Practical information about Cambodia
Cambodia enjoys a calm, tropical climate that does not fluctuate greatly during the year. There are two seasons: the dry season, which runs from November to May, and the rainy season from June to October. The mean average temperature for the year is 27 °C.
The weather is unpredictable, but generally speaking you can divide the Cambodian seasons up as follows:
Mid-November until February: warm and dry
March through May: hot and dry
June through September hot and wet
October until early November: warm and wet
Excursions and transfers are conducted in small, international groups led by English-speaking guides.
You can travel to Cambodia all year round. During the European winter it is the dry season in Cambodia, when the temperatures are extremely pleasant. For this reason, there are many tourists at the major attractions and on the beaches in Sihanoukville and Kep during this period. In our summer months, the temperatures in Cambodia are higher. It is also at this time of the year that most of the rain falls there – which means that dust is not a problem, and there are far fewer tourists. The sights and attractions remain fully accessible, though, and you could claim with some justification that Angkor Wat is particularly attractive when the moats are full to the brim with water and all the plants are a rich green colour.
NB: the central tower of Angkor Wat is closed to tourists on the holy days in the Buddhist calendar.
Please read our booking terms and conditions carefully. These terms and conditions constitute the basis of your package purchased from Asiatours.co.uk. Click here to read our terms and conditions of travel.
All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate
We are an ATOL protected agency giving you complete peace of mind. It is a condition of booking that the sole responsibility lies with the guest to ensure that they carry the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover themselves, as well as any dependants/traveling companions for the duration of their tour.
In cooperation with our partner we can offer advantageous travel insurances. Learn more here.
The official language of Cambodia is Khmer, but as a tourist you can certainly make yourself understood in English.
We always advise that you contact a specialist, your GP or an authorized vaccination clinic. You can also read more about the rules for travel & vaccinations at the central NHS Fit for Travel website: here
Please be aware of the rules about yellow fever – especially if you are entering via another Asian country where yellow fever is present.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry. So be sure to bring your vaccination certificate with you in these cases.
In the same way as for other international travel, you must be in possession of a valid UK passport. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after departure from Cambodia.
As a UK citizen, you can obtain a visa in two ways: either electronically or on your arrival in Cambodia.
Read more about how to apply for an electronic visa here: www.evisa.gov.kh.
The price of an electronic visa is 30 USD + fee of 7 USD, payable by credit card. Your visa will be sent to you by email, and it should be printed out and brought with you to Cambodia. Please note that your visa is valid for 3 months after the date of issue and that your entry into Cambodia should therefore be within this period. Your visa is valid for 30 days from the date of entry.
Please note: If you are sailing from Chau Doc in Vietnam to Phnom Penh in Cambodia, electronic visas are not accepted. Visas can therefore only be obtained upon your arrival at the port of Cambodia.
If you prefer to apply for a visa via the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in London, you can read about the application process here: www.cambodianembassy.org.uk under the header ‘Visa’.
The rules on visas can be checked on the Foreign Ministry’s website.
Of course, you are also welcome to contact us for advice.
The unit of currency in Cambodia is the riel (KHR). 1 riel is composed of 100 sen.
It is a protected currency, which means you cannot buy it in advance and will have to exchange currency in Cambodia.
Visit www.xe.com/currencyconverter to see the current exchange rate in both US dollars and euros. We recommend that you bring some US dollars with you in cash (ideally large denomination notes – USD 20, 50 or 100 USD), and exchange them at an official bureau de change on arrival in the country. You should not expect to be able to exchange a large denomination American note for smaller denomination notes. We therefore recommend that you bring some American dollars in small denomination notes as well (USD 1, 5 and 10).
Many places actually prefer to receive payment in US dollars. However, if the price of what you wish to buy is less than USD 1, the vendor will usually want to be paid in riels.
You should not have any problem using common credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard in the cities of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang and Sihanoukville, where cash machines (ATMs) are also becoming more common. It is unusual to encounter ATMs outside these cities, however, and you should not count on being able to use your credit card in very many places – although most hotels and will accept credit cards, as will many restaurants and shops.
Please note that there are a lot of shops selling precious stones in Cambodia. We recommend that you avoid buying such stones here, as there are a great many fakes in circulation. Our guides do not take our customers to precious stone shops, and any precious stone purchases you may make are on your own responsibility.
