• Travel Guide

    Travel Guide | Cambodia

    guide to cambodia

    Cambodia is a Southeast Asian nation whose landscape spans low-lying plains, the Mekong Delta, mountains and Gulf of Thailand coastline. Phnom Penh, its capital, is home to the art deco Central Market, glittering Royal Palace and the National Museum’s historical and archaeological exhibits. In the country’s northwest are the ruins of Angkor Wat, a massive stone temple complex built during the Khmer Empire.

    Basic Info & Culture

    CURRENCY

    In Cambodia they use Cambodian Reel but many tourist are being told to bring US Dollars instead as it’s much easier to convert back to your original currency as Reel is barely worth anything. Pretty much all of the items in Cambodia are presented in US Dollars so it would be much easier to use Dollars instead.

    Top Tip:
    Download the app “Currency Plus” to get currency conversions on the go. It updates daily and when connected to WiFi or Network to give you the latest conversion and you can have multiple currencies shown in one go.

    Download here: Apple App Store // Google Play Store

    LANGUAGE

    In Cambodia they speak Khmer which is widely spoken in Cambodia, and also some parts of Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and China. But most Cambodians speak a little English which makes it easier for tourists to navigate and ask for things whilst visiting and staying there.

    • Hello – Jom reab suar (jom REE-up SOO-wer)
    • Good-Morning – Arun suasdey (arun  Soo-wer sa-DUH-ee
    • Good afternoon – Tiveah suor sdei
    • Good evening – Sayoanh suor sdei
    • Goodnight – Reahtrey suor sdei
    • How are you? – Tau neak sok sapbaiy jea teh?
    • Goodbye! – Jom reap lia (Jom REE-up LEE-er)
    • Yes – Bah for Men and  Chaas for Women
    • No – Dteh
    • Please– Som (Som)
    • Thank you – or kun (or-KUN) and or kun chraeun (or KUN CHRA-ern) 
    • No thank you – ort te, or kun (ort-TAY or-KUN)
    • Sorry/excuse me – Sohm dtoh
    • Where is the restroom? – Bang-kon noun aina?
    TIMEZONE

    Cambodia is 7 hours ahead of the UK. They are on the same timezone as many Asian countries including Vietnam and Thailand. Their time zone is Greenwich Mean Time ( GMT+7:00)

    CUISINE

    There is a mixture of cuisines around Cambodia but you definitely have to try Cambodian (khmer) food whilst you are there. The most popular Khmer dishes are hot pots, khmer BBQ and fried fish dishes. I have a 5 Places To Eat & Drink At In Siem Reap, Cambodia post available for you to read as well.


    Budget Tips

    Suggested Daily Budget – 47-51 EUR / 40-47 GBP (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a little, cooking most of your meals, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!)

    01. Eat at street markets and with the locals – The best place to get cheap food is on the street markets or go where the locals go. The food will be around 50p or maybe a little bit more and you can eat so much of it as it’s so cheap. It might not be a quality restaurant atmosphere but the food is still amazing.

    02. Don’t book taxis, book tuk tuks – Tuk tuks are so cheap, easy and quick to get around. They will cost you up to 20USD but it’s so much cheaper than a taxi and you won’t always get stuck in the horrible road traffic. Just ask the driver to take you somewhere and they will. We asked a tuk tuk driver to take us to Angkor Wat, we thought he wouldn’t show but he did at 5am for the sunrise at the temple.

    03. If you are looking to buy souvenirs, go to the street markets – They might sell all the same things but they will be priced really cheaply and you can buy lots of different things. Make sure you go around the stalls to find the best priced item.

    04. Buy drinks in happy hour – Most drinks in Cambodia will be cheap anyway but make sure you make the most of happy hour deals. Drinks that are imported will be a lot more expensive especially compared to local beers and it’s quite hard to find draught beer. The best place for good drinks is on Pub Street.


    Travel Tips

    VISAS

    You will need a Visa to visit Cambodia, whether you are going as a tourist or on a working holiday visa. Visas will usually last for 60 days in Cambodia depending on what you are going there for. You must not exceed your timescale on your visa. 

