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Bangkok Area Guide

Bangkok night view

Arrival in Bangkok

Bangkok taxisThe hot and humid air attacks your face. You enter the back seat of a taxi, look for the seat belt, and remember – seat belts are not a thing here. The meter makes a double beep every now and then, and the radio chats away in Thai while giant billboards fly by and well-known skyscrapers appear one after another. You take a deep breath – Bangkok it’s good to be back!

Bangkok in a “Not”shell

You can’t have Bangkok in a nutshell. It’s already everything except clean and quiet. It’s touristy and not touristy, familiar and yet so foreign, it’s rough and delicate, it’s lowly alleys and posh roof-tops, it’s high or low, love or hate. So many destinies are bound to this place. Bangkok changes the direction of lives.

As the unequivocal hub in Southeast Asia, Bangkok is the entry and exit point for flows of people to the region. Some never escape while some leave instantly refusing to let the city get under their skin. It got under ours.

Bangkok Area Guide

Khaosan Road travel guide rattanakosin bangkok historical area city guide bangkok chinatown yaowarat travel guide silom and patpong travel guide bangkok siam square travel guide sukhumvit travel guide Image HTML map generator

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Bangkok is one of those cities every one has an opinion about. There is the dreadful traffic, constant noise, polluted air interspersed with foul smells from who knows what, and then there is the impressive metropolitan dynamics, fantastic shopping and nightlife, and infinite adventure potential. You can find everything in Bangkok, you get people from all corners of the world, and the city delivers for cheap charlies and big spenders alike. Those who manage to overcome the first clashes with Bangkok, will often grow to love the metropolis and repeatedly come back for visits.

To get the most out of your stay in Bangkok, you need to know about the areas of the city. This is Beachmeter.com’s concise guide to the most central and relevant (to tourists) areas of the City of Angels, Bangkok, or as the Thais call it Krung Thep.

(1) Khaosan Road (Thai: ถนนข้าวสาร)

Khaosan Road BangkokKhaosan Road has been the number one backpacker hub in Bangkok for decades. In fact, it is the backpacker hub for all of Southeast Asia. Backpackers from all over the world are attracted by cheap hostels, an impressive selection of low-budget restaurants, colourful bars, street side market vendors with everything from tacky souvenirs to artisan fashion design, travel and tour agents, and most of all the youthful and neo-hippieish vibe. Khaosan Road is also near the old historical district of Bangkok, and nearby temples (wat‘s) and monks in orange ropes add to the exoticism.

Khaosan Road is the main strip, but the surrounding area – called Banglamphu – is equally vibrant. Try walking down Soi Rambuttree which has developed as a slightly calmer Khaosan Road “light”. While the amount of tourists and hectic noise turn off some visitors from staying in the area, you can’t help but love the bombardment of the senses at Khaosan Road.

Read more about Khaosan Road...

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(2) Rattanakosin (Thai: รัตนโกสินทร์)

Wat Phra Kaew Rattanakosin BangkokWithin walking or tuk-tuk distance from Banglamphu, you will find the old historical area called Rattanakosin. The area is situated along the Chao Phraya River a little north of Chinatown. Here you will find Bangkok’s most impressive temples and historical attractions. The most famous of these are The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew. If you are hungry for more temples, don’t miss Wat Pho and Wat Mahathat either.

This area is compulsory on most Bangkok city tours, so you will not be alone. As always, wide-eyed tourists attract hustlers and tricksters, so be sceptical of friendly people advising you on free tuk-tuk excursions, closed temple entrances, and made up Buddhist holidays etc. That said, you haven’t really been to Bangkok, before you have checked off Rattanakosin.

Read more about Rattanakosin...

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#Rattanakosin

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(3) Chinatown aka. Yaowarat (Thai: เยาวราช)

Yaowarat Chinatown BangkokBangkok’s Chinatown, locally known as ‘Yaowarat‘, has all the characteristics a real chinatown ought to have. Here are Chinese restaurants, Chinese temples, heaps of stores selling gold, amulets, and traditional Chinese medicine, and entire streets dedicated to selling either car parts, tupperware, or fabrics.

