This post will be all about Cambodia travel tips and all the cool facts about Cambodia and things to know before visiting Cambodia. From first timers to seasoned travelers, this post will be your go-to guide to get to know more of Cambodia and what awaits you from amazing nature, great people and culture to delicious food to try in Cambodia.
Probably Cambodian people are the most friendliest and simplest people I’ve seen. There are many things to do in Cambodia from visiting Angkor Wat Temples, relaxing in Sihanoukville and spending a few days in Phnom Penh. The Kingdom of Cambodia was a French colony in the past. Cambodia had very hard time under the Khmer Rouge regime during the Civil War.
Cambodia Travel Tips And Things To Know Before Visiting Cambodia For First Timers
1. IS IT SAFE CAMBODIA?
Is it safe travel to Cambodia? Yeah you should know that Cambodia is one of the safest countries in the world. If you travel to Cambodia, safety won’t be a problem. You can feel safe everywhere, literally. Make sure that you keep your valuables with you in crowded places and that should be more than enough.
2. EASY VISA IN CAMBODIA ON ARRIVAL
Things to know before visiting Cambodia has easy Visa on arrival. There are only 9 countries that can enter the country for 30 days without a visa. Rachel as Filipino passport gets free visa for 3 weeks in Cambodia. If your country does not belong to this group you should apply for a visa on your arrival this will only take for about 30 minutes and the price is $30 USD.
You can apply an eVisa online if you want for less hassle when you arrive in the country the cost will take you up to $36 USD. You can check here if your country is visa-free or if you should apply.
3. EXCHANGE CURRENCY AND CASH IN CAMBODIA
Cash is the king in Cambodia. You can use USD and local currency. The currency in Cambodia is called Cambodian Riel in this is the one you will be using all throughout your entire stay inside the country. Exchange rates are around $1= 4000 Riels. There are ATMs available all throughout the country. Facts about Cambodia you can use dollars everywhere but you should always have Riels because you will use it for small payments.
4. BEST TIME TO VISIT IN CAMBODIA
The rainy or wet season in Cambodia takes place through the months of July to September and the dray season is in the months of October up until May. The best time to visit Cambodia for tourist and backpackers is in the month of November to February since most of your itinerary will consist of walking and sightseeing.
5. HEALTH TRAVEL INSURANCE
Things to know before visiting Cambodia we recommend always bringing a travel insurance when traveling abroad just in case you have any problems. You can always have food Poisson, fever or any other kind of disease.
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FACTS ABOUT CAMBODIA
6. CAMBODIA IS SO CHEAP
If you have been traveling around Southeast Asia Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines are so cheap and Cambodia has similar affordable prices. Especially for accommodation where is easy to find a room for less than $20 USD, alcohol is cheap and prices for food and transportation are so affordable. Keep reading below!
7. ACCOMMODATION BUDGET TRAVEL IN CAMBODIA
Cheap accommodation in Cambodia is not a problem. There are many available cheap accommodation in the country. Hostels’ price starts at $5-6 USD a night per dorm and $10-15 USD for a room. Cambodia is one of the cheapest countries in Asia for accommodation.
8. FOOD BUDGET TRAVEL IN CAMBODIA
A total of $5 USD will be your daily budget for food in Cambodia. There are many available street foods around the country. One of the most popular Cambodian dishes is called Fish Amok its is a red fish curry you can eat it with rice it is served wrapped in a banana leaf and the price start from $1-2 USD.
Cambodian noodles are a soup for as low as $1-2 USD. We also enjoyed fruits and juices in Cambodia for $1 USD. Noddles soup and baguettes (Cambodia is a French colony) as a sandwich were delicious! Local fine restaurants for dining can cost $5-6 USD.
9. TOUR/ENTRANCE FEES IN CAMBODIA
The entrance fee to Angkor Wat is around $37 USD per day and $62 USD for 3 days and $72 USD per a week. For museums and other attractions would be around $3-5 USD entrance fee.
10. WI-FI AND INTERNET CONNECTION IN CAMBODIA
Internet in Cambodia works great in big cities and you will have many problems to connect in off the beaten path destinations. You can access free WiFi at hostels and hotels and there are lots of restaurants that are offering free WiFi.
You can find the cheapest Cambodia eSim with Airalo Cambodia eSim prepaid for $4 USD with 1 GB data valid for 7 days (USING DISCOUNT CODE GAMINTRAVELER 10%). For $9 USD with 3 GB data and for $13 USD with 5 GB data valid for 30 days.
