Embark on an unforgettable train journey through the Kingdom of Wonder, where history, culture, and scenic beauty intertwine to tell the captivating tale of Cambodia.

As you step onto the platform at Phnom Penh Railway Station, you embark on an extraordinary journey through the heart of Cambodia. The rumble of the train and the rhythmic clatter of wheels against the tracks resonate with the pulse of a nation eager to share its history, culture, and scenic beauty.

Through the train window, the story of Cambodia unfolds, carrying you from the bustling capital, Phnom Penh, brimming with its royal splendour and poignant history, to the sun-soaked shores of Sihanoukville, where the breeze carries tales of old-world charm and modern-day relaxation. As the train meanders through landscapes where time seems to have stood still, you arrive in Kampot, a quaint town famed for its peppery aroma that mingles with the colonial-era nostalgia, offering a sensorial feast.

The railway line weaves its magic as it continues onto Battambang, an unassuming city where every street corner whispers stories of Cambodia’s artistic heritage and French colonial past, while the famed Bamboo Train offers a novel ride through the lush countryside. Further along the journey, the bustling city of Poipet offers a unique blend of cultures and experiences, its train station representing the robust pulse of a dynamic border town.

The finale of this journey is nothing short of spectacular – the ancient city of Siem Reap, where the chimes of temple bells echo through the grandeur of Angkor Wat, revealing a rich tapestry of Cambodia’s glorious past. This train journey through Cambodia is not just a mode of transport but a voyage through time, an immersion into the vibrant soul of this magnificent nation.

Phnom Penh

phnom penh Steeped in a tumultuous history, set alongside the confluence of the mighty Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers, lies Phnom Penh, the vibrant and bustling capital of Cambodia. This city, often overlooked in the shadows of the more renowned Siem Reap, offers a captivating blend of heritage, culture, and modern urban charm that embodies the heart and soul of Cambodia. From the glimmering spires of the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda to the thought-provoking Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields, Phnom Penh is a city of stark contrasts and surprising discoveries.

Amidst this dynamic cityscape lies a haven for train enthusiasts — the Phnom Penh Railway Station. An architectural jewel from the French colonial era, this railway station has withstood the test of time and today serves as a vital part of Cambodia’s renewed railway system. Take a moment to appreciate the station’s nostalgic charm before embarking on a scenic rail journey that unfolds the unique tapestry of Cambodian landscapes.

What it’s known for: Phnom Penh is a fascinating blend of tradition and modernity, where grand pagodas sit alongside buzzing markets and burgeoning skyscrapers. This city is noted for its historic landmarks like the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.

Local culture: The city’s culture is deeply rooted in Buddhism, evident in the daily lives of its residents, while a strong French influence remains from the colonial era. Traditional Apsara dance performances, an integral part of Cambodian culture, are a must-see.

History: Phnom Penh was once known as the ‘Pearl of Asia’ during its colonial heyday. It witnessed turbulent periods under the Khmer Rouge regime, the scars of which are visible at the Genocide Museum.

Visitor Experience: For train enthusiasts, a visit to the French-built Phnom Penh Railway Station, still in operation today, is a must. The city’s vibrant markets like the Central Market and Russian Market offer unique shopping experiences.

Food & Drink: Savour Phnom Penh’s signature dish ‘Num Pang,’ a delicious baguette sandwich. Don’t miss out on the local ‘Prahok,’ a fermented fish paste, a fundamental part of Khmer cuisine.

Landscape & Climate: The cityscape is a mix of traditional and modern architecture set along the banks of the Mekong River. The climate is tropical with the rainy season from May to October and dry season from November to April.


Sihanoukville Sihanoukville, or ‘Kompong Som,’ is Cambodia’s premier beach destination, known for its picturesque white sandy beaches, coral-filled waters, and a thriving nightlife. Located on a peninsula in the Gulf of Thailand, the city offers a laid-back atmosphere that is a stark contrast to the buzz of Phnom Penh. Beyond the beaches, it’s a gateway to explore idyllic tropical islands such as Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem. This coastal city is also renowned for its seafood, and dining on fresh catch while witnessing a spectacular sunset is an experience to remember.

For train enthusiasts, Sihanoukville offers an unparalleled journey. The rail line from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, meandering through the mesmerising Cambodian countryside, offers enchanting views that are a feast for the eyes. This charming city not only appeals to beach lovers but also strikes a chord with those who appreciate the beauty of an unhurried train journey.

