I am traveling to Cambodia/Laos for the first time in July, and I was hoping for advice. Currently, our itinerary has us in Kep/Sihanoukville for about 3 days (a hike up Kep Mountain, caves/pepper plantations, Ream National Park and then a full free day in Sihanoukville). I would love some guidance if this sounds like too much time in this area.
Since our time is limited, I want to make sure we get to the most worthwhile, memorable, and interesting spots. We are not really "beach people" who just want to sit around a whole day. A little relaxing is fine, but we are more interested in seeing the way people live, etc.
Also, we are weighing this area with Luang Prabang in Laos -- so if anyone has thoughts on which might be more worthwhile to spend time in, that would be very helpful.
Luang Prabang is not to be missed in my opinion - it's a gorgeous city and well worth a few days. There's lots to see and do in the city and surrounding areas; also the drive from LP down to Vang Vieng is absolutely stunning.
I didn't go to that part of Cambodia so I can't compare; it sounds interesting but I'd definitely try and get to Luang Prabang if you can.
I have been to all the places you mention. It really comes down to what attracts you the most. It appears you have done some research.
I would say if going to Sihanoukville there is not much else to do other than going to the beach. I extended my stay in Luang Prabang from 2 to 3 days. Enjoyed my time there. To me it had more to offer than anywhere else in Laos.
My 2 cents. You will enjoy whichever way you choose.
I only did Sihanoukville in South Cambodia but if you're not beach people then seems like a miss. Just a beach town full of resorts/backpackers. Nice islands neaby. While Laos on the other hand is just amazing. Luang Prabang-vang vieng-pakse-4000 islands was my route. Beautiful country, tons to see and do. IMO