Getting to Cambodia
Currently there are no direct flights to the country from outside Southeast Asia, but this is sure to change as it is growing in popularity with holiday makers wishing to enjoy a Cambodia tour. Cambodia is still, though, a relatively easy destination to get to. Travelers have the options of flying through one of the following airports; Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong or Seoul, before the final short leg to either Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. In terms of travel time this obviously depends on how long you have to wait for your connection, but you are looking at approximately a total of 12 hours of flying time.
Visas & Taxes
Please make sure your passport does not expire within six months of your travel period. Cambodian visas are issued on arrival at all crossings where foreigners can legally cross. You will need to bring with you 2 or 3 passport size photos.Visas cost US$20 for a tourist visa which lasts for a period of 30 days. If you are looking to stay longer then ask for a Business visa US$25. A tourist visa can be extended for one month, but business visas can be extended indefinitely. You don’t have to have any special papers to get a business visa, simply pay the extra five dollars. (For every day you over-stay your visa, there is a $5 per day fine)Please note that the airport departure tax should now be included in your airline flight ticket. However if for some reason it is not you will have to pay this when leaving. For domestic flights it will cost you $6 and for international flights $25.
We recommend that you see your doctor or a travel clinic at least 6 weeks before your making your Cambodia tour, for general advice on travel risks, malaria and vaccinations.Masta offers excellent medical advice from recommended vaccinations to malaria advice.From them you can also buy a number of useful products including mosquito repellent, malaria tablets and many other forms of travel related products. As an alternative you might like to try the Travelpharm.If you are currently taking any medicine please be certain that you take a sufficient supply to last through your trip. Also ensure that you have insurance for accident and sickness. If you need a doctor while in Cambodia, you must be prepared to pay for these services and claim it back on your insurance on your return. Ensure you keep all receipts and it is recommended that you take a copy of your prescription with you.
The Cambodian riel is the official currency of Cambodia; however the US dollar is the de-facto currency and is accepted pretty much everywhere.Bank notes in circulation are: 100, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10000 Riel.Make sure if you do pay in US dollars that the notes are not torn or marked in any way as these notes will not be accepted.Because the Cambodian Riel used to be unstable and susceptible to fluctuation, it was decided to bind the Cambodian Riel to the US Dollar. Since that time, the Cambodian Riel has been a steady currency and the exchange rate has constantly remained at about 1 US Dollar=4000 Riel.
There are several national banks where you can change or withdraw money whilst on tour in Cambodia. Working hours are 8am-3.30pm, Monday to Friday. All banks will accept traveler’s cheques at 2%-4% commission being the usual charge. Most of the provincial and large towns now have ATM’s however you should always double check before you leave for some of the remote areas.
Visa, Master Card and American Express credit cards are all commonly accepted. You will sometimes need identification if using your credit card to get cash.
There are so many cultural differences; it’s very useful if you read about some of them before making your Cambodia tour.Permission should be sought before taking pictures of people, particularly monks. Avoid touching someone on the head as it is considered the most sacred part of a person’s body. Women should wear modest clothing, preferably a long skirt or loose-fitting trousers. When visiting religious sites, shoes should be removed, and shorts avoided. A traditional greeting in Cambodia is a bow, bringing together the hands at chest level (similar to hand position for prayer). With foreigners Cambodians sometimes convert to the handshake. The simple rule is to respond with the same greeting you were given.
A few more pointers:
*** Don’t go topless unless you’re on a beach – men and women alike.
*** Do accept food when offered – it’s rude not to.
*** Don’t point your feet at any religious statue or shrine.
*** Do be prepared to be stared at like a zoo animal and be asked personal questions.
*** Don’t touch monks if you’re female.
*** Do be open and talkative – most people are thrilled to welcome and talk to you.
*** Do carry your own toilet paper if it matters to you – it’s a rare commodity.
*** Don’t offer food or drinks with your left hand – this is your hygiene hand in the absence of toilet paper.