The best supermarkets in Phnom Penh

With more and more supermarkets coming to Phnom Penh, we’ve updated this post (again) to add a few more! Despite Cambodia’s status as a developing country, its grocery stores are, compared to many neighboring countries, fantastic. Because Cambodia signed up to the World Trade Organization in 2004, the country was flooded with imported goods–maybe not so great for the economy, but the expats in town aren’t complaining! Phnom Penh’s supermarkets aren’t cheaper, of course, than shopping at a local market, but if you prefer your meats refrigerated, your prices fixed and access to imported products, you’ve got many options in Phnom Penh, and more are being added all of the time including organic options. This updated posts features the ten best supermarkets in Phnom Penh.

A shelf of goods at Lucky Supermarket on Sihanouk in Phnom Penh

Get lucky at Lucky Supermarket’s most popular outlet in Phnom Penh.

Lucky Supermarket

Lucky is a chain of Western-style grocery stores in Phnom Penh (ten at last count). In this post, we used to recommend specific Lucky outlets, because they carried a different selection of various products. These days, the stock is more streamlined so we’ve combined their listings into one. Lucky Supermarkets have a massive selection of foreign foods, including imported meats, fruits and cheeses, including specialty items including Greek yogurt and chorizo. Their selection of vegetables and produce is outstanding, although the prices have been steadily climbing so if you’re watching your wallet, it makes sense to buy the locally available items at a local market for half the cost. Lucky also carries a large selection of Western and Asian snack foods as well as dry goods like shampoo and diapers.

The Sihanouk branch is one of the most popular, but gets crowded after work so plan accordingly. The Lucky City Mall branch has wide aisles that make it easy to navigate a cart or stroller in. The newish Toul Kork Lucky is fantastic if you happen to live in the area.

Lucky Sihanouk
Open daily, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
160 Sihanouk Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: 023 215 229

Lucky Supermarket Olympic/City Mall
Open daily, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Monireth Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: 081 222 078; 023 214 815

Lucky Toul Kork
Open Monday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday to Sunday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
TK Avenue, 80 Street 516 at the corner Street 313, Toul Kork, Phnom Penh
T: 081 222 388
luckymarketgroup.com

Phnom Penh groceries Aeon Mall

Aeon Supermarket offers an amazing grocery experience, if you’re willing to brave entering the mall.

Aeon Supermarket

The Aeon supermarket at Aeon Mall is the flashiest grocery store in town. It seamlessly melds an array of imported products with traditional Cambodian foods. The pantry and dry goods section has a wide selection of international items, while the fresh foods department carries everything from silk worms to prahok. They’ve also got an amazing food court, with a huge selection of Cambodian dishes, sushi and more. The downside is you have to go to the mall, which means parking or dealing with exorbitantly priced tuk tuks. But if you’re already there, be sure to check out their groceries.

Open daily, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Aeon Mall, 132 Sothearos Blvd, Tonle Bassac, Phnom Penh
T: 023 901 091
aeonmallphnompenh.com

Bayon Market

If you want to stock your pantry, Bayon Market in Phnom Penh offers the widest array of dry goods at the lowest prices. From American cereals to Korean ingredients, Bayon has brands from around the world, including some surprising finds, like Costco-brand olive oil and vitamins. Bayon carries a few key items that you won’t find elsewhere in town, like canned and dried black beans and chick peas, as well as various other legumes. They do have a small meat and vegetable section, and although their veggies can be much pricier than at local markets, they often carry items that you won’t find locally. They also have a good selection of beer, spirits and wine at reasonable prices. Upstairs they have one of the most complete kitchen supply stores in town, where, oddly, you’ll find items from Ikea and Walmart.

Open daily, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
33-34 Street 114, Phnom Penh
T: 023 881 266
Open daily, 08:00–21:00

Phnom Penh supermarkets

If you’re looking for French cheese, pate and foie gras, look no further than Thai Hout.

Thai Huot

Thai Huot used to be small, but after a recent renovation they’ve expanded to be almost twice the former size, still filled with a wide array of foreign products, with the focus on French and European goods. They are known for having one of the best selections of cheese in town, as well as pate, foie gras and all things tempting and French, including lentils, tinned cassoulet and duck confit. Obviously, you’ll need a few baguettes to go with all of the above, so of course they have good, reasonably priced bread as well. Their vegetable selection is small, but they have the essentials. Where Thai Huot really excel is in the spice department–they carry many spices sought by Europeans that you can’t find anywhere else in town, such as herbes de provence.

Open daily, 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
99-105 Monivong Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: 023 724 623
thaihuot.com

Thai Hout BKK!

Thai Huot in BKK 1 has all of the amenities of the original, and a more convenient location for many.

