new and unmarked or they may not be accepted. I took an older US$50 bill and had trouble using it. I got a lot of odd looks and the money was handed back to me several times.

Palm trees white sand and turquoise waters of Koh Rong Sanloem island Cambodia
Koh Rong Sanloem island is perfect for solo travel to Cambodia

The Best Time to Visit Cambodia

November to February is the best time for solo travel to Cambodia but try to avoid peak season in December / January as there are more than 2 million visitors annually.

July /August can be a rewarding time to visit away from peak season as the landscape is green and the rivers are full.

June to October is the wet season and Siem Reap sometimes floods in October.

April / May is extremely hot throughout the country and it’s the worst time of year to visit.

Cambodia is near the equator with a usual temperature range of 21 – 35 degrees Celcius ( 70 – 95 degrees Fahrenheit). I was there in January and it was extremely hot! It’s the peak tourist season and the weather is typically sunny and dry.

TIP: Be prepared for the sweltering heat in Cambodia. Book a hotel room with air-conditioning and a pool. There’s nothing better than a swim to cool off after a long day exploring temples on a solo trip to Cambodia.

What to Pack for Solo Travel to Cambodia

The weather in Cambodia is hot and can be very humid. Pack lightweight cotton clothes for solo travel in Cambodia and take:

  • Summer dresses
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Long-sleeved shirts & long pants for visiting temples, riding a motorbike, and visiting more remote areas of the country.
  • Sarong – Useful at the beach and can double as a towel, scarf, or sheet.
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses & sun hat
  • Swimmers
  • Sandals
  • Walking or hiking shoes & socks

As a tourist, you can wear shorts and a T-shirt when sightseeing but people dress conservatively in Cambodia and locals will probably be wearing long sleeves and pants.

For solo female travel in Cambodia, I suggest dressing conservatively. For safety reasons, it’s best to blend in and not draw too much attention to yourself.

Avoid very revealing clothes like tank tops, mini-skirts and tight yoga pants as they may make Cambodian people feel uncomfortable.

Dress & Etiquette

When you visit Angkor Wat and other temples in Cambodia, make sure you wear clothes that cover your knees and shoulders or you may cause offence. The Temples at Angkor Wat are important religious sites and inappropriate dress is not allowed.

TIP: Carry a sarong to tie around your waist or shoulders before entering a temple.

Monks collecting alms in Battambang Cambodia
Monks collecting alms in Battambang Cambodia

Is It safe to travel solo in Cambodia?

Yes. Solo female travel in Cambodia is generally safe. While there is a lot of poverty in rural areas, the strict Buddhist religion prohibits violence or crime. Women travelling alone in Cambodia are likely to have a safe and enjoyable trip. 

I have made several solo trips to Cambodia and have always felt safe but you should still take safety precautions and watch out for petty crime and scams. Be cautious, keep your bag close and your valuables out of sight and don’t walk alone late at night.

Staying connected on a Solo trip to Cambodia

Staying connected is very important for solo travellers in Cambodia. While free Wi-Fi is easy to find, I recommend buying a SIM card for reliable internet access.

I bought my SIM card easily in Siem Reap and it was not expensive. Your hotel in Cambodia will probably have free Wi-fi but it’s likely to be slow, insecure and unreliable so I used a SIM card in preference throughout my solo trip to Cambodia.

What NOT to do on a Cambodia Visit

While Cambodia is generally a relaxed country to visit, there are some things you should never do, especially if you travel solo to Cambodia.

