Cambodia is one of the last rarely discovered countries in South East Asia. In the past the people of Cambodia had to suffer long years under the consequences of the terror regime of the Khmer-rouge and the civil war. Nowadays the country is free of wars and holds an enhancing economy. Especially the tourism sector is increasing fast and offers various job opportunities for the local society. Experienced travellers say that “Cambodia is like Thailand twenty years ago”, with lonesome islands, lost temples and rarely discovered regions and hill tribes.
Official name: Kingdom of Cambodia
Area: 181,035 km2 (59% covered by forest)
Capital: Phnom Penh
Islands: 30 (around Sinahoukville and Kep)
Climate: Tropical dry and wet
Population: 14,805,358 (more than 50% are less than 21years old)
Religion: Theravada Buddhism
Government: Constitutional democracy
King: Norodom Sihamoni
Prime minister: Hun Sen
The Cambodian culture can be generally described as conservative and traditional. Even so, there is a cultural change forming in the bigger cities where life is different and western influences are wide spread. Nowadays the majority of Khmer are Theravada Buddhist and this religion has a marked effect on their etiquette, customs and culture. Most travellers are impressed by the warmth and kindness of the local people. But not all tourists have the chance to discover this friendliness, caused by cultural barriers and their unknown misbehavior. To avoid these complications it is important to know a few Dos and Don’ts for Cambodia. Nevertheless Cambodians understand that visitors come from another culture and will be indulgent about minor cultural faux pas. They will just appreciate every effort to understand their traditions and society and award these endeavors with a positive difference in the interaction.
Cambodia is within the Indochina Time (ICT). These time zone various from the Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) about +7 hours and the European Summertime GMT about + 6 hours.
The climate of Cambodia is officially divided in two main seasons. The Cambodians itself add a third season, the “cold season” between December and January.
It is recommended that all visitors be inoculated against typhoid, tetanus, and hepatitis A and B. Precautions against malaria are not necessary for the main travelling destinations, but are recommended when visiting remoter provinces. Travellers should generally visit their doctor or travel center in their home country, for an individual consulting, before leaving for Cambodia.
The Water quality of the tap water various extremely depending on the region. It is advisable to generally not to drink tap water and buy some of the bottle water, which is everywhere available for less than one dollar.
The country has a 220 volts electricity system and it is likely to find generators in places with occasional support problems. Most sockets are French style two-pin and connective to European plugs.
Cambodia’s currency is the Cambodian Riel (KHR), but there is usually no need to change money into KHR, since you will inevitably pay a lot of things in USD and receive change in KHR (1USD = 4000KHR). Most hotels accept international credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard and travellers checks can be easily cashed.
Travellers can enter the country by plane on two international gateways, the Phnom Penh International Airport and the Siem Reap International Airport, which is close to the temples of Angkor. A third airport in Sinahoukville is going to reopen in a few years and will serve as a portal to Cambodia’s coastline.
There are two main possibilities for receiving a visa in Cambodia. One-month tourist visas are available upon arrival at Cambodia’s airports as well as at the border checkpoints (costs around US$30 and requiring one passport-sized photo). The other opportunity is getting it from the Cambodian Embassy in a foreign country.