Thai Huot BKK1

A new Thai Huot supermarket opened last December and it’s possibly even better than the original, and with it’s BKK1 location, certainly more convenient for many expats. Thai Huot excels in dry goods, dairy, and cupboard items. They’ve got a great selection of French wines and cheeses, and French baked goods, plus an excellent array of European spices. They aren’t as impressive in the meats department, but all of that cheese, glorious cheese, makes up for it. Thai Huot used to be one of the only places in town you could get a Camembert. Now there’s loads of competition, but unlike many of the once-unique businesses in Cambodia who struggle to keep up with the pace of development in Cambodia, Thai Huot has been able to stay ahead of the curve.

Open daily, 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
214 Street 63 (at Street 352), BKK1, Phnom Penh
T: 023 726 604; 023 726 605
thaihuot.com

The Providore

The Providore is a new gourmet deli that offers a nice selection of French, Spanish, and Italian ingredients (much of it coming from AusKhmer), including hard-to-find items including smoked paprika from Spain, canned piquillo peppers, high-quality olive oil, saffron, and everything else you need for a tapas night. French ingredients aren’t as hard to find in Phnom Penh, but the Providore has more than its share of foie gras, duck terrines, and French pickles. But it’s the deli items that will really appeal to Phnom Penh foodies — they carry Italian-style Khmerita meats, Spanish charcuterie, preserved fish, and cheeses, and an excellent range of French terrines and soft cheeses. Frozen seafood and meats (including Wagyu beef) is also available, as is Cambodia Rumblefish coffee. If seeing the place makes you hungry, the Providore also has a small cafe with a menu that features their products.

Open daily, 7 a..m. to 8 p.m.
67 Sothearos Blvd, Tonle Bassac, Phnom Penh
T: 095 907 879
theprovidorecambodia.com

Super Duper Phnom Penh supermarket

Phnom Penh’s first 24-hour grocery store!

Super Duper

Super Duper is a new 24-hour grocery store in the Toul Tom Pong area, bring a much-needed shopping option to the area. The store isn’t huge, but they stock surprising array of all sort of imported foods, plus a nice selection of things that you’d find in a grocery store back home but rarely in Cambodia, such as light bulbs, birthday candles, and batteries. They also carry many refrigerated goods including vegetables, cheeses, and a surprising array of dips.

Open daily, 24 hours
Street 488, at the corner of Street 145, Toul Tom Pong, Phnom Penh
T: 023 212 864
super-duper.biz

Veggy’s

Deceptively small in appearance but packed with product, Veggy’s offers a selection of frozen, imported meats and seafood, canned goods, imported wines and features a cold room in the back that is packed with Western vegetables, meats and cheeses. This is the place to go for many hard-to-find items including fresh artichokes, pine nuts, chorizo and manchego cheese, among other things. More of a specialty shop than supermarket, Veggy’s still manages to carry enough to cover (almost) everything you need.  While the store could accurately be described as overpriced and the staff as inattentive, Veggy’s still is worth a visit for hard-to-find items. (Read the full review here.)

23 St 240, Phnom Penh
T: 023 211 534

Natural Garden Phnom Penh

It’s au natural at Natural Garden.

Natural Garden

Natural Garden is Phnom Penh’s leading source of organic vegetables for restaurants and hotels, but they also have a couple of retail locations. The Street 63 is their original store, and carries a wide range of organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs. They’ve got their own farm where they grow most of their produce, which actually looks organic, i.e. imperfect in a good way. Natural Garden is one of the only places in town where you can find proper red tomatoes. They also sell organic rice, free-range chicken, and eggs. Natural Garden also carries a range of imported meats and cheeses that while are not necessarily organic, are high-end and tasty. The store is also a good place to find other natural and organic local products that show up from time to time, from macrobiotic lunchboxes to locally-made yogurt drinks.

Open daily, 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
213 Street 63, BKK1, Phnom Penh
T: 023 555 2028
ngkhmer.com

There’s more! We’ve also got a list of all of the organic groceries and retailers in Phnom Penh.

Review: CTT Transportation, Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh (and vice-versa)

We’ve traveled the route between Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh and vice-versa several times now. Usually we’re firm fans of Giant Ibis, but, as they were fully booked this time, we thought we’d give a Sihanoukville-based travel company with a good reputation a go, CTT Transportation and Tours.

CTT Sihanoukville Phnom Penh

Hop a CTT mini-bus to Sihanoukville (or Phnom Penh).

CTT operate five mini-buses every day in each direction between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. They’re based in Sihanoukville, and with this many departures it won’t be long between they are a dominant player on this route. CTT operate from two offices in Sihanoukville, one on Ekareach Street and another on Serendipity Beach Road in the little block of stores behind Daily Mart, but tickets can be booked via local agents, we used Mottah Travel.

They operate a two-tier pricing system if you book direct at $10 for foreigners and $8 for locals, but we managed to get the local price through Mottah. Be warned, though, that sometimes drivers will not be happy once you show up and they can see that you are a foreigner and will make you pay the difference.

Tickets are also available online at BookMeBus, where you select your seat in advance, a nice perk. If you use an international credit card you pay a $1 processing fee for the total transaction, or you can make the booking using WING for free. (You can also take your chances and book a Cambodian-priced ticket this way.)

