Travel Tips in Cambodia
To enter in Cambodia you will need a valid passport with at least six remaining months available on the date of entry into the country. The visa is obtained at the border, if your tour includes entry into Cambodia by land, or at the airport if you will arrive by plane. You will have to fill out an arrival form available at border posts, the visa fee is $ 20 and you also need a passport photo, Cambodian visas can be obtained on arrival at the following border crossings:
- Phnom Penh International Airport
- Siem Reap - Angkor International Airport
- Poipet (Banteay Meanchey Province, bordering Thailand)
- O’Smach (Oddar Meanchey Province, bordering Thailand)
- Cham Yeam (Koh Kong Province, bordering Thailand)
- Bavet (Svay Reing Province, bordering Vietnam)
- Kaam Samnor on the Mekong River (Kandal Province, bordering Vietnam).
The online visa also can provide through www.mfaic.gov.kh and paying 25 USD by credit card, a 30-day tourist visa can be issued electronically within three business days.
It is important to be aware that Cambodian visa regulations and arrangements are subject to change. You must ensure you have organized or researched your own visa requirements prior to travel. We strongly suggest that you check with the relevant embassies in your home country for current visa guidelines.
WEATHER & CLOTHS
In Cambodia it is hot almost all year round. Unlike other South-east Asian countries, Cambodia's tropical climate can be separated in 3 distinct seasons:
- Cool Season: November – February 25-30°C (80-85°F), not very wet
- Dry Season: March – May, high temperatures, very sunny days
- Wet Season: June – November with high temperatures and very violent but short rainfalls at the end of the day. This can lead to floods and can cause dysfunctions (roads, traffic…)
Cotton clothes are recommended, preferably clothing that covers the shoulders, arms and chest and long pants both for observance of local customs (in some places it is not allowed to enter if the clothing is not decent) and also for protection from the sun and insects. Also put in your suitcase walking or hiking shoes because to visit some of Angkor temples, to reach the top of the temple, you will have to climb, also: hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and medications. Bring something more, if you can, such as notebooks, pencils, pens to give to school teachers in the villages that will be distributed to children.
+ 7 hours in winter (with GMT)
+ 6 hours in summertime (with GMT)
CURRENCY & EXCHANGE
The currency in Cambodia is the riel, one U.S. dollar is worth about 4,000 riel and for one euro you get about 5,000 Riel. There are no coins but only banknotes. Everywhere, even to the market, you can pay in dollars, get so small bills. The notes above $ 20, or wrinkled, or written above, are not accepted (in other words, it is not necessary that the dollar notes are new, but must not be worn, with inscriptions, cut or torn). The traveller’s checks are accepted in banks of the main cities and major hotel; withdrawals cash made by credit card at the various ATM machines are subject to a fee of 2% plus the cost of bank charges of your bank institute.
Most of shops are accept Visa and MasterCard, and there are more and more distributors where you can get RIEL.
Price tags are rare so it is recommended that you approximately know the prices so that you don't pay more than it's worth.
Don't hesitate haggling, it's normal over there!
They are the same as in Europe (220V). Make sure you bring a multiple plug so that you could charge your electronic devices. You may as well put a flashlight or two in your suitcase.
- motorcycle taxis: cheap tuktuks : 4 places pulled by a motorcycle
- Pickup trucks: for groups also cheap Reception will always call a taxi for you if you want one.
- Always check that the meter is on and that the km are shown because some meters tend to go up way too fast....
There is only one train line from the capital to the province of Battambang in the North-Eastern part and to the coastal resort of Sihanoukville in the South.
Starting from 2-starred hotels you will be equipped with a bathroom, air condition, TV, a fridge, free internet in the hotel or a personal computer in the room. Bathrooms correspond to the standards and are equipped with a hairdryer and you will be given an assortment of toiletries (toothbrush and toothpaste included).
Guestrooms are the most cost-effective establishments.
To call from Cambodia to your country you have to dial your country international code first followed by the area code and the user number, while the international code to call to Cambodia is +855 followed by the area code or code of the mobile operator. The main area codes are: (0) 23 Phnom Penh, (0) 63 Siem Reap, (0) 53 Battambang, (0) 52 Pursat, (0) 62 Kampong Thom and (0) 42 Kampong Cham; where "0 "is omitted for international calls from abroad to Cambodia. To call, you can use a prepaid card purchased in a hotel or post office of major cities. To call abroad from Cambodia you can dial even from the hotels, but the cost is very high, where the cheapest way is go to some internet café, numerous and efficient. As for the mobile you can safely use your mobile phone in Cambodia, before leaving from your country ask to your mobile network operator about the costs of international roaming service.
CAMBODIAN NEW YEAR
It's the biggest traditional celebration with 3-4 fays of holidays.
The Khmer New Year takes place at the end of the harvesting season, April 13th or 14th, it depends.
Families reunite to celebrate, cook, houses are decorated with lotus flowers, abundance of fruits, and sacred objects that are necessary for the New Year.
You will easily find your digital flash cards for your cameras in every big city. If you want, you can also make a DVD with your pictures from your camera which can be done very quickly.
The Krama, traditional scarf of Cambodia can be found everywhere. Very useful, you can find it in cotton, checked, or in silk, handmade silver jewellery and different objects.
SAFETY & SECURITY
Cambodia has moved on from its turbulent civil war era and is now a peaceful and relatively safe destination. The usual safety precautions apply, such as avoiding deserted, dark streets at night, especially in Phnom Penh. We advise that you catch a cab rather than a cyclo or Re-Mork Moto (tuk tuk) at night, and ensure you have a hotel business card to show your driver.
During your stay, it is recommended that you keep photocopies of your credit card details; passport and airline tickets in a secure place separate from the originals. Valuables should be left in a hotel safety deposit box if available.
It is advisable to wear minimal jewelry, particularly in Phnom Penh where petty street crime can occur, and to keep cash secured close to your body. Read our safety guidelines for further information.
DOS & DON'TS
As in any part of the world should pay attention to how you dress and move. Favourite clothing that covers shoulders, arms, chest and legs, skimpy or revealing clothes at best elicit laughter, but in some places may not allow you to enter (pagodas and palaces). You should not exchange effusions in front of others, even between husband and wife, is considered outrageous in public places to take a woman by the hand. You are greeted with a slight bow, clasping her hands above her head, in front of the face or under the chin according to familiarity with the other party. In Cambodia the people express themselves with kindness, not screaming and you should never yields to anger. In the pagodas and the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh you enter without shoes (you can keep the socks), you sit cross-legged (men) or collected from the side (women).
At the Royal Palace is forbidden to take pictures inside the buildings, otherwise the seizure of the camera. In urban centre and in the more touristy areas, it is easy to meet mutilated people begging, recommends tourists do not respond to this type of requests that take away dignity from individual. There is in fact a rehabilitation and integration program of people incapacitated by the war. For those wishing to carry notebooks, pencils, pens remember that literacy in Cambodia is 80% and that this material is highly requested. Can be left to the teachers of the schools that meet during the journey, is certainly the safest way to give aid to those who really need (basic medicines are also welcome). The children are very polite and sweet, they like candy or receive pencils to use at school and always thanks with a kind bow. Close to archaeological sites there are many children that sell nice and cheap products.