Welcome to Cambodia – the Kingdom of Wonder!
Cambodia is a land of treasures – the legendary Angkor; temples still buried in the jungle; hill tribes settled in remote and yet unexplored areas; unspoiled beaches and islands surrounded by crystal clear waters; friendly and welcoming people – all just awaiting to be discovered!!!
When to visit Cambodia?
Cambodia can be visited anytime of the year! However, if one had the ability to choose, the ideal months to travel in Cambodia would arguably be November through January when humidity is bearable, temperatures are cooler and rain is very unlikely. Bear in mind that this is the peak season – so you will not be alone in the temples. From February onwards it starts getting warmer and April really makes you appreciate those cold freshly-squeezed lemon juices! The wet season, from May to October, is also a very good time to visit Angkor as the moats are full and the trees lush and green which gives you loads of excellent photo opportunities. The temples are also less crowded during this season Click here for a calender of public holidays, celebrations and events in Cambodia throughout the year. If you want to experience some of them you might want to take it into consideration when planning your travel dates.
Visas are required for most nationalities. Cambodian Tourist Visas may be obtained in advance at overseas Cambodian embassies. This, however, can be a time consuming and expensive process. For most nationalities, CambodianTourist Visas are easily obtained upon arrival at the International airports in either Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. Visas are also available at the boarder crossings from Thailand and Vietnam. A Tourist visa costs US$ 30, and is valid for one month and can be extended by one month in the country. A Business visa costs US$ 35, and is valid for one month, but can be extended for as long as you like in-country. For E-Visa in the region we recommend Evisa. Some nationalities (ASEAN) are exempted from the visa policy, and do not need a tourist visa for visits up to 21 and 30 days respectively
How to get to Cambodia?
Depending on your country of origin, there are many different ways to travel to Cambodia. If you are coming to see Angkor Wat, the most convenient and comfortable way is to fly directly into Siem Reap. Alternatively you can fly via the capital Phnom Penh, and then make your way to Siem Reap. This can be done either by a connecting domestic flight, a taxi, bus or a boat ride on Tonle Sap Lake.
There are direct international flights to Siem Reap from Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Guangzhou, Seoul, and Vientiane, and some other destinations. You may check timetables here.
Travellers can also access Cambodia over land from Thailand, Vietnam and Lao. Tourists can pass the border at the following border crossing points:
From Thailand: The most common boarder crossings are Aranyaprathet/Poi Pet, Trad/Cham Yem and Hat Lek/Koh Kong
From Vietnam : The most common boarder crossing is Moc Bai/Bavet
From Laos : Travellers entering Cambodia from Laos should obtain a Cambodian visa before travelling to the border. The boarder crossing is located about 50 km north of the Cambodian provincial centre of Stung Treng. Transportation should be organised in advance. Be aware that this border is sometimes closed to foreign travellers with little notice.
Safety in Cambodia?
Safety is not considered a problem in Cambodia anymore. Due to Cambodia’s troubled past, a somewhat shaky reputation, and numerous outdated books and travelguides – sometimes completely wrong – we often get enquiries whether it’s safe to go to Cambodia or not. The Khmer Rouge is gone and landmines have been cleared around Siem Reap and the Angkor complex as well as Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and all other major towns and tourist areas. Since 1998, a new era of peace and political stability was re-established in the country & the current security environment is relatively stable. Violent criminal activities directed at foreign tourist are almost unheard of. Compared to other major tourist destinations around the world, Cambodia is currently a relatively safe travel destination and Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor are probably safer than most other major tourist destinations in the world. Be aware that traffic accidents are not uncommon in the somewhat chaotic traffic of Cambodia, and car taxi is the safest way of moving around. As an alternative, a tuk-tuk is safer than riding with a mototaxi. For those who choose to rent a motorcycle and drive yourselves (not possible in Siem Reap), be forewarned about the traffic, and be cautious! Always use a helmet.
As in any country accidents do happen, but there is no need to worry unneccesarily. Do not do in Cambodia what you would not do in your home country, and, as always, use your common sense. The vast majority of tourists that visit Cambodia will never face any major problems.
Fast Facts about Cambodia
Full Name: Kingdom of Cambodia
Area: 181,035sq km
Official Language: Khmer (Cambodian Launguage)
Population: Approximately 14 million people
Capital: Phnom Penh
Time zone: GMT plus 7 hours
Electricity: 220 volts, 50-60Hz
Climate: Sub Tropical
Dry Season: November to May
Wet Season: June to October
Average Temperature: 30°C / 86°F
Religion: Theravada Buddhism is the main religion
Visa is required: Tourist Visa – available on arrival -cost $30.
E-visa: Available online here – cost $36
Passport: Must have 4 months validity when entering the country
Airport Departure Tax: US$25 ( included in tickets bought after 1 April 2011)
Local Currency: Riel (US dollars is accepted everywhere)
Exchange Rate: US$1 = aproximately 4000 riel
ATMs: Available in major towns. USD and Riel is available
Email / Internet: Available in most towns.
Vaccinations: Non officially required, but tetanus, polio, typhoid, hepatitis A & B is recommended