Cambodia General Information

The Kingdom of Cambodia is a land that continues to surprise and delight its visitors. Home of the Angkor temples (the magnificent legacy of the Khmer empire that ruled over much of Southeast Asia 1,000 years ago) there is much to discover in this country.

By day, learn about the history of the capital city Phnom Penh; by night, dine on traditional Cambodian feasts and experience Cambodian nightlife. Visit the islands that dot the Cambodian coast and the quaint little provincial towns that make up the beautiful countryside. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Wat, travel the Mekong River by boat and relax on pristine beaches.

Learn about the tragic history of the Killing Fields, the Tuol Sleng Museum and other reminders of the Khmer Rouge regime. You will be amazed by the optimistic attitude of Cambodians, who have found the courage to continue smiling despite three dark decades of civil war. See for yourself what it means to live up to the saying “What doesn’t break us makes us stronger”.

Above all, tap into your adventurous spirit and come unveil the mysteries of Cambodia with Asia Pioneer

Population
15.2 million
Language
Khmer
Capital
Phnom Penh
Currency
Riel
Religion
Theravada Buddhism

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Plan You Trip To Cambodia

The best time to visit Cambodia is between November and March. During this time the country experiences the least amount of rainfall without becoming too hot.

In general, the entire country is subject to the same weather patterns, with two main seasons: hot and dry, and hot and wet. If you are unaccustomed to the tropics, you will find Cambodia to be very hot and sweaty.

The dry season runs from November to April on the back of the northeast monsoon. November to January is cooler, while February to April is hot and dusty. November is the coolest month and April the hottest.

The wet season runs from May to October, courtesy of the southwest monsoon. The wet season provides 75% of Cambodia’s annual rainfall. July to September are the wettest months.

You can also read more about “Best time to visit Cambodia

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Siem Reap30°C – 0mm33°C – 8mm34°C – 20mm35°C – 52mm34°C – 135mm32°C – 164mm32°C – 180mm32°C – 210mm31°C – 248mm30°C – 210mm30°C – 76mm30°C – 11mm
Sihanoukville31°C – 28mm32°C – 26mm32°C – 111mm33°C – 119mm32°C – 300mm31°C – 472mm31°C – 646mm30°C – 695mm30°C – 607mm31°C – 328mm31°C – 130mm31°C – 33mm

In recent years, there have been massive improvements to the roads, making it easier to get around the country. New highways have been built, old dirt roads have been replaced, and a reasonable bus network has been developed. Overall, fares are very reasonable.

Plane
Cambodian national airlines rarely last for more than a few years and as such, it is better to fly on another Southeast Asian airline. For example, the Thai carrier Bangkok Airways flies the very popular Phnom Penh to Siem Reap route.

Train
A disgrace, to say the least, traveling by train should only be considered as a novelty or checklist item.
The Battambang train runs once a week, with the trip taking anywhere from 18 to 24 hours, departing from Phnom Penh on Saturday and returning the following day. Fares are nominal and you can choose to sit on the roof of the train car.

Local buses and Minibuses
With the recent improvements to the Cambodian road networks, the bus systems have followed suit and are worth considering. A number of private bus companies run to and from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, serving destinations across the country, with the hubs at Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.

Car
Shared taxi for long-distance travel is another cost-effect option if you have a small group of 3 or 4 people. Keep in mind that a taxi charter is generally priced at 6 passengers, you will have to pay six passengers’ worth of fare to secure the taxi for yourself.
Renting a car to drive yourself is far less common.

Motorbike
Cambodia is awash in motodops – guys with a motorcycle and a baseball cap – who will take you anywhere on their bike for a few dollars. This is a great way to do half-day tours, such as exploring Battambang, but not for long distances, such as from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.
Larger endure-style dirt bikes can be hired long term from a number of dirt bike rental shops in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Prices are reasonable, but be sure to carefully check the bike, and do not use the chain and padlock provided by the shop to lock up the bike at night – use your own.

Bicycle
Long, with a scenic flat coastline, Cambodia can be a great destination for cyclists. Most Cambodian towns have accommodations, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a room for the night. Make sure to pack a good supply of inner tubes and patch kits as Cambodian bikes are not the best. If possible, bring your own bike.

Boat
Only two regular ferry runs still operate in Cambodia – Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, and Siem Reap to Battambang. Boats no longer run north up the Mekong to Kompong Cham and the Ko Kong to Sihanoukville boat now only goes as far as Ko Sdech.

