What I Want I Knew Earlier than I Went to Cambodia


Cambodia can and can seize your coronary heart. Its historic empire is the primary purpose to go to, however there’s a lot extra it has to supply. Keep a bit longer, step away from the vacationer spots, and you’ll fall in love and by no means need to go away.

Listed here are the issues I’ve discovered that can preserve you secure and ready for this unbelievable nation:

1. Visas

The best and most simple solution to get a visa for Cambodia is on the airport. Deliver a few images with you to keep away from additional expenses. Fill within the kind on arrival, wait whereas 20-odd officers course of it, and off you go! Prior to now, should you deliberate on staying longer than 60 days it was simple to get an ‘ordinary’ visa. This now comes with strings hooked up, involving a piece allow.

So, should you’re on holidays within the area, the vacationer visa is the best choice. It prices US$ 30 for the preliminary visa and most travel businesses can add an extension of 30 extra days for round $50-55. Overstay penalties are $10/day.

You may get a visa on arrival for overland travel too, but it surely’s finest to learn up as there are scams and pitfalls to pay attention to. It’s additionally not beneficial to get visas on-line as a result of there are lots of rip-off web sites. Even authentic visas are sometimes questioned upon entry.

2. Don’t get scammed

A well-liked rip-off generally known as the Milk Powder Rip-off has been going for many years. It’s most prevalent within the Pub Avenue and Previous Market areas in Siem Reap.

A single mom with child in tow approaches vacationers on the road. She does not need cash. She desires child method for her sickly toddler and is aware of precisely the place to purchase it. Observe her via the crowded avenue. Shortly! Her child is hungry and it has been days since she has final eaten.

She’ll lure anybody who agrees to the close by grocery store. They may purchase her a can of overpriced child method – a can purchased dozens of occasions that night by different vacationers.

Single mom and traveler will half methods. She’s going to return the can method to the grocery store for money. Then discover one other traveler to repeat the method. Splitting earnings with grocery store homeowners.

You may learn extra concerning the Milk Powder Rip-off right here

Tourism can have a profound impact on a group, particularly a poor group like Siem Reap. There, poverty and mass tourism collide. Ensure your cash goes to serving to by supporting social enterprises and NGOs. There are a number of that give free child milk powder to people who want it. That’s what makes a long-lasting and constructive distinction for the individuals of Cambodia.

Go to ConCERT in Siem Reap for the very best suggestions on how one can assist.


three. That I wouldn’t want my mini skirt or a jumper

Cambodia is a really conservative nation. You will note some locals wearing western fashion at a number of the golf equipment. Almost definitely they’re in a career you’re not fascinated with. Depart the mini skirt and tank tops (sure boys too) at dwelling. You’ll really feel much more relaxed and comfy amongst the Cambodian individuals. Plus, they are going to recognize you respecting their tradition.

Cambodia is sizzling. Highly regarded, particularly March and April. Throughout the moist season (roughly Might to September) it’s a good suggestion to deliver a light-weight waterproof jacket. Even within the cool season, the bottom temperatures are round 18 levels Celsius at night time time. Save your baggage house and don’t fear about bringing an excessive amount of heavy clothes. In case you are visiting Cambodia throughout the moist season do carry eco-sensitive bug spray with you.


four. Ingesting water

As an eco acutely aware traveler, I nervous about consuming water after I got here to Cambodia. Particularly since I wish to preserve my plastic footprint small. What I quickly found is that it’s simple to get filtered water in numerous locations. Most guesthouses and eating places will fill your bottle on request. Some totally free, and a few for a nominal payment. Some will put it on the market, some you’ll be able to ask. It is a good end result – so pack your water bottle and know that you could drink your fill.


5. Motos/motorbikes

It’s attainable to rent motorbikes in Cambodia, but it surely’s really unlawful! In addition to avoiding fines in your vacation, it’s a lot safer to keep away from the motos.

The visitors operates in a really uncommon solution to the way it does anyplace out of Southeast Asia. Street guidelines are versatile and it’s not unusual for individuals to journey/drive the unsuitable method down the road. Additionally they minimize corners or use ‘creative’ maneuvers for attending to their vacation spot. Protected to say, keep away from driving a moto your self.

