Practical Information in CambodiaEdit This
Khmer cuisine is quite delicious. There is also Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and Indian cuisine available, particularly in the capital. Western style food is available in larger cities and at all large hotels. Try local Khmer food - it is surprisingly good, and it's very reasonably priced.
Cambodia offers a wide range of souvenirs including handicrafts, stone and wooden Buddhas, embroidered cottons, precious stones (beware if you are not an expert) and much more. Buying at the market is much cheaper than the airport, as one would expect.
International class hotels are available in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) at very reasonable rates. Clean, comfortable basic hotels and guest houses exist in all cities.
There are now quite a number of ATMs in Phnom Penh run by ANZ (Australia and NZ Banking Group) that accept international credit cards, as of 2006. Seam Reap as of March 2006 has an ATM for all international credit cards. Some hotels will take Visa for a small surcharge, but for the most part the country runs on cash, including the departure tax. The currency of choice seems to be US dollars or Thai Baht. Change on purchases is given in a combination of dollars and Cambodian Riel notes instead of coins.
There are health care providers in town catering for expats and tourists in Phnom Penh:
- Naga Clinic
- International SOS Medical and Dental Clinic
- American Medical Center.
It is not advisable to drink the water - except the bottled variety - unless it has been thoroughly boiled.
Local mains voltage is 220 AC. Bring a converter for any 110 volt equipment.
Cambodia local time is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (UK).
Power blackouts or power surges are not uncommon. Use a surge guard for sensitive electronic equipment.
International phone calls can be made from most hotels and post offices. Call charges are quite high. Email and internet connections are widely available in Cambodia. International (tri-band) cell phones can be used in Cambodia. Internet cafes in Phnom Penh are quite cheap.
International departure taxes at the airport is $25 USD per person, and the entry visa $20 USD for tourists and $25 for business travellers. A passport photograph is needed to obtain a visa (bring one - there is no photo machine available) and a form must be filled. At the moment, only citizens from Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines do not need a visa to enter Cambodia.
Most people visit the Cambodian town of Siem Reap to see the impressive temples at the ancient Khmer empire capital of Angkor, including Angkor Wat. Temple fees for Angkor Wat are high, but worth it, with a three-day pass costing $40 USD per person and a one day pass at $20 USD. A licensed guide can be hired for $20 USD per day and is well worth it. There are very few signs or explanations. The guides must take a 3 month course and pass an extensive Angkor history exam, in English, to gain their license.
Wear appropriate clothing for the climate. Light cotton material is best suited for most of the year while something warmer might be required in the mountains in January or February. Revealing attire is not appropriate in this devoutly Buddhist country.
On the plains the climate is invariably hot for most of the year. October to February is the cooler season with temperatures in the high 20s C. (85 F.) The rest of the year is hotter.
In larger cities or towns many people speak some English. Other foreign languages like French and German are not widely spoken.
Visit your doctor for advice about travel in the tropics before departing for Cambodia. No vacinations are formally required to enter the country. Malaria remains a problem in some regions, as well as Dengue in Phnom Penh is possible.
Travellers are advised that normal precautions against robbery should be taken while visiting Cambodia. Having a driver from your hotel meet you at the airport is strongly recommended by Cambodians for your safety.
Late at night it can be dangerous for foreigners to go out walking in the main cities. Use taxis or motorbikes in the evening. The country does not have a high crime rate but often tourists are targetted because they carry money and cameras. In the past tourists have been victims of crime because of the political climate.
The local currency is the Cambodian Riel (KHR)