From enchanting temples to sprawling paddy fields, to its vibrant beaches and wonderful people, come unlock the secrets of Cambodia.
Despite its tragic past that was plagued with wars and bloodshed, Cambodia has emerged a shining jewel, though not unscathed. Northern Cambodia is home to the magnificent ruins of Angkor Wat, while the South is a contrasting ambience of exciting parties on the beach. Sandwiched in between, charming cities and serene countryside await. Combine its inspirational yet heartbreaking history, unique attractions and amiable people, this country holds a certain allure that cannot be found in other parts of Asia.
Most foreigners will need a visa to enter Cambodia with a few exceptions. Most flights to Cambodia fly in via the Phnom Penh International Airport. However, travelers who are specifically visiting Angkor Wat may prefer flying in to the Siem Reap International Airport. The country is also accessible by road or boat through borders with its neighbouring countries.
Most businesses deal in the local currency, Riel, and also US Dollars. However, it is recommended to pay in Riel as the rate for US Dollars are generally not very good. ATMs that accept Visa cards, Maestro, Cirrus, and Plus are available even outside of the main cities. Many cashiers do not accept notes that are torn or worn out. In case you receive notes in poor condition from any ATMs, especially those of high value, you should immediately exchange them at the bank.
The official language of Cambodia is Khmer. Although most Cambodian youths study English in schools, it might be challenging to find a local who can converse in English fluently. People in the main cities who work in tourist-related businesses can usually speak functional English. Once you venture outside of the cities, you will probably have a hard time finding anyone who speaks English. However, Cambodians are exceptionally friendly so you can always use body and sign language to communicate.
The wet season in Cambodia runs from May to October with the most rain from July to October. April is the hottest month and can be very dusty and unpleasant. Depending on which region of the country you are visiting, there are pros and cons to traveling there at different times of the year.
Travelers might find a welcome break from the typically spicy Southeast Asian food in Khmer cuisines. Traditional Cambodian food is flavourful yet subtle, often cooked with an assortment of herbs. Almost always paired with rice, they are filling and inexpensive. For the more adventurous, you can find a plethora of unique eats from pregnant eggs to a variety of bugs and snakes, not for the faint of heart.
Traveling in Cambodia
One of the most common mode of transport within the cities is the motorcycle taxi. Usually costing USD 1 or less, this is the fastest and easiest way to get around. However, safety could be an issue as the motorcycle taxi business is not regulated.
For traveling between cities, there are air-conditioned buses that run between them and tickets can be purchased online. You can easily move from the spectacular Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, to the bustling city of Phnom Penh, then all the way to the beautiful coast of Sihanoukville by road.
Despite being a less popular tourist destination, Cambodia is a delightful haven for travelers. Prepared to be inspired by its incredible history, mysterious culture and amazing people.