11. ADAPTER IN CAMBODIA
In our Cambodia travel tips you should know they use 230 V and frequency 50Hz. A few places make it possible to fit your American and European adapter in the plug because they provide adapters. If you are coming from American and European countries, we recommend you to bring an adapter to be able to charge everywhere.
12. LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IN CAMBODIA
You can use local transportation in Cambodia. You can ride Tuk tuk inside the city and you will only pay $1-2 USD. You can ride local buses for $5-8 USD for 5-6 hours of journey. You can also ride the bus service between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville the fare vary from $4 USD to $7 USD.
You can also ride the bamboo train its maximum speed is 50kph, it is a tourist attraction in Battambang the price starts $5 USD per hours.
13. HITCHHIKING IN CAMBODIA
I also tried hitchhiking in Cambodia and its not the easiest country to do it because not so many cars passing by mostly motorbikes. But it worked for me. Will be great for short distances and good thing Cambodia is a small country.
14. CAMBODIA BORDER CROSSING
Easy border crossing to Cambodia from Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. The borders are opened and the most popular one is Poipet/Aranyaprathet. We can recommend you to have the experience of crossing by foot. You can get there by public transportation, train or bus. Or you can even get there hitchhiking.
Just go by yourself, with a photo, $30 USD your passport and wait for line. You will get your stamp and 30 days Visa in half an hour. Once you cross the border you can choose a bus, private taxi or why not hitchhike to move around Cambodia.
Be careful with the tour companies which are going direct to Phnom Penh from Bangkok. They will make you spend the night in the border and you aren’t gonna be able to reach Phnom Penh until the next day.
15. VISITING STREET MARKETS IN CAMBODIA
Visiting street markets in Cambodia will allow you to have local contact and find different types of food. These street markets are perfect if you’re trying to learn and speak a few words in Cambodian language. And because Cambodian people are so friendly, they will introduce you to the basic vocabulary in Cambodian language.
We like to walk around local markets and of course, to try street food. We tried different tropical fruits and also ate lunch and dinner in the markets. Prices were very affordable and you can have a meal starting from $1-2 USD while visiting Cambodia!
16. DRESS PROPERLY IN CAMBODIA
Dress properly in Cambodia covering your shoulders and if you can wear pants covering your knees too. Cambodian people are very religious and it’s not the same like neighbor countries like Thailand and the Philippines where they don’t care as much as they do in Cambodia.
17. CAMBODIAN PEOPLE ARE VERY FRIENDLY
Cambodians are very friendly and they are smiling and willing to talk to you. The best way to know more about Cambodia is meeting locals. Try to talk to a local every time, even when there is a language barrier. The best ways to meet locals: staying in a guest house with a Cambodian family. Also getting local transportation like bus or try hitchhiking where you will always meet new Cambodian friends.
18. Khmer is the Official Language
The official language in Cambodia is Khmer. A few parts of Thailand and Vietnam can speak Khmer. Locals are able to speak English and Thai in a few areas of the country.
19. Cambodian Speak English
Things to know before visiting Cambodia that they speak English especially in tourist areas. In local markets and off-the-beaten-path areas is not usually that locals will speak English.
20. Cambodia Was a French Colony
Cambodia was a French Colony until 1949. You will find French influence in the architecture and food. You will find a few locals that can speak French and play games like Petanque.
21. CAMBODIA IS BUDDHIST
Cambodia is a Buddhist country. Around 97 % of the population in Cambodia are Buddhist. You can find thousands of temples in Cambodia. Don’t miss the opportunity to know and understand Buddhism and to even talk to the monks. Enjoy the visit to the temples in Cambodia and make sure you dress properly to respect them.
22. Don’t Buy Souvenirs From Kids
As a general rule in Cambodia don’t buy gifts or souvenirs from kids. You will find many of them in the tourist places in Cambodia. All the kids are able to speak great English but they should be in the school. If you are planning to help is better if you donate the money to an official organization.
23. Don’t Ride The Elephants
Don’t ride the elephants in Cambodia. Riding elephants is one of the most tourist of the things to do in Cambodia. But elephants suffer so much with this activity and we totally recommend you not to do it!
24. PARTY IN SIHANOUKVILLE
You can party in Sihanoukville. There are many bars in the evening where you can enjoy partying and drinking. Prices for a beer are around $1-2 USD. Sihanoukville beaches are amazing. You will find blue water and white sand. It’s perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
25. RIDE THE BAMBOO TRAIN
You can ride the Bamboo train which maximum speed is 50 kilometers per hour and it’s a touristic attraction in Battambang. Prices starting at $5 USD per hour riding the bamboo train.
