Cambodia Key Facts
181, 035 km²
15, 205, 539
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In Cambodia they drive on the right side of the road
When is the best time to visit?
Thee best time to go to Cambodia is from October until March, which corresponds to the dry season. Temperatures tend to be moderate, which is perfect to explore some of the wonderful beaches around Sihanoukville and Kep. The monsoon season on the other hand offers lower temperatures, but the scenery changes to a deep green and waterfalls and rivers are at their most spectacular.
17 airports (3 international), micro light aircrafts, helicopters, highways, motorcycles and motorcycle taxis, boats for inland waterways, trains (2 main railway lines), harbours and ports.
World Heritage Sites
- Angkor contains the remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire as well as the world famous Temple of Angkor Wat.
- Temple of Preah Vihear, which is a temple dedicated to Shiva that dates back to the 11th century.
Average Annual Temperature
Average Annual Rainfall
Cambodia has two seasons: dry season and rainy (monsoon) season. The dry season usually lasts from November to April and it can get as hot as 40 degrees, while the rainy season (May to October) offers tropical monsoons, temperatures around 22 degrees and very high humidity.
- January 1 - New Year's Day
- January 7 - Victory Day
- February 3 (2015) - Meak Bochea Day
- March 8 - International Women's Day
- April 14, 15 & 16 - Khmer New Year
- May 1 - Labor Day
- May 3&4 (2015) - Visak Bochea Day
- May 7 (2015)- Royal Ploughing Ceremony
- May 13, 14 & 15 - King's Birthday
- June 1 - Children's Day
- June 18 - Queen Mother's Birthday
- September 24 - Constitution Day
- September 28 (2015) - Pchum Ben Festival
- October 15 - King Father's Commemoration Day
- October 23 - Paris Peace Agreement Day
- November 9 - Independence Day
- November 24, 25 & 26 (2015) - Water Festival
- December 10 - Human Rights Day
Why Visit Cambodia?
The Temples of Angkor Wat are the main draw card for tourists, but Cambodia offers far more than that. Pricewise still cheaper than Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia offers excellent value for money and is a lot less crowded. The islands off the Cambodian coast offer pristine beaches and clear waters perfect for scuba diving and relaxing.
Things To Do In Cambodia
- See the Temples of Angkor Wat.
- Enjoy a river cruise in Phnom Penh.
- Visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields.
- Relax on a beach in Sihanoukville.
Travel Tips For Cambodia
- If you are planning on staying for a while then get a business visa rather than a tourist visa, as you can easily extend the business visa for up to a year. Overstaying your visa is definitely not recommended!
- Micro light Cambodia offers trips around the temples of Angkor, jungles, forests and villages.
- Metropolitan areas offer easier internet access than rural areas, but be mindful of the fact that internet penetration in Cambodia is only about 3%! In most coffee shops, bars, restaurants and petrol stations you should be able to find an internet connection.
- At times, you may be requested to give 'facilitation-money' and it is usually best to do so.
Food in Cambodia is usually cheap and quite filling, with rice and noodles forming the main staples. Generally the food is less spicy than in neighboring countries and Cambodians love sour tastes, with Prahok (a locally made fish paste) commonly found in their cooking. Typical breakfast foods are Bai Sarch Ch'rouk (rice with barbequed pork meat) and K'tieu (noodle soup). Coconut milk and curries are also very popular: Amok, which is a coconut milk curry served with chicken, fish or shrimps and some vegetables, is probably the most famous example. If you get lucky, you may see the French influence as well, in the form of a baguette served with your curry. For more adventurous eaters, you can also find pregnant eggs, spiders, and water beetles, as well as a barbequed rat, bat or frog. There is also a wide range of sweetmeats served with your choice of condensed milk, ice or sugar water and a wide variety of fresh fruit.
Cambodia Travel Safety and Warnings
- Hospitals are not a place to visit in Cambodia, so make sure you have a travel insurance that will get you at least to Thailand in case of an emergency.
- In bigger cities, expect pickpockets and wallet snatchers. It is recommended to be discreet with your possessions.
- Landmines will not be a problem unless you seek out remote areas, in which case it is important to seek out local advice and pay attention to any warnings.
