Cambodia Travel Guide
- Everything you need to know for your trip to Cambodia-
Cambodia, officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in southeast Asia. A great combination of history, nature, and kind people in this stunning country should convince any tourist to visit here at least once in their life. Therefore, don’t hesitate, plan your trip, and make memorable moments in Cambodia.
Why Visiting Cambodia?
Visiting Cambodia is highly recommended for those who are into historical countries. The country is not limited to historical aspects, but rich culture, kind people, and many other factors should also convince you to visit this part of the world.
Some visitors come to Cambodia to explore Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument globally, dating back to the 12th century. This complex is a great architectural feat offering different exceptional structures and religious monuments.
Cambodian people are amazing. They are kind, friendly, and exceptionally hospitable. When visiting the country, you will see people smiling at you happy to help you. You should know that anger is not acceptable in Cambodia, and you should have a little patience
The country also offers fantastic remote islands such as Koh Rong, Koh Thmei, Koh Ta Kiev, etc. that are among the must-see islands in the country. Cambodia’s natural beauties are not limited to islands, and other attractions such as jungles should not be missed during your trip to Cambodia. The Cardamom Mountains in the north-west of the country are some of the most authentic intact natural habitats in the south-east of Asia.
Cambodia Top Destinations
Click on each Cambodia’s destination to read the full travel guide of the city.
Best Time to Visit Cambodia
Cool Season (December-February)
Temperature: 21°C (70°F) – 32 °C (90 °F)
The cool season is the best season for visiting Cambodia. The weather in December and January is pleasant. However, it’s the peak season of Cambodia. If you are sensitive to crowds, it can’t be good to visit the country in the cool season.
Hot Season (March-June)
Temperature: up to 40 °C (104 °F)
The weather in the hot season is not just hot, but scorching! The reason is the humidity of the weather. As it’s obvious, traveling during the hot season is not recommended.
Temperature: 30 °C (86 °F) – 23 °C (73 °F)
Unlike many monsoon countries in which the showers are long and extreme, in Cambodia, the rains are short and predictable in the afternoons. The rainy season is the best choice for tourists who prefer not to travel in the peak seasons
Best Cambodia Tours
Things to Do in Cambodia
Another exotic country in Asia is Cambodia, with mesmerizing beauty. The woods and the landscape are enough for adventures to lose themselves in the fantastic nature. But there are also cultural and historical places in the cities to fall in love with. Take your time to explore and familiarize yourself with an exciting visit to Cambodia. Take our recommendations into consideration to make sure you do not miss out on the top things to do in Cambodia.
Explore an Ancient Empire at Angkor Archaeological Park
One of the most remarkable ways to learn a little history and enjoy Cambodia’s beauty is heading to Angkor Archaeological Park. The Angkor Archaeological Park has several sections that date back to nearly one thousand years ago. The remains of these Khmer Empire ruins are now surrounded or even covered by nature, which makes their beautiful appearance even prettier. If you want to explore, see some beauty, or even get a blessing, Angkor Archaeological Park is the best place for you. Some of the highlights of this place are:
Angkor Wat is one of the most famous places in Cambodia, attracting numerous tourists. This UNESCO listed site is known to be the largest temple in the world and one of the most attractive ones. Because of its beauty, it is also famous for its sunrise and sunsets. If you go to the Angkor Archaeological Park, the Angkor Wat is a must-see.
If you are the adventurous type, you cannot miss the Ta Prohm of Cambodia in your travels. The trees and the overgrowth of plants over Ta Prohm make it one of the most memorable visits you can make. The structure is seen in the ‘Tomb Raider’ movie as a magical place with secrets and wonders because of its unique appearance. You will probably see nothing like it anywhere else, so pack your camera and bring your friends!
Another highlight in the Angkor Archaeological Park is the Bayon Temple because of its marvelous architecture and atmosphere. It may not look too exotic from a distance, but you should not miss this structure during your visit.
