The Kingdom of Wonder, where ancient history meets modern days. With the most jaw dropping temples and so much more to discover.
The Kingdom of Cambodia bordered by Thailand, Laos and Vietnam is been hitting by tourism is the last two decades. The country was once powerful and wealthy when the Khmer Empire was thriving. Hinduism and Buddhism were widely spread, many temples were constructed included the famous Angkor Wat. This is known as the Angkorian period.
After the fall of Angkor, the control by France, and the Vietnam War, Cambodia entered in dark days of its history. In 1975 the Khmer Rouge took major power, carrying a genocide until 1979. At this time the country was called Kampuchea. Many people were forced to rural areas, working hard in agriculture, temples, library and any access to culture were destroyed. Following the defeat of Khmer Rouge, the monarchy was restored and the country as we know today.
Cambodia, have so much more to see than Angkor temples. However, they are undeniable the postcard of the country. The chaotic capital is setting a new and revitalised city. The rural areas are a must go, to have contact with poor and humble Cambodian scene. And there’s no other place to relax like the islands, with the fishing villages.
Tonle Sap UNESCO Biosphere Reserve comprises many species of mammal, birds, freshwater fish, marine fish and trees. Inland, Cardamom Mountains have so much biodiversity, home to a few wildlife animals and an emerging ecotourism destination. Although these facts, deforestation is one of the highest in the world.
Tourism brought people and money to the country. Locally produced souvenir, like krama (traditional scarf), wood carving, lacquerware, silver plate, painted bottle with rice wine, soap, candles, spices and ceramics employs a lot of people. Khmer classical dance is coming back, with Khmer Apsara dancers. Cambodians eat a lot of rice and fish. Fruits, soups and noodles are part of the cuisine. The French influence is present in the bread, baguette. Cambodian people have been struggling for a while, maybe the country still trying to re-born from the ashes but, no wonder that will gain you, heart.
Our Cambodia travel guide will help you plan your trip. Before going here are some simple guidelines to make it easier
Capital: Phnom Penh
Currency: Cambodian Riel
Borders: Thailand, Laos & Vietnam
Like most of the neighbour countries, in Cambodia is easy to get a SIM card. There are many providers, Cellcard/Mobitel, Beeline, Mfone, among others.
The coverage is good, almost all over the country. However, all providers have different coverage and rates. Local people usually have more than one SIM Card. For tourists, of course, this is not the best option.
Cellcard is the carrier of choice among tourists. They have English speaking staff in their shops, offer good rates and data packages. Get a pay-as-you-go card for a better choice.
To get the card just go to the official shop of the brand or in one of the thousand shops in town. The last one could charge you more fees than expected.
Although Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the region, it is safe in general. The most current crime is petty theft. Scams related to motorbike rent and tuk-tuk services are widely spread.
Police normally don’t help you. Corruption is a problem; they probably will ask you for money. Violent crime is rare. However, it can happen, so always stay alert.
Use your instinct to go around. Don’t drink too much, don’t stay in the streets until late, especially in some places, like Phnom Penh. Just think about it, if you don’t do it at home, don’t do it in Cambodia wither.
The lack of international standard medical-treatment facilities, poor sanitation and tropical diseases presence it is a concern. Reasonable clinics can be found in Siem Reap and at the capital.
You can find a great number of pharmacies in large towns. Usually, you don’t need a prescription to buy. Many medicines have expired so, always check the expiry date.
As for the tap water, it is not safe to drink. Be careful with the ice too. Hot drinks are made from boiling water so, should be fine.
You should be aware of what you eat, especially in rural areas. Vegetables and fruits must be washed, don’t eat undercooked meat and make attention to seafood.
Insect bites and stings can occur. In most rural places malaria and dengue fever can also appear. Seek medical advice for vaccinations and medicines, before going. Leeches are hidden in rainforests; they can attach to your skin and suck your blood. To prevent just use some salt.
All of this is important, but you need good travel insurance if you are visiting Cambodia. Never know what’s going to happen.
Cambodia only has 2 types of business: the tourist visa and the business visa. At entry, tourists are granted 30 days, after fee payment. Enter in the country is simple. You can obtain the visa on arrival by land or in one of the airports. It will cost you 30$ ( for the tourist visa (in 2017). If you prefer you can do it online but, this will cost you more (37$ – 7$/34€ – 6€ for the processing fee).
For the visa on arrival, you just need a valid passport, two photos and US dollars for the payment. At the land crossing, commonly, they try to overcharging, be aware.
Cambodia has a good connection with transportations. The country has three international airports, in the capital, Siem Reap and Sihanouk (Sihanoukville). But many airlines have flights to there.
Roads in the country aren’t the best. Many people are killed or injured in accidents. It’s advisable not to travel at night. The number of vehicles on the road has been increased, this means more traffic, especially in touristic places.
If you want to enter in Cambodia the simple and fastest way is taking a flight. The main airports are in the capital Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanouk (Sihanoukville) International airport. Several international airlines operate to the country. Normally from neighbour countries.
More airlines will be open flights to Cambodia in the next years, due to the huge touristic demand.
It is possible to enter the country by boat. But, only from Vietnam. The Mekong river connects the two countries. So, you can cross the Mekong from Vietnam to Cambodia or the other way. You will be arriving in Phnom Penh. Check before going.
Getting to Cambodia by land is the most common way. You can cross the border from Thailand, Laos or Vietnam. Numerous buses companies are driving to the country by land.
Cambodia could be surprising, as accommodation in some big places like Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are impressive. Great hotels with really nice services at a fair price can be found. Boutique hotels are becoming numerous but, at a high price of 50$/70$ – 45€/63€ per night.
Guesthouses are a way to stay on a budget. They are a family-run business. Some of them don’t have hot water in a basic room. You get what you pay for.
Hostels are abundant in Cambodia, some with free Wi-Fi and breakfast included. The price sometimes is not the best, and you can get a guesthouse with a private room for the same price as the dorm. Show up and ask for a room, for an honest price.
Homestays usually can be found in provinces. This involves staying with a family in a little village. Meaning that you will experience their daily life in rustic facilities. All the money spent here is to support the local community.
In Cambodia, you can also use Airbnb (link) to rent an entire apartment or house. Expect to pay around 30$/27€ a night.
You must book in advance during major holidays, like Khmer New Year in April. Room rates can reasonable in most of the areas. You can simply bargain the price down. In some small places with less competitive prices can go a little higher.
Anyway, room prices will continue to rise due to the cost of living in the country. To get better rates, simply book before going. You can use the affiliated Booking box for that.
As you can see below, peak season run between June and September. Good weather but, more crowd and prices rise. Low season from November to February is the cheapest, fewer people but the weather could be cold and rain.
The best time to visit is in shoulder season. October or between March and May, you will have nice weather, good prices and not so crowded.
Cold and Rain
Hot and Sun
Cold and Rain
Hot and Sun
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