Cambodia is a lovely country to visit. Where on one side it offers a wild west experience, on the other side, it is comfortable and promising. But for anyone to be travelling Cambodia for the first time, a little preparation is needed, and for that preparation – a few travel tips to remember.
I travelled Cambodia last year during a 2 month backpacking trip across Southeast Asia and discovered it’s a fascinating land of extreme contrast and wickedly authentic adventure. From some of the wonders of the world in Angkor Wat to beautiful beaches Cambodia has it all.
So if you’re planning a trip to Cambodia and aren’t sure about what to expect, read these Travel Tips for Cambodia, and plan your journey better:
Learn a bit about the Cambodian history before you travel
If you will end up in Cambodia without any background knowledge of what has happened to the country in past, you are going to miss a lot from your travels. From its 12th century Angkor civilization to the recent 1975 Khmer Rouge – that tore apart and transformed the country entirely – there is enough to learn about the country.
Cambodian beaches are the best
If you think the best beaches in Southeast Asia are to be found in Thailand, you are wrong. Cambodia’s coastline and islands are astoundingly beautiful. If I were to name a few, Koh Ta Kiev and Koh Rong are the best beaches in Cambodia. The beach town of Sihanoukville is also a beautiful charm.
Don’t miss Angkor Wat
The temple complex of Angkor Wat is the main reason for many tourists to visit Cambodia at first place. A wonder of the world, exploring the whole archaeological park is an incredible experience – though prepare to battle crowds in their hundreds/thousands. Remember, you are required to buy a pass to access the Angkor Wat archaeological park. There are more three different passes for Angkor Wat: 1 day, 3-day and a 5-day pass. I’d advise going for a 3-day pass at least, as there’s just too much to see and explore.
Use bike taxi to get around and save money
If you’re travelling solo in Cambodia, the best way to save money on transportation is by taking a bike taxi. Since there are no city buses anywhere in the country, tuk-tuks and taxis are the only way to get around. I always took a bike taxi and saved money. A bike taxi is almost half the price of a normal tuk-tuk.
Also Read: Travel Tips For Siem Reap
Visit during November and February
Just like the most of Southeast Asia, Cambodia is a hot country too. And it gets really really hot during the months of March and June before you get some respite in July and August because of monsoon before the weather becomes hot again in September and October. So if the sun and hot weather bother you, avoid visiting Cambodia during summer months.
Don’t bother changing your currency from Dollars to Riel
Since most transaction in Cambodia happen in US dollars, and everyone in the country – from a street food stall to a 5-star hotel – accept dollars, don’t bother changing your dollars into Riel and lose unnecessary money.
Go for Visa On Arrival
Cambodia’s visa on arrival is easier to obtain and is cheaper too. Where an e-visa cost about 70 dollars, visa on arrival costs only 30 dollars. The visa on arrival rules in Cambodia are moreover very lenient.
Try to bargain
Since most people in Cambodia accept dollar – making 1 dollar the minimum tender – every time you buy something you’re asked for a dollar. So try to bargain and get your change in Riel. For example, during the first few days of my travelling, I ended up losing a lot of money in buying water, as everytime I bought a bottle of water, I was charged 1 dollar. Later I realised that a bottle of water cost only 75 cents, meaning 1000 Riel (1 dollar = 4000 Riel) had to be returned to me on every bottle of water.
Also Read: Travel Tips For Bangkok