26. STAY IN A COTTAGE
Stay in a cottage is an experience to try in Cambodia. Sok San Beach Resort was our choice located on the beautiful island of Koh Rong. The cottages are big enough and so beautiful, and it will give you astonishing views of the beach, gorgeous green trees, the white sands and its horizon. It will be the best time to relax while taking a look and appreciating the beauty of our nature right under a bungalow.
FACTS ABOUT CAMBODIA FOOD
WHAT TO EAT IN CAMBODIA
27. EAT KHMER NOODLES
Khmer noodles you can find everywhere in Cambodia as street food and local restaurants. Khmer noodles is served as soup noodles with vegetables, meat and are very spicy. Prices are around $1-2 USD.
28. FISH AMOK
Fish Amok is one of the most popular Cambodian dishes to try. Fish amok is made with red curry and is spicy. Fish amok is served wrapped in a banana leaf. Prices are around $2-3 USD in local restaurants in Cambodia.
29. EXOTIC FRUITS IN CAMBODIA
There are exotic fruits in Cambodia like Rambutan, jack fruits, dragon fruits. Plenty of exotic fruits and all of them very tasty! You can find them everywhere in street markets and there are also a lot already mixed as fruit juices. Prices are around $3-4 USD per kilo in local markets.
30. CHEAP BEER IN CAMBODIA
Cambodian beer is insanely cheap less than $1 USD maybe little bit more expensive in night bars.
31. CAMBODIAN SANDWICHES
Cambodian sandwiches as part of Cambodia was a French colony. There are vegetarian sandwiches and also the sandwiches with chicken or meat. When you are traveling around Asia, it’s hard to find these in every country. You can only find them in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
FESTIVALS IN CAMBODIA
32. Cambodian Independence Day
Cambodian Independence Day is celebrated in 9th of November. Cambodia was independent from French almost 100 years already. People go outside the streets and also celebrations at home eating and drinking.
33. Khmer New Year
Khmer New Year is celebrated mid of April which is similar to Songkran Festival in Thailand. Cambodian people celebrate the end of the dry season with water fights, ceremonies, offerings and small parties eating and drinking.
More Cambodia Travel Tips And Things To Know Before Visiting Cambodia For First Timers
Places To Visit in Cambodia
34. ANGKOR WAT
Angkor Wat is one of the biggest religious monuments in the world that was constructed in the early 12th century AD so till date it’s approximately 900 years old. Watching the sunrise or sunset is one of the best things to do in Angkor Wat. You can go there by tuk tuk, riding a bicycle, motorbike to hire a car and a driver to visit Angkor Wat.
35. KOH RONG
Koh Rong is one of the most spectacular island that we have ever visited. You will enjoy the turquoise water, the long quiet beaches where you could walk on even by barefoot. Koh Rong has no streets around and no electricity in a few places. You can get to Koh Rong by speedboat and slow boat 30-40 minutes until 2-3 hours. The trip depends on the choice of your boat.
36. VISIT KILLING FIELDS
Visit killing Fields is an amazing opportunity to know more about Cambodian history. More than a million people were killed and buried there during Khmer Rouge time during the 70s.
Killing Fields are in Phnom Penh, 10-12 kilometers far from city centre. You can go there by moto taxi or tuk tuk. Once you get the tickets, they will set a short video about the people who were killed and buried there. As well as how they killed them, without using guns.
You will be able to see one of the killing fields and burial grounds during the Khmer Rouge regime during 1975-1976. How crazy! It happened only about 45 years ago.
37. ROYAL PALACE AND SILVER PAGODA PHNOM PENH
Royal Palace is huge and a great place to walk around. Royal Palace is one of the best places to to learn more about Cambodian history. You can also visit the Silver Pagoda and Emerald Buddha. The entrance fee for the palaces costs $7 USD. You can’t miss it when visiting Phnom Penh.
38. MEKONG RIVER
Mekong River is one of the world’s greatest rivers which makes it the longest river in Southeast Asia. We went on a short boat ride across the Mekong River and we stayed overnight in Mekong River after enjoying the sunset. It was so a peaceful and unique experience.
Sihanoukville has multiple beaches and small offshore islands. There are many things to do in Sihanoukville from water sports, snorkeling, and scuba trip to party or relax and swimming. There are also many bars that are open in the evening so you can enjoy partying and drinking. You can also do snorkeling and island hopping during the day.
Battambang is an off-the-beaten-path location where you can enjoy the markets and the French colony architecture. Battambang is a well-conserved area that you will enjoy if you love learning about history and visiting temples.
Hope you liked our Cambodia travel tips. Let us know if we missed things to know before visiting Cambodia and facts about Cambodia in the comments below.
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