Cambodia has come a long way in the past 30 years and is now one of Southeast Asia’s most popular travel destinations. If you’re looking for the best Cambodia travel tips, you’ve come to the right place!
History, culture, great food, and the very hospitable Khmer people make it a great place to visit.
Cambodia travel tips
Travelling to Cambodia is an extraordinary adventure, but it probably wouldn’t be described as one of the easiest countries to travel around. Doing some homework before your trip will help make your journey that much easier.
Check out these quick tips to get you travelling in Cambodia like a pro:
1) Credit cards are not commonly accepted, but overseas debit cards can be used at local ATMs, some from which allow you withdraw USD (ANZ is the most popular international bank). Just make sure to confirm foreign transaction fees with your bank in advance to avoid any unwanted surprises.
2) Always negotiate your fare before taking motos and tuk-tuks. Ask reception at your hotel how much it should be to get to your destination beforehand. They’ll be happy to help you out!
3) Read ‘First They Killed My Father’ by Luong Ung – a shocking insight into the life of one family’s nightmare during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. While the country has come a long way since the genocide that occurred in the 1970’s it still forms an incredibly important part of its history.
4) In Cambodia (and many other countries in Asia), the head is regarded as the highest spiritual part of the body, so you should never touch a person on their head (even a child).
5) Expect to battle the crowds if you’re trying to catch sunrise at Angkor Wat. However, it is a nice, cool time of the day to visit and the sight of the sun coming up over this incredible complex is one you won’t forget in a hurry.
If you want to avoid the crowds, rather visit Angkor Thom at dawn and then Angkor Wat later in the day. You’ll basically have Angkor Thom to yourself if you arrive just before the sun comes up.
6) Bring US dollars to Cambodia and have a bunch of new $1 notes for tuk-tuks, motos and local markets purchases. You can get the local currency (Riels) once you arrive, but USD is readily accepted (and often preferred) throughout the country.
7) Check out “Friends” restaurant in Phnom Penh, an initiative set up to help train street children in hospitality. The food is delicious!
8) Take small note denominations in US dollars – $1 bills are ideal. You’ll need lots and lots and lots for tipping and small purchases.
9) Electricity plug adapters to fit a European or UK plugs.
10) Scarf for women – you can take one with you, or better still, buy one when you’re there. They are useful should you need to cover your shoulders at a temple or for shielding your neck from the sun.
11) Prepare for the humidity. It’s going to be hot, so take a water bottled because you’ll need to keep your fluids up. Plus pack wash-n-wear clothes, because you will inevitably need a local launderette if you want to travel light.
12 It’s very easy to take a taxi from the airport and it’s a set rate, so no need to be scared of getting ripped off on your first day.
13) Allow time to take a cooking class. Not only do you get to learn how to whip up some delicious local dishes, but through the unique blend of flavours you get to learn more about the culture.
14) Immerse yourself in a local market for a real life experience. Where better to see local life in action and a frenzy of activity.
Bonus: Guide for First Time Visitors to Siem Reap
This is a guide for first time visitors to Siem Reap, which can help them in successfully plan a tour to visit some memorable temples.
When is the best time to visit Siem Reap?
Angkor is hot and sticky throughout the year, but the peak season is November to February, when the weather is dry and temperatures are coolest (25-30°C). The flip side is that the temples get packed, especially around Christmas/New Year’s, and hotel rates are at their highest.
For many visitors who are very choosy and prefer a particular season for their tours, they must know that Cambodia has two seasons in particular; one wet, which runs from May to October, while the other is dry, running from November to April. March to May is brutally hot, with temperatures reaching 40°C.
Choose your travel dates based on your preference of climate. For the best climatic conditions, one can choose June – August, which is considered widely as the ideal time to visit Cambodia and the city of Siem Reap.
How to Reach Siem Reap?
With an international airport at Siem Reap, air travel is the most convenient way to reach Siem Reap. From the Airport, you can reach hotels in Siem Reap either by tuk-tuk or can make an arrangement through your hotel of choice, where you are going to stay.