CTT Sihanoukville

CTT is based in Sihanoukville, don’t you wish you were?

CTT have three types of vehicle for the journey, 15-seat Toyota HiAces, 14-seat Ford Transits, and a 19-seat Hyundai mini-bus similar to Giant Ibis’ although this is only used for certain journeys. Free pick up in and around the Serendipity Beach Road area is included.

Our particular journey didn’t get off to the best start as we were told to be available from 7 a.m. for a 7.30 a.m. pick up and then proceeded to take a tour of the local area to collect other passengers before finally leaving Sihanoukville at 8.20 a.m. We noticed that other passengers’ tickets had an 8 a.m. pick up on them, so we are not too sure what happened — this may have been a mistake by the travel agent we used to make our booking.

We booked seat numbers 5 and 6 as we are paranoid of being at the back. Space-wise it was a little bit cramped but it was more than acceptable. On the regular 14-seat Ford Transit, Seat 7 is probably the best if you are travelling solo, and on this trip the guy there had a ton of room. Seat 10 is another solo seat, and seats 3-4, 5-6, and 8-9 are seats for two.The back row of seats, 11-14 are best avoided if at all possible, but that’s true of all companies. Like most of mini-buses, there was very little storage space so luggage goes under seats. On our trip it wasn’t bad, but we wouldn’t want to see the bus packed with too many large suitcases (luckily most of the passengers are Cambodians who travel light).

CTT Transport Cambodia

The interior of a CTT Ford Transit Van. Not the worst place to spend four hours.

The minivan itself was in good condition and had seat-belts and excellent air-conditioning; the advertised WiFi wasn’t working but we’ve yet to find a decent signal on a bus. The driver drove sensibly and we felt safe on the journey.

We stopped at Soreya Restaurant which is on the other side of the road from most of the other pit stop places and, to be fair, it wasn’t bad. Food was (as at all bus stops in Cambodia) overpriced, but they have a coffee shop which is actually quite reasonable; an iced cappuccino and passion fruit Italian soda were both $2 and a good size, they also had a selection of Blue Pumpkin pastries at 5,500 riel. The toilets are being renovated but the facilities available were clean and in good order. After just 15 minutes we were off again.

We got to their Phnom Penh office on the Riverfront at 12:40 p.m. making a journey time of 4 hours 20 minutes (35 minutes from the airport), which is not bad at all. All in all it was a good journey and we’d use them again in the future.

Buses run from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh at: 7.30 a.m., 8.30 a.m., 9.30 a.m., 12.45 p.m., 1.30 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. The last service of the day is the only one that uses the 19-seater.

Buses run from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville at: 7.30 a.m., 8.30 a.m., 9.30 a.m., 12.30 p.m., 1.30 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. The last service of the day is the only one that uses the 19-seater.

CTT Transportation and Tours

Serendipity Beach Road, behind Daily Mart, Sihanoukville
Ekareach Street, opposite POS Cafe, Sihanoukville
T: 034 217 217; 016 868 600; 011 868 600

223 Sisowath Quay between Streets 136 and 144, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
T: 023 217 217; 015 726 672
Book CTT Transportation tickets online

Bus tickets purchased through links in this post to BookMeBus generate affiliate sales for us. This does not affect our reviews for specific bus companies or routes! For more about how we deal with advertising, affiliate sales, and stuff like that, you can read more here.

How to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (and vice versa)

These days, there are a couple of easy ways to go from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh including bus, boat, plane, taxi, and mini-bus. There are options to fit every budget, but some are nicer than others. Right now the road is in great condition and it’s a smooth ride (fingers crossed it will stay this way). The journey takes between 5 and 6.5 hours, depending on your mode of transport.

Giant Ibis bus

Travel in style with Giant Ibis bus.

Bus

The road between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap offers a glimpse of Cambodian country life, as it barrels past rice paddies, traditional wooden houses, and water buffalo and cows lazily grazing on the side of the road. The views are best appreciated from a full-size bus, as the mini-buses are more crowded and have smaller windows. There are dozens of bus companies offering service between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Many are old, overcrowded and make dozens of stops (but are cheap, running around $6). The most popular amongst expats was Mekong Express, who are known for their safety record albeit shabby older buses.

In 2012 a new company, Giant Ibis, started running buses between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and have quickly become the new favorite. They offer WiFi and, most recently, power outlets on board. Read our review of Giant Ibis buses from a recent trip for more info. Both companies take around 6.5 hours and include a stop for food. You can purchase tickets for both companies at nearly any travel agent or guesthouse in both cities, and Giant Ibis also offers online reservations. Giant Ibis also has a night bus between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap that runs in both directions at 10:30 p.m., 11 p.m., and 11:30 p.m. I have a longstanding fear of night buses, but Giant Ibis’ version is as safe and relaxed as one could hope. Read a detailed review of the Giant Ibis night bus.

Tickets cost $12 on Mekong Express for foreigners and $9 for Khmers and $15 on Giant Ibis for all passengers. You can book bus tickets online in advance for Mekong Express and Giant Ibis.

