The ultimate Svay Rieng guide? As is sometimes the case I get the chance to travel to the boonies of Cambodia! This week it was to the town/province of Svay Rieng, similar in distance to Prey Veng.
To read about Prey Veng click here.
Where the Svay Rieng?
Svay Rieng is both the name of the province and the provincial capital of the town/province. It is a place that many tourists would have unwittingly visited, or at least passed through. Save Rieng lies on the border between Cambodia and Vietnam and the road to street food heaven in Saigon!
To read about street food in Saigon click here.
Getting there from Phnom Penh takes about 4 hours, easy when the borders were open, less so easy now.
How do you get from Phnom Penh to Svay Rieng?
There are currently no buses doing this route, or at least no official buses. What you currently have is shared taxis, that will cost about $10 a person, or delivery buses. Head to Olympic and then get to haggling and waiting.
Delivery buses are full with packages, so you are dropping stuff on the way. Thankfully they drive like crazy, so you arrive quickly. These can cost as little as $5 each way, but having some Khmer help will not do you any harm at all.
It is best to arrange a return journey rather than just winging it. Mots drivers do their drop and then come back the next day.
Phnom Penh to Sray Rieng – the journey
From a position of beauty this is an amazing journey that really showcases the beauty of the Cambodian rural areas. If you are driving there are lots of opportunities to stop and take pictures.
There is also the Japanese built Tsubasa Bridge Known As Neak Loeung Bridge, which has a whole street food town attached to it. Bugs are the order of the day here! It is so good it will actually get its own article.
Svay Rieng Guide – Hotels in Svay Rieng
There are various rest-stop hotels on the main highway, as well as down by the border. In Svay Rieng town there are two hotels, one was full of footballers, the other had space.
I stayed at the Waikor Hotel, which very much reminded of a communist style hotel. The place had far too many rooms, a restaurant that was closed and not much else. Still the service was more than OK, the rooms spacious and it is central located. Rooms are $15-30 depending on class and season, although one expects you could get cheaper for longer stays.
And yes it did remind me far too much of “The Shining”
So, for a 2022 update on the whole hotel thing. While I had thought there was only one hotel, it turns out if you go around the corner by the other riverside there are two other options. One looked swanky, while the other was a women’s hostel. Didn’t get to try it out, but shall on my next visit (the swanky one that is).
The two Svay Rieng Stadium‘s
Where do Svay Rieng FC play? The stadium for Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC is the Svay Rieng Stadium! It is located in the centre of town, a few minutes walk from Waikor Hotel and overall pretty impressive for a provincial stadium.
There are essentially two stands, the main one is pretty impressive and I would estimate could had about 8000 people. There is also a big open area, not dissimilar to the Prey Veng Stadium where locals could stand and watch. Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC are the most successful team outside of Phnom Penh and if the stadium was anything to go by I was impressed.
Also there was the result Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC 1 Phnom Penh Crown 0. The C-League is going to be interesting this year.
To read about watching football in Cambodia click here.
And on my latest trip I was to be treated to a second Cambodian “stadium”, well the Svay Rieng high school. Got to see Svay Rieng FC draw 2-2 with Phnom Penh Galaxy. And you want a Svay Rieng guide? I can confirm that Svay Rieng prison is directly opposite the high school.
Svay Rieng Guide – Street Food Svay Rieng
Well I could not write the Svay Rieng Guide without talking about street food in Svay Rieng! Alas the street food scene was a bit better on the journey than in the actual town. There is a riverfront with some BBQ joints, and a few small restaurants littered around, but most of the food consisted of Num Pang, which with the proximity to Vietnam and Banh Mi you would expect to be good.
To read about num pang click here
I tried two from rival shops, or rather two “half’s” a full one costing $1.25 or 5000 Cambodian riel. Very pleasant, not too sweet, but nowhere near as good as my favorite place in Siem Reap, which you can read about here.
Svay Rieng Guide – is there western food?
Rejoice! Previously I had thought that Svay Rieng closed at 8pm. Well it still kinda does, but there is a street down by the river that has what you might call life. It was here that I discovered Asora Pizza. There were a few Khmer dishes on the menu, but mainly it was pizza and burgers. The burgers left a little be desired, but the pizza? Top notch!
Svay Rieng Guide to nightlife!
When I initially wrote the first Svay Rieng guide and indeed every time I have been back here the general consensus has been that there was no nightlife in the place. Now while it is not a bustling metropolis I did manager to find two bars.
The first one went by the name of “The Moon Cocktail”had some loud music and was filled to the brim with locals enjoying themselves. The second a few doors down had pretty ladies who looked like they may be waiting for gentlemen.
There were also a few KTV’s and seafood restaurants to throw into the mix. OK, it is not Vegas, but it is no Prey Veng either!