Practical information for traveling in Cambodia

Practical information for traveling in Cambodia

Official name, location, and time zone

Country’s official name: Kingdom of Cambodia

Capital: Phnom Penh

Region: Indochina, Asia

Borders: Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and the Gulf of Thailand

Time zone: GMT +7

Visa for Cambodia

The visa can be obtained from Cambodia's Embassies and Consulates before arrival, or just check if you’re nationality is granted for the Visa On Arrival, at international airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap or, at the land borders with Thailand, on the borders of Poipet, Banteay, Meanchey and Cham Yeam (Koh Kong province). Travelers arriving by land from Vietnam in Bavet or Ka-Om Samnor are required to obtain their visa from an embassy or consulate in Cambodia. The visa can also be obtained previously online via e-Visa Cambodia. Passports must have a minimum period of 6-month validity from the date of entry.

Language of Cambodia

The official language of Cambodia is called Khmer and is spoken by the majority of the population. Khmer however is influenced by Thai and French (due to the period of French occupation). However, French and English are also spoken throughout the country.

Health care in Cambodia

You may consult with your doctor if you’re traveling or moving to Cambodia for a long term stay. In addition to the routine vaccines, which should be up to date, the following vaccines may be advised for those traveling in Cambodia:

Hepatitis A: A common disease through water and contaminated food.

Typhoid fever: also transmissible through water and contaminated food.

Japanese Encephalitis: Recommended for those who plan to travel for more than 1 month and if specially visiting rural areas 

Yellow fever: Although not mandatory, but it may be required if youre traveling to Cambodia from south America. Consult with your local hospital before dearting to Cambodia.

It is important to have some other special care while traveling in Cambodia to avoid any health problem, remember to always drink bottled water, avoid ice in drinks, eat fruit that has been previously peeled or cooked, avoid raw meat and fish or undercooked meats. 

Safety in Cambodia

Cambodia is a relatively safe country for travelers, including women who travel alone, however, it is always necessary to take the usual travel precautions to avoid any issue while traveling. Violent and crime is rare, but it can happen like anywhere else in the world. Special attention is paid to areas most frequented by tourists or expatriates such as Siem Reap, the waterfront area of Phnom Penh and the secluded beaches of Sihanoukville.

Money matters and credit cards

The official currency of Cambodia is the Riel (KHR). 1 Euro equals 4,536 KHR and 1 US$ equals 4,065 KHR. View current exchange rates with International Code: KHR and the Symbol: ៛

American Dollars and even the Thai Baht is accepted in most places including most hotels as well as many shops and restaurants which present their prices in Dollars. However, it is necessary to keep in mind that part of the change when paying in Dollars can be given in Riel. Daily transactions are made through Riel, and it is helpful to always have some in your wallet for motor-taxis, small snacks and other low-value shopping items.

It is possible to exchange money in the banks, which are found everywhere in Cambodia, or in the exchange offices that can be found near the market areas. 

Credit cards are usually only accepted within major cities and tourist locations such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and casinos in Poipet and a fee may be charged on the value of the purchase. Tips are not expected, but are particularly appreciated in view of the poverty level of the majority of the population. In any case, some hotels may charge an additional fee of 10% on the final value.

Some reference costs:

* Small water bottle: 1,5 KHR

* Small coke: 2.5 KHR

* Half pint beer: 4 KHR

* Cheap Meal: 10 KHR

* Taxi (initial fare): 5 KHR

Electric power

The electric unit in Cambodia is 230V 50Hz. The most commonly used electrical outlets are 2 round pins, 2 flat pins and 3 flat pins, so it is recommended that you always carry a universal adapter.

Telecommunications and Internet in Cambodia

The Cambodian international code is +855. There are public telephones at the post offices and telecommunications stores in most cities, however a card is required to make a phone calls. The price for making the calls can be a little high, so it is usually advantageous to resort to the promotions offered by internet shops, guesthouses and travel agencies and that can go up to half the usual value.

There are several mobile phone operators in Cambodia such as Cellcard / MobiTel, Smart Mobile, Cube, MetFone and it is likely that your carrier has roaming with one of them. The most widely used and with more coverage is Cellcard / MobiTel. For longer stays and to reduce costs, I always like to buy a local SIM card at airports or border checkpoints.

It is quite easy and cheap to access the Internet at the many cybercafes around Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Wi-Fi is widely available in pretty much everywhere such as in all hotels, restaurants, mini-markets, cafes or shopping centers. 


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