For other bus options from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap that you can book online, check out BookMeBus.

Giant Ibis Schedule:
Phnom Penh – Siem Reap: 7:45 a.m., 8:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m., 11 p.m., 11:30 p.m.
Siem Reap – Phnom Penh: 7:45 a.m., 8:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m., 11 p.m., 11:30 p.m.

Giant Ibis
T: 095 777 808
W: giantibis.com
Ticket offices:
Street 106, Phnom Penh; T: 023 987 808
6A Sivatha Road, Siem Reap; T: 095 777 809

Mekong Express Schedule:
Phnom Penh – Siem Reap: 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 14:25 p.m.
Siem Reap – Phnom Penh: 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:45 p.m., 12:30 p.m.

Mekong Express
Booking office outside Orussey Market, Phnom Penh
T: 012 78 78 39; 098 833 399; 023 427 518
Siem Reap T: : 063 963 662; 012 315 858
W: catmekongexpress.com

Cambodia Bayon Airlines

Cambodia Bayon Airlines flies Chinese MA60 turboprop planes from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.

Plane

There are now three airlines operating flights between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh five or six times daily. This is the fastest (and most expensive) way to travel; if you’re short on time, flying is the best option because it only takes about 45 minutes.

Cambodia Angkor Air is the national carrier although is not the most reliable airline in the world; if a flight is mostly empty, they will bump you to the next flight. In high season, though, flights are usually booked solid. Flights can be booked online or through any travel agent. The cost is $100+ for a one way flight or $200+ for a round trip. Occasionally travel agents can get better deals, so it’s worth asking. Read our full review of Cambodia Angkor Air with booking tips.

There are also two new airlines flying from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (and vice-versa) once daily with prices as low as $40 return. Read our full review of Bayon Airlines and our review of Bassaka Air, or our comparison of all Phnom Penh to Siem Reap flights for more information.

Seila Angkor Khmer Express

Seila Angkor’s Ford Transit vans can get you from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.

Mini-bus

Expats in the know seem to travel by mini-bus, as the trip is significantly shorter than by bus. There are many, many mini bus companies covering this route, but we’ve personally vetted the ones below.

Seila Angkor is popular mini-bus company that does the Phnom Penh to Siem Reap route. The trip takes between five and six hours. With the current road conditions, in order to do the trip in five hours the drivers need to take some hair-raising liberties, and occasionally they can drive faster than I’m comfortable with. Most of the time, though, the trip takes six hours and the drivers go at a reasonable pace. Seila Angkor run 16-seat Ford Transit vans, and all seats come with a removable head/neck rest, a small bottle of water and a moist towelette. It’s good to understand the seat setup before you book, because you can reserve seats by number. Read our full review of Seila Angkor mini bus.

Mey Hong Transport (formerly Apsara) is the most popular company, with comfortable mini buses equipped with seat belts going between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap four times daily. The trip takes a hair-raising 5 hours and costs $10 for tourists and $8 for locals (including expats). The only downside is that the Phnom Penh office is located in Toul Kork, slightly outside central Phnom Penh. You’ll easily get a tuk tuk from the station into town for a couple of bucks, but you’ll save money by walking away from the Mey Hong station and getting a tuk tuk on the street rather than one of the vultures at the station who wait for unsuspecting tourists to price gouge.

Golden Bayon Express has a fleet of 15-seat Toyota HiAces. These are certainly the most comfortable of all of the current mini-bus types currently on the road in Cambodia, with larger padded seats than the Ford Transits. Golden Bayon Express claims their HiAces are from 2012, and if that’s the case, they have had a long, hard three years. The interiors are dingy, with holes in the upholstery and stains on the ceilings. They drive fast so although they get to their destination quickly, it can be a hair-raising ride. Golden Bayon Express is yet another Cambodian transport company that has one price for Cambodians ($8) and one price for foreigners ($10). Read our full review of Golden Bayon Express mini bus.

You can book tickets for Seila Angkor, Mey Hong, Golden Bayon Express and many other mini-bus companies on BookMeBus. If you use an international credit card the cost is $1 for the entire transaction (not per ticket) and you can request a seat at the time of booking.

Seila Angkor Schedule:
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2 p.m., 3  p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m.
Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2  p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m.,  5 p.m., and 6 p.m.

Seila Angkor Khmer Express
#63 National Road 6 (across from Samaki Market), Siem Reap
T: 097 777 7393; 077 888 080
#43Eo, Street 154, Phnom Penh
T: 023 697 1888; 012 766 976; 077 697 672
seilaangkor.com

Mey Hong Transport Schedule:
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: 7:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 11 p.m.
Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: 7:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 11 p.m

Mey Hong Transport
#213 Street 289, Toul Kork, Phnom Penh
T: 092 411 611; 023 63 72 722
0667 National Road 6, Siem Reap
T: 088 84 11 633; 063 965 979

Golden Bayon Express Schedule:
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: 7:30 a.m., 8:15 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m.
Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: 7:30 a.m., (sometimes there is an 8:15 a.m. bus, but usually not), 2 p.m., 3 p.m.

