Getting around Cambodia
Travelling around Cambodia is fairly easy with several options
to choose from depending on your budget, experience amount of time
you have a quick summary:
Flying there are flights between Phnom Penh and
Siem Reap but not to many other places within Cambodia
Minibus these are the main semi luxury way to go
between the major destinations around Cambodia most hotels and guesthouses
and all travel agents can book these quickly and cheaply they shuttle
between all the main places daily and are reasonalby quick and safe
make sure it is a reputable company
Big Bus cheaper than the mini buses and take around
20% longer, this is how most Cambodians travel around the country
Four Wheel Drive / Car vehicle hire normally comes
with a driver whose accommodation is NOT included in the price most
convenient way to travel but also the most expensive road option
Remork / Tuk Tuk these buzz around the towns and
cities and are ideal for trips across town, from the bus station
to your accommodation and for going out for the night
Moto (Motobikes) quick cheap way to zip around
you can hire them by the day or just flag them down for a single
Bicycle rentable from many places in most towns
and cities cheap and good for exercise
Walking cheapest way of getting around but also
the most time consuming pack a good pair of flat shoes for walking
Cow Not your normal tourist travel and not very
fast but in rural areas you can catch a cow across the village!
Visa and passport
Everyone needs a passport that is valid for six months beyond the
date of travel to Cambodia.
Visas are required for most nationalities and are available at
all major entry airports: Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and at all major
land borders from Thailand, Vietnam and Laos although the process
and helpfulness at land borders is less efficient than at the airports.
You will need US$20 plus a two passport photos.
Visas are available before arrival at all major Cambodian eembassies
around the world costs and times for this vary.
Money and credit cards
The currency of Cambodia is the Cambodian Riel but everything is
priced and paid for in US Dollars, even the cash machines give you
the choice of Riel or US Dollar. Many things are US$1 so bring lots
of small notes !
Credit cards Visa and Mastercard are accepted at some hotels and
restaurants - generally only the upmarket ones though, and often
there is a surcharge. Most small shops, eateries and guesthouses
do not take cards.
Internet and Mobile Phone connections
Internet and mobile phone coverage is good across all the main
locations in Cambodia.
Roaming on your phone will work but is expensive, pick up a local
sim card for US$3 and connect to the many free wifi connections
in hotels, cafes and even buses for the internet. Connections are
generally good but not high speed.
Eat up and enjoy
Food is excellent in Cambodia, with most food being prepared with
fresh ingredients and influenced by Thailand, Vietnam and France
making it very tasty and diverse in flavour.
Eating is a social pastime in Cambodia from street stalls to a
la carte restaurants you will never go hungry, eating on a budget
is very easy, food quality is fantastic.
Although still developing the power network across Cambodia with
a rapidly growing demand of electricity users the electricity is
reasonably reliable in all major areas, top hotels have generators.
There usually is some form of power outage every week somewhere
but the are usually short lived (one hour ish).
Plugs are two pin as pictured on the left here.
General health staying healthy
Health and hygene is fairly good in Cambodia, drink bottled water
NOT the tap water, medical care is not stellar there are decent
hospitals in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville but not western
Access to general medication, pain relief tablets, antibiotics,
sanitary towels, shampoo and the like is easy in all major places,
if you have specific medication you need bring it with you with
a letter from your doctor.
Travel safe dangers etc
Cambodia is a pleasantly safe country to travel around, all the
usual safety concerns should be noted - walking dark streets or
deserted beaches at night, leaving valuables on display at cafes
Use common sense and dont put temptation in peoples path, Cambodia
is still a very poor country.
When to visit
The Wet Season May to October - The Dry
Season October to April
It is possible to enjoy a visit to Cambodia all year, although
in two very different ways, for the rainy season you will need to
be prepared for lots of rain and slower journey times but you will
see the green lush Cambodia that dissapears in the dry season, also
beach / island locations are not ideal in the rain! But prices and
availability are better.
Int the dry season the beach areas and islands are fantastic while
Angkor is much busier and much hotter but dry. Most tourists visit
in the dry season, while many travellers say you can only really
appreciate Cambodias beauty in the wet season.
The Wet Season May to October
The wind from the southwest brings the rain from May to October
when 75% of Cambodias annual rains fall. Peak rains are July to
September where it can rain for two out of three days, usually just
a few hours heavy rain a day but ocassionally you get an all day
The rains do cause slower journey times on the roads so plan accordingly.
The good thing with the rains is that the roads are no longer dusty
and grimy and the countryside turns a lush green with a natural
beauty completely missing for the rest of the year.
Angkor temples with the surrounding forests and jungles take on
a new dimension during the rains.
It is also the queiter time of year for visitors so prices go down
and there are less tourists
The Dry Season October to April
October to April are Cambodias dry period, the wind blows from the
northeast and the dusty dry roads and the hot air return, quite
cool means just below 30 C... November to February is the main tourist
season where the most visitors arrive in Cambodia to enjoy the sun
and dry weather. Prices, bus seats, plane tickets and accommodation
availability also peak so plan ahead for these times
The good news is that English is widely well spoken in all main
areas of Cambodia, in all the tourist places menus, signs etc are
all in English.