Voltage: 230V, Frequency: 50Hz
Riel (KHR) exchange rates
UTC +7 hours
What to expect
Cambodia is a country at a crossroads, remembering its tumultuous past, yet embracing modernization. The vibrant capital, Phnom Penh, has a youthful energy and a wonderful array of cosmopolitan eateries, boutiques and art galleries, yet also features sites remembering the atrocities of the civil war era.
Siem Reap is the gateway to the famed temples of Angkor, yet has a similar emphasis on great restaurants, bars, spas and creative industries. Beyond the cities, Cambodia's countryside provides a glimpse of the hardships of rural life, as well as beautiful landscapes. Delving further into Cambodia's offerings, you can experience beautiful beaches and mountain ranges, fascinating abandoned hill stations and small, charming towns and villages.
Tourism in Cambodia is developing at a rapid pace, and while facilities in the larger centers are very comfortable, some service levels and standards may be different to what you are used to. In the countryside, roads can sometimes be undeveloped and accommodation clean yet simple.
From Los Angeles
approximately 17 hours
From New York
approximately 20 hours
Banks, public offices and some tourist sites will be closed on the vacations listed here. As major vacations are set according to the lunar calendar, dates change every year. Please check with our USA-based Asia specialists for details.
is International New Year’s Day, a public vacation. Banks, public offices and some businesses will be closed.
is Victory Day, a public vacation celebrating the end of the Khmer Rouge's reign in 1979. Banks, public offices and some businesses will be closed.
February - on the full moon day of the third lunar month
is Meak Bochea Day, a public vacation commemorating the spontaneous gathering of monks to listen to Buddha's preaching. Banks, public offices and some businesses will be closed.
is International Women’s Day a public vacation. Banks, public offices and some businesses will be closed.
is Khmer New Year, a national public vacation, a major public vacation when banks, publics some businesses will be closed, and the Phnom Penh's Royal Palace will be periodically closed.
April/May - on the full moon day of the fifth luna month
is Visakha Buchea Day, a public vacation commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha. Banks, public offices and some businesses will be closed.
is Labor Day a public vacation. Banks, public offices and some businesses will be closed.
May - on the 4th to 6th days of the waning moon of the sixth lunar month
is the Royal Ploughing ceremony, a public vacation signifying the start of the ploughing season. A special ceremony foretells whether it will be a successful season or not. Banks, public offices and some businesses will be closed.
is a public vacation to celebrate the King's birthday. Banks, public offices and some businesses will be closed, and the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh will be periodically closed.
is a public vacation to recognize International and National Children's Day. Banks, public offices and some businesses will be closed.
is a public vacation to celebrate the Queen mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk's birthday. Banks, public offices and some businesses will be closed.
is a public vacation to mark Constitution Day, celebrating the signing of the Cambodian constitution by King Sihanouk.
September/October - on the 15th day of the tenth month in the Khmer calendar
is the three day Pchum Ben vacation, where Buddhists pay their respects to their ancestors. Banks, public offices and some businesses will be closed, and the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh will be closed periodically.
is Paris Peace Agreement Day, commemorates the Paris Peace agreement of 1991. Banks, public offices and some businesses will be closed.
is King Coronation Day, commemorating the coronation of the current king, Norodom Sihamoni.
is a public vacation to recognize Independence Day, or Cambodia's independence from France in 1953. Banks, public offices and some businesses will be closed.
November - on the full moon of the Buddhist month of Kadeuk
is the Water Festival, a major public vacation spanning several days commemorating the change in direction of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. Banks, public offices and some businesses will be closed and the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh is closed periodically. There are very large crowds on the riverfront in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, plus road closures.
is International Human Rights Day a public vacation. Banks, public offices and some businesses will be closed.
Vacations that fall on a weekend may be observed the following Monday.
Health & Fitness
In Cambodia, travelers should take similar health precautions as they would elsewhere in the region. Phnom Penh and Siem Reap feature the country's best hospitals and medical clinics, though for any serious conditions it is advisable to transfer to Bangkok.