Golden Bayon Express
Street 126 at Street 51, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
T: 023 966 968; 089 221 919; 010 968 966
269 Wat Bo Village (just south of Road 6), Siem Reap
T: 063 966 968; 017 221 919; 010 966 968

Taxi

Taxis between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap cost between $65 to 85. If you are catching a taxi directly from the airport, expect to pay more. Private taxis are almost always Toyota Camrys and can fit 4 passengers as long as they don’t have a lot of luggage. The trunks are not huge, so if you’ve got more than one piece per person, it’s going to be a tight squeeze. Private taxis can be hired through any guesthouse or travel agent. Most tuk tuk drivers also have a few taxi-driving friends and relatives, so ask around and you’ll easily find one. Make sure to confirm the price before the trip, as misunderstandings are common (and frustrating). Expect your taxi driver to stop multiple times to pick up and drop off packages along the way. If you are paying on the high end of the scale, it’s fair to ask (in advance) that they do not make extra stops. SUV taxis are also available through many travel agents. 5-6 hours.

Mini-van taxi

Mini-van taxis between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap cost between $100 and $180 and can carry up to 15 passengers. If you’ve got more than a couple people and want to give the bus a miss, this is a good option. The vans are usually new and clean, but ask to make sure the one you hire has seat belts. You can hire mini-van taxis in Phnom Penh next to the Landscape Hotel across from the Cambodiana Hotel on Sisoqwath Quay. Van drivers gather there and you can negotiate your own price. Mini-vans can also be booked through any travel agent or hotel, but you’ll get a better price if you go direct. If you aren’t in Phnom Penh, you can call Sopheap Bung. Sopheap works with several other van drivers and can organize the right size van for you. His number is 012 894 155 and the trip takes about 6 hours.

Shared taxi

Another option is a shared taxi. You can get shared taxis from the southwest corner of Central Market (Psar Thmei) in Phnom Penh. The cost is approximately $6-12 per person, and the drivers wait until they have enough customers to fill up the taxi like a sardine can. Although the cars are 5-seater Camrys, most will wait for at least seven passengers (plus the driver) before departing. Offer to pay extra to take the front seat, otherwise you’ll be squeezed in with three or four others in the backseat. The journey takes 5-6 hours.

Boat from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

The aesthetically unappealing interior of the Phnom Penh boat to Siem Reap.

Boat

Between July and March ferries run between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap (they do not run during the dry season when the water levels are low). Travel is generally best during the wet season when water levels are high. The boats do not meet international safety standards, are run down and are known to break down fairly regularly. During high season, there are usually scores more onboard than there are seats for. That said, it’s a nice way to travel, and you can sit on top and watch the countryside go by (but be sure to wear sun protection!) Tickets cost $35 and leave from the Phnom Penh Port on Sisowath Quay near Street 104 at 7:30 a.m. Depending on the season and water levels, the trip can take between four and eight hours.

Bus tickets purchased through links in this post to BookMeBus generate affiliate sales for us. This does not affect our reviews for specific bus companies or routes! For more about how we deal with advertising, affiliate sales, and stuff like that, you can read more here.

Exploring the Battambang countryside by bicycle

There are plenty of reasons to get out of the city and explore the countryside around Battambang. There is so much to see: the rural way of life in small villages, the rice paddy fields, and expansive stretches of open space that yield long and flat from the city to the horizon. The outskirts of Battambang are also dotted with some awesome points of interest, so you can most certainly do a bit of sightseeing along the way as well. I’ll start off with some recommended modes of transportation and move on to a few hot spots and suggested routes.

Battambang countryside

Moo! Get out of town and explore the Battambang countryside.

The best ways to get around:

In order to take it slow and have time to really enjoy your surroundings, I highly recommend taking a bicycle around some of the nearer countryside areas. You can rent one from a number of guesthouses and tour operators in Battambang quite easily for $1-2 per day. Cycling allows you to stop and enjoy the environment at your leisure, tailoring your own schedule and allowing you to really appreciate the journey.

It’s easy enough to follow most of the main routes yourself, just get familiar with the roads before you set off. Stick to the main roads (none of the ones I suggest are particularly large or busy roads anyway) and veer off as you wish. 3G coverage is pretty good so bring a smartphone and you’ll always know where you are.

If you would prefer a guided tour however, check out some recommendations below (full itinerary details can be found on their respective websites). A livelihoods tour where you can see the various jobs of agricultural villages, from rice wine to noodle-making, is a great option if you wish to interact with the communities you visit on your journey.

The Battambang Bike offer half and full-day countryside tours with guide ($18/$38 per person) including any entry fees to sites visited), and a bat cave half-day tour ($18 per person including entry fees). They have more tours coming soon and bike rental also available.

