Cambodia

An airport tax for international and domestic flights is included in the airfare.

Begging is not widespread in Cambodia and visitors are requested not to encourage development of this practice by giving money or sweets to children. Think twice before buying anything from children on the street, beaches or at temples and refrain from giving money to begging children or parents with infants. It keeps them on the street and places them at risk. If you want to help, don’t give directly to children. Instead find and support local charity organizations that help these children have a better future.

Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. However those planning to travel extensively by road should avoid the last two months of the rainy season when some countryside roads may be impassable.

The climate is tropical and distinguished by three major seasons.

  • Dry Season: November - March
    The most pleasant season is the dry season from November to March during which temperatures are cooler (averaging 20-28⁰C).
  • Hot season: April - May Average temperatures are 30-35⁰C.
  • Rainy season: June - October
    Locally referred to as the "green season" during which temperatures are relatively cool (average 25-30⁰C). At this time of year it rarely rains in the morning. Instead, most precipitation comes in the afternoon and even then it’s only sporadic. Rainfall varies considerably from area to area. Whereas the seaward slopes of the south-west highlands (Kompong Som and Kampot provinces) receive more than 5,000 mm of rain per annum, the central lowlands average only about 1,400 mm.

Since Cambodia has a hot and humid tropical climate, casual and lightweight clothing is a must with clothing made from natural fibres being the best option. A jacket might be needed on cool winter evenings or in hotels and restaurants that use excessive air conditioning.

A hat and high-factor sun block is advisable as protection against the hot sun when sightseeing outdoors and while travelling with on a tour, in addition to comfortable walking shoes.

Although many tourists do wear shorts and sleeveless shirts, please respect the culture and traditions of Cambodia and dress modestly, expecially when visiting temples and religious sites.

The local currency is the riel, however in Phnom Penh and most major tourist destinations, almost all goods and services are calculated and paid for in American currency. The rate of exchange is approximately 4,071 riel to USD 1 (1 June 2016).

Credit cards, traveller’s cheques and currencies other than USD are accepted only at a few places such as major hotels, at some foreigner-owned restaurants and at some souvenir shops. It is best to carry USD in small denominations. ATM machines are offered by ANZ Royal Bank, Cambodian Public Bank, SBC Bank and Canadia Bank. ATMs accept all major credit cards and can be found at various places in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang and Sihanoukville.

Regulations are relaxed and simple formalities should be observed when entering the country. Every traveller has to complete a customs declaration form during the arrival flight and must submit it on arrival.

Any amount of foreign currency can be brought into Cambodia, but the amount of Cambodian currency must not exceed 100,000 riel per person. Tourists and non-residents carrying over USD 10,000 in cash or its equivalent must declare so in order to ensure they will be allowed to exit the country with that amount.

A Diethelm Travel representative will meet travellers at the exit of the airport building, after airport immigration and customs control points have been passed. For easy recognition, our representative will display a Diethelm Travel sign with the names of the guests or group. It also will be this representative who will be in possession of tickets for ongoing flights of the clients. Should clients buy international tickets through us, they will receive them on their departure day.

Cambodia Angkor Air operates flights between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville with A321 & ATR72 and accepts 20 kg luggage.

Bassaka Air operates flights between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap with A320 and accepts 20 kg luggage for economy class and 30 kg luggage for business class.

Drink lots of water. Purified, bottled water is available everywhere. Never drink tap water and avoid ice cubes if you have a sensitive stomach.

The voltage in Cambodia is 220 V, 50 Hz. Electrical outlets (power sockets) are mainly round two-pin type.

Khmer cuisine is closely related to those in neighbouring Thailand and Laos although it is not as spicy. Curries, stir-fried vegetables, rice, noodles and soups are staples of the Khmer diet. Fresh river fish and shellfish are both abundant and delicious. Western food is provided only in the major cities although other Asian dishes are widely available. Cambodia is well known in the region for its prahok, a strong, fermented fish paste used in a variety of traditional dishes.

Tap water should never be drunk. Bottled mineral water and bottled drinking water are available in all reputable hotels and restaurants. Similarly, salad and fruit served at these establishments are safe.

All Diethelm Travel tours are based on breakfast only in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville and on full board arrangements in other destinations. For full-day excursions, a picnic lunch can be provided if no adequate restaurants are available.

  • Drink lots of water. Purified, bottled water is available everywhere. Never drink tap water.
  • Use an insect repellent against mosquitoes. It is the only way to be sure of protection against mosquito-borne diseases.
  • Since Cambodia has a hot and humid tropical climate, casual and lightweight clothing is best. Clothing made from natural fibres is the best option. A jacket might be needed on cool evenings or 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 outdoors.
    For sightseeing tours you should wear cool, comfortable clothes and walking shoes. Sunscreen lotion and a hat are strongly recommended.
  • Photos are inexpensive to process in the country. Any specialised photo or video equipment should be brought with you. Photography and video in airports, railway stations and near any military installations is forbidden and discretion should be used when photographing people, particularly monks and those in hill tribes.