At night, the Chinese signs on buildings and red lamps light up Chinatown into a magical inferno of colours, and the street-side restaurants appear along with the constant chatter. The most common language spoken here is Chinese, and if you were dumped down in the middle of Yaowarat, you would probably think you were in China.

Read more about Chinatown...

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#BangkokChinatown

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(4) Silom (Thai: สีลม)

Patpong Street Silom BangkokSilom is most (in)famous for two small streets, Pat Pong 1 and Pat Pong 2. These streets are notorious for their go-go bars, and in days not so long gone they attracted sailors, soldiers, and lost souls. Even though Pat Pong is still a “red light” district, the area is now a common excursion point for tourists. The streets are lined with market stalls full of souvenirs and brand copies, and needless to say, there is no shortage on bars and sports joints.

Outside of Pat Pong, Silom is a thriving international business area with numerous skyscrapers, a big expat community, and upscale dining options. On the northeastern edge of Silom, you will find Lumphini Park, a green oasis in the city.

Read more about Silom...

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#Silom

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(5) Siam Square (Thai: สยามสแควร์)

MBK at Siam Square BangkokSiam Square is the area where big numbers of Bangkok residents meet up outside of work and school hours. The area is filled to the brim with shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants, and hair-dressers. Siam Square has small fashion design boutiques and vintage shops. The shopping malls in the area are Siam Discovery, Siam Center, Siam Paragon, MBK, and Central World.

The area is surprisingly quiet after the big shopping malls close, so head elsewhere if you are going out at night.

Read more about Siam Square...

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#SiamBTS

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(6) Sukhumwit (Thai: สุขุมวิท)

Sukhumwit street market BangkokSukhumwit is one of the central traffic arteries in Bangkok, and in fact, one of Thailand’s longest roads continuing all the way to the Cambodian boarder in the east. Sukhumvit is generally considered as a business area. This is where most foreign business men and women live and work.

However, the beginning of Sukhumvit (west) resembles more of a “red light district” with an abundance of restaurants, bars, and tourists. This end of the area is also known for small ethnic areas such as the Middle Eastern and Japanese quarter. Further down Sukhumvit, you will find countless condominiums, restaurants, and nightclubs – most of them in the more expensive range. This area attracts the growing middle class of Bangkok.

Read more about Sukhumvit...

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#Sukhumvit

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#KrungThep

  • Hangin on the corner krungthep
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  • Todays glorious Bangkok sunrise
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  • Me and the Myanmar boys
  • Enjoying Chinatown Food Crawl with awesome tour guide K Guidehellip
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We hope you liked our Bangkok area guide. Click on the any of the areas to read more about each area including our recommended bars, restaurants, hotels, and unique tips.Beachmeter.com section seperator

Thailand Travel Guide Other Destinations Beachmeter Home

Photo credits: Tourism Authority of Thailand

The Overview: Ghana Beach Guide

Pristine beach in Ghana

Our Complete Ghana Beach Guide

We have now completed our Ghana travel section with our recommendations and beach assessments. Head to our Ghana Travel Guide to give you all the tips and information pieces you need before and during your trip to Ghana or head to the individual beach sections to learn about each destination.

Ghana Beach Scores

On each of the beach destination pages in Ghana, we have included beach scores on specific parametres. If you have been to any of our 7 featured beaches (Kokrobite, Cape Coast, Butre, Busua, Akwidaa, Cape Three Points, or Axim), we invite you to give your own review of your beach experience.

Here are Beachmeter.com’s Beach Review Scores:

 Click on the images to go to the beach page and don’t forget to submit your own beach reviews of these Ghanaian beaches .

Kokrobite Beach Review Scores

Cape Coast Beach Review Scores

 

Butre Beach Review Scores

Busua Beach Review Scores

 

Akwidaa Beach Review Scores

Cape Three Points Beach Review Scores

 

Axim Beach Review Scores

Have you been to any of these Ghanaian beaches? Please help us by submitting your beach review score directly on the destination pages.
 

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 A Beach Holiday in Ghana?