  • Never point your feet towards the Buddha when sitting at Angkor Wat or at other temples. This is considered VERY rude and you will probably be told to sit respectfully. Instead, sit on your legs with your feet pointing behind you. If you’re not sure how to sit, copy the locals.
  • Women should never touch a monk or his robes or hand something directly to him.
  • Don’t drink the water. Buy bottled water or boil & purify your water and be careful of ice cubes and don’t eat salads that may have been washed in tap water.
woman waving from a boat on the river in Cambodia
Life on the river in Cambodia

More Tips for Solo Travel in Cambodia

  • Be prepared for the sweltering heat in Cambodia. Book a hotel room with air-conditioning and a pool. There’s nothing better than a swim to cool off after a long day exploring temples on a solo trip to Cambodia.
  • See your doctor for medical advice before you leave home and get the necessary vaccinations. This should be done a month or two before you leave home. Anti-malarial tablets will probably be recommended especially if you are visiting jungle areas.
  • For peace of mind make sure you buy travel insurance for solo travel in Cambodia. I recommend taking out Travel insurance so you can concentrate on enjoying your vacation without worrying about something going wrong

FAQ’s

How many days do you need for Cambodia?

With 10 days in Cambodia, you can see the highlights, visit the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, discover the capital Phnom Penh and relax on the beaches and tropical islands of the west coast. But allow 2 -3 weeks to see the country in more depth, travel by riverboat to the charming regional city of Battambang, and see more of the lovely west coast islands and beaches.

Is Vietnam safer than Cambodia?

Both Vietnam and Cambodia are safe for solo travel with low crime rates and fewer hassles than other destinations. If you take the usual safety precautions, take special care at night and watch out for petty theft and scams, you’re likely to have a safe and enjoyable experience travelling alone in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Do they speak English in Cambodia?

Yes. they speak English in Cambodia. While Khmer is the official language, English is widely spoken in tourist areas and cities. This makes solo travel in Cambodia easy.

You might also enjoy

Cambodia Travel: Why Angkor Wat is So Special

Kep or Kampot in Cambodia? Which Coastal Town is Best

A Guide for Successful Solo Travelling to Thailand

Solo Travelling for Women – 30 Tips for Success

Solo Travel in Vietnam – What You Need to Know

A Guide for Successful Solo Travelling to Bali

Is Phnom Penh Worth Visiting?

How to Visit Charming Battambang in Cambodia

Useful Advice for Solo Travel in Myanmar

Golden Rock in Myanmar – My Amazing Solo Travel Adventure

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21 Comments

  1. I would love to visit Angkor Wat! Thanks for sharing these tips!

    1. My Pleasure! I’m so happy you enjoyed the post!

  2. I’m so bummed I never got to visit Angkor Wat when I lived in Thailand! Can’t wait to explore Cambodia next time I’m in Southeast Asia 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for your comments. I’m sure you’ll love Cambodia & Angkor Wat!

  3. Angkor Wat has been on my list for the longest time. Thank you for sharing these details.

  4. Angkor Wat is high on my list, as is Cambodia in general, so this was really helpful for someone like me who has no idea what to expect. Although getting up at sunrise doesn’t sound fun, I’ve seen the pictures and I think I’d make it happen for the views there

    1. Yes its definitely worth getting up early to see Angkor reflected in the lake at sunrise!

  5. I’d just to go to Cambodia to see the temples. One Day!

  6. Fascinating! This is on my places to visit. My sister in law is Cambodian and we’d love to take a trip here one day!

  7. Very informative post, I’d love to visit Angor Wat in the future!

  8. This has been on my bucket list for so long – I can’t wait to plan a trip here! There are a lot of things to know before visiting, so thank you for sharing all of these helpful tips.

  9. Cambodia is definitely on my list. Pinning this for later

  10. Having been to Cambodia, I agree with everything you said in this post. Great tips! In Siem Reap, I was able to have the hotel send pick-up and drop-off to the airport.

  11. Angkor Wat, Cambodia, in general, has been on my bucket list for a long time now. I hope to visit there soon. Thanks for these valuable tips, especially about pointing your feet towards Buddha. It’s essential to learn these types of things before travelling to avoid being a “bad” tourist. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Bernadette says:

    I traveled by myself to Phnom Penh years ago and found it lovely! But Angkor Wat is still my favorite place to visit from that trip 🙂

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