Cambodia Travel Information
On this page you'll find important information about travel in Cambodia. We have put together a comprehensive guide for you containing everything from entry, vaccination requirements, travel times to local culture.
Entry & Exit
A Cambodian visa is required. The visa allows you up to 30 days in one visit, and is valid for 90 days after issuing.
Requirements for Canadians:
- Cambodian visa application form. For online orders, please download, print and sign Cambodia visa application, prepared by our system under your account.
- Original, signed Canada passport with at least 6 months of remaining validity.
- Passport-type photograph: 1.
- Proof of Status. Copy of the front and back of valid Permanent Resident Card or other proof of legal status in Canada (such as study permit, work permit, refugee/protected person status document).
- Itinerary. Copy of round trip tickets or itinerary.
Requirements for Americans:
- Scanned copy of United States passport. A clear scan of the information pages of your valid, signed passport.
- Passport-type photograph: must be uploaded to your applicant profile.
This visa is only valid for entry through the following ports:
- Phnom Penh International Airport
- Siem Reap International Airport
- Cham Yeam (Koh Kong)
- Poi Pet (Banteay Meanchey)
- Bavet (Svay Rieng)
Including international travel insurance, which can be used in a case of emergency is strongly recommended if you choose to travel to Cambodia.
It is recommended that you get all standard vaccinations, including hepatitis A and rabies. For long stays and special exposure, it is important to also get vaccinations for hepatitis B, typhoid and Japanese encephalitis.
Dengue / Malaria
The risk of transmission of dengue fever exists nationwide throughout the year. The risk of malaria exists all year, and is the highest in the border areas with Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. There is a small risk in Phnom Penh, Angkor Wat and around the Tonle Sap Lake. Always ensure that you apply adequate mosquito repellent and wear light, sleeved clothing.
Diarrheal diseases are very common. Whilst at restaurants, ensure you drink plenty of water, as it is important to stay hydrated. However, ensure that it is not tap water, as it is usually contaminated.
You should always wash your hands with soap often, and clean dishes, prepare food and cook with bottled drinking water. Always use bottled water for brushing teeth as well.
Foot and Mouth Disease
The foot and mouth disease is caused by the enterovirus EV71 and occurs periodically in Cambodia. Symptoms include drowsiness, dizziness, fever, sore throat, body aches, nausea and conjunctivitis. After that lesions develop in the mouth and on the hands and feet. Normally, the disease goes away quickly and does not require further treatment. To prevent the disease, it is advisable to comply with hygiene measures described above.
There is a high risk of contracting schistosomiasis while swimming in freshwater waters (mainly in the northeast along the Mekong), which should be prohibited at all times.
Dates & Figures
Cambodia is a tropical country and can be generally warm all year round. Between November and May is the dry season, and the rainy season begins in June and lasts until October. The best time to visit is from November to February, as it is still relatively pleasant with an average temperature of 25-30°C. From March to May the temperatures rise to 33-35°C. At this time in Cambodia there is a lot going on, as the tourists and the locals try to soak up as much sun and relaxation as they can.
The time shift from North America to Cambodia is -7 hours.
The official currency of Cambodia is the Cambodian Riel, but tourists will mainly be required to use the US Dollar and then receive change in Riels. You can change your money back at the border crossing. We recommend that you only bring bills in small denominations, because you will likely not be able to get change for bigger bills. Credit cards are rarely accepted, but occasionally you will be able to use them at hotels and large restaurants. It is generally possible to withdraw cash from ATMs however you should check with your bank before departure. There will also be bank fees and there may be limits for using ATMs.
Most outlets in Cambodia use a European style plug (two circular probes), you will need an adapter and possibly a converter if you wish to use your electronics in Cambodia.
Internet cafes are available in all cities and most hotels and cafés offer WiFi however internet speeds may vary. You will be able to make calls on your cell phone, but you should check in advance with your carrier about network roaming charges. The prefix for Cambodia is +855. Cambodian mobile phones and SIM cards can be purchased upon presentation of your passport.
