Cambodia

Intro

Cambodia

When visiting Cambodia, the temples of Angkor are of course a must see but the country has much more to offer than this majestic temples.

This flat country between Thailand, Laos and Vietnam has also a lot to offer for nature lovers. It is home to the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia the"Tonlé Sap" that has been listed as a UNESCO biosphere in 1997 for its rich fauna and flora.The tide of the Mekong river is reversed in the rainy season to fill this inland sea. The seven National parks will also provide some amazing trekkings in stunning landscapes with a diverse local wildlife for the ones seeking more adventure.

Cambodia is a country rich in history which used to be a great nation however its latest history has been a continuation of domination by foreign powers and more recently by the terrible Khmer Rouge. The city of Phnom Penh is the best place to witness this history and while the French colonial architecture might charm you, the visit of the Killing Fields will chill you to the bones. A must stop to understand better this beautiful country.

 

Land tours

Angkor and Southern beaches

Angkor and Southern beaches

This tour will give you the opportunity to discover the world famous temples of Angkor and some other parts of the wonderful country that is Cambodia. A two weeks holiday around Cambodia that will... Read More about Angkor and Southern beaches

From: 1366 EUR | 14 days

 
Info

Useful info | Dive info

Useful info

Time

Cambodia Standard time is GMT +7. Cambodia does not observe daylight savings.

Flying time

From 15 hours with one stop for a London to Phnom Penh flight 

Visas

Visitors must hold a full 10-year passport, with at least 6 months validity remaining at the point of return, for entry into Cambodia. 

All nationalities need to apply for a travel visa, except for nationals from the following countries: Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

A visa on arrival, valid for a thirty-day stay, is specifically granted at Phnom Penh International Airport, Siem Reap International Airport, and International Border Checkpoints.

Visas are also granted at Royal Cambodian Embassy or Consulate abroad.

The visa fee for a tourist is US$20, and the visa fee for a businessman is US$25. Visas can be extended at the Immigration Department in Phnom Penh City.

A free visa (K) is expressly granted to the Cambodian living overseas.

Country

The Kingdom of Cambodia, formerly Kampuchea, is a Southeast Asian nation that borders Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand. The capital city is Phnom Penh. Cambodia was once a great nation as anybody who visits the magnificent temples of Angkor can assess however the fall of Angkor in 1431 was the beginning of a long and very difficult time in the country's history.

Cambodia spent the next 400 years struggling to keep its national identity as its powerful neighbours the Siamese and Vietnamese Empires both try to integrate it to their territory until the French colonisation of the area began. Cambodia became a French protectorate in the 1860s, the protectorate ended in 1954 even if it had been officially abolished since 1949. 

The period after was marked by the two darkest events of the recent Cambodian history, the Vietnam war bombings of the country by the US from 1969 to 1973 and the Khmer Rouge regime with the massive genocide ordered by their leader Pol Pot.

The marks of this recent history can be seen nearly everywhere in this poor country but despite this the Cambodian people are friendly and the country is safe for travellers.

Government

UN-sponsored elections in 1993 and the diminution of the Khmer Rouge helped restore a kind of balance in the country’s politics. A coalition government, formed under pressure of the party who lost the elections but enforced his control of powers, after national elections in 1998, brought renewed political stability and the surrender of remaining Khmer Rouge forces. Many leaders of the formal periods kept important positions. They often adopted more liberal views as long they could extract personal profit of the situation. Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy , not dissimilar to Thailand’s, whereby an elected Prime Minister is authorised to be the head of government and a hereditary Thai King is head of state. The constitution of Cambodia allows for Cambodians to democratically elect their leaders in the form of a parliament

Population

Cambodia’s population is approximately 14 million. Ninety per cent of residents are Khmer; the rest are Cham (Khmer Muslim), Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Thai, Phnorng, Kuoy, Stieng, Tamil, etc. Population density is 78/ km2.

Language

Khmer is the official language, English is spoken in most tourist destinations and French is also still spoken mostly by older people. 

Economics

The economy of Cambodia is reliant on textiles manufacturing and tourism. The tourism industry has grown rapidly in past decade however the development of the country after years of conflicts remain a challenge as the population lacks education and productive skills. More than 60% of the population still subsists on farming. Construction of infrastructures such as roads and electricity installations is one of the government’s priority in order to improve life conditions in rural areas.

Geography

Situated in the southwest of the Indochinese peninsula, Cambodia occupies a total area of 181,035 square kilometers and borders Thailand to the west and northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east, and Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.

Cambodia’s terrain consists mainly of low plains, with mountains to the southwest and north. Two dominant physical features of Cambodia are the Mekong river, which runs from north to south of the country, and the Tonlé Sap Lake.

Natural resources include oil and gas, timber, gemstones, iron ore, manganese, phosphates, hydropower potential.

Weather

Like most of Southeast Asia, Cambodia’s climate is hot and warm almost all year round. The climate is dominated by the annual monsoon cycle of rainy and dry seasons. The rainy season lasts from May to October, and the dry season from November to April. December to January are the coolest months, while the hottest period is in April. The average temperature is around 27-28ºC.

