CAMBODIA

See our selected programs in Cambodia 

GENERAL INFORMATION

CAPITAL CITY

The Capital City of the Kingdom of Cambodia is Phnom Penh.

SIZE

Inland area: 181,035 Km2

Length: 450 Km

Width: 580 km at the widest point. 

GEOGRAPHICAL SITUATION

Located on the south-east Indochinese peninsula, Cambodia shares its borders with Thailand to the West, Thailand and Laos to the North and Vietnam to the East. The Gulf of Thailand lies to the Southwest. The country has a coastline of 435 km and the two dominant topographies varying from coastal plains to mountain ranges.

POPULATION

Cambodia has 16 million inhabitants with an average density of 91 inhabitants/km2. The most populated province and also the largest is Khompong Cham, where 14.1% of Cambodians live.

90% of the population is ethnic Khmer (Cambodian). The rest of the population is made up of Chinese, Vietnamese, Muslim Chams and hill tribe minorities in the Eastern part of the country.

The dominant religion is Theravada Buddhism.

LANGUAGE

Khmer is the official language and English is generally spoken and understood everywhere.

A guide is, however duly recommended as language can be a problem outside the main cities for people who have no knowledge of the Khmer language.

CURRENCY

Though Riel (KHr) is the official currency, US dollar is indeed the common currency in Cambodia. Many businesses, especially hotels, airlines, restaurants, souvenirs shops, set their prices in USD and all the expenses can be paid in USD even the minor ones. In the West of the country, the use of Thai Baht is also a commonplace.

At the time of writing exchange rate is US$ 1 = 4 020 Riel, and 1 Euro = 4 280 Riel (January 2017). You can change Euros into USD, though the exchange rate is not as good as in Europe. There is no need to change your USD into local currency. Small bank notes of 10 or 20 US dollars are enough. Against payment in USD, the change will be given back to you in local currency as there is no USD cents in Cambodia.

Traveller’s cheques can be cashed only at major banks and usually incur a 2 to 5% transaction fee. 

Exchange offices at Cambodian airports aren’t reliable; we recommend to proceed in one of the exchange offices in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh city centre.

Visa, Master cards, JCB, CCB and American Express are accepted at top-end hotels, restaurants and shops in the main cities of Cambodia, such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, but can also be subject to 2 to 3% transaction fees.

ATM (cash dispenser) are now available everywhere in the main towns (Visa, Mastercard). You can withdraw cash in USD only - transaction fees may apply. ATM from the ANZ bank are notably available in souvenir shops and in most of the Caltex service stations.

Banks are usually opened from 08h00 to 15h30 from Monday to Friday. Only a few banks are opened half-day on Saturday.

The best advice is to bring US Dollars in cash. Note that exchange rates for small and big notes vary, however, we would recommend you to bring some small notes to cope with the first expenses and then to carry small riel for minor expenses. 500 and 1000 riel are the most useful denominations.

Be careful, banks and foreign exchange offices do not usually take old, scribbled or even stained bank notes.   

CLIMATE

Cambodia has a tropical monsoon climate with two seasons: dry from October to May and rainy from June to October. During the rainy season, it usually rains only in the evening or very early in the morning. Temperatures are warm all year long.   

PNH*

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Min °C

21

22

23

24

24

24

24

25

25

24

23

22

Max °C

31

32

34

35

34

33

32

32

31

30

30

30

Rain mm

8

10

41

77

135

156

170

161

224

258

126

45

*Phnom Penh.   

LOCAL TIME

Cambodia is 7 hours ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time.

ELECTRICITY

In Cambodia electric current is mostly 220V. Sockets are generally round two-pin type. Three-pin plug adaptors can usually be found at the local markets in Phnom Penh.

Due to its limited power supply, power cuts are frequent, but most hotels and restaurants in the main cities have their own generators.

WATER

It is advisable not to drink water from the tap unless it is boiled properly. However, bottled mineral water is available.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

The telecommunication network includes satellite, landline, mobile, Internet cafes, radio systems and GSM (check with your home provider if roaming is permitted). Otherwise, you can buy a telephone card via the local telephone provider M-Phone against 15 USD for around 25 minutes of call to a foreign country.

International phone calls can be made from the main post offices, private business centres and hotels. Public phone booths can also be found in the main post offices, hotels and restaurants.