    INJECTIONS

    You will need to visit your GP and get your injections before you visit Cambodia. You may need boosters or completely new injections depending on what you have had before. I only needed booster injections as I had some of the injections when I was younger. The main injections you will need or are recommended for Cambodia are:

    • – Hepatitis A
    • – Hepatitis B
    • – Typhoid
    • – Yellow Fever
    • – Japanese Encephalitis
    • – Rabies
    • – Meningitis
    • – Polio
    • – Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
    • – Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis)
    • – Chickenpox
    • – Shingles
    • – Pneumonia
    • – Influenza

    Not all of these injections are required but your GP will tell you which ones are needed for where you will be visiting in Cambodia.

    CAPITAL/CITY

    Cambodia’s capital and city is Phnom Penh. Most people tend to visit Siem Reap though as I’ve heard a lot of people say Phnom Penh is very notorious for pickpockets and some people don’t feel safe there – you still need to be wary in other places throughout Cambodia as well though.

    HOTELS

    There are lots of amazing hotels to stay at wherever you go in Cambodia. These can vary from major hotel chains, AirBnB’s, homestays or hostels. Make sure you check out AirBnB and also TripAdvisor for booking your hotel or hostel.

    ACCOMMODATION I’VE STAYED IN:

    Rambutan Hotel & Resort, Siem Reap


    guide to cambodia

    EXPLORE CAMBODIA 
    Siem Reap

    DRIVING

    It’s best not to drive in Cambodia as the roads are manic just like any other Asian city. You will also need a Cambodian driving licence to drive cars and even motorcycles. It’s best to hire a driver, get a taxi or tuk tuk if you want to get around Cambodia.

    FLIGHTS

    There are no direct flights into Cambodia from international airports and will have to either be flown in from Bangkok in Thailand, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia or any other asian airport categorised as a domestic flight. Flights to an asian airport can either be with British Airways, Eva Air, Etihad, Thai Airways, Jet Airways and many other airlines.

    PUBLIC TRANSPORT

    Tuk tuks are very cheap and the ones we caught in Cambodia never went over 20USD per person even for a trip around Angkor Wat and other nearer temples/pagodas which our Tuk tuk driver quoted about 17USD per person for the whole day of the trip we had and that was starting at 5am until about 11am.


    Packing Tips

    WHAT TO WEAR

    Make sure you wear lightweight and cool clothing in order to keep cool during the hot weather. When visiting temples and religious places make sure you have a thin scarf or sarong to cover your shoulders and legs and don’t show too much cleavage for a woman. I’ve experienced a lot of trouble with mosquitoes in Cambodia even when wearing a high deet repellent spray so I would also recommend wearing long trousers that cover your legs if you are anywhere near were mosquitoes will be, especially near water.

    WEATHER

    The best time to visit Cambodia is during our winter in the UK, from the months December to April the weather is typically drier and warmer than the rest of the year which is usually Asia’s monsoon weather. Temperatures could usually reach around 27-29 ‘C throughout their warmer months.

    CAMBODIA WEATHER


    Activities & Things To See

    ACTIVITIES & THINGS TO SEE

    There are plenty of things to do throughout Cambodia including visiting Angkor Wat and other smaller temples, walking around their markets and night markets, have a drink or dinner on Pub Street and check out their nightlife as well as many other activities which I have written about things you can do in Cambodia here, read 5 Things To Do In Siem Reap Cambodia.

    HIGHLIGHTS OF CAMBODIA:
    • – Angkor Wat, Siem Reap
    • – Ta Prohm, Siem Reap
    • – Walking Night Market, Siem Reap
    • – Pub Street, Siem Reap
    TRAVEL TIPS FOR CAMBODIA

    – Every 5 steps you walk, there is always a tuk tuk driver asking if you want a lift and it does get very annoying after a while. Sometimes you just want to walk along and see places as you go along and constantly having to refuse a tuk tuk when you don’t want one all the time does get quite annoying.

    – There are a few scams and things you need to look out for whilst travelling in Cambodia in order to stay as safe as possible: Be aware of Visa scams, coin collectors, scam orphanages, Angkor Wat touts (who try to sell you goods or food and drink) when you are in the grounds of Angkor Wat, beggars asking for money to pay for medical treatments and mothers carrying babies asking for milk. Please refuse these scammers as hard as it may be because there are lots and you do want to help them but giving in to their begs stops them from going to school and getting education for jobs etc.

    – You will need a VISA to enter and also to complete a landing card so make sure you have your place of stay and all passport and flight details to hand because you will need this before leaving the airport. You can apply for an E-VISA online which we used the website Cambodia e-Visa which costs about £20 roughly and you can upload a copy of your passport photo and staple the print out into your passport which works really well in immigration.

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