Direct flights to Phnom Penh are available from Bangkok, Doha, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei and Vientiane.

Airlines currently serving Phnom Penh are AirAsia, Asiana Airlines, Bangkok Airways, Cambodia Angkor Air, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Dragonair, Eva Air, Jetstar Asia, Korean Air, Lao Aviation, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Silk Air, Thai Airways International and Vietnam Airlines.

Direct flights to Siem Reap are available from Bangkok, Danang, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Kunming, Luang Prabang, Pakse, Seoul-Incheon, and Singapore. Airlines currently serving Siem Reap are AirAsia, Asiana Airlines, Bangkok Airways, Cambodia Angkor Air, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Jetstar Asia, Korean Air, Lao Aviation, Malaysia Airlines, Silkair and Vietnam Airlines.

Although no vaccinations are officially required for entry to Cambodia, it is highly encouraged that they are obtained prior to arrival. Visitors are advised to check with their doctor or a travel immunisation clinic regarding protection against malaria, Japanese Encephalitis, typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and B. Any essential medications should be brought with you as there is no guarantee that they will be available in Cambodia.

Internet access is available in most hotels in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. There are also plenty of internet cafés with reliable connections at very reasonable prices.

The following websites provide relevant information on Cambodia:

  • www.diethelmtravel.com
  • www.tourismcambodia.org
  • www.mot.gov.kh
  • www.cambodia-web.net
  • www.embassyofcambodia.org
  • www.phnompenhpost.com
  • www.cambodia.org
  • www.angkor.com
  • www.canbypublications.com
  • www.asialifemagazine.com/cambodia/
  • www.cambodiadaily.com

Khmer is the official language. It is inherited from the Mon-Khmer family and enriched by the Indian Pali and Sanskrit languages. There are various dialects spoken in areas outside Phnom Penh.

English is the second language, followed by French, even though they are not widely spoken except in the capital.

Cambodia runs at GMT +7 hours, the same time zone as its neighbours Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.

Governmental agencies work Monday to Friday from 7.30 am to 4.30 pm (lunch breaks are from 12.00 pm to 2.00 pm) and are closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.

Banks are open Monday through Saturday morning from 7.30 am to 3.00 pm and are closed on Saturday afternoon, Sunday and public holidays.

 
 
 
 
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Toul Sleng Genocide Museum
Open every day from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm. Visitors are not admitted after 4.45 pm.

National Museum
Open every day from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm. Visitors are not admitted after 4.45 pm.

Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda
Open every day from 8.00 am to 11.00 am (closed to new visitors at 10.45 am) and from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm (closed to new visitors at 4.45 pm), except when His Royal Highness King Preah

Borom Moneath Norodom Sihamoni conducts religious ceremonies at the Silver Pagoda or Royal rituals at the Royal Palace, then one of the two or both compounds will be closed. During the Water Festival, they're open only in the mornings on the first two days and closed for a full day on the third day.

Visa Regulations

General
Immigration formalities are quicker when travellers already possess their visa. However, Cambodia has very liberal visa regulations. For USD 30 all travellers can obtain a tourist visa valid for 30 days single entry upon arrival.

A passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the end of the visit and one passport photo is needed. For travellers joining a Diethelm Cambodia tour departing from Bangkok, visas can be arranged there within 2 working days. Every traveller has to complete an immigration and a customs form during the arrival flight or upon arrival. Cambodian tourist visas can be extended 1 time for 30 days.

Visa upon arrival
Visas upon arrival can be obtained at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap International Airports and at the following border crossings:

  • With Vietnam:
    - Bavet/Moc Bai
    – Bavet Border Crossing
    - Kaom Samnor/Vinh Xuong (Mekong River)
    - Phnom Den/Tinh Bien - Takeo Border Crossing
    - Trapeang Plong/Xa Mat - Kompong Cham Border Crossing
    - Prek Chaak/Xa Xia - Kep Border Crossing
    - Trapaeng Sre/Loc Ninh - Kratie Border Crossing
    - Banteay Chakrey/Khanh Binh - Svay Rieng Border Crossing
    - O-Yadaw/Le Tanh - Banlung Border Crossing

  • With Thailand
     - Poipet/Aranyaprathet – Poipet Border Crossing
    - Cham Yeam/Hat Lek – Koh Kong Border Crossing
    - Psar Pruhm/Ban Pakard – Pailin Border Crossing
    - Kamrieng/Daun Lem – Battambang Border Crossing
    - O’Smach/Chong Jom – Oddar Meanchey Border Crossing
    - Choam/Choam Srawngam - Anlong Veng Border Crossing

    The border crossing at Preah Vihear is currently still closed due to ongoing tensions.

