Cambodia Travel Tips
Cambodia is not yet safe for travel in the jungle or to remote temples alone. Visitors should only tour these areas with an official tour guide who knows the country and its landscape. That said, it is imperative that visitors do not stray into the jungle because of land mine, which have not been 100% cleared. It is also not permissible to buy antique souvenirs as doing so carries a fine of possible imprisonment.
When to go?
Visitors may visit Cambodia either during the rainy season (May to September) or the dry season (October to April). Most tourists visit during the dry season, but it does get a bit warm at around 27 degrees C at that time. The best time to visit is actually November, December or January, but during these three months hotels are at the highest rates. Visitors may also choose to visit in July or August during the rainy season, but a good time to visit as there are not so many visitors at the temples and hotel packages are low. The beach at Preah Sihanouk, Kampot, Kep & Koh Kong are not recommended for a visit during the rainy season nor is the Hill tribe at Ratanakiri Province. Battambang, old French building town, is highly recommended for a visit anytime, which offers excellent views of rice fields and fruit plantations.
What to bring?
Travelers should remember to pack sunglasses, mosquito repellent, sport or closed-toed shoes, and an umbrella if visiting during the rainy season and also remember to discuss with your doctor any medications you might need for your visit.
Cambodian’s wear long sleeve shirts and long trousers traditionally. At temple sites, visitors must wear long sleeve shirts and trouser in order to protect the Khmer tradition, to respect the religious temples and to protect from the sun. Strong shoes should be worn for walking and climbing steep stairs. At Preah Sihanouk, shorts are allowed, but women must wear T-shirts or short jeans to swim. A rain coat is also useful if visiting Cambodia from May to September.
Insurance is important in Cambodia and a company called Infinity, Forte, Caminco are a secured broker allowed to sell insurance to visitors. Insurance will help when visitors do tour Cambodia and, it is a good idea to buy travel accident insurance from your country, forte, or another local tour operator when visiting.
Money & Credit Cards
The local currency in Cambodia is “Riel,” a name which comes from a small white fish of the Great Lake. Riel is used throughout the entire country, but at most of the town centers the “Dollar” may be used when purchasing goods, foods, accommodations, transportation, Visas or paying airport taxes. At the moment, 1 USD = 4000 Riel (1 US dollar = 1.35 Euro). At the border the exchange rate is 1 USD = 3500 Riel. Money changing can be done everywhere from local marketplaces to banks. In fact, it is better to keep USD for traveling in Cambodia.
Credit cards are also useful in Cambodia. Visitors can take USD money from ATM machines. ANZ Royal Bank ATM charges $2 USD for taking USD from a VISA card transaction. Canadia Bank ATM charges $5 USD per transaction.
Traveler’s cheques are not widely accepted in Cambodia, but visitors may change these at the bank with a two percent commission being charged.
Post & Communications
Stamps are found at most post offices or hotels. For sending a postcard the cost is 2200 Riels, depending on the weight. Post offices are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Telephone service works throughout most of the country as well, but the most popular mobile phone is Mobitel (012-). For fixed phones, these are Camintel and Telecom, which work best in the country. For calling overseas, the cost is around $1 USD per minute. Local calls are only about 200 Riel per minute. For international calls, the best idea is to go to an Internet Café for lower rates at about 2000 Riel per minute.
Cambodia’s time zone is the same as Thailand, Laos and Vietnam and is seven hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)/UTC.
Government offices: Monday to Friday from 7:30 to 11:30 and from 14h to 17h
Banks: Monday to Friday from 8 am to 15h and from 8am to 12pm Saturday
Shops: most remains open daily from 7:30 am to 20h
Companies: 8h-11h30 / 14h-17h
Market: Open every day
Night Market: from 5:00PM to 12 Mid Night
Public Holidays and Special Events
The calendar of Cambodia is taken from the lunar system, so the date is not the same and it changes from year to year. Cambodia’s important events and holiday are Chaul Chhnam Khmer “Khmer Happy New Year or SangKran” usually held on the 13, 14 and 15 of April (Occasionally starting from the 14 to 16 of April). Students are allowed to have 15 days break while in school. Besides these days, there are many other events such as “Bon Om Tuk” Water festival or the festival of boat racing held in November and usually in front of the Royal Palace Phnom Penh. “Pchum Ben” or Ancestor Day is usually when Khmer people bring their foods to pagodas and pray to their ancestors. Independence Day is held on November 9, the day the country became independent from French colonization (1953).
The two major problems usually encountered in countries of Southeast Asia are water and mosquitoes. The water, whose quality does not meet Western standards must be purchased in a bottle of mineral water still sealed. Never drink tap water and avoid as much as possible to eat vegetables raw or slightly cooked shellfish, ice water and ice cubes. However, we can always fill a gourd with water is then disinfected using pellet type Micropure "we will easily find stores with all touring as" Old Camper ". Whatever solution you choose, remember that in these warm climates, drinking is essential to avoid dehydration.
Mosquitoes can carry various diseases and rampant especially at dusk and in the forest. Your doctor will advise you without doubt a Prophylaxis based anti-malarial. However, no treatment can be guaranteed 100% effective due to the emergence resistant strains, and side effects may be particularly undesirable for some people. The best way to protect remains to wear long clothes and bring bomb repulsive based on "repellent" available from any pharmacy.
No vaccination is officially required. However, some medical centers may recommend anti-cholera inoculations and anti-tetanus even those against typhoid and Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. If in doubt, please contact a reference to the Pasteur Institute.