Despite a dip in visitors due to Ebola outbreaks in West Africa (that never reached Ghana), we predict that international tourism numbers will continue to rise in the country. The main reasons for the rise of beach tourism in Ghana are:

  • Great flight connections to Ghana and improving infrastructure
  • The coastline sees an increase in good accommodation options
  • Ghana’s reputation as one of the safest African countries to travel in is spreading
  • Surfers seeking uncrowded line-ups are discovering Ghana as the next thing

Natural Beauty & Cleanliness

Ghana has a stunning coastline filled with pristine beaches, where you really get the feeling that you are in the middle of nowhere. Small fishing villages are dotted along the coastline and you will have ample chance to interact with local residents who are generally very welcoming of tourists. In Ghana, the more people living and visiting the beaches, the more dirty they tend to be. But all along the coastline you can find garbage on beaches, the amount depending on ocean currents and weather. In general, the cleanest beaches are the ones furthest away from cities and towns.

Many beaches have golden to light brown sand and large almond and coconut trees providing shade.

Accessibility

The accessibility of the Ghanaian beaches vary greatly with destination, weather, and means of transportation. The easiest beaches to get to are near larger transportation hubs such as Accra, Cape Coast, and Takoradi. The further you want to go from these hubs, the harder it gets. You may need multiple tro-tro’s, and you have to time it right due to limited departures. Taking a taxi solves this problem, but will result in a much higher bill for you. If you are used to European or North American prices, you will find the rates for taking a taxi rather reasonable.

The further you get from the main transportation hubs, the worse the roads generally get. This is usually not a big problem if the weather is good, but during heavy rains and the rainy seasons, roads can literally wash away and the risk of getting stuck in mud is high. Bear in mind that taxi drivers usually ask for higher prices to go on bad road stretches. This is completely fair, since a trip down some of the rural roads will often damage something on the taxi vehicle.

Family/Child Friendliness

If you are looking to take your family to a controlled and safe resort environment as found in popular charter destinations, forget it! There will be bugs and reptiles around, there will be hectic transportation, the hospitals outside the major hubs are not well-equipped, and everything is a little less organised. In other words, it is like it used to be to travel to foreign countries.

Do not expect high service standards – most staff have never traveled to a foreign country and do not know what kind of needs and habits tourists have. Do not expect hot running water and air-condition, and do not expect restaurants to have everything on their menu.

If you are open to some degree of uncomfortability, you and your family will be rewarded.

Is Swimming in Ghana Dangerous?

Most of the coastline is unprotected, so conditions can be rough. This is great for water sports such as surfing and body boarding, but less child friendly. Be extremely cautious when swimming – accidents happen every year – also to good swimmers who panic in rip-currents. Educate yourself and your family before heading out for a swim. If you are after safe swimming, look for protected coves which you will find in Akwidaa and Axim for example.

Nightlife & Socialising

For nightlife at the beach, the beaches near Accra, Cape Coast, and Busua are your best options. Outside of that, the beach lodges on the coast all have bars with varying degree of activity levels. Many Ghanaians do not go out partying during weekends. They rather use funeral celebrations as their party base. Here entire villages will be dancing and drinking away to the sounds of Ghanaian highlife music pumping out of rusty speakers. As a foreigner, you will often be invited to join in the fun, so if you want to immerse yourself in local culture and meet happy Ghanaians, go to a funeral.

If you are not up for partying, but only seek to meet fellow backpackers and travelers, there will be plenty of options if you go to the popular beach destinations. If you are traveling during the off-season and sometimes on weekdays, it will be a lot more quiet. Some beach resorts go days without a single visitor during the rainy season.

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We hope you enjoyed our Ghana Beach Guide. Don’t forget to give your beach score on the individual beach pages. For more travel and beach info, click the buttons below.

Ghana Travel Guide Beach Destinations Beachmeter Home

Cambodia – Southeast Asia’s New Tourism Hotspot

Koh Russey by Alila

What Makes a Complete Tourism Destination?

Unless we are talking pure beach holiday packages, most travel itineraries in Southeast Asia contain four key elements:

 Cityscape
An urban transportation hub with shopping, dining experiences, museums, architecture, and nightlife.

Historical and Cultural Attractions
Temples, ruins, religious relics, customs and traditions.