HEALTH & MEDICAL FACILITIES

Inoculation for yellow fever is a legal requirement for entry into Cambodia by people coming from an infected area. There is, otherwise, no vaccination required, but visitors are advised to receive inoculations against hepatitis A and B, typhoid and tetanus, and to make sure if whether anti malaria medication is necessary depending on the region they travel to. Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have good hospitals, staffed with foreign medical personnel, however, for life threatening injury, it is advisable to be evacuated to Bangkok or Singapore and we, therefore, strongly recommended topurchase a medical travel insurance.

TRANSPORTATION

There are two international airports in Cambodia: Phnom Penh International Airport located 20 minutes from the town centre and Siem Reap International Airport, 7 km from the heart of the town.

Road networks have improved, but, still need to be upgraded in some areas. To cover a distance, it is reasonable to count an average speed of 50 km / hour.

By speedboat, it takes 6 hours from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. However, this journey is not recommended for elderly persons and groups.

Helicopter sightseeing in Angkor has become available using safe helicopters flown by qualified pilots. 

DRIVING

In Cambodia, we drive on the right side.

A Cambodian driver’s license is required to drive in Cambodia, including for the use of motorcycles.  Holders of International Driving Permits can apply for one at a cost of US $25.  Some local travel agencies can arrange a license for an additional administrative fee. Driving without a license may invalidate your travel insurance in the event of an accident. Check with the rental company what insurance is included in the rental. Drivers not in possession of a valid Cambodian driver’s license have had motorcycles impounded with the police imposing a hefty charge for the release.

Renting a motorbike is possible in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, but, not in Siem Reap. For security reasons, we do not recommend it in Phnom Penh to inexperienced drivers.  

COOKING

Cambodian food is closely related to the cuisines of neighboring Thailand and Laos, and to a lesser extent, Vietnam, but there are, however, some distinct local dishes. The overall consensus is that Khmer cooking is like Thai without being as spicy. Curries, stir fried vegetables, rice, noodles and soups are the staple food of the Khmer people. Sea food and fish are both abundant and delicious. Cambodia is well known in the region for its Prahok, a strong, fermented fish paste used in a variety of traditional dishes.

SHOPPING

In Cambodia all sorts of goods and manufactured products can be found. From antiques, silver items, jewellery and gems to silk, Cambodia offers a large range of beautiful handicraft products. You can also take the opportunity to purchase an ounce of the famous Kampot pepper.

Prices displayed are usually fixed, but in other cases, bargaining is recommended.

TIPPING

Tipping is not mandatory although it is appreciated. Note that prices in the hotels and restaurants usually include 10% for VAT and 5% for service charges.

ACCESS

Cambodia is accessible by regional flights from major airports in South-east Asia.

Also, the entry is possible from the neighboring countries (Thailand, Vietnam and Laos).

Cambodia can also be reached by water and the two international gateways are Sihanouk International Seaport and Phnom Penh International Port.

VISA AND PASSPORT

A visa is compulsory to enter Cambodia except for citizens of the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia and Thailand. To obtain a visa, you must first ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your return date.

There are 3 options at the moment to obtain a visa for Cambodia:

·         You can obtain your visa on arrival at the international checkpoints of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports. Visa upon arrival are also available for people arriving overland from Thailand at Koh Kong, Poi Pet, O’Smach and Pailin checkpoints and from Vietnam at Chau Doc and Bavet-Moc Bai checkpoints.

For people arriving from Laos at Veungkham semi-official border crossing, both Lao and Cambodian visas must be arranged prior to arrival. Identity pictures are required.

·         Visas can be acquired directly at Cambodian Embassies and Consulates abroad.

·         You can apply via the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Cambodia (http://evisa.mfaic.gov.kh/) to obtain an electronic visa.

BEFORE GOING

If you are travelling to Cambodia, light clothing, especially made of natural fibers, is appropriate all year long, though, a jacket or a sweater may be useful in the evening in December and January.

Although you can find all these products in Cambodia, we also recommend you take a mosquito repellent, a high factor sun block, a cap or a hat, sunglasses, a raincoat and a small bag to carry a few things in case you have to leave your big suitcases at the hotel for a few days.

 

ASIA HOLIDAYS WISHES YOU A PLEASANT TRIP