In order to help you with the preparation of your trip, this section will gather all the useful information that you will need. Besides weather information, visa formalities, the must-see destinations in Cambodia, which have dedicated sections, this section is gathering the topics our client are usually asking questions for.
In Cambodia, the time does not change due to winter and summer and is, therefore, the same all year around.
The currency in Cambodia is the Riel and is a non-convertible currency, so it is better to leave without any Riel left as you really won’t need any more Riel than you will get in small change while exchanging money. Check out the current currency rate here.
Like the other countries in South-East Asia, Cambodia is a country based on cash, so you should always have cash on you. US dollars are accepted everywhere, and change will be given in Riel (KHR). You can use Visa and MasterCard credit cards in international shops.
Another option is to go to currency kiosks, where you will be able to exchange your US dollar (USD/GBP) for Riel (KHR). Just look for the sign “currency exchange.”
Be careful not to confuse similar looking currency notes of different denominations, as many of the money have the similar colours and can easily be mixed up with one another.
There are plenty of ATMs in Cambodia but beware of ATM charges.
The cost of living in Cambodia is 22% higher than in Vietnam, therefore, Cambodia is not South-East Asia’s cheapest country, but compared to the prices you will find back to your country it will be a travel bargain. The average daily cost of a trip to Cambodia would be around 33 dollars per day (135,257 KHR). Get more information about the prices here.
The fact that the cost of living in Cambodia is cheaper than what you would have back to your country should encourage you to travel light as you will be able to find everything at an attractive price here. Your first purchase will surely be an empty suitcase so you could pack it with all for your shopping!
As the average starting salary in Cambodia for waiting staff is around $100 USD per month, tips are greatly appreciated in restaurants, hotels and for tour guides even if it is not required. Tipping should only be given after receiving excellent service and not every time you purchase something.
There are always taxis to be found in the big cities, and there are a lot of different companies. You can ask the hotel reception to call a taxi for you when you want one. Except in Phnom Penh most of the time you will have to reserve your taxi in advance. Many applications are available to make the process easier and faster such as PassApp Taxis which will allow you to book either a tuk-tuk or a taxi, Exnet Taxi or even Singapore-based company, Grab.
In Cambodia, three types of plugs are used, type A, C and G but most sockets are Type A, the one with two flat pins and note that Cambodia works on a 230V supply voltage with a frequency of 50Hz. You can buy a power adapter, converter or a charger, but beware that it will depend on the voltage and the type of device you would like to use with a Cambodian power outlet, not to mention that it is very dangerous to use an appliance that is rated a different voltage from the supply. Therefore, before going further and choose the adapter you will pack for your trip, get more information here.
There is a laundry service in almost every hotel with two stars and above, including hostels and homestays. The cloths may also be ironed at an additional cost. If you don’t have a laundry service where you are staying, you will be able to find laundry and dry services in other places.
Get a glimpse into the real life of Cambodians by staying with a local family. There are plenty of homestays across the country but we never know what to expect and how they operate or either what to pack. Staying in a homestay should be a meaningful experience, immersing in local life, eating and sleeping with a family, even seeing how they work. Note that the quality of accommodations can vary and go from wooden structures on stilts to upmarket villas equipped with western amenities.
Staying in a homestay has a lot of benefits, it is a value for money, it will bring you amazing memories and make you learn about the local cultures and customs.
You will be able to experience the real Cambodia away from tourist traps for example in the mountainous region of Mondulkiri, where you will encounter many minority ethnicities. There are a lot of other places to discover, up to you to chose where you wanna create that real Cambodian experience.
There is a dozen of public holidays in Cambodia each year. In addition, there are few other holidays like the Chinese New Year, even though they are not officially acknowledged.
The most common holiday in Cambodia is the Khmer New year or commonly known as Chaul Chnam Thmey by the locals. In the middle of April, all the Khmer communities are celebrating their new year. Inherited from Buddhism, there are few theories about the origins of their new year, many people are referring to agricultural and seasonal rhythms of the year, it signals the end of the harvest season and the begging of the rain.
If you are travelling in Cambodia at this period of the year, it will be impossible for you to miss it. You will usually hear “sursedey chnam thmey” which means happy new year. Siem Reap will be alive during the Khmer new year. A three day Angkor Sankranti event is taking place each year at the temples. This event attracts a lot of people if you happen to be in Cambodia during this period, book your accommodations and transportations in advance (buses/cars etc) as they fill up very quickly.
Another important holiday in Cambodia is Pchum Ben (Ancestor’s Day). It is usually held from the end of September to mid-October and lasts 15 days. Cambodians are dressed in white and bring offerings to the monks at Pagodas. Locals believe that during Pchum Ben the dead ancestor’s spirits are more active and may return to earth. The offerings made to the monks are supposed to bring benefits to the dead.
Besides holidays, they also have festivals such as the water festival. Every November, the water in Tonle Sap changes course and everyone is gathering in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh to celebrate the water festival. There is a colourful boat race attended by almost two million Cambodians in Phnom Penh. Note that the Capital is a chaotic place during this festival, with all the people coming from the provinces for the festival.