Bangkok – Canadian Embassy
Address: 15th Floor, Abdulrahim Place, 990 Rama IV, Bangrak, Bangkok, 10500, Thailand
Telephone: +66 0 2646 4300
Phnom Penh - Embassy of the United States of America
Address: #1, Street 96, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
Telephone: (855-23) 728-000
Country & People
Those who want to take a tour of Cambodia should plan in advance, to really ensure they capture all the culture and rich history in Cambodia. Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy with an elected government. The king of Cambodia has traditional influence, but has no powers under the constitution. The country has about 15.5 million inhabitants, of which 90% is Khmer, 5% Vietnamese, 1% Chinese and 4% is other nationalities. The national language is Khmer. The average salary is $513 USD per person per year compared to the world's poorest countries. Phnom Penh is the capital and at the same time the seat of government of Cambodia. Many children cannot go to school because their families can’t afford the cost of education.
In Phnom Penh, there are many beautiful temples, but the city does have its downsides. Even today it shows many traces that remind locals of the terror regime of Khmer Rouge. When the city was evacuated by force and all the people were driven to the countryside. Cambodia still suffers from the effects of 30 years of civil war. Under the rule of Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge carried out a mass murder against their own people, where approximately 1.7 million Cambodians were killed. Pol Pot ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 on, but it wasn’t until the surrender of the last guerrillas in the late 1990’s when the civil war came to an end. The people are optimistic, lively and very friendly people, despite their dramatic past. Most follow Buddhism, which is also the state religion of Cambodia.
The infrastructure in Cambodia is not particularly well developed. A rail network does not exist, and many roads are in poor condition. Sometimes there are sand roads that are gradually expanded and paved. Intercity buses and minibuses and Tuk Tuks and Motos (motorbike taxis) as a means for you to travel in the cities. There are also car taxis, but only in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The locals themselves mostly use Motos to go about their daily activities. Get ready to see some very interesting loads on-top of cars as well, but beware that some of the vehicles are so overloaded that they can tip over. This trend also extends to motorbikes where some things are piled so high you’ll wonder how the driver can keep balance and drive at the same time!
Cambodia is a Buddhist country. Approximately 97% of the population are Theravada Buddhists. From the 1st to 14th century Hinduism was the dominant religion in Cambodia, which is expressed especially in the art and architecture of temples. Hindu influences can even be seen today and many play a major role in the Cambodian culture, as you’re no doubt going to notice while on tour.
The landscape in Cambodia is mostly low and flat, there are only mountains in the Southwest and North. To the East there is a flood plain; the Tonle Sap River flows from Lake through the majority of the country and empties into the Mekong. This flows from Vietnam to Laos as well as Cambodia. The mountains are mostly covered by tropical rainforest, and in the lower areas there are open fields and dry forest. In sparsely populated areas you can find elephants, tigers, and even leopards.
Cambodian cuisine was influenced by its neighbors, but is nevertheless independent. Dishes are relatively mild and low in fat and often loaded with traditional spices like ginger, coriander, lemongrass, galangal (Thai ginger) and Kampot Pepper. Rice is often included or bought with most dishes. There are many fruit trees as well, such as Papaya, mango or coconut. There are also a lot of fish and seafood, and meats. Especially delicious is the Khmer curry, which you should definitely try on your trip. Another specialty is Amok, which is fish and curry in coconut or banana leaf with coconut milk.
When you visit a temple, please make sure that your shoulders and knees are covered. An easy way to do this is by pairing a T-shirt or light jacket with shorts and a sarong. Sarongs are very inexpensive and available in all markets and souvenir shops. They make pretty souvenirs that you can take home with you and you can also use them as beach towels. You are also not permitted to wear shoes inside pagodas and other religious shrines. The same applies to private homes. If you are unsure of where you should take off your shoes, you can find out easily by paying attention to whether or not there are shoes in the entranceway. You may wear shoes in Angkor.
In restaurants it is customary to tip. The same goes for a ride in the tuk-tuk. If you hire a tuk-tuk driver for the whole day, then you should agree on a price beforehand and tip at the end if you are satisfied with the service.
Current Safety Situation
Please note that security and safety while in Cambodia can change at any time. We encourage you to gather all the information you can before starting your journey, so that you are well prepared. If necessary check with your local Foreign Office about the current safety and security in Cambodia before planning your trip.
Travel, health, and safety instructions are based on current available information at the specified time and assessed as trustworthy from SC Travel Adventures. A liability for the accuracy and completeness as well as a liability for possibly occurring damage cannot be accepted. Dangerous situations are often confusing and can change rapidly. The decision to carry out a trip is your sole responsibility.