Soksabike have half and full-day countryside tour ($35/$50, reducing with number of pax in group), half and full-day livelihoods tour with visits to local families and businesses ($27/$40 reducing with number of pax in group). Bike rental also available.

Butterfly Tours offer half and full day livelihoods tour ($18/$38 per person), half-day tours to Ek Phnom ($16 per person), half-day tours to the bamboo train ($15pp), and half-day countryside tours ($16 per person). Longer multi-day tours also available.

The suggestions below can be reached by tuk-tuk or renting a motorcycle, if cycling is not your thing.

things to do in Battambang

A beautiful ride outside Battambang takes you to Ek Phnom, and this massive Buddha.

Recommended cycling routes and sights:

Ek Phnom

The journey to Ek Phnom itself is simply exhilarating. Follow Road 3 north out of the city and you’ll weave your way through small villages, catching the occasional glimpse of children swimming in the river or chasing one another along its banks. The villages and countryside on this route form a perfect blend of rural life and stunning countryside that ends at the magnificent ruins of Ek Phnom, before you cycle back of course!

Wat Kor

A shorter route heads south from Road 1, following the river towards Wat Kor. Out here you can also appreciate village life, or check out the ‘Ancient House’, belonging to Mr. Noun Chea, the second brother of the Pol Pot regime, and showcasing a French colonial-era home. There are also several beautiful pagodas on this route, including Wat Kor itself, making for peaceful stopping points. The trip out and back shouldn’t be more than 40 or 50 minutes of cycling in total, allowing time to visit the stopping points of your choice.

If you are prepared to go a bit further afield, head south on Road 154 towards Wat Banan. This route is a stunning ride through villages and lush countryside, following the river much of the way. En route there are a couple of pagodas should you wish to stop, and you’ll also pass the Battambang vineyard where you can do a wine tasting. The ride is around 18 km (11 miles) from the city each way.

Wat Banan Battambang

If you like to cycle, head to Wat Banan, which is about 18km (11 miles) outside of town.

Too far to cycle (or perhaps only for the very adventurous!):

1000 Islands resort

Wooden platforms stand above a lake, providing a relaxing and natural setting for a day trip. The journey is around 45 minutes by tuk-tuk from Battambang, and that is the recommended way to reach the site. Food and drinks are available and are brought to your platform by boat!

Kamping Pouy Reservoir

Around 30 km (18.6 miles) out of town following the Wat Banan road is Kamping Pouy reservoir, where locals gather to relax and enjoy the water and scenery on weekends. It may also be possible at times to charter a boat to explore further.

There are also several waterfalls, varying in size, further on the Wat Banan road, headed to Pailin, if you are ready for a longer journey.

The best part about exploring the countryside around Battambang however, has to be the amalgamation of rural village life and awesome sites. Enjoy exploring!

The Battambang Bike

Open daily, 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
60 Street 2.5, Battambang [map]
T:098 830 868; 095 578 878; 097 482 4104
facebook.com/thebattambangbike

Soksabike

Open daily, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Street 1.5, Battambang [map]
T: 017 860 003
soksabike.com

Butterfly Tours

Open daily, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Street 309, Battambang [map]
T: 089 297 070
butterflytour.asia

Cambodia Gay Pride 2016

With a a Cambodia-style ten-day week, Cambodia Gay Pride week is already in full swing. The theme this year is ‘I am what I am.’  The subtext of the theme is recycling, because it’s the same theme as last year when it was chosen to convey “that you’re born to be what you are.”

The 10-day event will celebrate the LGBT community, increase local acceptance, and raise awareness of LGBT issues in Cambodia. Of course all of the Phnom Penh gay bars will be having their own special celebrations, and there have been a few days of pre-game events, but there’s a full roster of workshops, educational events, movies, and parties that start today. Here are some of the highlights:

Space Hair Salon

The 2016 pride party at Space Hair Salon is Superhero themed, but promises to be just as good as last year’s uniform party.

Tuesday, May 17th

1 to 5 p.m.
CamASEAN will be holding a tuk tuk and cyclo parade, presumably to get everyone in the right frame of mind for the tuk tuk race on Saturday!

6 to 9 p.m.
Opening party. Meta House hosts an opening night for the Pride 2016 Film Fest, featuring new films from Cambodia, Thailand, and Indonesia, as well as new European and American features and documentaries. Tonight there will be free food and drink from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., a photo and art exhibition, educational role-plays, film screenings, and free condoms.

Wednesday, May 18th

5 to 8 p.m.
Wine and cheese evening. Manor House will be hosting a wine and cheese evening featuring international wines and a selection of cheese and nibbles. Bring swimwear and a towel if you’d like to enjoy the use of the Manor House pool.

8 to 11 p.m.
Fashion show and exhibition party. Strange Fruit Cambodia is hosting a fashion show and painting exhibition to celebrate Cambodia pride.