Natural Wonders
Wildlife, national parks, mountains, waterfalls, rice fields, and jungles.

Beaches
Beach destinations with a variety of accommodation options and facilities, activities, dining, and nightlife.

 

If these four elements are surrounded by a good travel infrastructure and a stable and safe political environment, you have what it takes to nurture a mature tourism destination that can stand on its own feet.

Cambodia Has Finally Arrived

For many years Cambodia fulfilled three of the four key elements as a travel destination. A lot of backpackers went to Cambodia as part of their Southeast Asia experience, but rarely as a part of a pre-booked itinerary from a travel agency. For mainstream tourism, Cambodia was an add-on, always playing second fiddle to Thailand and Vietnam. Mostly, Cambodia was a two or three day itinerary to Siem Reap and the Khmer temples. In some cases Phnom Penh was included in the itinerary, but the beach holiday would almost without exception lead tourists to one of the Thai islands.

In Cambodia, the history is there in abundance, the beautiful tropical nature is there, and Phnom Penh has the markets, museums, and the city vibes to attract some city break time. The beach holiday options for the 3-5 star market were very limited, and it was hard for travel agencies to work with the small offline resorts. Still, there are not that many options, but that is changing fast. This means that you can get your cultural and historical fix, satisfy your dining, shopping, and nightlife desire, and you can top it off with relaxing beach stays.

Cambodia Emerging as a Beach Holiday Destination

Sihanoukville is the local hub for Cambodian island hopping and beach holidays. The resort town itself mostly caters to backpackers and party lovers with cheap accommodation and no shortage of bars and activities around the beaches.

If you are looking for serene beaches, relaxation, or family bonding the Cambodian islands in the Gulf of Thailand are stunning. And these years, they are becoming more developed and “comfortable” for the bigger tourism markets to explore. A rarity a few years ago, today it is rather easy to find Cambodian resorts with 24-hour electricity, wifi, and hot water. Moreover, some of the big hotel players in barefoot luxury are moving in…

Alila Villas Koh Russey

Krabey Island. Photo credits: Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

On Koh Russey, the Alila group is opening a new luxury villa resort. On Koh Krabey, Six Senses are opening their first Cambodian property Six Senses Krabey Island. Both are scheduled to open during 2017. Couple these to openings with the already famous Song Saa Private Island, and you have the up-market beach holiday options that travel agencies have been looking for in order to finalise their Cambodia roundtrip packages.

Expect a big boost in Cambodian tourist arrivals and revenue during the coming years. It’s the new tropical tourism hotspot in Southeast Asia.

Learn more about Cambodia in our Cambodia Travel Guide.

Feature photo: Koh Russey. Photo credits: Alila Villas Koh Russey.

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New Bali Infographic & Destination Page

Bali rice field terraces

Bali Infographic

Great news! We have our new Bali and surrounding islands page up an running. But before we get into the details, let’s have a look at our homemade Bali infographic.

Bali travel guide and infographic with tourism stats to Bali, price index, top beaches, travel seasons, and unique selling points for Bali and surrounding islands. Made by Beachmeter.com.

The Iconic Island of Bali

Bali ranks among the absolute top beach destinations in the world. The beaches and the thriving surfing culture is part of the reason, but equally important is Bali’s atmosphere, spiritualism, her welcoming residents, the awe inspiring rice fields and natural parks, and top notch tourism infrastructure.

On our new Bali travel guide page, you can find useful information about Bali and the surrounding islands such as Lombok and the Gili Islands. Among other things, we touch on Balinese regional cuisine, Balinese beaches, and accommodation options in the area. Don’t forget to check back on the page, as we continue to add details and helpful information.

Check out our new Bali Page

Good Resources for your trip to Bali, Lombok, and Gili Islands

If you want to learn more about the region and its beaches, here are some handpicked links for you that will give you a realistic picture of what you will find:

 Bugbog’s Best Bali Beaches
 Not Without My Passport’s Where Are the Dream Beaches in Bali?
Honeycombers´15 Best Beaches in Bali
 All about Gili Islands from Ingili
Your Guide to Lombok and the Gili’s from LombokIndonesia

5 Top Beaches to Find Serenity

Serene Beaches, Grand Anse, Seychelles.

