Here is a concise list of useful Cambodia travel and country information for people visiting Cambodia on tour, for business or an extended stay. If you would like a copy of this information, a printable version (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) is available.
Capital: Phnom Penh
Total Area: 181 thousand sq km,
Population: 15 million
Official Language: Khmer
Time Zone: GMT+ 7 hours with no summer time (daylight saving time); the whole country is in a single time zone.
A regular TOURIST VISA does not need to be pre-arranged for entry into Cambodia. A Landing Visa can be arranged on arrival at the international airports and other checkpoints, including the river checkpoint on the Mekong. To obtain a landing visa, you will require the following:
– A completed visa application form
– A Passport with at least 4 months validity
– Two recent photographs (4×6 cm)
– Appropriate visa fee (US$35)
For more information on obtaining a landing visa, please view the Cambodia pages on the United Kingdom FCO website on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/cambodia/entry-requirements
Arrival Procedures: After passing through immigration, you will proceed directly to the baggage area. After collecting your checked luggage and clearing the customs inspection, you will go out to the arrival area. If you are on an Asian Horizons escorted tour, you will be met by your tour guide here.
Customs Procedures: As a basic rule-of-thumb, all valuable items brought into the country such as jewellery, cameras, electrical equipment, etc. should be declared upon arrival and subsequently brought out of the country upon departure. (In actual practice, however, it is not necessary to declare cameras or computers or even jewellery). To further improve the cash flow for tourists, now a new regulation allows foreigners to bring in up to US$10,000 per person undeclared into Cambodia.
No International Airport Departure Tax: Departure tax for international flights has been cancelled. Therefore Travellers no longer pay a separate departure tax as it is included in the ticket price.
The monetary unit in Cambodia is the Cambodia Riel (KHR), also known as Riel (currency symbol = ). This is the only unit of currency. All smaller denomination of the currency are now essentially valueless and as such are no longer in use.
Cambodian Riel Bank notes come in the following denominations: 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000. All notes are common except 100,000. The following coins are also available: 50, 100, 200 and 500. All coins are in common circulation except the 50.
The Cambodian Riel is not the most useful currency for visitors to Cambodia. US Dollars and Cambodian Riels are both used. In many locations, prices are given in both currencies. Landing Visas and many hotels will require payment in USD. In other locations such as shops it is often the case that if you pay in U.S. dollars you may be given change back in both U.S. Dollars (for the part greater than $1) and Riels (for the part less than $1). E.g. If you give a $5 bill to buy an item that cost $1.5 you will be given back $3 and the remaining in Riels.
Approximate exchange rates (as at 01 January 2015):
GBP £ 1 = KHR 5900
USD $ 1 = KHR 4000
EUR € 1 = KHR 4200
Cash (recommended): We recommend taking an adequate amount of US Dollars with you to Cambodia. Convert small amounts into KMR as needed but keep the larger part in USD, as this is easy to take home or exchange into other currencies, should you be travelling through several countries in SE Asia.
Ensure your notes are clean and undamaged, as banks and other exchanges will not accept any notes which are torn, excessively crumpled or have writing on them.
Traveller’s Cheques (recommended): Travellers’ Cheques are still the most secure way of taking money abroad and although they have become obsolete in many places due to the advent of ATM’s, in Cambodia they are quite useful. You can cash U.S. dollar cheques at most banks and money exchanges for a 2% charge and get your money in U.S. dollars. This is no more expensive than using an ATM, once bank fees are factored in. At this time, it is our experience that many hotels and banks only exchange American Express’s own dollar travellers’ cheques.
ATM: There are very mixed reports on the current convenience of using ATMs in Cambodia as they are difficult to find and can be unreliable. If you use an ATM, Visa / MasterCard debit & credit card with a PIN number is generally accepted but transaction charges are often above 3%. Please be aware of your daily withdrawal limit before you depart the UK. Please also be aware of personal security at an ATM as they can be hot-spots for pick-pockets. ATMs that are inside banks or other buildings are more secure. Advisory: Also contact your bank in advance to inform of overseas transaction as some banks may not allow the overseas transaction without prior notice for security reasons.
Credit Cards (recommended as a backup): are generally NOT accepted except at 4* (and above) hotels. Tours with Asian Horizons are for the most part, inclusive and large amounts of cash are not necessary although you will have to prepare enough cash when getting around the cities for personal expenses. Advisory: It is generally a good idea to take along a credit card just in case of emergencies as few insurance policies provide instant cash for things like lost luggage or medical emergencies etc. Please contact your issuer to ask about service charges and to let them know you will be travelling in Cambodia so your card will not be flagged for “possible fraudulent use abroad”.
LANGUAGE AND RELIGION
The official language of Cambodia is Khumer, which is widely spoken in the majority of the country. As Cambodia is a former French colony, French remains popular but is not an official language. English is spoken in larger cities and tourist areas but is generally not common outside them.
The official religion is Theravada Buddhism, practised by approximately 95% of the population. Islam and Christianity are also practised but represent less than 3% of the population.
Cambodia’s climate, like that of the rest of Southeast Asia, is dominated by monsoons, which are known as tropical wet and dry because of the distinctly marked seasonal differences. Cambodia has two distinct seasons. The rainy season, which runs from May to October, can see temperatures drop to 22 °C (71.6 °F) and is generally accompanied by high humidity. The dry season lasts from November to April when temperatures can rise up to 40 °C (104 °F) around April.
Cambodia weather forecasts: www.bbc.co.uk/weather/
WHAT TO WEAR
As Cambodia has an average temperature range from 21 to 35 °C (69.8 to 95.0 °F) it never really gets cold, thus light clothing is adequate all year round.
Cambodia has a conservative culture influenced by Buddhism where suggestive or revealing clothing is not recommended (although swimwear is acceptable on the beach. When visiting religious shrines and temples, modest dress is required. Easily removable footwear (such as sandals) is recommended as most temple grounds must be visited barefoot (socks should also be removed).
The sun is very strong in all parts of Cambodia so a high protection factor sunscreen, hats and sunglasses are recommended, as is an umbrella for the rainy season. (May – October).
HEALTH INSURANCE & IMMUNISATIONS
THE FOLLOWING IS GENERAL ADVICE ONLY. IN ALL EVENTS WE RECOMMEND YOU CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR ON FULL REQUIREMENTS:
Insurance (medical): Hospitals with the standard of care most tourists are used to are not commonplace in Cambodia. If a Traveller were to become seriously ill or injured, they may need to be medically evacuated (‘med-evac’) to the nearest major medical facility, most likely in Singapore or Bangkok. It is strongly recommended that Travellers purchase insurance which will provide medical-evacuation coverage should they require it.
While no immunisations are formally required, malaria prophylaxis is recommended. Mosquitoes are present year-round so insect repellent is essential to prevent mosquito bites and also protect from Dengue fever. Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Tetanus vaccinations are also recommended.
ADVICE: Tap water is not safe for drinking. In most 3 stars (and above) hotels, bottled water available in hotel rooms and is safe to drink. Asian Horizons also provides bottles water on our group tours. Bottled water can be purchased almost everywhere, including small shops and street vendors but please always check that the seal on the bottle cap is unbroken before purchasing. Travellers should also remember that temperatures in Cambodia are generally hotter than their home country and should pace themselves according to their fitness level to avoid any medical problems from overexertion, sunstroke or dehydration.
Below are some useful websites for more information on travel health advice: