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The Kingdom of Cambodia, formerly known as Kampuchea, is a country in Southeast Asia that borders Thailand to the west and northwest, Laos to the north, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the south.

Cambodia traveler's tips

The Kingdom of Cambodia, formerly known as Kampuchea, is a country in Southeast Asia that borders Thailand to the west and northwest, Laos to the north, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the south. The geography of Cambodia is dominated by the Mekong River (Khmer: Tonle Thom or "the great river") and the Tonlé Sap "the fresh water lake").

The kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with Norodom Sihamoni as king who has reigned since 2004. Phnom Penh is the kingdom's capital and largest city, and is the center of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities. Siem Reap, a city located near the famous ruins of Angkor Wat is the gateway to the Angkor region, and is Cambodia's main destination for tourism. Battambang, the largest city in western Cambodia, is known for its rice production, and Sihanoukville, a coastal city, is the primary sea port and beach resort.

Cambodia has an area of 181,035 square kilometres (69,898 sq mi) and a population of over 14 million ethnic Khmer. A citizen of Cambodia is usually identified as "Cambodian" or "Khmer", though they strictly refer to ethnic Khmers. Most Cambodians are Theravada Buddhists, but the country also have a minority number of Muslim Cham, as well as ethnic Chinese, Vietnamese and small animist hill tribes.

  • Air access
  • Overland
  • Entry Formalities
  • Customs Regulations
  • Climate
  • Health equipment
  • What to take with you
  • What to wear
  • Currency
  • Languages
  • Drinking
  • Photography
  • Shopping
  • Others

Air access

There are two port of arrival by air: Pochentong Airport in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap (Angkor) Airport in Siam Reap. Cities with directs flight to Phnompenh /Pochentong Airport are Bangkok, Utapao, Kualalumpur, Singapore, Vientiane, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi Hongkong and Guangzhou. Airline Companies currently serving in Phnompenh are Lao Aviation, Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airway, Vietnam Airline, The Southern China Airline, Malaysian Airline.

Cities with directs flight to Siem Reap are Bangkok, Phuket and Ho Chi Minh City. Airline Companies currently serving in Siem Reap are Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airway and Vietnam Airline. Differ from other Indochina countries, there are several airlines companies serve Domestic flights such as Royal Khmer Airlines, Angkor Airways, PMT Airs, Siem Reap Airway and so forth. Please contact us to get the best air fares [See price and timetable of domestic flights]
Airport tax: US$ 20 (international flight) and US$ 14 (domestic fight) for every passenger on every departure.

Overland

You can also get into Cambodia by land from Thailand, Vietnam and Lao. Tourists can pass the border at the following Entry Points:

  • From Thailand

There are 2 international border gates for crossing the border between Thailand and Cambodia
Poi Pet (Cambodia) and Aranyaprathet (Thailand)
This border connecting Bangkok or North-East of Thailand to Phnom Penh via North-West part of Cambodia including Angkor area. It opens from 7 am and closes at 5 pm, the visitors can get entry visa for Cambodia on arrival with cost of US$20. Taxi also available there, especially for Siem Reap - Angkor ( but the road are under bad situation ).There are al least two trains leave here each day for Bangkok, one at 6:40 am and the other at 1 pm for Bangkok

Cham Yem (Cambodia) and Trad (Thailand)
This border connecting South-East of Thailand - Trad Province with Cham Yem in Koh Kong Province of Cambodia. Visitor have to get visa at Royal Cambodian Embassy in advance. From Koh Kong, visitors can continue their trip to Sihanoukville, the seaside paradise of Cambodia, by fast ferry around 3 hours and then connect to Phnom Penh City by National road No.4 (good road) with 225km.

O'Smach(Cambodia) and Chong Jom ( Thailand)
Remote border crossing north of Siem Reap in Oddar Meanchey province. From Siem Reap travel to Kralahn, then north to Samrong and then on to the border. Guesthouses available in Samrong.