Guest post by Jared Alster, Stride Travel.

Serene Beaches

Sometimes you just need an escape. To hear the lapping waves, enjoy the calm and feel soft warm sand beneath your feet. Beaches are beacons of serenity, offering another world of relaxation – but some are better than others.

Bondi Beach in Sydney for example may not exactly be what you had in mind for a calm afternoon, with its infamous crowds and busy boardwalk. Or the many beaches in Phuket, with their propensity for raucous nightlife, don’t inspire a serene beach day either.

True serenity requires a combination of tropical bliss, luxurious tones, and solitude – without extra noise or distraction. In some cases this means a bit of effort to get there – but once you do the reward is well worth it.

Get away from it all with the 5 most serene beaches around the world:

1. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays Australia

A lonely beach with fine white sand, turquoise waters, and a beautiful sky. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia.

With a name that sounds like a mystical land rather than a real place, how could this beach not be something special? The sand here is some of the purest in the world, almost 98% silica, and doesn’t retain heat – making it comfortable to stand and walk on throughout the day.

The waters are an incredibly bright and happy blue, and they create stunning colors and patterns when combined with the sand, especially when viewed from above. This is the place to come for active days of sea kayaking or enjoying a cocktail aboard a sunlit yacht.

Perhaps one of the only downfalls to Whitehaven is the jellyfish, which are so prominent throughout half the year (October through May), that protective swim gear is highly advised.

2. Koh Kradan, Thailand

Lonely boat lying in the blue sea of Koh Kradan Island in Thailand, an island with stunning serene beaches.

Thailand is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and as such it may seem impossible to find true serenity given their popularity. By traveling to some of the more far-reaching islands in Thailand, away from Phuket, you can still find pockets of true calm and quiet.

Consider Koh Kradan. This small island sits just off Thailand’s southwest coast and provides stunning views across the water of other larger islands dotting the sea in the distance. There are only a couple well spaced out resorts on the island, including one major luxury resort – very popular among honeymooners.

The crowds are very minimal along the Koh Kradan beaches, and the waters provide some of the best snorkeling and sea kayaking in all of Thailand.

3. Cable Beach, Western Australia

Camels walking in the beach sunset on the serene beach of Cable Beach, Western Australia. One of the world's best serene beaches.

The lands of Western Australia are still remote for tourists, a good indication for travelers seeking serenity. This beach is enormous, offering a lot of space for lounging in the warm sun and enjoying the wonderful water. One of the more unique activities available to travelers at Cable Beach is the opportunity to ride camels along the surf at low tide.

As the string of camels methodically make their way, they create stunning and timeless silhouettes in the orange sunset. There are numerous hotel options around Cable Beach, or if you want a bit more choice in other activities you can stay in nearby Broome.

4. Holbox Island, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Beach setting with palms and loungers on Holbox Island Beach, Yucatan Peninsula Mexico. One of the world's best serene beaches.

Hammocks strung between palm trees, thatch roofed bungalows, lovely blue waters, and of course stretches of pristine white sand make it a sure thing that this hidden secret won’t stay hidden for long. Fantasies of walking barefoot everywhere (the streets are paved with sand), cocktails in hand, and warm sea breezes are realized on this small island in the Yucatan Peninsula, near Cancun, just off Mexico’s southeast shore.

As of yet, no major development projects have managed to make headway on Holbox, to the delight of the locals – which is a unique community of European and American tourists who came and never left, as well as native Mexicans and those of Mayan descent. This does mean the options for luxury accommodation and meals are limited but not impossible to find. Plus, part of the charm of Holbox is in its offbeat culture.

If you go between June and September, keep an eye out for the whale sharks that gather just off shore at this time of year.

5. Anse Source D’Argent, Seychelles

Grand Anse Beach Seychelles with boulders, white sand, and turquoise water. One of the world's best serene beaches.

Honestly pretty much any beach in the idyllic Seychelles is going to be serene, picturesque, and possess an otherworldly beauty. Pink sands and rock formations rising up create hidden corners where you can capture amazing photos and feel like the only person in the world. The snorkeling here is top notch and the water is clear, shallow and safe – perfect for families.

