General Information about Cambodia

Located in the southern part of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia, Cambodia is one of the cannot-miss destinations for your tour to Indochina. The country is bordered by Thailand to its northwest, Laos to its northeast, and Vietnam to its east.

It is important to note that this country’s history did not begin with the Khmer. During the pre-history era, Cambodia was governed by the Funan and Chenla from India. In 802 AD, Jayavarman II set the foundation of the Angkor period by the beginning of the Khmer empire. During its peak from the 11th to 13th centuries, the Khmer empire built 5,000 pagodas and temples including the famous Angkor Wat. After the ruin of the Khmer kingdom, the country acted as a vassal state of other neighboring countries. From 1863 to 1953, Cambodia was colonized by the French. The period from 1975 to 1979 was the most haunting period in this country when the Khmer Rouge carried out the Cambodian genocide.

Today, Cambodia is a peaceful country for you to travel. This country is absolutely a heaven for history buffs thanks to its massive system of historical relics. Moreover, you should discover its religious sites, spectacular jungles, pristine beaches, and bustling cities.


Best Time to travel to Cambodia

There are two main seasons in Cambodia: rainy season (May to October) and dry season (November to March). The beginning of rainy seasons (March to May) is the low tourist season in this country since the temperature can reach 38 degrees Celsius.

The best time to visit Cambodia is from November to March. However, you can consider the time from June to October, since the rains, usually in the afternoon, will not affect your visit and other services are cheaper compared to the high season.

Passport & Visa to Cambodia

Tonle Sap - Cambodia Travel Guide
Tonle Sap

It is required that your passport must be valid for 6 months from the date of entry to Cambodia and you must have at least one blank visa page.

Cambodia visa exemption: Most countries in Southeast Asia are eligible for 2-week to 30-day visa-free entry to this country.

  • Brunei, Thailand: 14 days
  • Philippines: 21 days
  • Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore: 30 days

Cambodia tourist visa can be purchased at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports and some borders. It costs $30 for adults and free for kids under 12 years old for a 30-day stay. You need to carry a passport sized photo. This tourist visa is for single entry only, and you can renew it for an additional 30 days at a fee of $45. Everything should be paid in cash.

You can apply for e-visa as well. This option costs US $30 fee and $6 processing charge. It will take 3 days to process. Click here to apply.

Cambodia Currency

Cambodian Currency - Cambodia Travel Guide
Cambodian Currency

The official currency in Cambodia is Riel (KHR). Cambodian riel notes come in 50; 100; 500; 1000; 2000; 5000; 10,000; 50,000 and 100,000 denominations.

However, US Dollar is widely accepted and you do not really need to carry local currency. You only need a small amount of riel to buy cheap things at local markets.

Credit/debit cards are accepted in hotels and restaurants. ATMs are available in many tourist destinations such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville. However, if you travel to some rural areas, have some cash in hand.

Transportation in Cambodia

  • Taxis can be found in Phnom Penh, but not in the other part of this country. Renting a car in Cambodia will save you a lot of time to find transportation in this country.
  • Tuk tuks are widely used for a short distance. It usually costs $1 – $5, depending on the distance.
  • Taking a boat cruise is a common activity to do in Cambodia. Contact us for high-quality Cambodia Mekong Cruises from Phnom Penh or Siem Reap.
  • You can take a bus to anywhere in Cambodia at an affordable price. The most popular routes are Siem Reap to Phnom Penh ($6) and Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville ($5).

Religion in Cambodia

Bayon Temple - Cambodia Travel Guide
Bayon Temple

Cambodia is well-known as a peaceful Buddhist country. Theravada Buddhism, which is practiced by 95 percent of the population, is the predominant religion of this country. Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity are practiced by the remainders.

Khmer complex religious sites in Cambodia such as the famous Angkor Wat are often visited by foreign travelers whenever coming to this country. You are all welcome to Buddhist temples, but there are some rules you have to follow:

  • Dress conservatively; cover up your shoulders, elbows, and legs. Don’t wear any revealing clothes.
  • Remove your hats and shoes before entering any pagoda.
  • Keep your distance when you talk to the monks.
  • Do not make noise and avoid any inappropriate conversation or controversial topic.