Try some of the Cambodian Local Foods
Just like its nature, Cambodian Cuisine and their foods are similar to that of Vietnam and Thailand. You may think this makes it not worth a try, and in that case, you would be wrong. This beautiful land has its own delicious foods and ingredients with rich aroma and flavors that make them very much worth trying.
While in Cambodia, one of the things you can do is try some of the street food and go to several local restaurants. Restaurants or pubs, having their traditional foods and drinks next to the locals, is a memorable experience.
Watch a Khmer Cultural Performance: the Apsara Dance
While on the same subject of culture, you might want to familiarize yourself with Cambodia’s culture. The Apsara Dance is a performance that is rooted in both tradition and mythology of the Hindu beliefs. According to legends, the Apsara are celestial beings that have come from the heavens. It may look like a show of flexibility and fascinating movements, but it also has a story to tell.
This show will make you interested in ancient lore and mythology if you aren’t already. Legends or not, the Khmer culture and the Apsara Dance should be visited at least once in Cambodia.
Marvel at the Phnom Penh Palace in Phnom Penh
There are countless mesmerizing spots in the wilds of Cambodia, but this time you should head out to the Phnom Penh Palace of the capital. It is one of the most luxurious and exotic buildings you have seen with traditional architecture and stunning beauty. It dates to the 19th century, and therefore, it is very well preserved.
There is also a magnificent pagoda near the Phnom Penh Palace, making this visit even more attractive. Visit the palace and enjoy its peace as well as the gardens. The architecture and the decorations are also worth a closer look.
Try Cambodian Insects!
When you explore Cambodia, you might want to look for some of their insects as a snack. They may look spooky, but they are worth the try. The most exotic of these snacks is their tarantulas, but there are always more. Some people even go on tours to try this kind of food. If you can bear giving them a try, they are recommendable and delicious with local spices and chili.
Cruise on the Mekong River
There are several things to do on the Mekong River as it passes through Cambodia. One of the top things to do is to get on a cruise and watch everything around your boat as you travel. Two of the highlights of taking these cruises is watching the sunrise and sunset and witnessing the river dolphins.
If you are more of an adventurous type, you can even go kayaking and get a more thrilling experience. Alone, with your soulmate or friends, be sure to put the Mekong River on your list of places to go; and cruising among the things to do in Cambodia.
Ride a Bike Around Cambodia
All over the country, you can find rentals or bike tours that are just amazing. Touring the countryside or the temples, or even the natural landscape of Cambodia is a viral activity among travelers.
Riding a bike around Cambodia is both fast and exciting as you move faster and get to see places that may be too tiring as a long journey on foot. If possible, bring the necessary gear for a full journey on a bike; if not, be sure to give it one go. You seriously do not want to miss this one while exploring Cambodian sites and nature.
Hit the Beaches of Cambodia
Whether you want to relax or have some fun, you must definitely head to the beaches of Cambodia. They may not be the best beaches on the planet, but they have their own merits. For example, you can find some of the most peaceful beaches, some of which are entirely deserted. Or you can find watersports or other fun activities in places like Sihanoukville.
Other than all the fun things to do, diving and sunbathing, you can go to the Otres beach of Cambodia to try Flyboarding. The range of things to do on Cambodia’s beaches never ends, be sure to give them a try.
Learn About the Grim Side of Cambodian History at Tuol Sleng Museum
You might think this place is a rather disturbing place to visit, but the Tuol Sleng Museum is a famous attraction. If you cannot stomach this visit, it may be a good idea to avoid it, but it also has a lot to tell about the past and the suffering of an entire people. There are several sections in the museum which have tools of torturing and interrogating that belong to the Khmer Rouge era.
Go to the Killing Fields
If you have endured a visit to the Tuol Sleng Museum, you should also look for the Killing Fields. There are scary places that the dead were buried after torture and murder! They also belong to the same time near the end of the 20th century. The number of the dead is not something you would like to guess, but if Dark Tourisms is your thing, the Killing Fields is the number one place you want to go to.
Relax at Koh Rong
Among the best of the islands and beaches of Cambodia is the Koh Rong. They are all great for relaxing and spending some time peacefully, but Koh Rong is something much more special. It may be perhaps because some of the islands are entirely uninhabited and quiet.
