General Information

• Official Name: Kingdom of Cambodia
• Population: 14.8 million
• Capital City: Phnom Penh, population 2 million
• People: Khmers (96%), minorities include Vietnamese, Chinese, many hill tribes, Chams
• Language: Khmer
• Currency: Riel
• Time Zone: GMT +7 Hours
• International Dialing Code: +855

Cambodia is in the heart of Southeast Asia, surrounded by Thailand, Laos and Vietnam It is emerging from a dark period of its history and because of its beauty is attracting an increasing number of tourists and businesses. Its stunning scenery, the ancient temples of Angkor, Tonle Sap Lake, the waters of the Mekong Delta and remnants of its French colonial past are just some of its attractions. The cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are rich in culture and fascinating diversions.

Pre Departure Check List

• Travel Insurance
• Valid Passport (at least six months remaining) and visa (or two passport pictures as well as 20US$ for visa on arrival)
• Immunizations/Vaccinations
• Foreign currency (US$) or ATM card
• Flights tickets
• Photocopy of passport either scanned into email account or separate from the original

Travel Insurance (Compulsory)
Viet Expert Travel will do everything possible to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. However, the normal array of risks is involved and should be recognized by participants. Thus, we require all guests to purchase travel insurance prior to their trip. Travel insurance is a cost effective way of protecting yourself and your equipment in the event of problems due to cancelled trips, delays, medical emergencies, baggage loss or damage. It also gives you peace of mind for your trip.

A passport with at least six months validity is necessary. A visa is required for most nationalities and is available upon arrival at both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap International airports. A tourist visa costs 20USD, a business visa costs 25USD. Two passport photographs should be submitted with the visa application form. A tourist visa can be extended from one month to three and a business one can be extended indefinitely. If coming into the country overland then we recommend booking transfer through Viet Expert Travel to avoid the increasing number of tourist scams through other bus and tour companies.

Cambodia also enforces a departure tax on domestic and international flights, not included in the price of the flight ticket.

• Domestic – 6US$
• International – 25US$

Arriving in Cambodia
We will arrange your transfer from the airport to your hotel or residence and back unless otherwise specified.

Health & Well-being
Be aware, as with other parts of Southeast Asia, your health can be at risk due to lack of effective medical treatment facilities and poor sanitation. In Cambodia, there are few pharmacies and hospitals in rural areas, so be sure bring with you any medications that you will need.

If you feel particularly ill, you should return to either Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. We recommend:

• Royal Angkor International Hospital (Siem Reap)
• International SOS Medical & Dental Clinic (Phnom Penh)

Each traveler is responsible for his or her health. Consult your doctor or local travel clinic before departure for the latest information on travelling to Cambodia.

Before travelling to Cambodia, it is important to ensure that you have adequate protection about disease. About two months before your holiday consult your doctor regarding vaccinations you will need before you travel. These will vary depending on where you are planning to visit. Bear in mind that there is a malaria risk in rural parts of Cambodia. In general, most visitors to Cambodia will require the following vaccinations:

• Hepatitis A and B
• Tetanus
• Typhoid
• Polio
• Diphtheria

If you have any special conditions or allergies that may require attention overseas, have your GP write a letter describing the nature of the condition and the treatment. Always carry the letter on your person. It is also a good idea to bring your own first aid kit containing some basics and paracetamol (acetaminophen) and diarrhea relief.

The official currency is the riel. American dollars are however widely accepted in Cambodia and even preferred in larger stores and supermarkets. However, the riel is more practical and economical to use for smaller, day to day items.

ATM’s are widely available in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang and Sihanoukville; they dispense US dollars. However there are no ATM’s out of these areas so it is recommended that you carry cash with you (in small notes as people may have difficulty in getting change).

Allow $8 to $15 per meal for additional lunches or dinners not included in the trip price. You may also want to have some money put aside to try some local foods at the markets.

Tourists are encouraged to tip an amount they find appropriate, preferably in USD. For your convenience, below is a tipping guide; these amounts are suggestions. We encourage our passengers to reward guides based on their performance:

• Meals (restaurants): average amount is $1
• Bellboy: average amount is $1
• Chambermaid: average amount is $1 per day
• Tips for guides are completely at your discretion, but here are some guidelines: $1.50 to $3 per day per person for guides (depending on group size), $1 per day per person for drivers

Mail and Telecommunications
Mail is now routed by air through Bangkok, making Cambodia a reliable place from which to send mail and parcels.

