Cambodia is a Southeast Asian country, which is famous as the “Country of warm smiles.” The country stands tall for the amazing people, rich culture, delicious cuisine, mesmerizing coastline and an exciting nightlife. The Cambodia Travel Guide will briefly take you through the culture, top destinations, things to do, things to not do and will prepare you for the surprises coming ahead of you.
Cambodia’s old towns and buildings are a delight because they still have traces of colonial architecture, which add an old charm to the country. It remains as a rural society but towards the south, it has a different culture that involves nightlife, parties, and cocktail parties in its magical islands.
Cambodian culture and Cambodia Travel Guide
Cambodian culture is very much distinct from that of western culture. Knowing in detail about their culture will help you deal with a cultural difference so that you can get the most out of the Cambodia tour. Cambodia has a long history that evolved over years, and religion includes a major part of it. Buddhism and Hinduism are the major religions, and you can found their influences in many different areas.
The traditional greeting manner of Cambodians is Sampeah. It is a practice where you press both of the palms together and greets “Chumreap Suor” by slightly bowing down. Higher the hand, higher is the respect. Khmer is the official language that has deep Thai influence. English is always a second language there. However, English is the language used for communication in the restaurant, Hotel and business meetings nowadays.
Cambodia is also famous for its traditional martial arts like Bokator, Kbach Kun Dambong Veng, Pradal Serey and Boak Chambab. Bokator is a form of martial arts, which involves hand to hand fighting, and ground techniques along with weapons like short sticks. Kbach Kun Dambong Veng is a martial art that includes the usage of a long staff. It is one of the martial arts, which are popular among youth sports clubs. Pradal Serey is traditional Khmer kickboxing a Boak Chambab is Khmer wrestling.
Etiquette Do's and Don'ts
Cambodians are modest, but you need to respect their local standards. There are certain manners you need to follow once you start the Cambodia tour.
Meet and Greet
Greeting a person is the best way to show respect in this part of world, so whenever you meet the local people greet them to show your respect. You can either shake hands with people of the same gender. To greet in a traditional way, hold your hands as you pray with palms together. If you meet any monks, greet in a traditional way and bow down a little which is a sign of respect. Make some effort to learn local greeting phrases so that you can use it when talking to people.
Cover up yourself
Cambodians generally wear dresses, which hide the entire body from ankles to shoulders. Although you can spot foreign women dressed in a short dress and tops, it is good to show respect to their dress culture while you are in their country. Do cover up yourself whenever you are at religious places. Nude sunbathing is inappropriate even in beaches.
Do not touch a monk
You are not supposed to touch a monk especially if you are women. Do not touch an adult on his/her head. It is because, as per Buddhist tradition, they consider head as the sacred part. Cambodians consider feet as a dirty part of the body so you never touch anything with your feet when you are at Cambodia. Whenever you want to take a picture with a monk, you need to take prior permission instead of taking a selfie with them without asking.
As a traveler, there will be many situations when things go beyond your planning. You might lose temper during the Cambodia travel or in the market. But you must never yell at a local or speak angrily raising your voice. Cambodians are calm and polite people in general. You will rarely see a local Cambodian getting angry with anybody. Speak politely and with a smile in the face whenever you interact with people in Cambodia.
Do not pet the dogs
In western countries especially in America, dogs are pets, and it is natural to play with them. In Cambodia, not all dogs are pets, and they might carry many diseases. You can find many dogs wander around and carry rabies or other diseases. So beware of touching street dogs to stay away from vaccinations!
If you are visiting temples or any pagodas, you need to remove shoes and head coverings before entering the area. Make sure that you turn off all devices and avoid loud speaking. Do mind the dress code throughout your Cambodia Tour and show respect to monks. While having a conversation with a monk, do not sit before he takes a seat.
Must See Destinations
Cambodia is the kingdom of wonders, which has many hidden places of interests that are unknown to many. To explore such a place, you need the assistance of an experienced Cambodia travel guide.
For your travel package requirements, out of the many travel agencies, Indochina value tour operator can offer you the best services. They are reputable tour operators who have years of experience in the industry. They offer various special packages, which cater your needs, budget and time to give you an excellent Cambodia travel experience. The tour operator provides you with a customizable tour package along with all necessary arrangements at various locations and a local experienced private guide who joins you in the journey.
Must see sites during your Cambodia Travel
Here are some of the must-see destinations of Cambodia, which will help you to know the culture and history of Cambodia in a much better way.
Siem Reap – the hot spot location
Located in the northwest of Cambodia, Siem Reap is a hotspot for tourism. The city is close to the ancient temples of Angkor and has many charming attractions. To know more about the land of Khmers, you must travel to Siem Reap. The city stretches along Siem Reap River and between the great rice paddies. It is one of the famous heritage sites in the world.
How to get there
It is easy to fly to Siem Reap International airport from Phnom Penh city, as there are many direct flights. The flight tickets are included in most of the Cambodia travel packages unless you choose cruise trip or train travel. The road trip is also preferred choice, as it would take hardly 5 hours to reach Siem Reap from Phnom Penh.
Things to do
If you want to experience the traditional Cambodia travel, you have to take roads trips through the countryside, see Apsara dance performances, and enjoy boat trips to the fishing village and Tonle Sap Lake.