So far, it doesn’t sound so special, but wait. It gets better! After sundown, you will see the water at the beach glow! This glowing of waters is because of the planktons that are brought to the shores. The magical experience at these islands alone is good enough to get many travelers. You can be one of these tourists who enjoys the calm and beautiful beaches of Koh Rong.
Local Transportation in Cambodia
Tuk-tuk, like many other Asian countries, is the most popular mode of transportation in Cambodia, containing two wheels moved by a motorbike. You can always find Tuk Tuk; however, you need to negotiate the price before getting in to avoid getting scammed.
Motodop is the motorbike taxi in Cambodia, which you can find in any street in Cambodia. In fact, Motodop is not a safe mode of transportation, but it’s fun and quick! However, if you want to take one, make sure to have helmets.
Local transportation is not as advanced as you may expect, and before a few years ago, there was no local bus line in the country. However, there are some local buses in the country with limited routes costing 1,500 riels ($0.38) for a single journey.
Local ride-hailing apps are ruling the market, like PassApp offering rickshaw style tuk-tuks. You can easily take a tuk-tuk without any need for negotiating price or bargaining. Grab and Exnet Taxi Cambodia are other ride-hailing apps in the country.
Intercity Transportation in Cambodia
There are five domestic airlines in Cambodia offering services between major cities, including Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville. There are about ten daily flights between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Also, there are about five daily flights between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.
Cambodia train network connects the capital with Sihanoukville through Takeo and Kampot in a fantastic and scenic route. However, the journey is long, taking about 7 hours and running only on weekends.
Like Tuk Tuks, there are countless long-distance buses in the country helping you move any Cambodia corner. It should be mentioned that the roads are not usually standard, and you should install the CamboTicket application and find out if your route is safe or not according to the reviews.
You can arrange private taxis from your hotel. These taxis are quicker and of course more expensive than ordinary taxis.
Public Vans in Cambodia will help you go to/from the capital to any country’s corner. The cost should be negotiated with the driver.
Flight Deals to Cambodia
Cambodia Travel Costs
|Budget (Less than US$50)|
|Local meals and street eats||US$1–3|
|Local buses (per 100km)||US$2–3|
|Air-conditioned hotel room||US$15–50|
|Decent local restaurant meal||US$5–10|
|Local tour guide per day||US$25–35|
|High-end (more than US$200)|
|Boutique hotel or resort||US$50–500|
|Gastronomic meal with drinks||US$25–50|
|4WD rental per day||US$60–120|
Best Hotels in Cambodia
Find the best hotels in Cambodia using our best price search engine, or go with one of our All-inclusive tours with 4 Star hotels included. You can book our guaranteed hotels for your extra accommodation; before or after your tour days.
Cambodia Travel Tips
Never drink tap water, and make sure to have bottled water. Tap water in Cambodia can be inedible and get sick.
Only pay the tuk-tuk driver after you arrived at the destination. They may ask you to pay soon, but don’t listen to them. If you pay soon, scamming will be easy for the driver, and he may kick you out in the middle of the road!
Khmer is the official language in Cambodia, and it’s widely spoken around the country (over 90%); however, the growth of tourism in the country has caused the increase of English speaking locals. You will find English speaking locals in the major cities, but the story is different in small villages.
Generally, Cambodia is a very safe country, and locals are amicable and helpful; however, specific cautions should be considered in any travel. In Cambodia, you should be aware of bag snatching, especially when riding tuk-tuks.
When visiting temples, make sure to cover your knees and shoulders as it’s considered a rule in Buddhist culture and religion.
Cambodia’s voltage is 230V AC, and power outlets are two-prong round sockets; however, universal adaptors are the best choices for tourists.
|Traffic Police||023 650 67 67|
|SOS Police||023 366 841|
|Commune District Police Station||012 465 288/ 097 9 797 183|
|Phnom Penh Fire Service||118 or 666|
|Health Emergency Contact|
|First Clinic Centre (Korean & Chinese Assistants)||023 211 010|
|Naga Clinic||011 811 175|
|Rafftles Medical Center||023 218 393|
|Intl. SOS Medical||023 216 911|
Currency & Money Tips
The official currency in Cambodia is riel; however, Cambodian society is highly dollarized! It means that you don’t need to be concerned about exchanging your money! You can exchange your money even in supermarkets, but as mentioned, usually you won’t need to change your money.
