Feel the history of the legendary Khmer empire in Siem Reap, Cambodia’s town of ancient temples and ruins.
Cambodia attracts around two million tourists per year alone to its mystifying UNESCO World Heritage ruins of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and popular “Tomb Raider” Ta Prohm Temple in Siem Reap. But there is so much more to discover in this small Southeast Asian kingdom brimming with culinary delights like steamed fish amok and a proud artistic legacy. Heavenly island paradises like Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem, where white sand beaches meet thick green forests, lie just off the coast in the sublime Gulf of Thailand while Phnom Penh, the busy capital city, boasts vivid contrasts of rich cultural heritage and dark modern history in its classic royal and colonial architecture and Khmer Rouge memorials.
Things to do
Drift across the unique biodiversity of the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and one of Siem Reap’s top attractions.
The private island of Koh Ouen is home to the acclaimed and exclusive Song Saa Private Island Resort off the coast of Sihanoukville.
Discover Cambodia’s original “wild east” as you interact with rescued elephants at the Mondulkiri Elephant Valley Project.
Ride the iconic bamboo train in Cambodia’s charming second largest city filled with colonial buildings and a flare for artistry.
Find your inner explorer in the tree-entwined temples of Sambor Prei Kuk, found in Kampong Thom Province.
Lose yourself in the largely unknown destination of Stung Treng Province where the remote Virachey National Park can be found.
Experience both ancient and modern history alike in Phnom Penh, the former Pearl of Asia.
Time to visit
Cambodia is a year-round holiday destination due to its warm weather, tropical climate, and ease of travel when getting around. There are two seasons:
- The dry and hot season from late November to early April
- The rainy season from May to mid-November, characterized by thunderstorms, humidity, and a tropical green environment.
Our favourite time for exploring the temples of Siem Reap is in June when the welcome rains reappear after 6 long months of sun and heat, creating a lush atmosphere and pleasant weather. Beach lovers will prefer to visit during the hot months of December and January when there are no rain clouds in sight and only warm waters to enjoy. If diving into local culture is your thing, don’t miss out on the Water Festival, celebrated every year on the full moon in October or November. One of the largest festivals in the entire country, it can trace its roots to Angkorian times. People from all over the country travel to either participate or watch the legendary boat races over a three day period.
Finding accommodation in Cambodia is never difficult due to the wide range of categories found in popular locations like Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Battambang, Kep and Kampot, ranging from cozy homestays and guesthouses from $5 – $10 per night to boutique hotels and luxurious resorts starting from $100 per night depending on the season, all offering free breakfast, Wi-Fi, and a wealth of amenities. Popular brands like Sofitel, Belmond, and Hyatt are very affordable here while exclusive hideaways like Song Saa Private Island and Shinta Mani Angkor provide such a high level of services and facilities you will forget you are in Cambodia!
Food & drink
Cambodia’s cuisine is a wonderful mixture of herbs, spices, and flavours reminiscent of Thailand and Vietnam. The national dish, Fish Amok, is a lightly steamed fish surrounded by an aromatic curry presented in a banana leaf and served with a generous side of rice. Cheap restaurants can be found in every city with an eclectic mix of international fare, street vendors, and local delicacies. While most dishes are heavy on meat or fish, Cambodia is still vegetarian-friendly with an assortment of vegetables and fruits for those who do not eat meat, as well as substituting tofu in delicious curries and BBQ. An ordinary meal in the country will usually cost around $5 – $6 in a sit-down restaurant while street food is never over $2. Cambodians often use a combination of spoons and fingers to eat, only using chopsticks for noodles.
Most cafes, restaurants, and hotels have Wi-Fi connectivity, even in far-flung provincial towns. Since the roaming charges are so high with international phones, we suggest to take advantage of the cheap and often freely offered Wi-Fi to save money and data while in the country. When dialing long-distance in the country always dial zero first, then the area code if it’s a landline, otherwise continue to dial the mobile number as usual. If it is a local call, leave out the zero and the area code for landlines. The local postal service is incredibly hit and miss so if you must send something important or valuable, make sure to use a professional courier service. Prepaid SIM cards from companies like MetFone and Cellcard for mobile phones cost between $1 – $2 with “pay-as-you-go” credit available in amounts of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, and $50. Emergency contact details for Cambodia, should you need it, can be found by dialing 118 in case of fire, 117 for Police assistance, and 119 for an ambulance.
Cambodia has a wide array of transportation choices for a relatively cheap price. Due to the lack of maintenance on main roads and highways, domestic flights between key tourist destinations are the fastest way to get from city to city and can cost around $70 return if booked in advance. Buses costing between $4 – $6 run between all major destinations, however, driving can take longer than what is estimated due to low-quality roads, unplanned stops, and delays. Fast boats between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh and slow boats between Battambang and Siem Reap along the Tonle Sap River and Lake are another way to experience Cambodia. Within the city, remorks take guests from point to point or on day-tours in a covered trailer hitched to the back of a motorbike, often big enough for 4 people. Depending on the distance, private cars with a driver can be rented for as little as $35 a day if you plan to explore around the city, with the price increasing the further you plan to travel or bigger the car you need.
Citizens of the following countries do not need a visa for tourism purposes as long as they stay less than the period listed below.
- 30 days—Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam
- 21 days—the Philippines
- 14 days—Thailand
Visa on Arrival and e-Visa
- Most nationalities can obtain either a Visa on arrival for stays up to 30 days from international airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap or at the Thai or Vietnamese borders. Your passport must have at least 6 months validity, along with a passport sized photo and USD30 processing fee.
- Most nationalities can obtain an e-Visa for stays up to 30 days for USD36 as long as it is applied at least 4 days before the intended date of entry to Cambodia.
- E-visas do not apply for citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Syria.
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Get lost in the hidden charm of South East Asia