Anlong Veng (Cambodia) and Chong Sa Ngam (Thailand)
Remote border crossing northwest of Siem Reap in Oddar Meanchey province, opposite Thailand's Si Saket province.

Phsar Prom Pailin ( Cambodia) and Ban Pakard, Chantaburi ( Thailand)
Located in Pailin, Cambodia, opposite Thailand's Chantaburi province. Taxi available from Pailin to Battambang with 3 or 4 hours driving but road conditions change with the season

Ban Laem, Chantaburi ( Thailand) and Daun Lem, Battambang ( Cambodia)
Located in Kamreang, Battambang province, Cambodia, opposite Thailand's Chantaburi province.

  • From Vietnam

Bavet, Cambodia and Moc Bai, Vietnam
The Moc Bai crossing is the closest and most convenient to Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City. The 230 km road from Phnom Penh, through the Moc Bai crossing to Ho Chi Minh City is in good condition.Cambodian visa available at the border

Kaam Samnor, Cambodia and Vinh Xuong-Chau Doc, Vietnam
Cruise ship can be possible on the Mekong river from Vietnam to Phnom Penh capital city. By this route, visitors can enjoy the Mekong's views and discovery the new area of Cambodia with combine together nature, culture and life stiles of the people. Visitors access by these ways are required to have an entry visa for Cambodia in advance. Cambodian visas available at the border.

Phnom Den, Takeo, Cambodia and Tinh Bien, Vietnam
This border crossing in Takeo province Cambodia is about 10 km south of the the Vietnamese city of Chau Doc. Coming from Cambodia, this crossing can be accessed from either Phnom Penh or Kampot.

Trapeang Phlong, Kampong Cham, Cambodia and Xa Mat, Vietnam
Recently opened. In Kampong Cham province, Memot district, bordering the Vietnamese province of Tay Ninh. Visas not available at the border. You must get your visa in advance

Prek Chak, Cambodia and Xa Xia, Ha Tien Vietnam
he Ha Tien border crossing is now a international border crossing open to foreign travelers. After years of anticipation (since the opening of the Koh Kong crossing in 1998), the opening of the Ha Tien crossing represents the removal of the last road block on the coastal travelers trail from Koh Chang Thailand, though the beach towns of Cambodia and on to southern Vietnam and Phu Quoc Island. Overland travelers can now beach hop across Indochina without ever having to leave the coastal roads. Visas not available at the border. You must get your visa in advance

  • From Laos

Dom Kralor, Stungtreng Cambodia and Voeung Kam, Laos
There are two border crossing points with Laos relatively close to one another: 1) the river crossing at Koh Chheuteal Thom; 2) the road crossing at Dom Kralor. Expect extra fees for “stamps” on both sides of the border.
Going the other way, from Laos to Cambodia, you can cross the border by road or river. By river, take a boat from Don Khone or Don Khong to Voeung Kam. From Voeung Kam, get a Cambodian boat to Stung Treng. Then take a bus to Phnom Penh.
Cambodian visas are available at the border (Don't forget to bring a photo!). No special permits required from either Cambodia or Laos. Open 08:00-17:00

Entry formalities

Entry visas are obtainable at Cambodian diplomatic missions and required for all visitors with valid passports irrespective of nationality. Cambodia, however, would be very liberal visa regulations. All the visitors have to bring are: A Passport Photocopy ; 1 photos (3 x 4 cm) and US$ 20 Cash for one-month tourist visa fee (Paid directly to the Immigration). In case of business visa it costs US$25.00. The Visa Validity is 30 days from the date of issue (NOT from the date of entry) . Diplomatic, Official, Courtesy, and Special (Cambodian) visas are issued free of charge