Holidays in Cambodia

Cambodian New Year - Cambodia Travel Guide
Cambodian New Year

There are many public holidays, both memorial and religious events, in Cambodia. Some holidays are calculated based on traditional Khmer lunar calendar, so the dates are subjected to change yearly. Khmer New Year is the biggest holiday in Cambodia which usually falls in the middle of April. It marks the end of the harvest season in this country, and people can get a short break from their hard work. Local people usually decorate the altars, visit some temples and play traditional games during Khmer New Year.

Top events in Cambodia:

  • International New Year’s Eve: 1st January
  • Victory Day over Genocide: 7th January
  • Meakh Bochea Day: February
  • Khmer New Year Days: at the middle of April, last 3 days
  • International Labor Day: 1st May
  • Visak Bochea Day: April or May
  • Royal Plowing Ceremony: May
  • King Norodom Sihamoni’s Birthday: 13-15th May
  • Queen Monineath’s Birthday: 18th June
  • Pchum Ben Days: September or October, last 3 days
  • Constitutional Day: 24th September
  • Commemoration Day of King’s Father: 15th October
  • Paris Peace Agreement Day: 23rd October
  • Coronation Day of King Sihamoni: 29th October
  • Water Festival: October or November, last 3 days
  • National Independence Day: 9th November

Related Reading: Essential Travel Guides for First-time Travelers to Cambodia


Top travel destinations in Cambodia

These are four attractive places for your tour to Cambodia.

1. Phnom Penh

The Royal Palace - Cambodia Travel Guide
The Royal Palace

As the ‘Pearl of Asia’, this capital city is a combination of French colonial mansions and tree-lined boulevards amidst monumental Angkorian architecture. Phnom Penh features many temples, historical sites and museums for tourists to discover its tragic yet splendid past. Two must-go attractions in Phnom Penh are the Royal Palace and the Killing Field Choeung Ek. This city has set up a modern system of restaurants, hotels, bars and clubs so that tourists can enjoy their time in this city. Phnom Penh’s chaotic streets, bustling life and wholehearted people are unforgettable memories to travelers when visiting this city.

2. Siem Reap

Angkor Wat - Cambodia Travel Guide
Angkor Wat

Whenever you think about Siem ReapAngkor Wat will be the first thing that comes up on your mind. Angkor Wat is the highlight of every visit to Cambodia. With its five lotus-like towers rising 65 meters into the sky, it is truly a monumental, and awe-inspiring sight. Inside Angkor Archaeological Park, there is the last capital of the Khmer empire, Angkor Thom. Angkor Thom is famous for its Bayon temples which are noted for giant stone faces at the entrance. A boat trip to Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, is also an interesting activity to discover bird sanctuaries and local life in floating villages.

3. Sihanoukville

Sihanoukville - Cambodia Travel Guide

Located in the south of Cambodia, Sihanoukville is the port city of this country. This city is praised for its palm-shaped white sand and clean beaches which are suitable for sunbathing, scuba diving, snorkeling, etc. With a laid-back atmosphere, Sihanoukville is rapidly a popular destination for those who want to get away from cities and spend some days for relaxation. Famous beaches include Victory Beach, Serendipity Beach (has many hotels and resorts), Ream Beach (suitable for trekking), Ochheuteal Beach and Independence Beach.

4. Kep

Koh Tonsay - Cambodia Travel Guide
Koh Tonsay

Kep is one of the newest provinces in Cambodia. Despite being the smallest province of this country, Kep has become one of the busiest holiday spots, especially during hot summers. Kep is the home to numerous resorts, hotels, homestays, and restaurants. The main attractions in Kep are beautiful beaches, pristine national parks, and fresh seafood. 25 minutes away from Kep by boats, Koh Tonsay or Rabbit Island in English is a gem of coastal Cambodia and attracts thousands of travelers every year.