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Cambodia Guide

Cambodia is one of the only few countries in the world where you won't find a McDonald's. Although, you can still find KFC & Burger King.

Cambodia has only one time zone, UTC + 7 hours. Cambodia is five hours ahead of Paris and 11 hours ahead of New York/Toronto.

For American passport holders: To travel to Cambodia, you will need a valid passport and a visa. Visas are available for tourists and businesses up to one month. You can receive a visa online prior to your trip or apply directly at the airport. The cost of a visa is $30 USD plus processing fees. More information about visa requirements can be found here.

These countries are required to get a visa in advance at the Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Cambodia in their country: Afghanistan, Algeria, Arab Saudi, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Nigeria.

International visitors are no longer required to provide a health declaration or COVID-19 vaccine certificate upon arriving in Cambodia, but there are still remote temperature checkers at the border gates.

Source: Vietnam+

The 3 largest airports in Cambodia allow international flights:

Phnom Penh International Airport is the capital city’s airport. There are several buses you can rent to the city, but it may be easier to take a tuktuk, a bike taxi, if you don’t have too much luggage.

Siem Reap International Airport is also known as the Gateway to Angkor Wat, a very popular tourist destination. You won’t find a direct flight to Siem Reap from the United States, but you can often find a connecting flight from China Eastern Airlines.

Sihanoukville International Airport is the third busiest airport in Cambodia, as it is a popular destination for beaches and luxurious gambling.

Aside from domestic flights, there are many other ways to explore Cambodia.

If you are traveling locally, the best mode of transportation is through Grab. This is the Cambodian version of Uber or Lyft. Howeber, A tuk tuk is cheaper and more widespread.

You can also rent express mini-vans along with a driver in your native language. While it is possible to drive there, it is not recommended. The road infrastructure is poor, with many dirt roads and/or potholes and the traffic is extremely dangerous and overcrowded. /span>

It is important to keep an eye on your belongings. Unfortunately, Cambodia and the rest of Southeast Asia is notorious for female sex trafficking, so solo travelers should also be aware of this.

Safety tips:

  • Always hold your purse/backpack in front of you.
  • Don’t carry too much cash or valuables at one time.
  • Ensure the legitimacy of your tuk-tuk driver by ordering from PassApp.
  • On an everyday basis, do not dress provocatively, as it is not common in Cambodia.
  • Leave your valuables in a room safe in your hotel.
  • Carry a form of identification with you at all times.
  • Don’t walk alone at night.

Cambodia is always very hot and humid. Be prepared to sweat a lot, especially if you’re outdoors and exposed to the sun. To mitigate the heat, try to wear loose, bright clothes.

December-February: Sunny, dry weather. The best time of the year to visit with the least amount of humidity.

February-April: Hottest months of the year, with temperatures as high as 40° Celsius.

May-June: Hot and sticky, worst humidity of the year.

July-November: The beginning of the rainy months, with hard downpour that may lead to temporary flooding.

Khmer is the official language of Cambodia. There aren’t many different dialects, but accents do differ based on the region. However, many Cambodians also speak either English, French, or Mandarin.

Here are some Khmer phrases that will help you get around:

Here are some Khmer phrases that will help you get around:

Hello – ជំរាបសួរ jem-reap-sou

Yes – ចា៎ Cha (female) or បាទ Bot (male)

No – អត់ទេ au-tay

Please – សូម soum

Thank you very much – អរគុណ​ច្រើន Ah-kun-chun

Do you speak English? – អ្នកចេះភាសាអង់គ្លេសទេ? neak cheh piasah ongkleh baan teh?

People in Cambodia are known to have good hearts, as they are nice to everyone new they meet.

Here are some general rules to follow during your stay in Cambodia:

For local events, timing is not strict. Be prepared for things to start later than officially stated.

Take off shoes when entering one’s home.