However, small-dollar banknotes may not be accepted. Riel banknotes in Cambodia are in denominations of 100r, 200r, 500r, 1000r, 2000r, 5000r, 10,000r, 20,000r, 50,000r, and 100,000r.
ATMs can be easily found around the country, accepting major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, JCB, and Cirrus. You can withdraw dollars or riel up to US$500 for a single withdrawal.
Food & Drink (Cambodian Food)
Like its neighbors, Cambodia has many dishes of fish, vegetables, rice, and salads but uses fewer spices. The Cambodian cuisine has similarities with other Asian cuisines but does not rely heavily on rice and noodles. The ingredients may be very much the same, but the tastes are so different that make them all worth a try.
If you enjoyed their food, keep trying their local and traditional cuisine as you travel as it is very exotic and delicious. While having your meals, you might want to try their Pickled fruits and vegetables beside your dish as well. They also offer several types of local drinks, but if you do not want to try them or time does not allow you to enjoy them properly, they have some of their Angkor Beer. Their Angkor beer is incredibly fantastic with their street snacks.
The most famous Cambodian food is the Fish Amok that is loved by all. It has fresh fish and coconut milk and spice as well as herbs and vegetables that are wrapped and served in banana leaves. The taste is balanced and nothing intolerable. Besides being delicious, it will melt in your mouth as you eat. The most traditional way of preparing this dish is to mix the ingredients and steam the Fish Amok wrapped in the leaves.
If nothing else, the Fish Amok of Cambodia must be tried. Most people know it as the national dish which pleases everyone.
Kuy Teav is the noodle soup of Cambodian cuisine, which was probably invented by the Chinese. The locals love this food as their breakfast, which can be purchased from street stalls. The Kuy Teav is made of pork or beef bones, beans, and greens, along with pork, beef, or fish balls. It may not be enough for lunch or dinner, but it is great during the morning or the afternoon.
If Asian Curries are too spicy for you, then Khmer Curry is what you must try. This Cambodian dish uses the same ingredients of other curry dishes with less spice and more herbs and vegetables. The taste is mostly sweet rather than spicy, and the smell is excellent. Other than the famous Khmer Curry, other Cambodian curry dishes also rely on local herbs and vegetables instead of chili.
Nom Banh Chok (Khmer Noodles)
Nom Banh Chok or Khmer Noodles is a simple yet popular food sold by women in the streets. Mostly found early in the morning, the Nom Banh Chok is made of rice noodles, green fish gravy, and many green vegetables and beans. Some of these ingredients which can always be seen in the Nom Banh Chok are banana leaves, bean sprouts, and cucumber. It is mostly taken for breakfast, but it can also be considered a full meal.
Green Mango Salad
Green Mango Salad, or as the locals call it ‘Nhoam Svay Kchai,’ is the most healthy and refreshing meal you can try in Cambodia. The name comes from the green mango slices mixed with shallots, tomatoes, onions, and other fruits and vegetables served with fish or shrimp. It looks as good as it tastes, with a delightful aroma. If you want to eat healthily, look up the recipe for Green Mango Salad and bring it home with you.
Lok Lak (Traditional Khmer Beef)
Lok Lak is a popular dish of Khmer beef among the locals that are stir-fried slices of beef; sometimes pork served with brown sauce and rice. What is usually seen next to the rice and beef of Lok Lak is a green salad and perhaps a pepper sauce for dipping. All the sauce that goes over the meat served with the dish is just fantastic additions to the beef marinated before being cooked. The method of serving this dish may have some varieties, but any version you find is always worth the try.
