Full Name: King of Cambodia
Capital city: Phnom Penh
Official language: Khmer
Population: 15.2 million
Area: 181,035 km2
Time Zone: GMT +7 Hours
International calling code: +855
The temples of Angkor are, without a doubt, one of the most mesmerising sights in Southeast Asia. But there is so much more to Cambodia than Angkor Wat, and Travel Indochina is looking forward to showing you some of the unexpected delights of this inspiring destination.
Of course we will show you the awesome spires of Angkor Wat and the enchanting faces of the Bayon. We will introduce you to the mystery and wonder of some of the outerlying temples, and jungle-covered Ta Prohm. But we will also take you to palm-fringed beaches, picturesque rural landscapes and one of the most charming capital cities in Asia – Phnom Penh. Having emerged from decades of civil war and general unrest, the Khmer people are incredibly welcoming and will be a highlight of your stay.
CLIMATE & TIMES TO TRAVEL
There are two distinctive seasons in Cambodia: wet and dry. In the wet, or monsoon, season (May to October) the temple moats around the Temples of Angkor are full, skies can be dramatic, and the rice-fields glimmer when the sun comes out after a brief downpour. It usually only rains for a short time in the afternoon, and does not affect touring. In the dry season (November to March), daytime temperatures are a steady 30-35 degrees and rain is less likely. Roads can get dusty, but you will find it easier to walk through the leafy areas that surround the temples.
The Khmer language is a member of the Mon–Khmer subfamily of the Austroasiatic language group. French, once the language of government in Indochina, is still spoken by many older Cambodians. French is also the language of instruction in some schools and universities that are funded by the government of France. Cambodian French, a remnant of the country's colonial past, is a dialect found in Cambodia and is sometimes used in government, particularly in court. However, the increasing number of tourists from around the world has resulted in the shift from French to English
Theravada Buddhism is the official religion of Cambodia, which is practiced by more than 95 percent of the population. The Theravada Buddhist tradition is widespread and strong in all provinces, with an estimated 4,392 monastery temples throughout the country. The vast majority of ethnic Khmers are Buddhist, and there are close associations between Buddhism, cultural traditions, and daily life. Adherence to Buddhism generally is considered intrinsic to the country's ethnic and cultural identity. Religion in Cambodia, including Buddhism, was suppressed by the Khmer Rouge during the late 1970s but has since experienced a revival. Islam is the religion of the majority of the Chams and Malay minorities in Cambodia. The majority of Muslims are Sunnis of the Shafi'i school and are very numerous in Kampong Cham Province. Currently there are more than 300,000 Muslims in the country.
MONEY: The official currency is the Cambodian Riel (pronounced ‘real’), although US Dollars are accepted everywhere. ATMs distributing US Dollars are found in the main cities and moneychangers throughout the country. As of Aug 12: 1USD = 4,044 Riel. Riel is used for items where the price is less than US$1 and can be used in conjunction with USD
FOOD: Food is very cheap in Cambodia. Local street vendors will cost you about $1-2 USD per meal and basic restaurant meals will cost between $3-5 USD per meal. Western meals at nice restaurants go between $5-10 USD. You can get some really world class food in Phnom Phen these days and dishes start at around $8-10 USD. Fruit from the market will cost less than $1 USD.
The cuisine of Cambodia contains tropical fruits, soups and noodles. Key ingredients are kaffir lime, lemon grass, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, curry, tamarind, ginger, oyster sauce, coconut milk and black pepper. Some delicacies are នំបញ្ចុក (Num Bunhjok), អាម៉ុក (Amok), អាពីង (Ah Ping).
PASSPORT & VISA
All visitors, except citizens of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam need a visa to enter Cambodia.
Visa on Arrival service is available for most nationalities on international flights arriving in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, as well as most land crossings with Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.
Visitors arriving by air can purchase a one month visa on arrival at both Pochentong and Siem Reap Airport. For travelers arriving overland from Thailand via Poi Pet, Banteay Meanchey Province, or Kok Kong Province, it is advisable to obtain a visa in advance. Travelers arriving overland from Laos and Vietnam must obtain a visa in advance as they cannot be obtained at the border.
If your passport is lost or stolen during your stay in Cambodia, you will require a police report to obtain an exit visa. The police report must be applied for in person at the tourist police station closest to where the incident occurred. You will also need to apply for a new exit visa with the Cambodian immigration authorities. Approval for an exit visa will take around 3 working days from the Cambodian Department of Immigration. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
There is an airport departure tax to pay for each international flight (25 US$/pax).
SAFETY & SECURITY
Despite being one of the poorest nations on Earth, Cambodia is a relatively safe destination. The usual precautions apply to maintaining personal safety.
In Phnom Penh in particular, it is advisable to steer clear of badly lit streets at night, and to take taxis rather than cyclos. We recommend that throughout your travels in Cambodia you keep a hotel address card with you so you can show drivers where to go. Petty crime can also be a problem in Phnom Penh. It is a good idea to wear as little jewellery as possible when on the street, and to keep your money close to your body in a secure place.
Throughout your stay, always keep a photocopy of your passport, airline tickets and credit card numbers. These documents should be kept in a safe place separate from the originals. You should leave valuables in hotel safety deposit boxes wherever possible.
Tipping is a personal matter and travellers are encouraged to tip any amount they feel is appropriate. For your convenience, we have included a suggested tipping guide below:
- Bellboy: $1
- Chambermaid: $1 per day
- Guides: $5-$10 per day for guides (depending on group size and performance)
- Drivers: $2-$5 per day, per person
- Restaurants: In smart establishments you may find that the tip is already included in the bill. In local restaurants tips are not expected but you may wish to leave loose change on the table.
- Khmer food: from $3
- Western food: from $4
- Soft drinks: $1
- Local beer: $1
- Bottled water: Small $0.50, large $1
- Juice: $2
- SIM card: $3
- Mobile phone: $15-$20
- Books: $10-$15
- DVDs: $2.50- $3
- Travel insurance
- Passport with at least six months validity from date of entry
- Photocopy of passport
- Visa or a passport photo and US$20 for visa on arrival
- Foreign currency (US$) and/or ATM card
- All relevant tickets
- Reconfirmed flights
- Lightweight clothing
- Long-sleeved shirts and trousers (recommended for evenings)
- Electrical adaptor: 220V, 50Hz; 2 pin plugs
- A small bag/backpack for day and overnight trips
- Appropriate shoes for trekking, cycling and walking
- Insect repellent
- Medication/first aid kit
Please note: Domestic airlines impose baggage weight restrictions of around 20kg maximum, so travel lightly where possible.