Recently, visa on arrival are widely applied in the airports and land-ports of Cambodia. Visitors no longer need to get the visa stamp at the Cambodian Embassy before your visit. Application form is distributed for by the Government Immigration upon arrival.
Visa Extension
Travelers who would like to prolong their stay in Cambodia may extend their visa at the Department of Immigration situated just opposite the Pochentong Airport. The visa may be extended for 30 days at the cost of USD 25. If you expect to stay more than a month, better get a Business visa at one shot for USD 25 with three months validity. Business visas can be renewed indefinitely. E-Visa

- The Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs now offers 'e-visa' - visas available online through the Ministry's website. Scan of passport and passport size photo required. Payment by credit card. US$25 for a 30 day visa (three month validity.) Processing time: 3 days. Issued by email and print from your computer. The Ministry recently announced that e-visa entry points now include Siem Reap International Airport, Phnom Penh International Airport, the Bavet/Moc Bai border crossing, the Poipet/Aranyaprathet border crossing and the Koh Kong/Had Lek border crossing. See last update at the Ministry website: http://evisa.mfaic.gov.kh/index.php?version=eng Other requirements and restrictions.

A passport with at least four month validity is required. Philippine and Malaysian nationals do not require tourist visas for a stay up to 21 and 30 days respectively. Singaporean nationality is also exempt from the usual visa requirement. Visa on arrival is not permitted for holders of the following passports: Afghanistan; Algeria; Bangladesh; Iran; Iraq; Pakistan; Saudi Arabia; Sri Lanka; and Sudan. Holders of these passports must obtain a Cambodian visa before arriving in the country. Holders of these passports are also required to hold a sponsor letter or invitation from a company / organization / travel agent, and you are also advised to hold a valid return ticket.

In case visa approval is arranged by Threeland travel we would like to offer you two ways to obtain visa: through Embassies & General Consulates of Cambodia or Visa on arrival.

Customs regulations

Antique items for example Buddha images and other old artifacts are prohibited to be taken out of Cambodia. If you have already traveled from neighboring countries, you are advised to declare you belongings to the customs to avoid any problems when leaving Cambodia.
It is prohibited for any visitor to bring into Lao the followings:

  • Weapons, explosives and inflammable objects.
  • Opium and other narcotics.
  • Cultural materials unsuitable to Vietnamese society.

Climate

Cambodia, in almost all year, full of sunshine and winds and has a high average temperature. Dominted by monsoon cycle, the climate is tropical and distinguished three major seasons. The dry season from November to April, . The hot season lasts from March to June (average temperatures 28-35C). The rainy season (or monsoon) lasts from May to October with southwesterly winds ushering in the clouds that bring seventy five to eighty percent of the annual rainfall often in spectacular intense bursts for an hour at a time with fantastic lightening displays.

  • Cool and dry season. From November to February. would be the most pleasant season for visitors, with temperatures are cooler (average temperatures 20 – 25C). December and January offering the very best weather of the year across the country - comfortably warm days, clear skies, no rain, light breeze, cool evenings. A comfortable time of year to visit the temples near Siem Reap.
  • Hot and dry season from March to May. During these months river and lake levels are very low, generally making boat/river ferry travel much less reliable and can greatly increase travels times. On the other hand, road travel (bus, taxi, motorcycle) is much easier and more reliable for lack of rainy season flooding. The temperature slowly rises through February and March, peaking out in April and May( upper 30oC) before the monsoons begin.
  • Hot and wet season from June-August. Across most of the country, the monsoon rains are fairly predictable, usually occurring in the afternoon or at night butt no more than a couple of hours. In fact, the Angkor temples are at their best aesthetics during the wet season. Boat travel becomes easier and more reliable as the river and lake levels rise, but as the wet season progresses, some roads sometimes deteriorate or become inundated.
  • Cool and wet season from September-October. In September the temperatures is in the mid 30oC and slowly drop through the following months. By October, the mid day temperatures are around 28oC. In September the rainy season is just passing its peak. The rains are still very regular and intense, but by October the frequency is usually dropping off considerably. By the end of October the rains are close to stopping completely. As the rains end through October, the best time of year to visit Cambodia begins. See Cambodia in BRIEF
Health equipment


Although vaccination is not official required, it is recommended that traveler should check with their doctor or a travel immunization clinic to get advice or vaccination regarding protection against for cholera, typhoid, tetanus, and hepatitis A and B if you are going to the provinces. Any essential medications should be brought with you as there is no guarantee they will be available in Cambodia. Use an insect repellent against mosquitoes. It is the only way to be sure of protection against mosquito borne diseases.

What To Take With You

There are a few things you should not travel without:
  • A map, certainly
  • Photocopies of your passport and visa.
  • Cash in US$ 20’s and $ 100’s or Baths.
  • A folding umbrella if you plan to visit during the rainy season. The wettest months are July and August.
  • Zip lock bags. They are cheap, disposable, and keep all kinds of things fresh and dry.
  • Hotel cards: You should keep your hotel cards or brochures to show people to get guidance in case of missing way back home.
  • Business Cards. You will discover that practically everyone in Cambodia has a card of some kinds. The proper way to offer your card is to hold it by the corners with both hands.
What to wear

Most Cambodians dress up casually except when they are attending formal events. It is common to see men and women using Krama, a Long, narrow checked cotton cloth round their neck. The krama is just like a piece of clothe.

Lightweight, loose-fitting, cotton clothing is recommended and long-sleeved items should be included for protection from mosquitoes and the sun. During the rainy season an umbrella is more convenient than a rain coast. A jacket may be needed 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.

When visiting temples or pagodas, including those of Angkor Wat, shorts and T-shirts are acceptable. Shoes 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.

Currency

The Riel is the official currency of Cambodia. The bank note are presently in denomination of 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000, 10,000, 50,000 and 100,000, but the 500 and the 1000 riel notes are the most commonly used. There has been some devaluation of Cambodia Riel in the past few years from 2500 to around 4100 Riel for one US dollars at the time of writing.

Most hotels and many restaurants and shops set their prices in US dollars. Small transactions (less than a dollar) are usually done in riel. Always carry some small riel for motorcycle taxis, snacks, beggars and other small purchases.

Other major currencies such as the France Franc, Eur, Yen, Bath and others can be exchanged at Banks that are located in all major towns. US dollars can be freely spent though travelers are recommended to use smaller denomination. Most places will refuse old, tatty or damaged US bills.

Traveler Cheque and Credit Cards are accepted by most banks or some upscale hotels and restaurants and shops, but only in Phnompenh, SiemReap, Sihanoukville and the casinos in Poipetyou must pay 2 - 4% fee to accept credit cards . The most commonly accepted credit card is Visacard. while Mastercard and JCB are growing in popularity. A few places accept AMEX. ATM is mostly not available in Cambodia, so if you plan to travel to outskirts, t is advisable to carry US Dollar bills in small denominations. In case of journey to remote areas it is, of cause, advisable to take a good supply of Riel with you.

Do not exchange all of your cash into the local currency at one time, but gradually. It is difficult to exchange back to foreign currency, or with terrible exchange rate - practically impossible for ordinary tourists!
Money changers offer a slightly better rate that the banks. They tend to cluster around the traditional markets. There is usually a section of a traditional market dedicated to moneychangers and gold sellers.
When accepting US dollars, inspect the bills carefully. Marred riel is acceptable tender, but the tiniest tear in a large US note renders it worthless.

Languages

The official language of Cambodia is Khmer. a part of the Mon-Khmer family and has its origins in Sanskrit and Pali from India and influenced by spoken and written Thai. It is spoken all over the country except in some tribal areas where local indigenous languages are used.

Today, English is the most popular foreign language in Cambodia. , French is spoken by some of the older members of society and Chinese by many of the business people. Russian, Thai and Vietnamese is also in common use among business sectors and young generations
[See also: Tour guide]

Drinking

Bottled water and mineral water are obtainable at any shops in most cities. It is advisable to drink boiled water and never drink ice and tap water.