Pepper Crabs of Kep is a seafood of Cambodia with a taste you will not find anywhere. Since these crabs are required to be very fresh, it is hard to find them outside coastal towns, but if you see them, do not miss the chance of trying them. They are prepared with herbs and spice, and as simple as they sound, the Pepper Crabs are very delicious, especially if you love seafood.
Bai Sach Chrouk (Cambodian Grilled Pork and Rice)
Another dish that is relatively simple but tastes amazing is a local favorite called Bai Sach Chrouk. It is usually served as a rich breakfast and really hard to find as lunch or dinner. The Bai Sach Chrouk is barbequed slices of pork that is marinated and very slowly cooked. This tender barbequed meat is served with rice and vegetables.
You may find it in fancy restaurants or local and traditional ones with several varieties. It is always worth a try, perhaps even several times as you journey through Cambodia.
One of the most exotic aspects of traveling to Cambodia is trying the Fried Insects usually found in street stalls. You cannot imagine the numerous types of these snacks before seeing them for yourself. They may look or even sound a little disturbing, but if you can give them a try, Fried Insects are always recommendable. These insects are very rich in protein, and most people would tell you to have them with some local Cambodian beer.
Ang Dtray Meuk: Grilled Squid
When it comes to odd local foods and snacks of Cambodia, Ang Dtray Meuk is something you should try while exploring the country. As they are street snacks, you will always find new tastes, but they are generally barbecued on skewers. Like the Pepper Crabs, the Ang Dtray Meuk is also mostly found in coastal towns, but you may also find fresh ones in other cities if you are lucky.
They are served with fish sauce, lime juice, and herbs, as well as chili. They can get a little spice but nothing intolerable.
Mobile & Internet
Buying a SIM card in Cambodia is very easy. The process is clear, the quality is acceptable, and the price is extremely reasonable. The best company in Cambodia are Cellcard and Metfone. Metafone has the best coverage, but Cellcard is also satisfactory. Both companies provide 4G/LTE Service.
How to buy it?
If you are arriving at Phnom Penh airport, you can easily find the booth selling the SIM cards. The process is quick and straightforward. Also, the workers in the booth speak English fluently. You can also buy SIM cards in the city as well without any complications. For instance, you can easily see Cellcard signs around the country.
The prices range from $0.25 to $20 for 1GB (one day) and 40 GB (for one month), respectively.
Some other services:
- 7 day
- 30 days
Holidays & Festivals
|New Year’s Day||1-Jan||1-Jan|
|International Women’s Day||8-Mar||8-Mar|
|Khmer New Year||14 Apr to 16 Apr||14 Apr to 16 Apr|
|Royal Ploughing Ceremony||30-Apr||19-May|
|Labour Day||1-May||1 May to 2 May|
|King Norodom Sihamoni’s Birthday||14-May||14-May|
|Visak Bochea Day||24-May||16-May|
|Queen Mother’s Birthday||18-Jun||18-Jun|
|Pchum Ben||5 Oct to 7 Oct||24 Sep to 27 Sep|
|Commemoration of Late King Father||15-Oct||15-Oct|
|King Norodom Sihamoni’s Coronation Day||29-Oct||29-Oct|
|Bon Om Touk||18 Nov to 20 Nov||8 Nov to 9 Nov|
Shopping in Cambodia
Khmer Silk is exceptionally designed, and you can buy it from all over the country. There are two kinds of Khmer silks, including the old silk and the new silk. They are both high-quality products, but the prices are different.
T-shirts with Angkor Wat or other Khmer symbols can be cool shopping as gifts or for yourself. They are beautiful and cheap.
Cambodia has countless artists, and you can find fantastic paintings from Cambodian artists. It’s a good idea to support local artists that don’t have any galleries or privileges.
Krama is a beautiful scarf and the national symbol of Cambodia with traditional red and white colors. However, new Kramas are produced in different colors.
Rice wine is super strong alcohol originated in China and considered a form of ancient Chinese medicine.
Cambodia is the hub of silver products. Countless silvermiths are creating fantastic silverware products such as boxes, palates, jewelry, etc. If you have time, you can order your own inscribing on these products.