The price level in Cambodia is generally lower than in Europe. The guide below applies to the cities. Prices are typically lower in rural areas, where the range of options also tends to be more limited.
Restaurants serving western cuisine: from USD 4
Restaurants serving Khmer dishes: from USD 3
Soft drinks: USD 1
Beer: USD 1
Juice: USD 2
Water, small bottle: USD 0.50; large bottle: USD 1
- Other goods:
Telephones: from USD 10–20
SIM cards: USD 3
DVDs: USD 2.50–3
Books: USD 10–15
You are welcome to give gratuities, but it is up to you whether or not to do so and you may tip as much or as little as you like. The following suggestions are indicative only:
- Bellboy: USD 1–2 per room
- Maid: USD 1 per day
- Guides: USD 5–10 per person, per day; depending on the service supplied
- Drivers: USD 2–5 per person, per day; depending on the service supplied
- Restaurants: In modern restaurants, a service charge is sometimes included in the price so there is no need to leave an extra tip. Gratuities are seldom expected in local restaurants, but there is nothing to stop you putting some coins on the table when you leave.
Our tipping guideline is in USD, but tips should be calculated in the local currency at the destination.
The difference between Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the time in Cambodia varies between UK summer and winter time.
Summer time: +4 hours. This means that when it is noon GMT, it is 16.00 in Cambodia.
Winter time: +5 hours. This means that when it is noon GMT, it is 17.00 in Cambodia.
Cambodia has neither standardised power nor standard plugs. This means that you may encounter mains electricity of anywhere between 110 and 230 volts. The plugs will either have two round pins or three flat ones. Therefore, make sure to bring a travel adapter with you if you will need to recharge your camera, phone or laptop.
The international dialling code for Cambodia is +855. It can be expensive to place calls to – or receive them from – Europe while you are in Cambodia. Ask your own mobile service provider about coverage and call charges. If you need to make lots of calls or to send a lot of text messages, it may be a good idea to buy a local SIM card. There are internet cafés in the big cities, and Wi-Fi connections in most hotels.
Cambodia is generally a very safe country to travel in. Crime involving tourists is typically limited to isolated incidents of pick-pocketing, and can usually be avoided through the application of common sense. Try not to show off expensive jewellery and large sums of cash.
Large numbers of land mines were laid in Cambodia during the War of Indochina, and there are still areas that have not been cleared of mines. However, these areas are far away from the places our tours visit – and generally outside the typical tourist areas. The majority of the non-cleared areas are stretches of rural land (paddy fields) in the northern and western corners of the country.
Always follow the advice and information provided by the guides and you can be sure of staying out of danger.
Khmer cuisine is considered to be some of the healthiest in the world. The food smells good and tastes wonderful. It is very healthy and calls to mind Thai cuisine – although it is not as hot and spicy. It is also heavily influenced by Vietnamese dishes on account of the history the country shares with French Indochina.
The best-known Khmer (Cambodian) dish is called ‘amok’. This is a traditional curry, prepared using coconut and (usually) fish, although a chicken variant is sometimes served.
Only ever drink water from bottles. Bottled water is cheap and readily available everywhere. DO NOT drink water from the taps.
We will send you your flight reservation as soon as you book your trip. You can see times and routes on the itinerary. It is important to check your name for spelling mistakes. The name on the reservation must be exactly as in your passport. If you find any mistakes in the names, please contact us immediately.
Today, there are only electronic airline tickets (e-tickets), so you do not receive a physical ticket for use at the airport check-in. When you check in at the airport, you use your passport and a booking reference. The booking reference is on your itinerary.
Once you have purchased a tour through us, you will receive our service letter before your departure. The service letter contains important information about online check-in, what to do in the event of a delay, our agreed guidelines for tips, etc. In addition, you will find important telephone numbers for our local agents as well as our emergency telephone number.
So it is important that you print out the service letter and bring it with you.
We recommend that you make a seat reservation on the plane. Many airlines also offer to upgrade reserved tickets for seats with extra space and comfort, e.g. Economy Comfort at KLM and Premium Voyageur at Air France. You can do this through the airline’s website. Most airlines have a point in the menu called “manage my booking”. Please note that many airlines require payment for seat reservation, so you should have your credit/debit card to hand when you get started.