What it’s known for: Sihanoukville is renowned for its beautiful beaches and thriving nightlife. Its ports play a significant role in Cambodia’s growing economy.

Local culture: A melting pot of cultures due to its expatriate communities. The city is dotted with temples, and you’ll often encounter Buddhist ceremonies and rituals.

History: Named after King Norodom Sihanouk, this city played a crucial role during the Vietnam War as a resupply port.

Visitor Experience: The journey from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville by train offers stunning views of the Cambodian countryside. The city also serves as a gateway to the idyllic islands of the Gulf of Thailand.

Food & Drink: Seafood is the star of Sihanoukville’s culinary scene. Try ‘Kdam Chaa,’ a stir-fried crab dish, or the locally brewed Angkor beer.

Landscape & Climate: Sihanoukville features beautiful sandy beaches and tropical islands. The climate is tropical with high temperatures all year round.


Kampot Kampot, a tranquil riverside town, lures visitors with its languid charm, magnificent natural beauty, and a preserved slice of French colonial heritage. Famous for its pepper, Kampot boasts lush plantations that produce some of the world’s finest pepper varieties. However, it’s not just the pepper that brings this sleepy town to life. Its scenic river, mesmerising sunset views, and quaint old-town feel combine to create a refreshing retreat away from the bustling cities.

At the heart of Kampot lies its old railway station, a reminder of the town’s past. Although it’s no longer functional, this old-world charm fascinates rail enthusiasts, offering a glimpse into the bygone colonial era. Discover Kampot not just as a tranquil destination, but also as a remarkable chapter in Cambodia’s railway history.

What it’s known for: Kampot is primarily renowned for its high-quality pepper, grown in nearby plantations. The charming riverside town is also known for its preserved French colonial architecture.

Local culture: The town’s culture is a unique blend of laid-back rural life with a growing arts scene. The vibrant local markets are a testament to Cambodia’s rich traditions and crafts.

History: Kampot was once a significant port under French colonial rule. Its historic architecture is a remnant of this era. The nearby Bokor Hill Station, an abandoned French resort town, is a poignant testament to the area’s history.

Visitor Experience: For railway enthusiasts, the old railway station, though no longer in operation, offers a glimpse into the town’s colonial past. For outdoor adventurers, a river cruise or a visit to the nearby Phnom Chhngok Cave Temple is recommended.

Food & Drink: Kampot’s cuisine heavily features its famous pepper. Durian, considered a delicacy in Southeast Asia, is also grown in Kampot and must not be missed.

Landscape & Climate: The town is set on a serene riverbank, flanked by rolling hills and lush pepper plantations. The climate is tropical, with a dry and rainy season.


Battambang Battambang, Cambodia’s second-largest city, invites visitors into a world that subtly blends colonial charm, ancient temples, and a rich artistic tradition. While not as globally recognised as Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, Battambang offers an authentic slice of Cambodian culture and history. The city is dotted with well-preserved French colonial buildings, ancient Angkorian temples, and even hosts Cambodia’s only winery.

But what sets Battambang apart for rail enthusiasts is the unique ‘Bamboo Train’ or ‘Norry.’ This simple yet creative mode of transportation, running on old train tracks, provides an unforgettable ride through the lush Cambodian countryside. Battambang, with its unhurried pace of life and unique rail adventure, promises a truly Cambodian experience.

What it’s known for: Battambang is famous for its historic French colonial architecture, Buddhist temples, and the Bamboo Train.

Local culture: Battambang offers a rich cultural experience with traditional performances, local arts, and crafts. It is also known for producing Cambodia’s most famous singers and artists.

History: Founded in the 11th century, Battambang has a history that intertwines Khmer empires and French colonialism. The town was a major rice producing area during the French protectorate period.

Visitor Experience: For train enthusiasts, the Bamboo Train offers a unique journey along the historic railway line, providing glimpses into rural Cambodian life. Visiting the ancient temples like Wat Ek Phnom and Wat Banan is another unique experience.

Food & Drink: Local dishes include ‘Lort Cha’, a delicious street food made with stir-fried short fat noodles, vegetables, and egg. Enjoy it with a refreshing glass of fresh coconut water.