There are moto taxis, however ensure you get a helmet and naturally, examine in case your insurance covers use of moto taxis. The most suitable choice is to make use of tuk tuks.


6. Cultural sensitivities

In addition to respectful apparel, there are a couple of extra issues that make your keep in Cambodia simpler. Smile! Generally issues can get troublesome. Your tuk tuk drivers can’t discover an tackle, sellers making an attempt to upsell, and lots of different issues which are new and weird. The perfect response is at all times to smile, giggle, say thanks or goodbye.

As with many Asian cultures, Cambodians don’t need to lose face in entrance of you. Vacationers are necessary, so everybody will go away pleased should you can keep calm and affected person. Remember to half firm with a smile.

Greetings between Cambodians are usually fingers in prayer place (Sampeh). Don’t hug or do affectionate greetings with Cambodians. For those who do, it’s going to be awkward. Preserve this in thoughts particularly in images. Attempt to assess if somebody really desires to be in your photograph or in the event that they’re being well mannered. Restrict the physique contact for the pose otherwise you’ll find yourself with a bunch of images of grimacing Cambodians!

7. You will want greater than three days

The temples in Siem Reap are unbelievable. They are often exhausting, although, particularly within the hotter months. Finest to get a multi day temple cross and tempo your self. Spend half day on temple adventures and different enjoyable actions.

Round Siem Reap, find time for Cambodian fashion picnics and rest. You are able to do this in locations like Kulen Mountain, West Baray, and Phnom Kraom. Go to the Tonle Sap lake and discover the Banteay Srei area for wildlife and historical past websites. When in Phnom Penh, it’s solely a brief tour to the seashore aspect and islands.

Battambang is a stunning place to go to. As Cambodia’s second largest metropolis, it’s a superb place to take pleasure in Cambodia’s hospitality. Remember to go to sights just like the Bamboo Railway and the Bat Cave.


eight. Insurance coverage

Journey insurance is a should! This should not be daunting, however there are some dangers in Cambodia and so it’s essential. Lots of people go to Cambodia for volunteer alternatives. Some insurance insurance policies don’t cowl work even in a voluntary capability, so take a look at your coverage first.

Threat of theft is excessive. It is petty theft, but it surely’s finest to not carry a purse or backpack out at night time time, particularly in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Well being care is each primary and costly. The worldwide hospitals cost effectively past $150 for a primary gastro therapy. For extra severe accidents or diseases, you need to have the choice of going to Bangkok or Singapore.

By the way in which, you’re going to get an upset abdomen whilst you’re right here, it doesn’t matter what. Remember to deliver medication with you from dwelling.

For those who run out, go to a pharmacy. They’ve every little thing you’ll need, no prescriptions required. For those who want some recommendation, attempt UCare Pharmacy. They’re open longer hours and skilled in traveler questions.


9. There are swimming pools in every single place, even should you don’t keep at that resort

Need the swanky resort however can’t afford the worth tag? Don’t fear, plenty of accommodations and guesthouses in Cambodia have an open door coverage. Some cost $1-2 to be used of a primary pool in a primary resort, whereas it is as much as $25 to be used of a pool in a luxurious resort. It’s additionally attainable in lots of locations to order one thing from their menu and have complimentary use of the pool. Bliss!

Cambodia is a spot stuffed with kind-hearted and beneficiant individuals. This in itself makes it an important place to reside and to really feel at dwelling. There’s plenty of enjoyable to take pleasure in too, picnicking is unquestionably excessive on the record. Cambodians like to eat, so most social actions revolve round meals. The pure atmosphere is beautiful. The countryside is the place the ‘real’ Cambodia is, away from the busy cities. The cities are fascinating too. There’s numerous variety due to massive numbers of foreigners and locals co-existing.



Sarah’s background in tourism is what introduced her to reside in Siem Reap. She needed to get entangled with a tourism business early on and has been in Siem Reap since 2014. She loves mountaineering and biking and being in nature. Initially from Australia, she believes she’s fortunate to reside in such a unique place. She advocates for environmental protection and works on-line. Who is aware of the place else she might reside sooner or later.

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