Last updated: November 2018
Welcome to Cambodia, the wonderful and enigmatic country of Southeast Asia, made famous for the incredible Angkor Wat, a unique complex of temples!
A country with a difficult past: conquests, wars and a very heavy regime by the Khmer Rouge of Pol Pot in the last decades have made life not easy for the inhabitants, who are little by little getting up again.
As I always say, Cambodia is not only the temple complex of Angkor, it is worth spending time and visiting other areas of the country as well!
Some of the activities I suggest you plan during a trip to Cambodia:
- Explore the enigmatic temples scattered throughout the country.
- Take the leap into the past thanks to the colonial style architecture.
- Meet the friendly locals who are always ready to exchange a smile.
- Visit the villages in magnificent countryside and breathtaking landscapes along lakes and rivers.
- Take a dip in one of the islands on the South coast.
- Learn more about the history of the country in one of its interesting museums.
- Try some local food: if you are adventurous and curious you can try tarantulas, snakes, insects …!
- If you are heading to Vietnam there is an interesting boat trip of a few hours on the Bassac river that takes you from Phnom Penh to the first country in Vietnam (Chau Doc)
Some info about Cambodia:
Capital of Cambodia: Phnom Penh
Population: 14 milions.
Official Language: Khmer
Currency: Riel, but they are happy tp accept Dollars too!
Calling Code of Cambodia: +855
Cambodia Visa: It depends on your passport, but usually you get it easily on arrival in the country, it is 30 days in length, you have to pay it in US dollars. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into the country.
N.B. Always check before leaving that the visa rules have not changed recently!
Phone and Internet: It is easy to buy a sim card, you can use the wifi service in many hotels and some restaurants. The line is essentially good in tourist locations.
The main tourist destinations of Cambodia:
Siem Reap is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world for the glorious temples of the Angkor complex, rent a tuk-tuk and relative driver for few days and just go exploring! Also interested in the surrounding countryside and the Tonle Sap Lake where you can visit one of the typical local villages.
The picturesque and colonial Battambang, in the countryside around the town you can experience the fun bamboo train, enjoy breathtaking views and discover something more about the local culture.
The capital Phnom Penh, was known as the “pearl of Asia”, still retains part of its charm especially thanks to its buildings in French colonial style. Here you will find out more about the horrors of the Khmer Rouge and their extermination camps, part of the heavy recent past of Cambodia.
The sea of Sihanoukville and the surrounding islands (such as Koh Rong or Koh Rong Sanloem) make the area an excellent destination for both mass tourism and the more adventurous.
Kampot, a colonial style river town. Famous for its salt pans and pepper crops, considered a refined product and one of the best in the world.
Kep, another quiet town but this time on the sea. Less touristic than Sihanoukville, famous for its excellent and cheap crabs.
Kratie, I remember this village on the Mekong not as the most beautiful I’ve ever visited, but Kratie presents a couple of interesting attractions that could make you push up to here: the Irrawaddy river dolphins of and an island on the Mekong that is pleasant to explore by bike.
Banlung, a dusty road will take you to an even dustier town in the north of Cambodia, near the border with Laos and Vietnam. I remember a nice dip in a lake formed in a volcanic crater, good to remove off the red dust accumulated in the city. Beautiful waterfalls, rubber tree plantations, and serene villages that host about 12 different ethnic groups.
Cambodia, what to eat?
Cambodia, when to go?
Cambodia is accessible (and hot) all year long!
There are mainly two seasons: one dry, from November to April and a wet one, from May to October where it rains but not constantly.
March and April are the wettest and hottest months, while November December February are the “coolest” (do not take it literally, it is still a temperature between 24 and 26 degrees!) And also the best months to visit Cambodia.
N.B. Lately the weather conditions are changing a lot, so sometimes the seasons are not always as expected!