Cambodia Tours and Information: All you need to know
Many tourists come to Cambodia because of its delicious food, friendly people, amazing Buddhist temples, lush scenery, and white sand beaches.
This beautiful country in Southeast Asia survived the Khmer Rouge Regime in the 1970s, which affected the country’s progress. Cambodia is still recovering from the tragic past and the impacts of war and poverty, but it is now rapidly flourishing, due to tourism.
The Cambodian Riel (KHR) is the country’s official currency. However, the US dollar is widely accepted in most places. When calculating the conversion rate, one US dollar is commonly rounded up to 4000 KHR.
Riels are generally used for small transactions (for example, cigarettes, fruit, or drinks purchased at a market stand), whereas dollars are chosen for restaurants, hotels, and supermarkets. Therefore it is typical to pay in US dollars and receive change in riels.
Tourists can pay in Riel, which can be converted to US dollars. Because there are strong laws against accepting cash, especially a torn, dirty USD$100 bill, make sure your money is not damaged. Otherwise, even shops can reject it.
Don’t drink tap water
It is not advised to drink the local tap water. Although tap water in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is thought to be safe, it contains a lot of chlorine and tastes bad. Water is normally untreated outside of these two cities, and the source is unclear.
If you drink it, you may wind up with an upset stomach. So, consider purchasing several large bottles of water from a store. There is no reason to consume tap water when bottled water is widely available and inexpensive.
Cambodia is safe but watch out for your belongings
You should watch out for your belongings probably more than in any other country in Southeast Asia. It’s recommended to not record videos while riding in tuk-tuks because thieves are looking for opportunities like this to grab your phone.
Don’t keep your wallet, phone, or other valuable personal belongings in your back pockets. Check that they are zipped up or in your front pockets. If you’re traveling with a bag, make sure it’s secured across your body rather than just casually over one shoulder.
Bargaining in Cambodia
Bargaining is common when shopping in marketplaces, taking motos, tuk-tuks, or cyclos. Prices in less luxurious hotels can typically be reduced as well, especially if you plan to stay for several nights or longer.
The seller usually begins with relatively inflated pricing: for inexpensive things with a beginning price of less than USD$10, anticipate to be able to cut approximately a third off.
A popular way to get around
Tuk-tuks and cyclos are the most common transportation methods in Cambodian cities. It will cost you no more than USD$3 to travel to practically any place within a city.
There is also the option of hiring a driver for the day. You should anticipate paying roughly USD$25-30 for your own personal driver for the day!
Cambodia’s medical care system is underdeveloped. It is important to get travel insurance (with included health insurance) to protect yourself in the case of illness or an accident.
When it comes to hospital quality, the greatest ones are in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
A consultation with the doctor often costs between USD$20 and $50, including the cost of medications. It is also worth noting that the national emergency phone number is 119.
Calmette Hospital, Community and Family Medical Clinic, European Dental Clinic, Naga Clinic, Royal Phnom Penh Hospital, and Sen Sok International University Hospital are all renowned medical facilities in Phnom Penh.
Spoken languages in Cambodia
The official language is Khmer. Cambodia, like Laos and Vietnam, was a French colony. Despite this, there are a few people who speak French.
However, Cambodians speak far better English than Thai and Laos, so communication is simple in Cambodia. Most young people speak English.
Wifi and internet connection
WiFi is usually available in the majority of hotels, restaurants, pubs, and cafés in the key tourist areas (Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Sihanoukville). Travelers in more rural areas of the country are unlikely to find a connection, and if they do, it will almost certainly be very slow.
Metfone is the country’s most popular operator that provides SIM cards. Check out Smart or Cellcard too. You can purchase a SIM card at the airport. A basic package with 1.5 GB of data is also quite affordable.
Don’t forget to grab a mosquito spray for your trip
There are hungry mosquitoes around and they can be a real pain, so don’t forget to take insect repellent and remember to use it on a regular basis. Always have tissues and hand sanitizer with you.
There is no guarantee that there will be toilet paper or water and soap when you use the restroom. So, be warned!
Cambodians are modest in both their clothing and their values. Tourists are urged to dress modestly in order not to insult the locals or bring attention to themselves.
Shorts, tights, plunging necklines, miniskirts, and other revealing clothing are not permitted.
Be respectful at Buddhist sites
When visiting temples, sit with your feet tucked behind you to avoid pointing them at Buddha pictures. It’s also a good idea to leave a small donation. When entering temple buildings, cover up to the knees and elbows, and remove shoes and any head covering.
Women should never touch a monk or his offering bowl because the Buddhist faith considers that being in close proximity to a woman who is not related violates a monk’s sacred vows.
What’s also inappropriate in Cambodia
Cambodian society is relatively conservative, and public displays of affection are considered disrespectful.
Bringing up sensitive topics such as politics, war, and the Khmer Rouge is likewise inappropriate. Regardless of how pleasant the country appears, the population experienced a horrible history not long ago and does not openly discuss it.
Touching someone’s head (even a child’s) is not a good idea since the head is considered the most sacred part of a person’s body in Buddhist cultures.
Tipping in Cambodia
Tipping is not generally anticipated, but a few USD extra for lunch, tuk-tuk, or moto trip is always appreciated.
Greeting in Cambodia
The sampeah is the Cambodian style of greeting one another. To practice the sampeah, put your hands together as if praying and lower your head.
When is the best time to visit Cambodia?
Between November and March is the ideal time to visit Cambodia. If you like to avoid crowds and travel at a reduced cost, the best season to visit Cambodia is from May to early October. Cambodia is warm all year, with temperatures rarely falling below 20°C.
Is Cambodia safe?
Yes, Cambodia is safe for tourists, but like the rest of Southeast Asia, it has its share of petty crimes. Bag snatching and pickpocketing are the most common crimes. Thieves frequently ride motorcycles and target pedestrians or people in open taxis.
You should also be aware of the local scams. We know it’s hard to resist but don’t buy anything from local kids or give them food or money. That’s because they stop going to school, and their parents see it as more practical for them to continue working this way.
Also, be aware of food scams. One popular involves a hot meal. A girl with a baby in hand can approach you and say she needs food. Then, she may point out a restaurant. But there’s a catch! If you say yes, you will go to that restaurant and you will end up with a hefty bill. The girl and the restaurant split the money.
Visa and passport
Unless you are from one of the nine countries listed below, you will need to apply for a visa to enter Cambodia.
Notes: You must confirm that your passport is valid for at least six (6) months after your departure date and that it contains blank pages. You must also submit one recent passport-sized photo.
You have the option of applying for a visa in advance through a Cambodian Embassy or getting a visa on arrival.
Because visas on arrival are not guaranteed, most travelers prefer to arrange their visas in advance for peace of mind.
Do you need a Cambodia e-Visa?
You can apply for a tourist visa to Cambodia on your own or with the help of an agent, who will, of course, take the stress off your shoulders and save you time. The Cambodia eVisa allows you to stay in the country for up to 30 days.
We have been renowned visa experts for more than 20 years and will boost your chances of a successful outcome for your application.
All you have to do is fill out a form, submit the necessary documentation, and pay. Everything else will be taken care of!