• Telephone connections to the rest of the world are widely available, however they aren’t cheap
• Numbers starting with 011, 012, 015, 017 or 018 are mobile phone numbers
• Internet access is available in all major tourist areas

Clothing and Suggested Packing List

• Personal clothing items, toiletries, medication
• Sunscreen
• Insect Repellent
• Light-weight clothing (March through October)
• Long sleeved shirts and pants (November to February evenings)
• Depending on the season, your activities and the region you will be visiting e.g. mountainous areas, it may be advisable for you to bring a jacket with you
• Camera
• Adaptor – 220V, 50Hz; 2 pin plugs
• Water bottle and helmet (for cycling trips only)

Cambodian people may choose not to point out improper behaviour of its foreign guests, but you should dress and act with the utmost respect when visiting Wats (pagodas) or other religious sites (including the temples of Angkor). This is of the highest importance to Cambodians; proper etiquette in pagodas is mostly a matter of common sense. Unlike Thailand, a woman may accept something from a monk, but she should be careful not to touch him

A few other Temple visiting tips:

• Do not wear shorts or tank tops, have your shoulders covered
• Remove your hat when entering the ground of the Wats
• Remove your shoes before going into the vihara (Sanctuary)
• If you sit down in front of the dais (the platform on which the Buddhas are placed), sit with your feet to the side rather than in the lotus position
• Never point your finger or the sole of your feet towards a person or a figure of the Buddha


• November – February: Cool and dry
• March – May: Hot and dry
• June – August: Hot and wet
• September – Early November: Cool and wet

Maximum daily temperatures range from the high 20°Cs in January to more than 40°C in April. Daily minimum temperatures are usually no less than 15°.

Cuisine, Special Dietary Requests and Drinking Water
Cambodian cuisine is similar to that of Thailand and Laos, but there are interesting local dishes to try. The overall consensus is that Cambodian dishes are similar to Thai food but with fewer spices. Like all other Buddhist countries, vegetarian food is readily available in most restaurants.

IIf you are a vegetarian, vegan, allergic to any foods or adhere to a special diet, please advise us prior to your trip so we can comply with your dietary requirements.

It is not advisable to drink tap water in any Southeast Asian country. Bottled water is recommended but do check the expiry date before opening it. Ice is widely used in Cambodia and it is produced with treated water.

Cultural Differences
Experiencing cultural differences is one of the joys of travelling, and it is important that these differences are encouraged and respected. It is important to be aware of some of these differences by reading travel guides and asking questions when uncertain.

Saving Face and Manners

Getting angry and showing it by shouting or becoming abusive is extremely impolite and a poor reflection on you. In addition, it is unlikely to achieve much.

General Points of Etiquette

• It is improper to pat children on the head
• If you would like someone to come over to you, motion with your whole hand held palm down - signaling with your index finger and your palm pointed skyward may be interpreted as being sexually suggestive
• When using a toothpick, it is considered polite to hold it in one hand and to cover your open mouth with the other
• When handing things to other people, use both of your hands or your right hand only, never your left hand (reserved for toilet ablutions!)
• Public displays of affection are viewed as offensive in Cambodia – definitely no kissing! It is also extremely rare to see couples holding hands. On the contrary it is quite common to see friends of the same sex holding hands
• It is considered polite to remove your shoes before entering a house – look for shoes at the front door as a clue

Donations and Gift-Giving
Although there is a great amount of poverty in certain areas of Cambodia, please read the following points about donations and gift-giving.

• In many places it is considered acceptable to give to the elderly or disabled as there is no social security or other way these people can earn money. Do not give to begging children as it reinforces for these children that begging is an acceptable way to make a living.
• Giving money and goods away to random individuals can increase begging. It accentuates an unequal relationship between locals and visitors, with tourists being seen as purely ‘money givers’. We do not want to encourage the development of a society that equates every human action as potential money making scheme – for example paying to take photographs.
• Do not give sweets to children in villages that we visit. Local people do not have access to dentists, nor can they afford them and again there is the issue of turning children into beggars. Pens, toothbrushes, clothing or other ‘worthwhile’ items are best distributed via a local charity, school teacher or community leader.
• Avoid feeling that you necessarily have to give ‘material’ things. The best giving can sometimes be interactions: a smile, a joke, a song, dance or playing a game can go a long way.

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