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Cambodia Travel Guide

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Cambodia is one of the most fascinating countries to experience the tropics in Southeast Asia. Most people’s impression of Cambodia only stays at Angkor Wat, one of the seven wonders of the world. In fact, this slow-paced country boasts a lot more than you might think!

Cambodia, formerly known as Khmer Rouge, is an ancient civilization with a long history. Cambodians have lived in the lower Mekong River and the Tonle Sap Lake area as early as three or four thousand years ago. Cambodia, proud of the temple complex of Angkor Wat, not only remains the scenes left over from the era of the Khmer Rouge regime, but also retains a strong French style.

Traveling in Cambodia requires you to have enough energy because the country has so much to offer you to enjoy. Take a tuk-tuk ride between the monuments of Siem Reap, gain an insight into Cambodia’s heavy history in Phnom Penh, explore submerged forests by boat on the Tonle Sap Lake; and the leisure and comfort of Sihanoukville and Koh Rong can wash away your fatigue , making your Cambodia trip wonderful and rich. Nothing is impossible in Cambodia.

Basic Facts about Cambodia

  • Name: Kingdom of Cambodia
  • Capital: Phnom Penh
  • Population: 16,720,000
  • Language: Khmer
  • Currency: Riel (1 USD≈4056 KHR)
  • Religions & Beliefs: Theravada Buddhism, Christianity, Islamism
  • Time Zone: GMT+7
  • Electrical Outlets: 230V / 50Hz (Power Plugs: Type A, Type C, Type G – Bring a power plug adapter with you)
  • Visa: You need a valid passport + a Cambodian visa. E-visa and visa on arrival are available.
  • Festivals & Events: Khmer New Year (April13-15), Bon Om Touk (aka Water Festival in October), Imperial Ploughing Festival (April or May)

☛ See also: 10 Interesting Facts about Cambodia

Angkor Wat in Siem Reap
Angkor Wat

Best Places to Visit in Cambodia

Cambodia has more to offer tourists than just its world-famous Angkor Wat temples. Hundreds of miles of pristine sandy beaches, local and French-style humanities, amazing pepper plantations and salt fields, beautiful natural scenery, etc. will break your inherent concept of Cambodia.

Mangrove forests on Tonle Sap Lake
Tonle Sap Lake

Angkor Wat – Known as Cambodia’s National Treasure, it is the largest religious structure in the world and the earliest Khmer-style architecture in Cambodia, where huge stone carvings and exquisite reliefs can be seen everywhere.

Tonle Sap Lake – It is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, like a huge emerald inlaid on the Cambodian landscape.

Silver Pagoda – Taking its name from the 5,329 silver tiles that cover the floor, the pagoda is home to national treasures, including lots of gold and Buddha statues.

Koh Kong Island – This island is rich in natural attractions, including coral reefs, tropical palm trees, rain forests, waterfalls, sparkling blue waters and pure white beaches.

Battambang – The second largest city in Cambodia, Battambang is hailed as the “Breadbasket of Cambodia” for its fertile soil, rice, and fruit.

☛ See also:

Top 12 Tourist Attractions in Cambodia

6 Best Islands in Cambodia

10 Best Temples in Cambodia You Should Not Miss

Top Things to Do in Cambodia

Every year, many tourists flock to Cambodia to witness the magnificence of the Angkor Wat temples. But most people are not aware that there are more crazy things to do in Cambodia that can enrich your trip.

Angkor Wat Sunset
Enjoy the stunning sunset view of Angkor Wat

Tour Angkor Wat Temple Complex by Bike with the Sunrise & Sunset

A bicycle tour of Angkor Wat will give you insight into Cambodia’s culture, history and landscape. After capturing the breathtaking sunrise view, ride your mountain bike around the jungle trails, bypassing the crowded tourist routes. You have never felt so peaceful, so close to the local life and surroundings.

Soak in the Nightlife on Pub Street of Siem Reap

Partying on Pub Street is one of the craziest things to do in Cambodia. The street becomes lively and busy after the sun goes down when it will be an ideal place to walk and relax. Here you’ll find a variety of restaurants, bars, craft shops, and bookstores selling books and postcards in English.

Watch the Khmer Performance – Apsara Dance Show

Apsara Dance is one of the most important cultural spirits representing the Khmer nation. It is considered to be the Cambodian ballet, with a strong emphasis on hand movements.

Enjoy a Variety of Water Activities on Koh Rong

It is the second-largest island in Cambodia, featuring azure waters, swaying palm trees, pristine sandy beaches, and gentle ocean breezes. You can indulge in fishing, boating, kayaking, diving, snorkeling, hiking, jungle expedition, or just get a relaxing massage in the spa.

Get a Glimpse of the Rare Dolphins While Cruising on the Mekong River

Can you imagine spotting dolphins in fresh water? This is quite rare. But it’s easy to see dolphins when you cruise in the Kratie region.

☛ See also:

Top 10 Things to Do in Cambodia

10 Unique Things to Do in Cambodia

10 Best Things to Do with Family

Best Time to Visit Cambodia

Any time of year is a good time to visit Cambodia. Generally speaking, the best time to visit Cambodia is from November to March (dry season) when it is cool, windy, and low in rainfall, making it ideal for outdoor activities.

Each season has its advantages. If you are looking forward to enjoying a green kingdom, late May to early September is the best time of year to visit Cambodia.

