Travel Tips

OFFICIAL NAME: Kingdom of Cambodia

AREA: 181,035 sqkm

GEO. COORDINATES: 13000 north and 105000 east

SITUATION: The Kingdom of Cambodia is bordered to the north with Thailand and Laos, to the east and the south with Vietnam, and to the west by the Gulf of Siam and Thailand.

POPULATION AND PEOPLE: About 90 percent of the 14 million Cambodian people are ethnic Khmers. There are several minorities such as the Chams (Khmer Islam), Vietnamese and Chinese. Hill tribes such as the Phnong, Stieng and Kuy dominate the country’s mountainous regions.


CLIMATE: Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. The climate is tropical and distinguished by three major seasons. The most pleasant season is the dry season from November to March during which temperatures are cooler (average 20-28 c). The hot season lasts from April to May (average temperatures 30-35 c) and from June to early October is the rainy season during which temperatures are relatively cool (average 25-30 c).


CURRENCY AND EXCHANGE: Riel is the country’s currency. The rate of exchange is approximately 4,000.- Riels to one U.S. Dollar. However the US dollar is widely accepted. Traveler checks in US dollar can be changed at most banks in Phnom Penh. If you are traveling to the outskirts, it is advisable to use the riel (get small change) although US dollar is accepted. Automatic Teller Machine Service (ATM) is offered by all the Banks in Cambodia.  ATMs accept all major credit cards.


CUSTOMS AND FORMALITIES: Regulations are relaxed and simple formalities should be observed when entering the country. Every traveler has to complete a customs declaration form during the arrival flight and must submit it on arrival. Tourist and non-resident carrying over USD 10.000 in cash or its equivalent must declare so in order to ensure they will be allowed to exit the country with that amount.


FOOD: Rice and fish constitute the essential basis of national cuisine. Meals consist of soups, stir-fry and grill. The dishes are identified curry, lemon grass, scented with a subtle alchemy of mint, and herbs or the famous Kampot pepper. Coconut milk is used extensively and Prahok (fermented fish paste) is a condiment as old as popular. The Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine is widespread in the country and the capital has dozens of Western restaurants and fast food outlets like KFC, Pizza Company...


CLOTHING: Most Cambodians are casual in their dressing except when they are attending formal events or business meetings. It’s not unusual to see both men and women wearing the Krama, a long, narrow checked cotton cloth round their neck. The Krama is a versatile piece of cloth.     
HEALTH REQUIREMENTS: Although no vaccinations are officially required for entry to Cambodia, they are highly encouraged. Visitors are advised to check with their doctor or a travel immunization clinic regarding protection against malaria, Japanese Encephalitis, typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and B. Any essential medications should be brought with you as there is no guarantee that they will be available in Cambodia.
DOMESTIC FLIGHTS: Cambodia Angkor Air operates flights between Phnom Penh-Siem Reap-Phnom Penh, Siem Reap-Sihanoukville and Sihanoukvill- Phnom Penh with ATR7 and accepts 20 kg luggage.


INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS:
Direct flights to Phnom Penh are available:
- from Bangkok by Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways and Air Asia
- from Guangzhou by China Southern Airlines
- from Hanoi  by Vietnam Airlines
- from Ho Chi Minh City by Vietnam Airlines
- from Hong Kong by Dragon Air
- from Kuala Lumpur by Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia
- from  Nanning by China Eastern Airlines
- from Doha by Qatar Airways
- from  Seoul-Incheon by Korean Air and Asiana Airlines
- from Shanghai by Shanghai Airlines
- from Singapore by Silk Air and Jetstar Asia
- from Taipei by China Airlines and Eva Air
- from Yangon by Myanmar Airways International
- and from Vientiane by Vietnam Airlines  .
Direct flights to Siem Reap are available:
- from Bangkok by Bangkok Airways
- from Danang by Silk Air
- from Guangzhou by China Southern Airlines
- from Hanoi by Vietnam Airlines
- from Ho Chi Minh City by Vietnam Airlines
- from Hong Kong by Dragon Air
- from Kuala Lumpur by Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia
- from Kunming by China Eastern Airlines
- from Luang Prabang by Lao Aviation and Vietnam Airlines
- from Manila by Cebu Pacific Air
- from Pakse by Lao Aviation
- from Pusan by Korean Air
- from Seoul-Incheon by Korean Air and Asiana Airlines
- from Shanghai by China Eastern Airlines
- from Singapore by Silk Air and Jetstar Asia
- from Vientiane by Aviation and Vietnam Airlines
- and from Yangon by Myanmar Airways International.


