Cambodia is a country in South-East Asia predominantly famous among tourists for the Angkor remains in its north-west region. A pleasant country with friendly people and local food to die for, Cambodia will always have a special place in my heart. Below is my Travel Guide for this beautiful country in case you plan to visit it (which I think you should!).
There are two ways of getting a Cambodia Visa – on arrival and e-Visa. If you want to avoid the hassle of waiting in long queues for an on arrival visa, you can apply for an e-Visa which costs 36 USD post which you will have to carry two copies of the same. The traditional on arrival visa costs 30 USD and can be obtained at the Airport by producing your Passport and a Photograph. However, irrespective of the type of Visa you apply for, you will have to fill an arrival/departure form at the Airport to gain entry into the country.
The Cambodian Riel (KHR) is the currency of Cambodia. As of 2019, 1 USD = 4030 KHR and 1 INR = 57.83 KHR. USD is widely accepted in Cambodia, including at local restaurants and at markets. I would recommend you to carry sufficient USD and a few notes of KHR when you visit Cambodia.
If you’re staying at a hostel or a hotel and making the payment in USD with some change involved, ask for the change in local currency. This way, you will avoid having to pay the extra fee at Forex stores while converting from USD to KHR for small amounts.
Metfone is a reliable mobile network in Cambodia with cheap data plans for tourists. I bought a Metfone SIM card for 5 USD with a plan of 1GB data per day and 1 USD worth of local calls, for 10 days. The best part about it was that I could use the same SIM card in Laos as well without having to pay anything extra. If you’re traveling more than one country in South-East Asia, don’t forget to mention it at the store so that you can have one SIM card keeping you covered for the entire trip. You will usually find these stores at the Airport itself.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Cambodia is between October to April during the dry season. However, if you want to avoid the crowds, you can visit Cambodia between May to September but be warned about the wet weather. Since Cambodia is a tropical country, you can expect the weather to be quite warm throughout the year.
If you’re exploring a particular place, I would recommend you to explore by foot or take tuk-tuks that are available almost everywhere. If you’re traveling from one city to another, you can either book buses or travel by flight. You can pre-book your buses/flights on Baolao if you plan your trip ahead of your travel. If not, then you can book with the local travel agencies once you arrive in Cambodia. This will also work out more cheap for you.
I have read various blog posts about the tuk-tuk scam in Cambodia where drivers charge you a hefty amount. I recommend you to negotiate the price first and track your ride on Google Maps simultaneously so that you will know the driver is not detouring too much. The average cost of a ride between two places in the same city for about 10 KM should not cost more than 5 USD.
Although I visited only Siem Reap when in Cambodia, I’ve picked out few other popular destinations after referring other blogs and have listed out the best places to stay at while you’re there.
Low-Budget Hotels (300 – 600 INR):
1. I Bed Hostel (Siem Reap)
2. Sla Boutique Hostel (Phnom Penh)
3. Onederz Sihanoukville (Sihanoukville)
Medium-Budget Hotels (1500 – 2500 INR):
1. Aroma Angkor Boutique Hotel (Siem Reap)
2. The Pavilion (Phnom Penh)
3. The Secret Garden at Otres Beach (Sihanoukville)
Luxury Hotels (2500 – 7500 INR):
1. eOcambo Resort & Spa (Siem Reap)
2. Palace Gate Hotel & Resort (Phnom Penh)
3. White Boutique Hotel and Residences (Sihanoukville)
Things to do
Angkor Archaeological Park
Located on the outskirts of Siem Reap, the Angkor Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which has the remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire of the 9th to 15th centuries. Visiting this park is a must if you are in Cambodia because it is not everyday that you see ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples spanned across several acres of land. And if you have a chance to witness the sunrise and sunset at these temples, then it is even better.
Siem Reap Night Market
One of the coolest and the most laid-back night markets that I have ever seen, the Siem Reap Night Market is a happening spot for tourists and locals. It has an old market where you can buy amazing local food, a Pub Street with many pubs luring you with discounts and happy hours, and an Art Center Night Market where you can buy souvenirs. I visited the Night Market thrice because once wasn’t enough!
Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia with a few museums where you can learn about the horrific past of Cambodia. You can also visit temples and take food tours in the city that will give you a taste of the local culture. However, if you’re short on time you can skip visiting Phnom Penh and visit Siem Reap instead which has the Angkor remains.
Beach lovers who want to soak up some sun can head to Sihanoukville which has pristine white sand beaches, deserted islands and an excellent nightlife.
Read Next: How to Spend 2 Days in Siem Reap, Cambodia