Why We Love Cambodia
Why travel to Cambodia? This small Asian Nation of 15 million people offers vibrant urban appeal as well as rich history that cannot be found anywhere else. Whether it’s the ancient, magnificent temples covered by indigenous flora or the the nightlife of capital city Phnom Penh, you will get lost in the spirit and vibe of Cambodia.
Cambodia as a destination deserves some serious attention so do yourself a favour and make sure you dedicate some real time aside to discover this gem.
Head to the countryside and visit the expansive rice paddies or to the outlying tropical islands, the perfect isolated paradise to really escape. Visit fishing villages that dot the coast or venture to the Northeast to see a mountainous terrain and backdrop.
Urban warrior? Then Phnom Penh, located on the junction of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers, this modern city is never dull or quiet. The culinary scene is fresh and alive, an absolute must for foodies! Looking for something a bit trendier? Then travel to Siem Reap where nightlife is king and the atmosphere is distinctively cosmopolitan.
But the real reason Cambodia is special is not the cities or topography, it’s the ancient temples, remnants of the Angkorian period. After leaving the city behind, visit the Angkor Wat compound, built during the 12th century, which is the largest religious monument in the world.The ruins are grand, intricate, and overwhelming. They need to be seen and experienced to be understood and so they are an absolute must on every adventurer’s list.
Cambodia is a the modern adventurer’s dream. It’s a destination brimming with spirituality, tranquility and intrigue. A place that will stay with you forever and warrants a return visit to fully understand her.
As per the rest of South east Asia the season here fall into three categories, High, Shoulders and Low.
High season runs from December to March and is warm, dry and wonderful with the temperatures not getting too high.
During the should season through of April – May temperatures can rise to 40 and visitors can melt but during October – November the temperature cools and this is a wonderful time to visit as its arm, dry and a little quieter as we’re not yet in big season.
During Low Season running from June to August one can expect a lot of rain and humidity.
The currency in Cambodia is the Riel. At the time of writing £1GBP is equal to 4984R. Please check the exchange rate here before you go just to make sure you can get an idea of prices. Below are some example prices, these are just a rough guide and they can vary!
- 3 course meal for 2 at mid priced restaurant: 60,000KHR or £12
- Domestic Beer: 4,000KHR or £0.80
- Cappuccino: 8,000KHR or £1.60
- Bottle of Water: 1,500KHR or £0.30
- Litre of milk: 8,000KHR or £1.60
- Bottle of water 1,500KHR or £0.30
- Bottle of wine: 40,000KHR or £8.00
- 1kg Bananas: 4,000KHR or £0.80
- Taxi per km: 4,000KHR or £0.80
These days the handshake has become quite common in Cambodia, and is used between Cambodian men or when Cambodian men greet foreigners; generally, however, women still greet foreigners using the traditional Cambodian form of greeting, the sompeyar.
The sompeyar is a gesture of politeness and a sign of respect. Typically, it is performed with hands placed palms together, fingers pointing up, in front of the body at chest level, and the head is inclined slightly forward as if about to bow.
When greeting monks, however, the hands should be placed in front of the face, and when paying respects to Buddha (or the king), the hands are put in front of the forehead. The sompeyar is always used towards those older than yourself, and is taught to children at an early age.
Cambodians are reserved people and find public displays of affection offensive; people in the provinces are particularly conservative. Holding hands or linking arms in public, though quite a common sign of friendship between two men or two women, is considered unacceptable if it involves a member of the opposite sex; even married couples won’t touch each other in public. Traditionally, Cambodian women would not have gone out drinking or have been seen with a man who was not her fiancé or husband. Times are changing, however, and a more cosmopolitan attitude is gaining ground in the towns, where you’ll see groups of girls and boys out together.
Everywhere in Cambodia, travellers will gain more respect if they are well dressed. Cambodians themselves dress modestly, men usually wearing long trousers and a shirt. Many women wear blouses rather than T-shirts, and sampots (sarongs) or knee-length skirts, but many also wear trousers or jeans, and younger girls in larger cities can increasingly be seen in the kind of short skirts and strappy tops favoured by their Western counterparts. Even so, as a general rule it’s best to avoid skimpy clothes and shorts unless you’re at the beach.
When visiting temples it’s important to wear clothes that keep your shoulders and legs covered. Hats should be removed when passing through the temple gate and shoes taken off before you go into any of the buildings (shoes are also removed before entering a Cambodian home). If you sit down on the floor inside a shrine, avoid pointing the soles of your feet towards any Buddha images (in fact, you should observe the same rule towards people generally, in any location). Monks are not allowed to touch women, so women should take care when walking near monks, and avoid sitting next to them on public transport.
Cambodians are often intrigued at the appearance of foreigners, and it is not considered rude to stare quite intently at visitors. Local people may also giggle at men with earrings – in Cambodia boys are given an earring in the belief it will help an undescended testicle. It’s worth bearing in mind that displaying anger won’t get you far, as the Khmers simply find this embarrassing.
As per the rough guide.
- Main Language: Khmer
- Main Religion: Buddhism (Theravada) – 95% of population
- Population: 15.6 million (World Bank, 2015)
- Poplulation in Phnom Penh: 1,501,725 (Wikipedia – 2012)
- Life expectancy: 62.98 years (2011)
- Ethnic group: Khmer, Vietnamese, Chinese, Tai, Cham, Khmer Loeu
- Monetary currency: Riel
- Climate: tropical humid climate: rainy (monsoon) season (May to November) and dry season (December to April)
- Capital: Phnom Penh
- Major Cities: Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanouk Ville, Koh Kong
- Area: 181,035 sq km (69,898 sq miles) : Water 2.5%
- Border countries: Laos 541 km, Thailand 803 km, Vietnam 1,228 km
- Coastline: 443 km
- Independence: 9 November 1953
- Constitution:Promulgated 21 September 1993
- Internet domain: .kh
- International dialling code: +855
- Electricity: 220V AC 50 Hz
- Driving: Right hand side; International Driving Permit required
- Airport: Phnom Penh International (PNH), Siem Reap International Airport, & Sihanoukville International Airport – Website
- Direct Flight: from Bangkok (Thailand), Taipei (Taiwan), Hong Kong (China), Singapore (Singapore), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Vientiane (Lao), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Guangzhou (China), Soul (South Korea)
Visa fees and conditions are subject to change. Check with The Royal Cambodian Embassy, or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Co-operation website.for the latest information.
Tourist visas issued by a Royal Cambodian Embassy abroad may appear to have a longer validity than 1 month. The validity of the visa refers to time you have to enter Cambodia. The visa is valid for 30 days from the actual date of entry into Cambodia. Make sure your passport is stamped on arrival, and keep the departure form. If you lose your departure form, you’ll need to contact immigration officials before you leave the country to make alternative arrangements.
You can be fined, detained and deported if you overstay your visa. There is a fine of $10 per day for overstaying the validity term of your visa. There is no limit to this fine. Those who overstay more than 30 days will be required to leave Cambodia in addition to paying the fine.
If you lose your passport with your Cambodia visa and corresponding entry stamp inside you’ll need to get an exit visa once you have received an Emergency Travel Document from the British Embassy. An exit visa will cost $40 and must be obtained from the Cambodian Immigration Department in Phnom Penh, 332, Russian Boulevard, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The exit visa will take up to 3 working days to be processed.
For up to date information please click here.