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In Siem Reap, roughly 45% of the population is under the poverty line. Angkor Wat is responsible for 50+% of Cambodia's tourists.
Cambodia has only one time zone, UTC + 7 hours. Cambodia is five hours ahead of Paris and 11 hours ahead of New York/Toronto.
To travel to Siem Reap, all travelers need a valid passport with six months validity beyond your date of entry.
Visas are available for one month to business and tourist travelers. Here is a list of countries that contain varying visa requirements for entering Cambodia.
One page of your passport is required for entry stamp upon arrival. In order to obtain a tourist visa, you will need:
- A passport.
- A visa application form that you must fill out.
- A current picture of your face.
- Your plane ticket.
One can receive a visa online prior to entry or applying directly at the airport. Visas will cost USD $30.00 per entry. Note that the import of Cambodian currency (Riel) is not allowed. More information about visa requirements can be found here.
International visitors are no longer required to provide a health declaration or COVID-19 vaccine certificate upon arriving in Cambodia, but there are still remote temperature checkers at the border gates.
Just landed in Siem Reap International Airport? Here are a few ways to get where you need to go:
Rent a taxi provided by the airport which has a fixed rate of 10$.
Book a tuk-tuk or car using the app Grab (Cambodian equivalent of Uber) which will cost around 6$.
Aside from domestic flights, there are many other ways to explore Siem Reap.
If you are traveling locally, the best mode of transportation is through Grab. This is the Cambodian version of Uber or Lyft. However, A tuk-tuk is cheaper and more widespread. You can also rent express mini-vans along with a driver in your native language.
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.
- 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.
Siem Reap 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 primary language used in Cambodia. Fortunately, there are not different dialects, but accents differ based on the countryside and the city. However, for tourists traveling in popular cities, English, French, and Mandarin are often spoken.
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 – អរគុណច្រើន Ah-kun-chun
Do you speak English? – អ្នកចេះភាសាអង់គ្លេសទេ? neak cheh piasah ongkleh baan teh?
For important phrases that may be useful to travelers, refer to this article.
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:
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 Siem Reap. 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, LGBTQ+ 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, Siem Reap has a lot of natural beauty to visit such as the waterfalls in Kbal Spean and Phnom Kulen National Park, as well as the gorgeous reservoir, Srah Srang. The Angkor temples are also surrounded by the lush jungle.