7 to 10:30 p.m.
Cambodia Pride Film Festival screening at Meta House: Love and Other Matters (Myanmar, 2016), Eisenstein in Guanajuato (Netherlands/Mexico/France, 2015)

Midnight until late
Shameless!. Weekly queer night at Pontoon features an eclectic mix of backpackers, sexpests, freakouts, and Cambodia’s gay community with the infamous Marcus at its helm. Featuring a late-night gender-bending cabaret dance performance at 1:30 a.m. Free entry.

Thursday, May 19th

7 to 11 p.m.
Cambodia Pride Film Festival at Meta House: Cambodia Transgender Documentaries and Q&A, screening of The Danish Girl (UK, 2015)
For more details about the pride films at Meta House, check out the schedule.

8 p.m. until late
Superhero Party at Space Hair Salon. The undeniably handsome staff of the Space Hair Salon will be decked out as superheros, and so should you! Head to Space for drinks, dancing, and delightful banter. Last year’s party was amazing and this year promises to be even better with a street tent and outdoor bar. Plan to take Friday off.

cambodia gay pride

Blue Chilli cabaret show. The Cambodia LGBT community goes all out for pride week+ in Phnom Penh.

Friday, May 20th

9 p.m. until late
Pride party at Blue Chilli. Head over to Blue Chilli where they’ll be having a “sexy muscle boy show” as well as a Cambodian drag, diva, and dancers performance, plus free condoms and HIV testing. Last year’s party was extraordinary, taking Street 178 in front of Blue Chilli and this year is sure to be just as good.

7 to 11 p.m.
Cambodia Pride Film Festival at Meta House: screening of documentary Calalai in-betweenness (Indonesia, 2015) and Lost in Paradise, originally titled  Rebellious Hot Boy and the Story of Cười, the Prostitute and the Gigolo (Vietnam, 2011)
For more details about the pride films at Meta House, check out the schedule.

Saturday, May 21st

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Gay pride brunch. Feel Good 2 is doing a special gay pride brunch with a gorgeous set menu for only $15 that will feature Caribbean and traditional brunch foods. Bloody marys and mimosas will also be on offer and $1 from each drink sale will be donated to CCT for HIV outreach in Battambang. You must make a reservation in advance, as seating is limited. Call 077 694 702.

3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The amazingly fabulous pride tuk tuk race. Join this tuk tuk race around Phnom Penh which will be visiting various LGBT venues and organizations. This year promises to be bigger, better, and more fabulous than last year! Email knyay@hotmail.com for more details and to sign up for a team.

7 to 11 p.m.
Cambodia Pride Film Festival at Meta House: screening of documentary Sugar and Eyelashes (Indonesia, 2014) and Fundamentally Happy (Thailand/Singapore, 2015)
For more details about the pride films at Meta House, check out the schedule.

8 to 11 p.m.
Q Magazine 1st year anniversary party: Celebrate one year of the first gay magazine in Cambodia. Also celebrate the second(!) time single-sex venue Arthur&Paul is deigning to let women on the premises.

11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Heart of Darkness pride closing party. Heart of Darkness, Phnom Penh’s preeminent gay club, hosts a pride night bash that will include a “bare-chested beauties” show, drag acts from Blue Chilli, plus a special Diamonds Show (we don’t know what that means either). $5 cover charge includes one free drink.

Sunday, May 22nd

1 to 6 p.m. (tentatively)
Pool Party. Rambutan Resort and Arthur&Paul join forces again to host a pride closing party that will feature drinking, swimming, and sauna. Don’t forget your swim togs!

7 to 11 p.m.
Cambodia Pride Film Festival at Meta House: screening of documentary A Question For My Father (Indonesia) and The Circle (Switzerland, 2014), a drama about coming out in 1950s Switzerland.
For more details about the pride films at Meta House, check out the schedule.

8 p.m. til late
Grand Finale Show. AV Bar 225 hosts the final closing pary of Pride 2016 featuring drinking, divas, and drag. Party starts at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 10 p.m.

For more information about Cambodia Pride Week 2016, see Gay News Cambodia and the I Am What I Am 2016 Facebook page. If you know of additional events that should be listed here, please contact us.

Review: Mike’s Burger House, Sihanoukville

In Sihanoukville a new place to eat is exciting news (well, for us at least!), so we were pleased to see the recent arrival of Mike’s Burger House. Phnom Penh expats have told us about the solid reputation of Mike’s Burgers House — they specialize in California-style burgers inspired by legendary American fast food chain In-N-Out — so we thought we should check it out for ourselves.

Mike's Burger House Sihanoukville

I hope you’re hungry! In-N-Out-style double bacon cheeseburger at Mike’s Burger House.

Located opposite the Golden Lions next door to Olive and Olive (and not too far from the recently expanded Ernie’s Burgers), the Sihanoukville branch of Mike’s Burger House is the 5th to open in the Kingdom following three in Phnom Penh and one in Siem Reap. Owned by Mike Im, a Cambodian who moved to the US after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, the restaurant seeks to recreate the burgers that he loved so much during his 30 years in California.