Beyond the main cities and towns medical facilities are very basic, though if you do require medical attention a private clinic is a better option than a government-run hospital. Diseases known to exist in Cambodia include hepatitis A and B, tuberculosis, dengue fever, typhoid, malaria, Japanese encephalitis, tetanus, polio, diphtheria, rabies and HIV/AIDS.
It is important to take sufficient preventative measures to minimize your exposure to these and other ailments. We strongly advise that you consult with your doctor at least a month prior to your departure for relevant health advice.
Obtaining your visa for Cambodia is quite a straightforward process. Tourist visas for most nationalities can be obtained on arrival at Phnom Penh or Siem Reap airports for 20 USD cash. You will be issued with a visa form while still on the plane or upon arrival, and will require one passport photo to accompany your visa application.
By visiting www.mfaic.gov.kh and paying 25 USD by credit card, a 30-day tourist visa can be issued electronically within three business days. Note that this visa is only valid for arrival at Phnom Penh or Siem Reap international airports, Cham Yeam (Koh Kong), Poi Pet (Banteay Meanchey) and Bavet (Svay Rieng). Cambodian visas can be obtained on arrival at the following border crossings:
- Phnom Penh International Airport
- Siem Reap - Angkor International Airport
- Poipet (Banteay Meanchey Province, bordering Thailand)
- O’Smach (Oddar Meanchey Province, bordering Thailand)
- Cham Yeam (Koh Kong Province, bordering Thailand)
- Bavet (Svay Reing Province, bordering Vietnam)
- Kaam Samnor on the Mekong River (Kandal Province, bordering Vietnam).
It is important to be aware that Cambodian visa regulations and arrangements are subject to change. You must ensure you have organized or researched your own visa requirements prior to travel. We strongly suggest that you check with the relevant embassies in your home country for current visa guidelines.
Safety and security
Cambodia has moved on from its turbulent civil war era and is now a peaceful and relatively safe destination. The usual safety precautions apply, such as avoiding deserted, dark streets at night, especially in Phnom Penh. We advise that you catch a cab rather than a cyclo or tuk tuk at night, and ensure you have a hotel business card to show your driver.
During your stay, it is recommended that you keep photocopies of your credit card details, passport and airline tickets in a secure place separate from the originals. Valuables should be left in a hotel safety deposit box if available.
It is advisable to wear minimal jewelry, particularly in Phnom Penh where petty street crime can occur, and to keep cash secured close to your body. Read our safety guidelines for further information.
‘Angkor, an Introduction to the Temples’ (Odyssey), by Dawn Rooney
- Excellent lead-in to the wonderful temples and to ancient Khmer history. Several brief but illuminating pages on each main temple, with good color photos.
‘Culture Shock Cambodia (A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette)’, by Peter North
- The much-awaited Cambodia version in the ‘Culture Shock’ series contains practical information on the defining characteristics of Cambodian social norms and society. Highly recommended for responsible travelers who want more than just a surface understanding of a unique and complex culture.
‘Cambodia, Report from a Stricken Land’, by Henry Kamm
- Based on the author's career experiences as a journalist in Cambodia from the 1970s and numerous interviews with Khmer Rouge leaders and Norodom Sihanouk. The book provides a concise account of the steps leading up to the rise to power of the Khmer Rouge and its four year reign.
‘Sihanouk, Prince of Light, Prince of Darkness’, by Milton Osborne
- Milton Osborne is one of the best and easiest to read writers on Indochina and Cambodia. Osborne lived in Phnom Penh from the late 1950s and used his societal contacts and other research sources to prepare this frank account of the enigmatic and ultimately self-centric Sihanouk.
‘River of Time’, by Jon Swain
- One of the best introductory reads into the trauma of the Indochina war era. Swain writes of his personal experiences as a journalist and resident in Phnom Penh and Vietnam, and recounts some soul destroying stories from Cambodia's lost decade, the 1970s.
‘A Dragon Apparent, Travels in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam’, by Norman Lewis
- This doyen of British travel writing writes lucidly and perceptively of his travels in Indochina, at the end of the colonial-era in the late 1950s. A classic.
Useful words & phrases
Hello (or hi)
How are you?
