The Cambodian capital is perfectly positioned for a quick getaway. Here are our best weekend breaks from Phnom Penh.
Kampot is a stalwart weekend getaway with expats and locals alike. Improved roads make it even easier, with it possible to get there in a taxi in about three hours – depending on how long it takes to get in or out of Phnom Penh. For a sleepy weekend break from Phnom Penh, check-in to one of the ever-growing collection of guesthouses and boutique properties that are constantly cropping up along the river. Villa Vedici is always a safe bet and not too far from the town centre. Sabay Beach offers another solid stay, as well as Champa Lodge.
Located about 90km from the capital, Kampong Chhnang makes the ideal weekend break from Phnom Penh and a popular getaway with motorbike enthusiasts – a stop at the ancient capital of Oudong along the way is a must. The central province sits in Cambodia’s fertile heart and boasts stunning rural landscapes. The provincial capital, also called Kampong Chhnang, is a laidback river port town that sits on the Tonle Sap River and is home to various floating villages that can be visited by boat. The riverside springs to live with locals at dusk and is well worth a visit.
For a peaceful snap break on the coast, head to Kep. Once a weekend playground for the French colonial elite before Cambodia gained independence, the sleepy seaside resort is today popular with Cambodians at weekends and public holidays. The compact town centre – a handful of coffee shops, store and restaurants – overlooks a small stretch of beach, with the famous Kep Crab Market close by. A definite must when you visit is crab and Kampot pepper. A good day trip from Kep is to embark on a 20-minute cruise in a fishing boat to nearby Koh Tonsay, commonly known as Rabbit Island.
An easy weekend break from Phnom Penh is Koh Dach. Commonly called Silk Island, Koh Dach sits about a 30-minute drive and 10-minute ferry from Phnom Penh. Located in the Mekong River, the compact island feels like a million miles away from chaotic capital life. A patchwork of paddies and agricultural land dominate the island, with a handful of quaint villages calling the island home. Given its name, it may come as no surprise that the island is famous for its silk weaving heritage. Traditional wooden looms are a common sight below the island’s stilted wooden houses. There is also a silk museum on the island where visitors can learn about the process from silkworm through to materials. Le Kroma is a good spot to stop for lunch and a swim, or to check-in overnight.
October saw the much-anticipated Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway – a first in Cambodia – open, and it’s a huge game-changer. Instead of battling dusty, pot-holed roads teeming with trucks, the smooth road has reduced the travel time from more than six hours to 2.5. This now makes it possible to squeeze an island getaway into a weekend or couple of free days. Check out our island guide for inspiration.
If you have insufficient time for our weekend breaks from Phnom Penh then perhaps you might be more interested in our Top 5 Phnom Penh Day Trips.