7 Practical Tips for Your Holiday in Cambodia

I am super excited to have ALMOST finished my Insiders Guide to Cambodia - it is due for release late April - EEEK!!!! Inside it’s beautiful pages you will find loads of practical advice on both moving to and traveling through Cambodia but today I thought I would give you some useful, practical info for FREE!

1. Before you go:

I would recommend registering with your local government organisation to let them know you are holidaying in Cambodia or will be living there. This way they will know you are there and can better assist you should there be any kind of natural disaster or emergency. Here are a couple of them:

Australia - http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

USA - https://step.state.gov/step/

Canada - http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration

UK - http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/staying-safe/Locate/


Tourist Visa - Great if you just going on holiday to Cambodia and plan on staying less than 30 days. This visa costs USD20 and you have to have a passport sized photo with you. You are able to get the visa prior to arrival, in your home country, however it is a very easy process to get it on arrival. You can get this at both the Phnom Penh and the Siem Reap International Airports as well as land border crossings. A Tourist Visa can be extended one time only for 30 days. Overstay is charged at USD5/day and is payable on departure.

‘Ordinary’ Visa - Great if you are planning on staying more than 30 days. This is essentially a Business Visa. Again it is valid for 30 days however it is much easier and less costly to extend once you are in the country. The ‘Ordinary’ Visa costs USD25 (plus any bribes they wish to add on the day - ours eventually cost us USD35 at the Koh Kong/Thai border crossing), is attainable on arrival at airports and overland crossings and again you will be required to have a passport sized photo with you. You will probably be overcharged if you are traveling overland so be prepared and best not to question it. Very easy to extend, a 12 month extension will cost you USD270 and takes a day or 2 to process, best to do through a travel agent. This is the current situation but may change in the future

3. Insurance

A MUST!!! We opted for a simple 12 month travel insurance plan through World Nomads and I would recommend them, they have a wide range of policies depending on what you plan on doing with your travels and are underwritten by the big guys, such as Llyod’s Bank, so you know your money is safe with them! They also have loads of free stuff once you have signed up with them such as free language guides, forums, up-to-date safety alerts and a ‘Footprints’ program which they have set up as a kind of micro-lending charity to give back to the communities we travel through!

4. Weather - best times

As far as I a concerned there is never a bad time to holiday in Cambodia. We enjoy tropical weather and although it follow’s European seasons (Winter around Christmas) it is safe to say that there are 2 types of weather here. Plain hot and hot and rainy!!! As a result you I would say the only thing to bare in mind when planning your trip is the heat and humidity - if you don’t like the heat I would avoid April which is the hottest month. May sees things cool down a little with the beginning of the rainy season. These showers (and the odd monsoon) last through until November. The advantage of traveling during the rainy season is that everything is lush and verdant and there are less crowds around the tourist attractions such as the temples.

5. Safety and Security

I have never felt unsafe in Cambodia however there are a few things to bare in mind and a few precautions I would recommend taking.

  • Make sure your bags are secure on your body, especially when taking tuk tuks

  • Leave anything you are not going to need in your hotel or home safe Eg. Passport, credit cards, any excess cash etc

  • I use a handbag that goes across my body so it can’t be snatched away

  • Be extra careful in busy areas such as the markets

  • If you are robbed yell ‘JOWL’ (This means 'thief' - street justice is the done thing in Cambodia)

Leave a copy of all important documents (passport, credit cards, tickets etc) with a friend or family member at home. I also scan them and email them to myself so I can always access them.

While I have heard of people being robbed etc, as I said, I have never felt unsafe. I think it is like traveling anywhere in the world (including at home), as long as you have your wits about you, you will be fine. The people as a whole are so warm, welcoming and lovely!

6. Getting connected

Mobile Phones - the phone provider I use is Metphone - they have one of the best coverages over Cambodia. It is easy to pick up a sim once you have arrived, there are phone shops around all the major markets in town and pretty much on any street block.

Internet - Almost every coffee shop, bar, restaurant has free wifi and it is usually really quick. Some have a computer or laptop that you can use free of charge. Actual Internet Cafes are rare and the ones I have checked out have ancient computers.

Skype - set yourself up before you head away and have a few practice runs if you haven’t used it before. Great way to keep in touch.

7. Avoid raising your voice or causing a scene

Cambodians are a very gentle people who are all about ‘keeping face’ in front of their family, friends and colleagues as a result one of the rudest things you could do to a Cambodian would be to shout at them. It also means that sometimes they will tell you little white lies in order to avoid making a scene or avoid any sort of confrontation so be ready for this also. Eg. “Hey Mr Tuk Tuk - do you know where the Equinox Bar is?” “Yes, yes no problem”. RESULT - driving around for half an hour before he admits that he actually has no idea. An adventure in itself but something to be prepared for. It’s important to keep your good sense of humor, patience and just roll with it!

If you haven't signed up to get this info direct into your inbox everyweek you can do so below and please leave me a comment if you have a specific question about your holiday in Cambodia or perhaps you are thinking of moving to Cambodia and have some queries. I would LOVE to hear from you!

Ducky xoxo




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