Niak Sohk sabay te
I'm fine, thank you
Kh'nyohm sohk sabay
What is your name?
Teur niak chhmooh ar vey
My name is…
How old are you?
Niak ar yuh ponn mamn
I am …years old
Kh’nyohm ar yuh ... chhnamm
How much is ...?
Teur ...thlai ponnmamn
It's too expensive!
Vear thlai naa
Excuse me /I'm sony
Lia sen hao-y
Thank you, but I don’t need a plastic bag
Or kun. Pon teh kh'nyohm min trov kar thong plastic te
Arrival and departure transfers
For road journeys throughout Cambodia, groups of six or more travel in 25-40 seat Toyota Coaster or Hyundai, while smaller groups use modern sedan cars or minibuses. All the vehicles used on our journeys are comfortable, well-maintained and spacious.
To get around cities and towns, you will use a combination of tuk-tuks, boats, bicycles and your own two feet. Domestic flights are sometimes used in Cambodia, and these are on French built ATR 72s. Cambodia's varied transport modes are often a highlight of discovering this compelling country.
Internet services are widely available in Cambodia's urban centers, and rates are usually minimal. Many of the larger cities and towns' restaurants, cafes, hotels and bars feature complimentary Wi-Fi.
You can also visit internet cafes, with internet phone call services which can be the most cost-effective way to make an international call. Fixed line phone calls and faxes, most often found in hotels, can be the most expensive, usually from 4 USD to 6 USD per minute. It is not possible to make reverse charge calls from Cambodia.
It is possible to use your cell phone in Cambodia, although you may need to organize roaming with your service provider prior to travel. Coverage may be less consistent in rural regions. International mail costs a similar price to send than from most Western countries, and usually reaches its destination in around seven days.
Food & drink
Cambodian cuisine is fragrant and flavorsome, with some similar ingredients and techniques to its neighbors, but with some distinct variations. Soups, stir-fries, curries, grilled meats and salads all feature, although chilli is not used as much as in Thai cuisine. Cambodian specific ingredients include a spice paste called kreung, made from lemongrass, galangal and ginger, and a fermented fish paste, prahok, used to flavor many dishes.
Fish amok, a form of steamed curry, is often a favorite Cambodian dish amongst visitors, along with fragrant salads such as green mango or banana flower. Rice is a key staple in Cambodian cuisine. Due to French influence, baguettes are commonly sold in the country's markets. You should not consume the tap water in Cambodia, although bottled water is widely available and usually complimentary in your hotel room.
Tipping is not compulsory in Cambodia, although it is an acceptable practice and can be used to show your appreciation for excellent service. At the start of your trip, your local guide or Western tour leader will collect a small amount (around 50 cents per day) to be used for communal tips for service staff encountered along the way.
This prevents excessive tipping and the need to always have small change available. We believe you will be very satisfied with the service levels received from Travel Indochina representatives such as drivers, tour leaders and guides, although compulsory tipping is not included in our trips. The choice to tip is entirely up to you.
Many of the hotels you will encounter in Cambodia feature swimming pools, and you may also have the opportunity to swim at the beach if visiting the country's beautiful southern coastline. It is important to note that swimming pools do not usually feature safety fences nor are there lifeguards at the beach, so you are responsible for your personal safety.
If traveling with children it is essential to monitor their activity and safety as well. Modest swimwear should be worn to consider Khmer cultural beliefs, which emphasize modesty. Public nudity is considered very offensive.
All of our journeys in Cambodia support worthy causes, helping disadvantaged members of the community. We have a longstanding relationship with Friends-International and ChildSafe who help disadvantaged youth. Most of our Small Group Journeys pay a visit to the ChildSafe traveler center to learn more about their initiatives and each of our travelers receive a pocket-sized card from the organization with tips on child safety issues.
While in Phnom Penh you may also get the chance to eat at a vocational training restaurant staffed by formerly disadvantaged young people, such as Romdeng or Friends the Restaurant. On the 'Cambodia Revealed' Small Group Journey, a night is spent in a Takeo homestay, providing cultural insights as well supporting local communities normally removed from the tourist industry. Learn more about our focus on responsible travel.