The Seychelles lie in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa. There are multiple resort options available on the main islands and it’s a classic destination for honeymooners and travelers looking for a luxurious getaway.

Spend your days island hopping among the entire archipelago, where spectacular beauty and unbelievable ocean landscapes await, and enjoy the peace and quiet along serene quiet soft sand beaches.


Jared Alster is the co-founder of Stride Travel, a new marketplace connecting world travelers with tour operators, adventure outfitters, & professionally planned trips.

New Cambodia Infographic & Destination Page

Cambodian sunset with Cambodian-style beach chair in the foreground. By Beachmeter.com.

Cambodia Infographic

We are happy to present the brand new Cambodia destination guide on Beachmeter.com. But first, check out our homemade Cambodia infographic, giving you a quick overview of traveling to the country and exploring the islands and beaches.

Cambodia infographic. Infographic of Cambodia's Islands and beaches including tourism information, price index, best beaches, travel seasons, and Unique Selling Points for Cambodia. Made by Beachmeter.com.

The Cambodia infographic gives you a quick idea of when to go, how much you can expect to spend, which beach to go to, and much more.

More information on Cambodia

Included on the page is also a look at Cambodia’s tourism potential, the beautiful beaches, Khmer food, when to go, and the what type of accommodation you can find. We will continue to update the page with more information, so stay tuned.

Check out our new Cambodia Page

Good Resources for Your Cambodia Trip

Lastly, here are some valuable links if you want more recommendations and do’s and don’ts about travel to Cambodia:

Cambodian Islands
Nomadic Matt’s Cambodia Travel Guide
Travelfish’ Cambodia Guide
 Responsible Travel’s Cambodia Guide

Kampot Zipline Adventure

Kampot Zipline River Park in Cambodia offering cheap ziplining adventures

A New Adventure in Town

zipline instructor with rope, harness, and carabiners

Alexis

We met up with French native Alexis to try his all new zipline adventure on the Kampot River in Cambodia. Kampot Zipline River Park officially opened on the 16th of March 2016, and contrary to what you may think, this action-packed experience receives most of its customers among Cambodian thrill-seekers. So far, 80 percent of the customers have been Cambodians, while the remains 20 percent have been expats living in Cambodia and foreign travelers visiting Kampot.

KAMPOT ZIPLINE
Area:
  Kampot River, Cambodia
Opened: March 2016
Price: USD 5$ (super cheap, right!)
Price includes: Safety equipment, instructions, tree walk, ziplining, and return boat
Duration: Approx. 30 minutes
Conditions: Minimum height 120 cm, maximum weight 110 kg 

As Alexis says, the River Park gives Cambodians a unique opportunity to try out ziplining in a fun and safe environment while not having to empty their pockets. The experience currently costs only 5 USD and includes safety equipment and instructions, an exciting walk up the spiralling bamboo stairway to the zipline platform at the top of a tall tree, ziplining over the Kampot river, and a pleasant rowing trip back across the river.

Zipline Gallery from Kampot Zipline River Park

Alexis worked on the project for 6 months before the grand opening. He has constructed the setup himself to ensure that every single step in the experience is smooth and secure, and every morning he conducts safety checks. Kampot Zipline has received local publicity through newspapers, TV, and a good dose of social media sharing by Cambodians who are eager to share their exhilarating adventure over the Kampot River.

The plan is to expand the experience with a return zipline journey along with new fun trials on the riverside.

If you are in the Kampot area in southern Cambodia, don’t miss your chance to try out this new and exciting experience at the River Park.

Kampot Ziplining – Practical Information

Since the Kampot Zipline adventure requires a bit of climbing and balancing it is advised only for persons in a good physical condition. The experience will not boost your adrenaline level to a maximum like a bungyjump, but you will challenge yourself if you have a mild fear of heights. The minimum height of participants is 120 cm, while the zipline is suitable for people weighing up to 110 kg. Do note that the more you weigh, the more speed you will gain on the journey over the river, and the closer your feet will be to reaching the river water.

More About Kampot Zipline River Park

If you like more information, images, and videos from this zipline adventure, check out their facebook page.