Our first impressions were not great: it’s quite a small place with 24 seats and was lacking in atmosphere — some music in the background would have helped — this is an area where Ernie’s Burgers definitely has the upper hand, with their new upstairs area that is a nice place to relax after a meal.

In addition to an array of beef burgers (many with bacon), the menu includes chicken and fish burgers, sloppy Joes, chicken nuggets, and Tex-Mex style dishes such as burritos, quesadillas, and fajitas. Prices were a little higher than we expected in a town where you can have a decent meal and a beer for $3; the house special cheeseburger is priced at $3.75 all the way up to the gluttonous Lion burger that boasts 1.2 kg (2.6 lbs) of beef. We weren’t that adventurous, so we went for ‘classic American’ bacon cheeseburgers at $4.25 with a small side of fries for $2.75.

The staff were attentive, polite (and abundant!), and our food was served quickly and was very good. Our burger came with iceberg lettuce, tomato, onion, and burger sauce and was a really good size, the bun was soft but held together well. The patty was thick, juicy, and delicious.

Mike' Burgers Sihanoukville

Lacking in atmosphere but big on taste.

We really liked how everything tasted fresh and the fries were excellent. We shared a small serving of fries and there really was enough for two, which gives some justification to the price. Everything was served with help-yourself bottles of good Heinz ketchup and Sriracha sauce.

Refreshments-wise, they serve a range of soft drinks including imported brands like Arizona soda and Vanilla Coke as well as mammoth cans of Monster energy drink. They also serve milk and protein shakes as well as American root beer floats. If you like a beer with your burger, they stock bottles of Angkor, Corona, and Cambodia beer, and are one of the rare places outside the brewery where you can pick up a bottle of Five Man Beer.

Overall we really enjoyed the food and chatting to the staff at Mike’s Burger House. Yes, it’s lacking in the ambience department, but it’s a nice addition to the Sihanoukville burger scene and we’ll be back soon to try one of the many other options on their menu.

Mike’s Burger House

Open daily 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Opposite Golden Lions Roundabout, Corner of Serendipity Beach Road, Sihanoukville
T: 069 559 971

5 cheap and delicious places to eat in Battambang

Battambang is home to an astonishing range of restaurants, offering something to suit most budgets and tastes. You’ll find both traditional Khmer dishes as well as a host of international options, leaving Battambang expats spoiled for choice. If you are looking for something tasty and low cost, these are a few of the best places to dine in Battambang on a budget:

restaurants battambang

Cheap and cheerful Chinese noodles.

Lan Chov Khorko Miteanh/Chinese Noodle Dumpling

Located on Road 2 between Pub Street and Psar Naat, Lan Chov Khorko Miteanh or Chinese Noodle Dumpling as it’s more commonly called is a great low-cost noodle restaurant. The menu includes a number of delicious stir-fried and soup dishes made with their own hand-pulled noodles, as well as steamed and fried dumplings. Most dishes cost less than $2 and come with free jasmine tea. Portions are huge and watching the ‘Noodle Man’ prepare dishes at the front of the shop is one of the highlights!

Open daily for lunch and dinner
Street 2, Battambang
T: 092 589 639

Street-side Khmer Noodle Soup

The best place to get a traditional Cambodian breakfast in Battambang is an informal stall set just back from the road serving Khmer noodle soup, known as kuy tiev. You’ll find this gem on Road 207 towards the President Hotel, just past Dewey University. It would be hard to find if it wasn’t so popular — there’s usually a sea of motos parked around the gateway there to slurp up the tasty vegetable, noodle, and pork broth soup. A bowl is only $0.75 but be sure to get there early as they close up mid-morning.

Open for breakfast
Street 207, just past Dewey University, Battambang

Battambang cheap eats

Cheap eats and excellent river views at The River in Battambang.

The River

Scenically located on the banks of the Sangker, The River has an extensive and inexpensive menu of Khmer and Western dishes for between $2 and $4. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, although sunset is a particularly nice time to enjoy the view, and if you want a sundowner, draft beers are only $0.50!

Open daily, 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Road 1A, Battambang
T: 012 781 687
facebook.com/TheRiverBarAndRestaurant

Mariyan Pizza House

A little out of the way beside Wat Sangker, is Maryan Pizza House. Although their pizza is not so low-cost, the Khmer dishes are delicious and generally come in for less than $2.50. It’s also a nice place to dine with friends as there are a number of small booths in which you can eat.

Open daily, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Street 211, Battambang
T: 096 666 6863

Banh Chao

There is an ongoing debate about whether this dish originated in Cambodia or Vietnam, but if you’re in Cambodia it’s best to stick to that side! The traditional bean sprout, vegetable and meat filled egg crepe is available at a multitude of restaurants along road 159D (towards the railway line) for just 3,000 riel ($0.75). There are several restaurants serving banh chao all in traditional wooden houses overlooking the river with great views and also offering a unique cultural experience. The one below, in a green building, is my favorite.

Street 159D northwest of Street 302, Battambang
T: 097 796 9865

Looking for more ideas? Check out our dining guide to Battambang.