Unfortunately, rules differ as to when seat reservation is opened. We recommend that you try to make a seat reservation as early as possible and you will then know when you can make a seat reservation if it cannot be done right away. It is very common for seat reservation to be opened between 72 and 24 hours before departure.
We use many different airlines for our flights to Cambodia, so there may be variations in the amount of luggage you are allowed to bring with you as both checked luggage and hand luggage. Check the information about this on your airline ticket, and contact us if you have any questions. If your tour involves a domestic flight in Cambodia, you cannot bring more than 20 kg of luggage with you.
You should also make sure you carry all your important and indispensable things in your hand luggage. This applies to items such as passports, visas, airline tickets, insurance documents, credit cards, money and cameras, as well as information about your health and vital medicines.
You may find yourself sitting in a draught from the air conditioning in the plane, so make sure to pack a warm jumper or jacket in your hand luggage.
On arrival at the different airports in Cambodia, you will be met by our local representative who will be waiting for you in the arrival hall with an Asiatours.co.uk sign. You will naturally also be driven to the airport on departure. You will be informed of your pick-up time when you arrive in Cambodia.
Experiencing differences in culture and etiquette is one of the delights of travelling, and it is essential to respect these differences. ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’ is good advice, and the section below contains a number of useful hints and tips intended to help you make the very most of your visit to Cambodia.
- Try not to show anger. Displaying frustration or anger by shouting or acting rudely is considered extremely impolite and disrespectful – and nothing good will come of it. Being shouted at is the same as losing face, which is something the Cambodian (Khmer) people do not like.
- Try to avoid public displays of affection – kissing or cuddling, for example – as this is considered offensive. It is extremely rare to see couples walking hand in hand. On the other hand, it is completely usual for male or female friends to hold hands.
- Take your shoes off before entering a house; there are exceptions to this rule, however, so look for shoes next to the door. If there are shoes there already, you should take yours off before entering.
- Cambodians greet one another by bowing slightly with their hands pressed together as if in prayer (without intertwining their fingers). It is more polite for the younger person to initiate the greeting. For foreigners and in business situations, a (European) handshake is commonly accepted.
- Do not touch children on their heads, as this is considered to bring bad luck. (Cambodian people touch their shoulders or arms instead).
- Always use your right hand or both hands when passing something to – or receiving something from – other people. Never use your left hand alone.
- Do not wear shorts, short skirts or tank tops, especially close to temples and churches and out in the country where few tourists travel.
- If you visit a monastery (vihara), take your hat and shoes off before you go inside.
- Do not point your fingers at people and take special care not to point at Buddha figures.
- Do not, under any circumstances, go skinny-dipping or nude sunbathing, as this is considered obscene – even on beaches.
- If you sit down in front of a ‘dai’ (a Buddhist altar), make sure to sit with your feet to the side so that they face away from Buddha.
- Women are allowed to exchange items with a monk, but must never touch him.
NB: the central tower of Angkor Wat is closed to tourists on the holy days in the Buddhist calendar.
In Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, it is most usual to take taxis to and from the airport, for a fixed price. ‘Reumork’ (the Cambodian equivalent of the tuk-tuk) are used in towns and cities, and typically cost USD 1–3 per journey in Siem Reap and USD 2–5 in Phnom Penh. In both cities, short tours (i.e. less than 1 km) cost around USD 1, although prices are generally a little higher in the evening.
Motorcycle taxis are also available in Cambodia. We recommend that you avoid these, however, as they are often involved in traffic accidents.
Some parts of Cambodia are very poor, and our local partner has given us the following guidelines regarding donations and gifts.
- NEVER give money to beggars – children in particular. Giving money to beggars reinforces the impression that begging is an acceptable way of life. If children earn money from begging, their parents will be tempted to send them out onto the streets to beg rather than to school.
- The only exception to this rule relates to disabled people and the elderly; it is OK to give them a few coins.
- NEVER give sweets to children in the villages you visit during your tour.
- Try to get out of the habit of giving material things. It is often better to share your time, give a smile and offer friendship.
Please note, our tours are generally not suitable for persons with reduced mobility. Please contact us for information about the possibilities according any specific needs.