When visiting the royal palace or historical temples, always wear skirts/pants/dresses below the knee and a shirt that covers your shoulders and chest.

When greeting someone respectfully, clap your hands together and slightly bow.

Try to eat all the food on your plate, if possible.

Cambodian currency is the riel. 1 USD is approximately equivalent to 4,100 riels. However, most people do accept US dollars at most establishments. It is common to be denied your payment if the dollar is ripped or discolored.

Tipping is not customary or expected in Cambodia, but you are free to do so if you are satisfied with their service. Tourists are expected to tip more and if you rent a driver or a tour guide, then you should tip.

Cambodia uses 230 volts of electricity and a Type G converter. American passport holders will need to get a voltage converter or a universal adapter to charge devices.

Your converter should look like this:

Type G socket

Tap water is not safe to drink in Cambodia. Stick to drinking water from bottles, a filtered reusable bottle, or boiled water that has been heated for over 20 minutes.

For brushing teeth use bottled water as well. Do not drink anything with ice or eat any pre-cut fruit.

Wifi can be found in many places around Cambodia. Most restaurants, hotels, cafes, or offices have free Wifi, just ask for the password.

From the United States, phone calls can be as expensive as $5 a minute, so using an old phone with a Cambodian SIM card could potentially save you a lot of money. Smart is the cheapest international SIM card, and they have local phone shops all around Cambodia.

It’s recommended to travel via tuk tuk or the phone apps, Grab & PassApp. Tuk tuks are used to travel to popular tourist sights such as the night market. Through PassApp you can call a taxi or a tuk tuk and Grab is the Cambodian equivalent to an Uber.

In Cambodia, there are no anti-LGBTQ+ laws in place. However, LBTQ+ people are not culturally accepted so discrimination and violence are common for native Cambodians growing up LGBTQ+.

In general, couples, gay and straight, should avoid overt or excessive PDA.

Cambodia is still working on becoming a sustainable, eco-friendly country. Air and water pollution are very common and recycling is almost never an option. Most waste bins are divided into 2 sections: combustible and non-combustible.

However, Cambodia has a lot of natural beauty to visit like lakes, beaches, and rainforests. Hiking trails are available in the mountains of the Battambong province and the Buffalo Trails near Tonle Sap Lake.

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Civilization in southern Cambodia begins to trade with India, resulting in irrigation systems and the emergence of Hinduism.

3rd Century CE

King Yaśovarman I moves the capital near Siem Reap and starts the construction of Angkor, which derives from the Sanskrit word for city.

890 CE

Yaśovarman I moves the capital near Siem Reap and starts the construction of Angkor, which derives from the Sanskrit word for city.

890 CE

King Suryavarman II expands the Angkor empire into modern-day Thailand and Vietnam and builds the famous Angkor Wat temple complex.

1113 - 1150 CE

On a Chinese diplomatic mission, Zhou Daguan writes the largest and most detailed account of Angkor. This account includes the flourishing and growing Theravada Buddhism presence alongside Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism.

1290 CE

During this time, 22 monarchs ruled over Cambodia and the once vast territory of the Angkor empire starts to decline.

1603- 1848 CE

France is involved with the affairs of neighboring Vietnam and then decides to establish a protectorate in Cambodia, concerned about the expansion of the British and Siam empire (Thailand).

1863 CE

The Japanese occupation of Cambodia during World War II leads to the end of French rule and the declaration of independence by King Norodom Sihanouk.

1945 CE

After declining popularity, Sihanouk is overthrown. This marks the beginning of the civil war between Lon Nol’s new government and communist forces led by Saloth Sar.

1970 CE

The brutal and horrific Khmer Rouge regime kills nearly 20% of the Cambodian population, roughly 1.5 million people.

1975-1979 CE

Angkor is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Under UN supervision, Cambodia has its first free national elections.

1993 CE

The first Khmer Rouge Tribunal is held where three high ranking officers of the Khmer Rouge were convicted.