Last year I went to Asia for the first time and I can say it was pretty overwhelming. There is just so much information to look for, for example, the kind of documents necessary to travel or even the simplest thing such as what to wear at certain sites due to differing religions and cultures. Therefore, before I introduce to you this amazing country, I wanted to share with you some useful tips that will make your planning a whole lot easier!
Most nationalities require a visa with the exception of the following: Malaysia, Laos, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
You can easily get the visa upon arrival at the airport of Phnom Penh or Siem Reap and at the borders. For this you will need the following:
- Two passport-sized photos
- A blank page in your passport.
The visa costs around $30 USD
Insiders Tip: I strongly advise you to give the exact amount required in dollars in order to avoid conflicts!
This topic really depends on what part of the country you will be visiting. Some areas pose bigger risks than others and therefore is better to check this with your doctor first. In general, the following vaccinations are highly recommended when traveling to Cambodia due to possible food/water contamination – as this is not restricted to certain places.
- Hepatitis A
Although they have their own currency Riel, US dollars are commonly used and even preferred. Everywhere you go, restaurants and shops quote their prices in USD. However, most of the times they will give you the small change from a purchase in Riel, it’s like they want to get rid of it.
If you are staying in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh, finding an ATM won’t be a problem, however, most hotels and restaurants accept credit card.
4. What to wear
This tip is addressed to both women and men! It sounds a bit silly but this is very important to consider as it could cause you to be forbidden into some areas. The majority of Asian countries are very religious and dressing properly is a huge sign of respect. So when visiting temples be sure to cover your shoulders, belly, and knees in order to avoid not being allowed to enter.
Now it might not sound very refreshing to have to walk around all covered up the whole day in the sticky heat. However, a simple solution for women could be a light Kimono or scarf that you can just throw over your shoulders – like I did in the photos! Then to hide your knees either a long skirt or the famous elephants pants will do. Don’t worry if you don’t have any of these items as you can literally buy some light pants cheaply anywhere and I have also seen many tourists turning a scarf into a skirt in order to cover up their knees!
As for men the rules are less strict, for example, if your shorts don’t really cover up your knees it won’t be such a big problem – always lucky them…. But I do advise you to wear a T-shirt and some light cargo pants!
Insider Tip: The majority of hotels in Asia don’t offer a hair dryer so if it’s important to you, take your own with you.
5. When to go
Cambodia is a tropical country so at anytime you go you will experience warm temperatures. Nonetheless, you have to take into account that Cambodia also has a Monsoon period, which means a lot of rain and that won’t really make your trip too enjoyable. So to help you plot the best dates on when to go I have made a detailed description of the months below!
Nov-Feb This is the best time to visit as the temperatures are around 25-30°C, yet there is a constant fresh breeze. However, the only disadvantage to these months is that they are the most popular for tourists to travel to Cambodia. Therefore this means large crowds of people everywhere you go. I myself went in December, which is basically the most popular traveling months across the World and so fleeing the herd of tourists was a daily activity for me.
Apr-May During the summer season temperatures can easily reach 40°C. Besides that it is very humid and so not really ideal for joining extensive excursions such as visiting the temples.
Jul-Sep This is Cambodia’s rainy season and umbrellas won’t make much of a difference… so go ahead and pack a strong rain poncho and some wellies instead. However, the most positive thing is that prices will be at an all-time low compared to the other times of the year! But still, I don’t advise you to go during these months!
So now that you know all the important information what are you waiting for… Start planning that amazing trip to Cambodia!