Cambodia

Cambodia

image: giant treesCambodia is a land of lush beauty, contrast and ancient mystery. Together with Laos, they form the little known region called Indochina. You will find treasures in the great ancient temples still embraced in the jungle clutches, strings of pristine islands, unspoilt beaches with seaside restaurants and beautiful underwater reefs exploding with colourful wildlife ready to explore.

Breathtaking sites to see include the ruins ofAngor Wat, once the greatest city in the world and a definite contender as one of the great Wonders of the World, and the glorious hybrid of ragged Cambodian meets French Colonial architecture of Phnom Penh.

Cambodia is still recovering from its recent period of brutality since the 1970’s war with the USA, but everywhere you go you will find the untainted welcoming of a gentle people ensuring Cambodia remains the ‘Land of Smiles’.

Climate

The best time to visit Cambodia is November through January when the weather is not too hot and the cool, dry northeastern winds bring little rain to the country. In February, both the temperature and humidity index start to incline until its peak in April with temperatures reaching over 104F (40C). Trips to Cambodia can still be enjoyed during the wet season, with September and October being the wettest months, since the rains tend to come only sporadically in the afternoon. Year round temperatures never vary much more than 20F so you can expect a comfortable climate even during the wet season.

Dress

Dress codes are pretty conservative both in the city as well as the countryside. In order not to offend, both men and women should wear clothing that covers their legs with short sleeves being acceptable on top. Particular attention should be paid when visiting a religious site, such as the various temples (wats), where long sleeves and long trousers or skirts for women should be worn.

Food

Staple foods of Cambodia include rice and fish, which are the basic ingredients for many Khmer dishes. Fish is the main source of protein in the diet but chicken, beef and poultry dishes can be readily found as well. A Cambodian meal almost always includes soup, or samla, which is eaten at the same time as the rest of the meal including curry, rice and noodle dishes. The main seasonings used in Khmer cooking are hot peppers, lemongrass, ginger and mint.
If you are looking for a picnic, abundant fruits and vegetables can be found in the multitude of markets as well as freshly baked, French influenced breads. Cambodians are known for their sweet tooth with spice and fruit flavoured ice cream being the popular treat in the cities or extremely sweet desserts made of fruit and rice.

Language

Khmer is the official language though French is commonly spoken as well, especially by the elderly. English is becoming more and more prevalent, and is the language of choice if you don’t have a Khmer speaking guide.

Cash

The local currency is officially the Riel but the US Dollar is accepted everywhere and by everyone. The Thai bat is also accepted in the western parts of the country. Approximate conversions are:

$1 US Dollar = 4,000 Cambodian Riel
£1 British Pound = 6,000 Cambodian Riel
€1 Euro = 3,500 Cambodian Riel

For up to date currency information, check the Currency Converter.

Cambodia makes cheap travelling for the basics such as food and shelter. Lodging can range from just $2-3USD for a basic room and $10USD and up for a more luxurious accommodation with an en-suite bathroom and TV. Meals can range from $2-3USD per meal up to $10USD for a more substantial dinner.

If on a tight budget, you will want to plan ahead for the extra costs such as transportation when hiring a moto or taking a plane and entrance fees. The Angkor Wat fees, for example, will set you back around $20USD per day.

Visas

Visitors arriving by air can obtain a 30-day visa on arrival at Pochentong International Airport in Phnom Penh or the airport at Siem Reap. A one month tourist visa costs US$20, three month US$40 and more than three months US$60. iExtensions may be granted by the Immigration Office in Phnom Penh, but generally you will find your visa is non-renewable. Business visas are easier to renew. Make sure you have a valid passport and passport photos on hand to be submitted with your application. Visas are also available at the Thai overland border crossings at Koh Kong and Poipet. Visas are not available at any other overland border crossing from Vietnam or Laos.

Health

There are no specific requirements for immunizations to enter the country unless you have recently been in an area affected with Yellow Fever. However, for safe travel, the World Health Organization recommends the following immunizations: Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Diptheria and Tetanus, Hepatitis B & Polio. For those visitors who plan to spend an extended period of time, the following jabs are also suggested: Tuberculosis and Japanese B Enchephalitis

In certain areas, Malaria and Dengue Fever can also be a problem. If you plan on going to remote areas, you may want to speak with your doctor about anti-malaria medication. Malaria is known to be present in the Angkor Wat temple region.

To safeguard against water-born diseases, stick to cool bottled water, fruits that can be peeled and street stall which plenty of locals and travellers are eating at.

For more information on international travel and health, check out the World Health Organization website.

Angkor

Read guide

Cambodia

Globe Trekker

View episode

Great Historic Sites: Ancient...

Globe Trekker

View episode

Great Journeys: Road Warriors

Globe Trekker

View episode

Great Journeys: Road Warriors

Globe Trekker

View episode

The Good and Bad Food Guide 2

Globe Trekker

View episode

The Good and Bad Food Guide 2

Globe Trekker

View episode

Ultimate Indo China

Globe Trekker

View episode

December Globe Guide

Pilot Globe Guides

View episode

Cambodia - Travel

Read article

Midnight Remedy: Bat Soup

Read article

Cambodia - Locations

Read article

Travel Writers: Caught in the...

Read article

Shopping in Pnomn Penh Market

Read article

Romantic Island Ruins of...

Read article

Southeast Asian coffee culture

Southeast Asian coffee

Read article

Tuol Sleng and the Killing...

Read article

The Eighth Wonder of the World: Angkor Wat

The Eighth Wonder of the...

Read article

Travel Writers: Anyone for...

Read article

Unspoilt Paradise: Diving in Sihanoukville

Unspoilt Paradise: Diving in...

Read article

Travel Writers: Cambodian Misadventures

Travel Writers: Cambodian...

Read article

Must-do Asia travel in the second half of 2017

Must-do Asia travel in the...

Read news