Hot climate can honestly make or break your experience.
First things first: weather. Your preparation for the hot climate can honestly make or break your experience. If you want to go during the clearest time of the year, December is the way to go. Not only is it cooler, but mosquitos back down a bit and it feels less humid. April and May are rainy months, so be prepared for abrupt thunderstorms and showers.
If you want to minimize the funny looks you get for being a tourist, you should consider giving up the “I Heart Cambodia!” T-shirts. Because Asian culture associates pale skin with beauty and wealth, locals typically try to cover their skin from the sun as much as possible. Baggy long pants or loose jeans (WITHOUT rips) are great! Any shorts or skirts above the knee will make you stick out like a sore thumb… Trust me. As for shoes, that depends on the city and activity. If you are in Phnom Penh, I would recommend sandals and open-toed shoes (you will be SWEATY!). Places like Siem Reap, however, require lots of hiking, and bugs/mosquitos are hidden everywhere, so tennis shoes are the way to go.
As for safety, I’m going to be honest: you have to be careful. Especially in busy tourist areas like Angkor Wat, placing your backpack/purse in the front of your body prevents pickpockets. In fact, as recently as February 2018 7 French tourists made international headlines when they were robbed and injured, causing a car crash. To prevent this, don’t go on your phone if you’re on the move (i.e. riding on a motorcycle or walking in a busy place). You’d be surprised how common and EASY it is for people to grab your phone while you aren’t paying attention.
Keep these in mind, but don’t let it prevent you from traveling here. If you are careful, Cambodia feels safe like any other country and you can simply enjoy the large variety of activities here! As for clothing, many are aware of foreigner fashion. Many young Cambodians even aspire to dress like them!
News headline data taken from Cambodia Expats Online.
Celine spent 6 weeks in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.