Landscape & Climate: Battambang is surrounded by picturesque rice fields, palm trees, and distant hills. The climate is tropical monsoon with a rainy season from May to October and a dry season from November to April.


poipet Poipet, a bustling border town, serves as one of the main entry points into Cambodia from Thailand. Known for its glittering casinos that attract gamblers from all corners of the region, Poipet is a city that never sleeps. While it might not boast ancient temples or white sand beaches, this city offers a unique cultural blend resulting from the constant intermingling of Cambodian and Thai influences.

For those interested in trains, the Poipet Train Station holds significant importance. Reopened in recent years, it has re-established an essential rail link, bridging the gap between Cambodia’s past and its promising future. Experiencing this city, with its blend of cultures and lively atmosphere, can be a unique part of your train journey through Cambodia.

What it’s known for: Poipet is best known for its casinos and is a key border crossing point between Cambodia and Thailand.

Local culture: As a border town, Poipet is a melting pot of Thai and Cambodian cultures. Gambling, a part of the local culture due to the abundance of casinos, draws tourists from across the region.

History: The town has seen rapid development in recent years, with the gambling industry playing a key role. Its railway station was reopened in 2018 after more than four decades, reestablishing a link to Phnom Penh and Sisophon.

Visitor Experience: The train journey from Poipet offers an excellent opportunity to observe the urban landscapes transitioning into countryside vistas. Visitors can also explore local markets offering a variety of goods.

Food & Drink: Poipet’s cuisine reflects the fusion of Thai and Khmer influences. ‘Som Tam’, a spicy green papaya salad, is a local favorite here.

Landscape & Climate: The cityscape is dominated by casinos and markets, while the outskirts offer views of rural Cambodia. The climate is tropical, characterised by a rainy season (May to October) and a dry season (November to April).

Siem Reap

siem reap Siem Reap, the gateway to the ancient world of Angkor, is a city that has seen the rise and fall of empires, endured the test of time, and today stands as a testament to Cambodia’s glorious past. Home to the majestic Angkor Wat and numerous other temple ruins, Siem Reap serves as a time capsule that transports visitors back to the golden era of the Khmer Empire. But there’s more to Siem Reap than just ancient ruins. Its vibrant night markets, thriving arts scene, and charming floating villages offer a colourful and multi-layered travel experience.

For train enthusiasts, the journey from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by train unravels the mesmerising beauty of the Cambodian countryside. The landscape gradually transitions from bustling urban areas to tranquil rural scenes, serving as a precursor to the time-traveling adventure awaiting in Siem Reap.

What it’s known for: Siem Reap is globally recognised for the Angkor Wat Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s the gateway to the ancient world of the Khmer empire with ruins dating back to the 9th century.

Local culture: Siem Reap is a cultural hub, with traditional Apsara dance shows, bustling night markets, and numerous galleries and workshops.

History: Siem Reap has a rich historical heritage tied to the ancient Khmer civilisation. The historic Angkor complex is a testament to its glorious past.

Visitor Experience: The train journey to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh offers a mesmerising view of the Cambodian countryside. Exploring the ancient temples, especially the sunrise at Angkor Wat, is an unforgettable experience.

Food & Drink: Try the local delicacies ‘Amok’ (fish cooked in coconut milk and curry paste) and ‘Kralan’ (sticky rice cooked with beans and coconut milk in a bamboo tube).

Landscape & Climate: Siem Reap features a blend of vibrant city life and serene countryside, with Angkor’s ancient ruins set amid lush jungles. The climate is tropical with wet and dry seasons.

Closing thoughts

As your journey comes to a close, you carry with you an intimate portrait of Cambodia, painted not just by the mesmerising landscapes that passed by your train window, but by the rich tapestry of experiences you’ve woven into your memory. You’ve traversed bustling cities, tranquil towns, bustling markets, and silent temples. You’ve tasted the unique flavours of the region, been enchanted by its artistic heritage, and touched by the echoes of its history. You’ve seen Cambodia not as a mere tourist, but as a traveler on a timeless locomotive journey. And while your journey ends here, the rhythm of the train, the images of the landscape, and the echoes of Cambodia’s soul continue to resonate within you, a heartfelt reminder of your unforgettable rail adventure through the ‘Kingdom of Wonder’.