The Phnom Penh to Siem Reap boat ride is worth doing once and once only. It is expensive in comparison to the bus, the middle of the trip is boring (you will be in the middle of a lake with no scenery) and, if you sit on the roof, chances are you will get sunburned. We recommend taking this boat ride one way if you insist, and take the bus for the return trip.

The Siem Reap to Battambang trip is a lucky draw – the quality of the boats varies from one day to the next, overloading is the norm, boats run aground regularly, and occasionally they sink. That said though, the Battambang portion of the trip is spectacular.

For most visitors to the Kingdom of Cambodia, a visa is obtainable upon arrival at either airport in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. Crossing over from Thailand by land, visas are available at Poipet Banteay Meanchey and Cham Yeam (Koh Kong province). Visitors entering Cambodia from Vietnam by land through Bavet / Moc Bai, or Ka-Om Samnor / Chau Doc, will need to have already obtained their visas prior to their arrival through a Cambodian Embassy or Consulate overseas. Tourists can also obtain their visas through the online E-Visa. Regardless of the method of entry, a Cambodian tourist visa is valid for one month.

Note: your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond your travel date, and there must be several blank pages left on your passport. You should also have a 5 cm x 5 cm on a white or off-white background photo ready, as well as USD $30 for the stamping fee.

FYI, a departure tax is charged on all domestic and international flights.

Visa exemptions

The citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to enter Cambodia for a certain amount of time:

Asia: Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam (maximum stay of up to 30 days)
Philippines (maximum stay of up to 21 days)
Myanmar, Thailand, Brunei (maximum stay of up to 14 days)

Unfortunately, citizens of the following countries are ineligible for an e-visa and will have to apply at their nearest Cambodian embassy / consulate:

Middle East – Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia
South Asia – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Africa – Algeria, Nigeria, Sudan

Asia Pioneer facilitates your holiday by arranging all the services making up your trip. However, be sure to pack all that you will need before leaving your home!

Packing Checklist – Be sure to check them all 😉

Essentials

  • Travel documents (passport, visas, travel insurance certificate, air tickets, tour voucher)
  • Money (cash, credit card, debit card, traveler’s cheques and money pouch)
  • Day pack for your personal needs during the day
  • Camera and extra memory cards and batteries
  • Cell phone and cell phone charger
  • Laptop charger (if you are bringing your laptop)
  • Travel plug/international adapter
  • Medication (including a doctor’s letter if you are carrying a large amount of medication)
  • Prescription glasses/contacts and if necessary, contact lens solution
Plan your trip

Before you go

Essentials

  • Travel documents (passport, visas, travel insurance certificate, air tickets, tour voucher)
  • Money (cash, credit card, debit card, traveler’s cheques and money pouch)
  • Day pack for your personal needs during the day
  • Camera and extra memory cards and batteries
  • Cell phone and cell phone charger
  • Laptop charger (if you are bringing your laptop)
  • Travel plug/international adapter
  • Medication (including a doctor’s letter if you are carrying a large amount of medication)
  • Prescription glasses/contacts and if necessary, contact lens solution

Best to bring along

  • First aid kit
  • Toiletries
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Refillable water bottle with filter

Wardrobe

  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Comfortable clothing, either light or heavy options, depending on the season you are traveling
  • Clothes suitable for visiting temples (long pants/skirts, long-sleeved tops)
  • Waterproof jacket / raincoat / umbrella
  • Hat & sunglasses
  • Bathing suit

Optional comforts

  • Earplugs & eye mask
  • Sleep sheet for homestays/trains
  • Lightweight travel towel
  • Local language phrasebook

Here are some considerations to ensure that your adventure sets off with a great start:

• Please read our guidelines on responsible tourism so that your trip is beneficial both for you and the communities you visit.
• What interests you? eg. weavings, archaeology, religious art, jewelry, mountain biking, kayaking, etc. Let us know so we can steer you in the right direction.
• Read up a bit about Cambodia before you leave. Your guide will give you a general understanding of the places you visit, but feel free to ask for specifics.
• Learn a little Khmer before your trip. The more you know, the more fun you will have.
• Ask your cell phone provider for an international data plan if you will need coverage whilst traveling.
• No data? No problem! Bring a book, journal, postcards, or playing cards with you to occupy yourself when waiting.
• “Take only photos, leave only footprints”, but nonetheless try to be sensitive with the photos and footprints.
• Try to support locally owned businesses, hotels, restaurants, and traditional artisans.
• Let us know at once if you encounter any problems. Don’t wait until the trip is over. Our drivers, operators, guides and hotel staff are there to help you.
• Most of all, relax, be patient, and keep an open mind. Bring your sense of humor and adventure and discover the magic of Cambodia.