INTERNET: Internet access is available in most hotels in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. There are also plenty of internet cafes with reliable connections at free of charge.


LANGUAGE: The official language is Khmer while the second language (spoken by the educated older Cambodians) is French. However, in recent years, English has gained popularity.


LOCAL TIME: Cambodia is 7 hours ahead of GMT, the same time zone as its neighbors  Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.
OPENING HOURS OF MUSEUMS IN PHNOM PENH
•    Toal Sleng Genocide Museum: Open every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Visitors are not admitted after 4:45 pm.
•    National Museum:  Open every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Visitors are not admitted after 4:45 pm.
•    Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda: Open every day from 8:00 am to 11:00 am (closed to new visitors at 10:45 am) and from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm (closed to new visitors at 4:45 pm), except when His Royal Highness King Preah Borom Moneath Norodom Sihamoni conducts religious ceremonies at the Silver Pagoda or Royal rituals at the Royal Palace, then one of the two or both compounds will be closed. During the Water Festival, open only in the mornings on the first two days and closed for a full day on the third day.

 

PASSPORT AND VISAS: Immigration formalities are quicker when travelers already possess their visa. However, Cambodia has very liberal visa regulations.  For USD 20 all travelers can obtain a tourist visa valid for 30 days upon arrival at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports, in Aranyaprathet (Poipet border crossing), at the Bavet/Moc Bai border crossing coming from Ho Chi Minh City, at Kaom Samnor Mekong River, at Phnom Den (Takeo)/Tinh Bien (Chau Doc), at Trapeang Plong (Kampong Cham)/Xa Mat (Tay Ninh), at  Prek Chaak (Kampot province)/Xa Xia (Ha Tien province), at O-Ya Dav (Rattanakiri)/Le Thanh (Pleiku). At Cham Yeam (Koh Kong)/Hat Lek (Trat) coming from Thailand, at the border crossing of Chrok Prom (Pailin), also in the Battambang province at the border crossing opposite Ban Laem and at O’Smach in the Anlong Veng district in Odor Mean Chey province as well as coming overland from Laos (Dông Kralor land border crossing).
A passport valid for at least six months beyond the end of the visit and one passport photo are needed. Visitors can also apply for a tourist visa on the internet.
Valid ports of entry and exit for e-Visa holders are: Phnom Penh International Airport, Siem Reap International Airport, Bavet-Moc Bai (Cambodia-Vietnam border), Koh Kong-Trat (Cambodia-Thailand border), Poipet-Aranyaprathet (Cambodia-Thailand border)
All ports are equipped with the latest version of terminal system and there will be a special e-Visa lane in each port. For more information and to apply for e-Visa, please log on to www.mfaic.gov.kh


SECURITY NOTICE: Although Cambodia has had periods of political and social upheaval, it has now regained its stability and rebuilt its image internationally. Continuing efforts are made to reconstruct the country from decades of war, to upgrade the infrastructure and to ensure security.  Cambodia is now safe for travel.
TRAVEL NOTICE: Cambodia has only recently opened its tourism doors to the outside world. Some of the programs described in this web site may be subject to change on short notice due to such problems as road conditions or means of transportation. This is especially true of the Ratanakiri adventure tours. But don't be alarmed. There are always solutions and replacement activities. 


GENERAL ADVICE:  Since Cambodia has a hot and humid tropical climate, casual and lightweight clothing is best. Clothing made from natural fibers is the best option. A jacket might be needed on cool winter evenings or in hotels and restaurants using excessive air-conditioning.
A hat and high-factor sun block is advisable as protection against the hot sun when sightseeing outdoors.  
When visiting temples or pagodas, including those of the Angkor complex, shorts and T-shirts are acceptable. Shoes (as well as hats) are generally removed at the entrance to pagodas. For visits to the Silver Pagoda, which is within the Royal Palace grounds, visitors are asked to dress more formally. Gentlemen are required to wear long trousers and ladies should wear long trousers or long skirts.