Cambodia is the successor state of the powerful Khmer Empire which dominated much of what is now Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.
The ruins of this great empire can be seen in the amazing temples of Angkor Wat, close to Siem Ream.
After the relatively recent and horrific genocide carried out by the Red Khmer regime between 1975 and 1979, in which more than 2 million people were killed, Cambodia is still trying to find its way. Most of the inhabitants are still daily affected by this.
Despite all this suffering, the Cambodians have an unbreakable spirit, optimism and a contagious smile.
It is impossible to leave the country without a feeling of admiration for the inhabitants of this kingdom.
Apart from the amazing temples of Angkor Wat, there are many other reasons to visit Cambodia. The curious towns of Phnom Penh, Battambang and Siem Reap, the pace of rural life, the landscapes of rice paddies and stunning palm trees, the south coast adorned by tropical islands and fishing villages, the Cardamom Mountains, part of a vast tropical desert, are only some examples that makes the Kingdom of Cambodia an amazing travel destination.
The official language is Khmer, and is spoken by the majority of the population.
French and English are also spoken throughout the country.
The French language is spoken mainly by the older generations.
- Official Currency – Riel
- Credit and ATM cards – In major cities (Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Battambang and Kompong Cham) there are already ATMs compatible with Visa and MasterCard credit cards and dispensing US dollars. Also in these cities it is possible to raise money with credit cards, free of charge, at the counters of Canadia Bank and Union Commercial Bank.
Rainy season – May to October, reaching the peak of rain in the period from July to September with rains practically daily.
Dry season – October to April. From November to January the temperatures are usually lower (around 20 degrees), increasing from February to April.
The best months to visit Cambodia are December and January (high season)
The visa is mandatory and can be obtained in the following ways:
-In the Embassies and Consulates of Cambodia;
-Visa On Arrival at the international airports of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap or, on land by Thailand, on the borders of Meanchey, Poipet, Cham Yeam and Banteay;
-In case of entry by land via Vietnam, in Bavet or Ka-Om Samnor, the visa must be previously obtained in an Embassy or Consulate of Cambodia;
-Via online at e-Visa Cambodia. Passports must have a minimum period of validity, at the date of entry into the country, of 6 months and must be accompanied by 1 passport size photograph.
Phnom Penh – Pochentong (PNH)
Siem Reap (REP)
Telecommunications and Internet
• Country Code Phone Number +855
• Internet – Wi-Fi is available in the majority of hotels, restaurants, mini-markets, cafes, cybercafes or shopping centers of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. In the provinces, internet access may be more limited and expensive.
The official religion is Buddhism.
In addition to routine vaccines, which should be kept up-to-date, the following vaccines may be recommended :
• Hepatitis A
• Typhoid fever
• Japanese Encephalitis
• Yellow fever
Malaria prophylaxis is recommended for all areas except the temple complex of Angkor Wat, Phnom Penh and around Tonle Sap Lake.
The use of Mefloquine, Malarone or Doxycycline is recommended.
Exceptions: Mefloquine is not effective in the provinces of Koh Kong, Preah Vihear, Siem Reap, Oddar, Meanchey, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Pailin and Pursat.
There are still some more essential recommendations during the Cambodian journey, in order to avoid some health complications:
– Avoid raw or undercooked meat and fish;
– Always drink bottled water;
– Avoid ice in drinks;
– Eat fruit that has been previously peeled or cooked.