☛ See also: Cambodia Weather

How to Make a Cambodia Travel Plan

How many days you spend in Cambodia depends on how much you want to know about the country. If you only plan to visit some famous sights of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, then 5 days is perfectly enough.

However, the ideal length of stay in Cambodia is 14 days. During the two weeks, you can on a comprehensive journey into the true heart of the Khmer Kingdom – the landscape, cuisine, architecture, customs, and people.

☛ See also: How to Plan a Trip to Cambodia and Vietnam?

Best Cambodia Tours & Travel Packages

Transportation in Cambodia

Getting to Cambodia

1. By Air:

Only three airports in Cambodia offer international flights – Phnom Penh International Airport (REP), Siem Reap International Airport (PNH), and Sihanoukville International Airport (KOS). However, there are no direct flights to Cambodia from Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. So if you are going to fly to Cambodia, you need to transfer from somewhere else in East or Southeast Asia, like Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Ho Chi Minh City.

2. By Boat:

Boats are mainly used for river and lake tourism between neighboring countries. Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville are the major ports. Boats run along the Mekong every day, which means tourists can reach Cambodia by boat from Vietnam. And you can get to Sihanoukville Port through the border from Thailand.

3. By Bus:

For visitors from Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos, it is possible to take a bus ride across the borders to enter Cambodia.

Getting around Cambodia

1. Train in Cambodia:

Currently, Cambodia offers trains from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, Kampot, and Takeo with comfortable modern carriages. Tickets are usually available at Phnom Penh Railway Station for $7 to Takeo, $9 to Kampot, and $10 to Sihanoukville.

2. Bus in Cambodia

Buses are the most budgeted means of transportation for sightseeing between different cities in Cambodia. From 5:30 am to 8:30 pm, there are a lot of buses running daily between the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, and other cities. Most city buses are air-conditioned, and equipped with video televisions and Wi-Fi. Basically, bus trips from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, Battambang, Sihanoukville, and Kampot cost about $13, $6, $12, and $5, respectively.

3. Tuk-tuk in Cambodia

Tuk-tuk is the most common mode of transportation in Cambodia, which is quite convenient and economical for getting around the city (especially Siem Reap and Phnom Penh). Typically, trips within 3km cost $1- $2. From the airport to the city center costs $5-6; A tuk-tuk tour of Angkor Wat costs $15.

4. Motorbike in Cambodia

Motorbikes are a very fast and convenient way to travel in Cambodia. If you know how to ride a motorcycle, you can rent it for $4-6 a day. Note that it is forbidden to hire motorcycles in Siem Reap. You can also grab a motorbike controlled by local drivers.

5. Taxi in Cambodia

Taxi is the most comfortable way to get around, but it is much more expensive than other means of transportation. Generally speaking, the fare from the airport to the city center is no more than $8. Uber is available in Phnom Penh and only accepts cash and credit card payments.

6. Cyclo in Cambodia

Cyclos, a way for visitors to experience authentic Cambodian customs, can only be found in Phnom Penh. If you want to enjoy the street scenery at your leisure, then go for it.

☛ See also: How to Get to Cambodia: by Air, Boat, Road

Accommodation in Cambodia

Cambodia offers many different accommodation options for its tourists, including guesthouses for backpackers, basic hostels, luxury international resorts, and boutique hotels in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Battambang, Sihanoukville, and Koh Rong. However, you need to be prepared to have limited hotel options in remote areas.

Luxury Accommodation

  • Luxury hotels are easy to find in big cities.
  • Prices typically exceed $120 a night.
  • The range of luxury accommodations includes international five-star hotels and all-inclusive resorts.

Mid-range Accommodation

  • Mid-range hotels cost around $60- $90 per night.
  • Most hotels offer free airport pickup and breakfast.
  • The range of mid-range accommodations includes four-star hotels and beautiful boutique hotels.

Budget Accommodation

  • Budget hotels are concentrated in remote areas, including hostels and guesthouses.
  • They are popular with backpackers and solo travelers because of their low prices.
  • The rooms are equipped with basic amenities and cost around $15 per night.

Cambodia Travel & Entry Restrictions 2023

– A valid passport and a Cambodian visa (Visa-on-Arrival is available).

– Fully vaccinated travelers don’t need any COVID-19 tests pre-departure or on-arrival and are no longer required to be quarantined.

– If you’re unvaccinated, you must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 7 days.

– Although not required, travelers are recommended to have travel insurance that covers COVID-19.

Cambodian Food - 5 Best Dishes in Cambodia

Cambodia is rich in seafood and fish thanks to its rich waterways. Curries feature prominently in salads, soups and stir-fries. Cambodian cuisine has its own unique flavors of salty, sweet, spicy and sour.

Amok – Cambodia’s national dish, it’s a spicy coconut fish curry, steamed in banana leaves. Usually, chicken and snails can be used as substitutes for fish.

Samlor Machu – It is a popular soup made with fish or seafood and vegetables cooked in a sour soup. Seasonal vegetables may include celery, scallions, tomatoes, lime leaves, coriander, lemon grass, bean sprouts and green peppers.

Kampot Pepper Crab – Whole fresh crabs are deep fried with garlic sauces and topped with the famous Kampot green pepper.

Samlar Kari – The dish consists of sliced chicken with a smooth coconut paste, usually flavored with Cambodian kroeung paste, fish sauce, shrimp paste, and palm sugar.

Char Kroeung Sach Ko – Aka Stir-fried Lemongrass Beef, this food can be found almost all over the country.

☛ See also: Top Restaurants in Phnom Penh & Siem Reap

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