Photography, film and developing

Negative film is widely available. Popular brands are Kodak, Fuji and Konica. Memory cards for digital camera could be found easily, but be careful with its quality. Image printing from both negative film or digital file are obtainable in Phnompenh, Siem Reap and other big cities. Taking photographs at airports or military locations is forbidden and show your discretion and courtesy when photographing people, especially monks.

Shopping

There are a wide variety of items available for purchase in Cambodia. The country was once well-known for its superior silk weaving, metal work and woodcarving. Visitors can find silver items, jewelry, gems, colorful cloth for sarong and hats (variegated silks), wood carving, paper maché masks, stone copies of ancient Khmer art, brass and bronze figurines and oil paintings in the different markets and shops on main avenues. The traditional clothing for both men and women is the krama, a long, narrow checked silk or cotton cloth available in most markets and shops. Jewelry is generally not up to international standards for design and workmanship and buyers should use caution when purchasing gold and gems. The export of antiques is subject to approval of the Ministry of Culture. Bargaining is essential for all souvenir shopping, it travelers are to obtain reasonable prices. Reductions of up to 20 percent are possible.
The renowned Central Market ( New Market) is one of the largest and busiest markets in Phnom Penh, which is most popular for locals and foreigners and is designed by French architect. There are a varieties of items on sales such as souvenir gifts, artifacts dated back to French Indochina era, jewelry, household appliances and nearly every thing you can think of.

The Toul Tom Pong Market ( The Russian Market) is the city's best source with Items for sales including miniature Buddha, various ritual objects and old Indochinese coins. There are also quite a few gold smiths and silversmiths inside the market.
The Olympic market, owned by one of Cambodia's most powerful tycoon. A great deal of wholesaling is done at the Olympic Market, near the Olympic Stadium. The market was upgraded and reopened in 1994 as the first three-floor covered market in the Kingdom.

Others
Taxi: Taxis with meters are available in big cities. The current price is about US$ 0.5 per kilometre. Most metered taxi drivers can speak a little English. Business hours: (GMT + 7) same time zone with its neighbors Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.
  • Government offices: 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Closed Saturday afternoon and Sunday
  • Business offices: 08:00 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday
  • Shops: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 7 days a week
  • Banks: 8:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday
  • Markets: 6:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. 7 days a week.
Cambodia traveler's tips

Electrical current: 220 volts (50Hz) A.C.
Telephone: The telephone networks in Cambodia consists of satellite, landlines, cellular, GSM and radio systems which connect Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Battambang, Kompong Cham and other provinces internationally. International dialing can be done at main postal offices, private business centers or hotel or at public phone booths, which can be found at postal office, main streets, gas stations, major restaurants, hotels etc. However, it quite expensive for an IDD call apprx. $3 per minute. If you want a lower rate and clear sound is not a factor, there are many Internet café are offering International calling for a price less than $0.10 per minute to most developed countries.

Internet access: Internet in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap is widely available with many Internet shop or café around and rates are under $1 per hour. In the provinces access is limited, and expensive at around $3 per hour.
Tipping and bargaining: Tipping is not obligatory in Cambodia, however, if you meet with exceptional services or kindness, a tip is always appreciated (Porters, 1,000 Riel per bag.). Bargaining is the rule in the markets, when you are hiring vehicles or buying things. A persuasive smile and a little friendly personality is usually enough to get a good price.

See also

Ankor Wat - Angkor Thom | Battambang | Northwest Cambodia to Thailand | East Cambodia to Vietnam | Kampong Cham | Central Cambodia | Kampong Thom | Provinces around Tonlesap | Kep (City) |Phnom Penh (Capital) | Ratanak Kiri | Northeast Cambodia to Laos | Siem Reap | Sihanoukville | South coastline


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