Most people when they hear of Cambodia instantly think about the infamous killing fields and the reign of the Khmer Rouge. Once you go there though, you discover that there is much more to Cambodia than just that tragic period. Cambodia has a cultural heritage going back thousands of years, some of the most pristine and stunning beaches of the region, and beautiful nature reserves perfect for hiking. More than that, the Cambodian people bear witness to how a population can move beyond horrors of the past to face the future with a smile. With only 2 million tourists per year, buy a flight ticket, get your travel insurance for Cambdodia in order, and explore the 'kingdom of wonders'.
The main reason most people travel to Cambodia is Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Angkor is of huge archaeological importance. The Angkor Archaeological Park covers some 400 square kilometers and contains the remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire. Contained within this huge area are the famous temples of Angkor Wat and Bayon Temple. While Angkor Wat is a beautifully preserved example of a Hindu temple-mountain, Bayon Temple was built after the conversion to Buddhism and is thus a more Buddhist structure.
To explore this park, you will need to stay at the city of Siem Riep. While obviously serving as the entrance and base for exploring Angkor, the city itself is pleasant and offers more than just a trip to the temples. You can go visit a local silk farm, enjoy some cooking classes, try your hand at pottery, and wander around town to explore some of the smaller temples. After your busy days, head to Pub Street for a huge variety of restaurants, bars and clubs – the name says it all really. You can also get a cheap massage or a fish foot spa which is a unique experience where hundreds of small fish nibble on your feet.
A short but beautiful boat trip from Siem Riep lies the city of Battambang, home to many more Buddhist shrines, temples and also the bamboo railway. Established as a trading city in the 18th century, Battambang is a charming mix between modern and colonial architecture. There are a lot of temples in the area and you can also explore some of the countries’ history under Khmer Rouge reign by visiting Phnom Sampeu, a hill containing the Killing Caves.
South of Battambang, but still part of Cardamom and Elephant Mountains Region, lie the coastal cities of Sihanoukville, Kep and Kampot. Not only do these towns themselves offer beautiful, untouched beaches, but from here you can also rent a boat to enjoy a bit of island hopping.
Heading northwest from Kampot, you find the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. Phnom Penh is a bit rough around the edges, it’s a little seedy so be alert and you can expect bad driving, noise, poverty and quite a lot of beggars of all ages. The Royal Palace with the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is definitely worth visiting, as is the National Museum of Cambodia with its many artifacts from the golden age of Angkor.
Phnom Penh is also the place to explore some of Cambodia's past under the Khmer Rouge regime. The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is a must for anyone passing through Cambodia. This school was converted into the most important prison/interrogation station of the Khmer Rouge regime, with more than 14,000 being tortured here. Of all the prisoners brought to Tuol Sleng, only 8 survived. About 17 km south of the city are the infamous Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, where the regime killed several thousand people. Today a Buddhist stupa commemorates the victims and there is a small museum here. Neither Tuol Sleng nor the Killing Fields are for the faint of heart, but they form an important part of Cambodian History and should be visited by travellers.
Cambodia is a fairly safe country. In bigger cities you do have to ensure not to fall victim to purse-snatchers and pickpockets. The biggest problem comes in the form of poverty, and there is a large amount of beggars in most places. Before heading to Cambodia, do make sure to have travel insurance that includes health coverage. Cambodia is not the best place to go to hospital, so in case of any medical problems rather head to neighboring Thailand. So get your Cambodia travel insurance in order!
The food is generally simple, cheap and very filling. While neighboring countries love chili, Cambodians prefer black pepper, making their food a lot milder than Thailand's. However, Cambodians really enjoy sour tastes and the flavor of the locally used fish paste can take a bit of getting used to. For travellers with adventurous appetites, Cambodia offers a plethora of indulgences: you can try pregnant duck eggs, barbecued bat or frog, and a selection of various water beetles and spiders!
While Thailand, Vietnam and Laos are highly popular tourist destinations, Cambodia is still quiet, and offers an excellent opportunity for travellers wanting to explore. From rich cultural heritage to beautiful beaches, Cambodia offers a wide range of great travel experiences.