Money

The Cambodian riel and the US dollar are both official currencies with the riel only used for small transactions. ATMs are relatively available throughout the country but as usual it is always better to keep some cash on you when heading for remote places. Keep an eye on the current exchange rate as sometimes you might get short changed in riel when paying in dollars. Card payments are accepted in most tourist places however check with your bank about charges as these can add up quite quickly when paying this way.

Traveller's cheques are also accepted in main tourist places but it is better to exchange them in Cambodian banks as hotels and other places will often charge a hefty commission.

Shopping

There are countless markets in Cambodia however a lot of the items are made in China so be sure to look for businesses displaying the Heritage Friendly Business Logo as this certifies that the business gives back to the local community and locally produced artcrafts. Prices are cheap in most parts but Siem Reap where prices can be a lot higher than elsewhere. Be sure to haggle on prices but bear in mind to do it fairly, what is only 1£/$ for you represents a lot for a Cambodian. 

The Childsafe Network insists: do not buy from children! Specialized ngo's and schools can not reach the children who are kept working on the streets selling souvenirs and other small items. If you would like to offer them some food avoid candies as they usually already do not have a proper diet and can not afford a visit to the dentist.

Health

Medical services

The country’s health infrastructure are not very developed so it is best to stay healthy beware of seeing your GP before leaving for regular vaccinations such as Hepatitis A and for other health advice. For any serious health issues a trip to Bangkok or to Ho Chi Minh city is necessary.

Vaccinations and health regulations

There are no required vaccines to enter Cambodia except for people travelling from epidemic areas.

A Yellow fever vaccine is compulsory for people travelling from the following countries: Angola, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mauritania, Mali, Nigeria, Soudan, Zaïre.

We recommend that you check before departure if any new health regulation comes in place. We also strongly advised that you check with your DOCTOR if you require any vaccine before leaving.

Medicines

You will find everything you need in Thailand and at a cheaper price. If you like you can however bring some essentials with you such as bio sun screen, anti-diarrhea medication, aspirin, ect…

Water

Do not drink tap water while travelling in South East Asia, bottled water is readily available everywhere. Keep in mind that you are in a tropical climate and that you should thus drink about 2 to 3 litres more than usual.

Turista

Most travellers will experience it during their holiday, a change of climate, of food and water is enough to catch it however most of the time it will just go after a few trips to the toilet. You can take some anti-diarrheic tablets. Don’t forget to drink a lot if this happens to prevent dehydration.

Mosquitos 

There are unfortunately part of any holiday in a hot country. To best protect yourself, it is advised to wear lose and covering clothes or to use mosquito sprays. You can buy mosquito repellents back home but there are some very good natural ones available in Thailand. Eating the local food rich in garlic and chillies will also help.

At night sleep under a mosquito net if the place where you stay is not protected enough, a fan over your bed will also keep them at bay.

Malaria pills are not compulsory when travelling in Cambodia, talk with your doctor before leaving. The Dengue fever is also present in the country, it is mainly carried by daytime mosquitoes, most of the time people will have a high fever for a few days before it is gone. Strong complications are rare. People who had dengue fever are considered to be immune after but this might change.

Other useful information

Telephone and Internet

The Cambodia phone system is quite modern and functional, with comprehensive coverage for cell phones. Purchasing a second-hand Cambodian phone is inexpensive and convenient or four digit numbers. Wifi is now available in most places except from remote less developed areas.

Electricity

Electrical outlets in Cambodia are charged to 220v at 50 cycles per second, which is compatible with appliances from the U.K. but not those from the US and many other nations. While most computer cables have adaptors for voltage, visitors from the U.S. and those not on the 220/50 v. will have to bring adapters to run most other appliances. Outlets in Cambodia generally feature flat, two pronged plugs, though some feature holes for round plug ends. Few outlets feature three holes (grounded outlets) so it is often necessary to have a three to two prong adapter for using notebook computers in Cambodia.

Opening times

Shops opening times vary. They usually open early in the morning until the evening every day.

Official services are open Monday to Friday from 8h30 to 16h30, Banks usually close at 15.30.

 

Dive info

General information

We will ask for your diving certificate upon arrival in the diving centres. Please don’t forget it! For the PADI certified divers, It should be possible to check your certification online with your name and date of birth.

Diving and Health

Diving requires to be in good health so please consult your GP before leaving. If needed, numerous decompression chambers are available in Thailand.

Insurance

You need an insurance to practice diving, we recommend that you take a diving insurance before your departure such as Divers Alert Network or Dive Master Insurance.

Equipment

For obvious baggage weight issues, we recommend that you do not travel with your own weights or bottles. The equipment we provide is of good quality and is regularly checked. We use Scubapro, Aqualungs, Apex. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any further information.

Due to the comfortable water temperature, it is not necessary for you to take a wetsuit thicker than 3mm unless you practice TEC diving.

Most international airlines give you a 20 to 23 kilos baggage allowance + 8 kilos in cabin and will charge for overweight and sport equipment.

 

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