Cambodia helpful tips and advices

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Hey folks, have you ever been to Cambodia? It is okay if the answer is no. And don’t worry if you are preparing for the first time to that magnificent country. Because we are giving you some tips that maybe you can open and use on your trip!

1. Weather

Normally the period from November to February is quite cool, the weather is dry and the temperature is not too hot. April is the really hot month of the year; the temperature could be around 40°C in the daytime. But it’s not rainy in April. Starting from June it gets rainy but the weather will be still hot. The rainy season will last long till November, when it backs to be dry and cool.

Weather in Cambodia

2. Customs

Please remember that Cambodia is the country of temples, so shorts or transparent clothes or too revealing are disrespectful in their temples. So this is more likely an advice for you to choose the appropriate clothes during your visits. It is maybe a small detail but it shows how you respect the culture of our friend’s country.

Visitors in Cambodia

3. Cambodian Currency

Cambodia’s national currency is the riel (KHR - Khmer Riel). The Cambodian riel comes in notes of the following denominations: 50 riels, 100 riels, 500 riels, 1000 riels, 2000 riels, 5000 riels, 10.000 riels, 20.000 riels, 50.000 riels and 100.000 riels.

Cambodia’s second currency is the US dollar, which is accepted everywhere and by everyone, though change may arrive in riel.  There is a 90% level of dollarization in the country. What this means is that you don’t need to be concerned about getting riel when you arrive in Cambodia. The accepted exchange rate in Cambodia is USD1.00 = KHR4.000. Because they don’t use American coins in Cambodia, you’ll get change for your purchases in riel (1.000 riels is 25 cents). You can exchange money at any bank in Cambodia. Be warned, changing a relatively small amount of US dollars can leave you with a big pile of cash.

Cambodian currency

4. Visa and passport

You will be required a passport valid for six month to enter Cambodia.

All visitors, except citizens of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam need a visa to enter Cambodia.

Some nationalities are required to get visa in advance at Royal Embassy of Kingdom of Cambodia in their country: Afghanistan, Algeria, Arab Saudi, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Nigeria.

Visas can be obtained at Cambodian embassies or consulates. Visas are also available "on arrival" at international airports, all six international border crossings with Thailand, some international border crossings with Vietnam, and at the main border crossing with Laos. Payment is in US dollar only. At land crossing from Thailand, visas are available at Poipet and Cham Yeam (Koh Kong province). Visitors who enter from Vietnam through Bavet (VN: Moc Bai) or Ka-Om Samnor (VN: Chau Doc) will need to have already obtained their visas prior to their arrival through a Cambodian Embassy or Consulate overseas. Tourists also can obtain visa through the online E-visa.

E-visa

Tourist visas are all valid for one stay of up to 30 days. Those issued in advance expire 90 days after issue. In Phnom Penh (or elsewhere via agencies), tourist visas can be extended only once, allowing an additional 30 days at a cost of USD15.

E-visa or Business visa is the best choice for those wishing to stay for over two months with multiple entries, as a business visa can be extended indefinitely (approximately USD145 per 6 month extension and USD290 per 12 month extension) and have multiple entry status when (and only when) extended. Once you are in possession of a long-term Business Visa, travel into and out of the country is very convenient. E-Visas are only valid for entry by air or at three land border crossings: Bavet (on the Ho Chi Minh City-Phnom Penh road); Koh Kong (eastern Thailand); and Poipet (on the Bangkok-Siem Reap road). You may exit the country with e-visa via any border crossing.

To apply for a visa, you will need one or two (depending on where you apply) passport-size photo(s), a passport which is valid for at least 6 months and at least one completely blank visa page remaining, passport photocopies when applying at some embassies/consulates, and clean US dollar bills with which to pay the fee (expect to pay a considerably higher price if paying in a local currency). If you don't have a passport photo at visa on arrival at entry points, they will scan in the one on your passport for an extra USD2.

5. Transportation

Local transportation is cheap, about a few dollars. Types of transportation that you can find in Cambodia are bus, motor, tuk-tuk, cyclo or taxi.

Now, the road system surpassed the country’s inland waterways as the principal means of transportation. Considerable improvements to the national highway network have made getting around the country much easier. Taking the bus is currently the most convenient way to travel between cities in Cambodia. They connect all major cities and towns with reasonable prices. There are also local buses run to the surrounding areas of Phnom Penh. Minibus services are mostly used by the local population. While they are cheap, the journey can be very crowded and uncomfortable.

Railway ranks third in significance. The railroad system is owned and operated by the Cambodian government. One line connects Phnom Penh with the Thailand border and facilitates the transport to the western provinces of Battambang, Pursat, and Poipet. Another one links Phnom Penh with Kampot and Sihanoukville.

Rail way

Sihanoukville on the Gulf of Thailand is the only sea port in Cambodia. It can provide unrestricted anchorage for ocean going ships. A four-lane highway links Sihanoukville with Phnom Penh.

Cambodia has three major airports: Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. These facilities constitute the hubs of domestic, regional, and international service. Additional smaller airports allow you to reach remote areas of the country.

It is virtually hard to rent a self-drive car in Cambodia, and even if you do, driving yourself entails numerous headaches. Both cycling and renting a motorbike are popular ways to explore Cambodia. Cycling in Cambodia can be a rewarding experience, positively invites you to explore on two wheels. When travelling around Cambodian towns and cities, you will most likely use either a tuk-tuk or a moto or motorbike taxi. In Phnom Penh, you can also find a cyclo. When travelling by any of these forms of transport, it is always important to check the fare beforehand.

Tuk tuk

Travelling can be difficult over public holidays, especially the Khmer New Year. On New Year’s Eve, everyone returns to their hometown and all available transports head out of town. Phnom Penh in particular becomes very quiet, hard to find a moto or tuk-tuk, and the few that remain make a killing by doubling their fares. 

Nora Tran

Images source: Internet

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