Cambodia travel tips and advice
Traditional blessing dances are beautiful to watch
Cambodia is an interesting and exciting country to explore independently. Although first time visitors may find getting to grips with travel here a little tough, a little planning can make for extremely smooth journeys.
Visa tips for Cambodia
Visas are available at the border and upon arrival at airports in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Visas are usually valid for one month and cost US$20. Visitors must submit a passport-sized photograph along with a valid passport in order to receive a visa. Tourist visas can be extended only once for up to a month and this does not permit re-entry.
As well as on entry, visas can also be arranged in advance online by contacting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The fee for this visa and processing costs US$25. Visitors should note that a fee of US$5 is charged per day for overstaying all visas. For more on visas for Cambodia.
Health and safety travel tips
While the food in Cambodia is generally clean, visitors should avoid drinking tap water and drinks with ice in them. However, bottled water is cheap and can be bought from most grocery shops.
Cambodia has been heavily bombed over the years and some rural areas are still littered with hidden landmines and unexploded ordnance. Visitors should stick to clearly marked paths in the countryside and travel with a guide when venturing off the beaten track. More on health and safety.
Travel tips for getting around Cambodia
There is no rail system in Cambodia and most people travel by bus. However, buses come of all standards and it is generally best to pay extra for the VIP buses as the standard variety tend to be rather cramped with small, hard seats. However, no matter which type of bus you opt for, prepare for a bumpy ride as roads are generally in poor condition and country roads often become flooded during the rainy season. For more on Cambodian transport.
Travelling by boat is a great way to see Cambodia as an extensive network of waterways run through the countryside, connecting large towns and cities. The scenery is simply stunning and visitors can sit back and enjoy the view as the picturesque landscape slides slowly past. The express boat service from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is an excellent option, and visitors can also take a similar service from Siem Reap to Battambang. Those with plenty of time to spare will find that taking the slow boat through Cambodia is by far the best way to travel.
Climate – tips on when to visit Cambodia
Cambodia has a tropical climate, with high temperatures and humidity levels all year round. The best time to visit is from November to February, when temperatures cool from a scorching 35˚C to 25-30˚C. For more on Cambodia weather.
Dancing Apsaras carving from Bayon period
The peak tourist season lasts from December to January and most major hotels and guesthouses fill up during this time, so it is best to book in advance. However, there are usually rooms available in major tourist destinations such as Phnom Penh and Siem Reap even during the busiest times.
Those who wish to avoid the crowds should travel during the rainy season, which lasts from June to October. Rain showers, although heavy, mainly only occur in the afternoon, which allows plenty of time for sightseeing during the day. Another advantage of travelling during this time is that accommodation prices are often reduced.
Visitors to Cambodia will never need to carry a jacket, even during winter evenings and it is best to wear loose, light clothing. However, Cambodia has a conservative society and visitors are urged to dress modestly. More on Cambodia etiquette.
More Cambodia resources can be found at Visit Asia - Asia Travel Directory with comprehensive listings of tourism-related businesses and guides.
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