  • With Laos
    - Trabaeng Kriel/Dông Kralor – Stung Treng Border Crossing

E-visa
Visitors can also apply for a tourist visa on the Ministry’s website with a processing time of 3 days. Valid ports of entry and exit for e-Visa holders are:

  • Phnom Penh International Airport
  • Siem Reap International Airport
  • Bavet-Moc Bai (Cambodia-Vietnam border)
  • Koh Kong-Trat (Cambodia-Thailand border)
  • Poipet-Aranyaprathet (Cambodia-Thailand border)

A scanned copy of the passport and USD 35 paid by credit card will get you an emailed visa which you have to print and bring with you. All ports are equipped with the latest version of terminal system and there will be a special e-Visa lane in each port. For more information and to apply for e-Visa, please log on to www.mfaic.gov.kh. Be aware of fake visa sites.

  • The Commissariat General of National Police announced that the nationals of following 14 countries cannot get E-visa:
    Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Congo, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Sudan.

These nationals can get visa on arrival with following procedure:
Diethelm Travel has to send a guarantee letter to the Department of Immigration of the Ministry of Interior with the detailed itinerary of the traveller together with a copy of the international roundtrip ticket of the traveller, a passport copy as well as a passport photo. A handling fee is imposed for this procedure.

Visa regulations for ASEAN countries

Visa exemptions are available for the following nationalities (country, duration of stay):

  • Thailand: 14 Days
  • Philippines 21 Days
  • Singapore 30 Days
  • Malaysia 30 Days
  • Laos 30 Days
  • Vietnam 30 Days
  • Brunei 14 Days
  • Indonesia 30 Days

Post is routed by air through Bangkok and is reliable. Most hotels have IDD lines but calls and faxes are very expensive with the average cost of a call to Australia, Europe and US approximately USD 2.50 per minute. Public phones that use pre-paid phone cards are common in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Phone cards can be purchased at the post office, most hotels and supermarkets.

Visitors can buy SIM cards from several network operators at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap International Airports. "Travel SIM" cards have a validity of 1 or 2 weeks with different advantages depending on the network. These cards are non-refundable and can be topped up in town. The visitor will have to present his passport of which a copy will be made.

Theravada Buddhism: official religion; Islam (500,000); Christianity (125,000)

Pagodas and the temples are sacred, religious places where knees and shoulders have to be covered. Although many tourists do wear shorts and sleeveless shirts, please respect the culture and traditions of Cambodia. This is also the case for the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh. Visitors who do not abide to these rules of conduct may not be allowed access. Shoes (as well as hats) have to be removed before entering pagodas.

After years of political and social upheaval, Cambodia now enjoys relative stability. Continuing efforts are made to reconstruct the country from decades of war, to upgrade the infrastructure (roads, bridges, airports etc) and to ensure security. Cambodia is now once again safe for travel.

However some simple common sense precautions with possessions lessen the chances of becoming a victim to theft. Carry your handbag or rucksack to the front of you and be aware that handbag snatches due to theft from motorbikes occur, especially in the larger cities such as Phnom Penh.

Cambodia's stunning Khmer crafs

Home to an abundance of cultural riches, Cambodia is in many ways ideal for shopping. Between its age-old weaving traditions and high-caliber woodcarving, the country’s level of craftsmanship verges on incomparable. Today, the country is in the midst of a handicrafts revival of sorts: from gemstones and silver, to silk and sarongs, there are plenty of options for the sophisticated traveller in Cambodia.

Original Art
Whether you’re an art lover or big-time collector, Cambodian art is an exciting genre that’s gaining traction in the international market. If you’re looking to find a special piece for your home, stop by one of the many shops to peruse their selection. No doubt you’ll discover a wealth of oil paintings, bronze sculptures and weavings with which to adorn your space.

Shopping Smartly
We suggest proceeding with caution when purchasing jewellery, gold and stones as Cambodia does have its fair share of fakes. Similarly, when buying antiques please be aware that exporting them is subject to the Ministry of Culture’s authorisation. Finally, be sure to bargain at every step of the way to get the best price possible — and don’t forget to enjoy the thrill of the chase!

Official name
Kingdom of Cambodia

Area
181,035 square kilometres

Monarch
HM Preah Borom Moneath Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia

Ethnic Groups
Khmer 90%, Cham (Khmer Islam), Hilltribes, Chinese, Vietnamese

Population
15 million (50% of the population is aged under 15)

Capital
Phnom Penh – 2 million

Religion
Theravada Buddhism (official religion); Islam (500,000); Christianity (125,000)

Provinces
25 provinces

Tipping is not obligatory in Cambodia but it is nonetheless widely practised in hotels and restaurants in addition to the service charges shown on bills. For example, porters may receive 1,000 riel per bag.