The city is a foodie's delight as it offers a vast collection of dining places which includes both Asian and western cuisine. There are many eateries scattered across the city with different varieties of choices. Traditional Cambodian cuisine includes traditional dishes like Amok made with fish and Luk-lac made with beef. Cambodia shares a strong history of France, which has also extended to Cambodian cuisine. French cuisine also occupies a special place in the finest restaurants in the city, which you must explore during Cambodia tour.
All of the Cambodia travel packages include great shopping slots, which are an essential during any journey. Siem Reap is an amazing place to do shopping for almost all kinds of things. Ranging from traditional handicrafts to chic fashion accessories, you will get all types of stuff here. The old market is the best place to get traditional souvenirs and contemporary art pieces.
Phnom Penh – the capital city of Cambodia
Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia, spreads its vibrant vibes across the seas. It is on the banks of three famous rivers Mekong, Tonle Sap, and Bassac. It is also the popular political and economic hub of Cambodia. Even though young, the city also hosts traces of traditional and historic sites and holds the ancient culture.
How to get there
Phnom Penh has direct flight services from all major cities of the world. You can either reach the city from Cambodia or Siem Reap via flight. The mode of travel will again vary with the specifications in your Cambodia travel package. Cambodia shared crossing with all the countries sharing a border with it. If you are traveling by road, Moc Bai crossing is the most comfortable route to the city, and the roads are in good condition too.
Things to do
Phnom Penh has many historical and cultural places of interest, which fascinates you as a tourist. There are tremendous opportunities for sightseeing, shopping, dining and nightlife across the city throughout your Cambodia Travel.
At least 2 days required to cover the tour program, as you will not be able to spend much time at each place otherwise. You can plan things according to the suggestions of you Cambodia travel guide. Must see attractions include silver pagodas, Royal Palace, Independence Monument, the National Museum, Russian market, Wat Phnom and Toul Sleng.
Phnom Penh is a small party town, which offers you an exciting night light to chill during your Cambodia travel. There are many clubs and pubs scattered around the city, and you can find bar streets.
Travel packages for Cambodia tour programs
Eco Cambodia Adventure
Eco Cambodia Adventure is a 10-day Cambodia travel offered by Indochina value, which includes a visit to ancient temples, buildings and places of cultural importance and other historical sites. The tour starts from Phnom Penh, and the other destinations are Ban Lung, Stung Treng, Phteah Village and Siem Reap.
Wat Nokor is one of the places included in the Cambodia travel package, which is an ancient shrine built in the 13th century. The construction of the shrine is of sand and stones, and it contains some of the very old Buddhist classical decors. By visiting small villages like Ban Lung, you will be able to meet local people, nomad tribes and explore the untouched nature, which is breathtakingly beautiful.
Discover Cambodia Tour
This Cambodia travel package is a 6-day trip, which helps you to discover some of the magnificent places in the country. You can visit ancient palaces, old pagodas, some of the famous villages and the famous National Museum. You can also enjoy a boat ride in the floating village along with a visit to the old market.
Though a short trip, it covers most of the must visit destinations which help you to dive into the historical and cultural value of the country. The package covers Siem Reap, Angkor Wat, Banteay Srei, Ta Prohm, Khmer Village, Beng Mealea, Floating village, and Phnom Penh.
Cambodia Heritage is also a 6-day Cambodia tour with the inclusion of famous attractions like Royal places, different monuments of cultural importance, Museums, old temples and floating village. Angkor is the most significant archaeological sites in Cambodia. It stretches over 400km and includes many famous temples, which are in rich in sculptural decorations. It was the main center of Khmer kingdom centuries back. It represents the Empire, which existed from 9th to 14th century. You can see many traces of architectural layout that once represented the culture, religion, art of the Khmer kingdom. The Destinations include Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Angkor Complex and Beng Mealea.
Cambodia Impressive Tour
This Cambodia tour is an 11-day trip, which especially suits people who want to explore Cambodia in a limited time. It is a fantastic opportunity to get into the fascinating ancient history and diverse culture. You can also pay a visit to many magnificent old temples, which are the part of Cambodian history. Sand beaches, elephant ride, temple visit, palaces, national museums are some of the attractions included in the trip. The places included Siem Reap, Angkor Complex, Battambang, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. You can enjoy a leisure time by having a relaxed and exciting journey at the same time.
Grand Tour of Cambodia
The name says it all! It is a Cambodia travel 13 days, which includes 12 nights. This package is again for those who have a couple of weeks and still want to cover the major parts of Cambodia. The trip comprises a blend of culture, history, countryside visit, sandy beaches, villages, and architecture. Remarkable sights, traces of royalty, the experience of village life, islands, old markets, and temples will help you to discover the heart of Cambodia deeply. The destinations include Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Kratie, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Battambang, Oudong, and Kampong Chhnang.
Highlight Tour of Cambodia & Vietnam
This Cambodia travel package is one of the best packages because it includes a visit to both Cambodia and Vietnam in a span of 18 days. The trip envisages all of your requirements to make the journey an excellent and comfortable experience. The tour begins from Siem Reap and after 3 days, you will fly to Hanoi. The Mekong River links Cambodia and Vietnam naturally, and cruising is one of the activities you can do in both of the countries.
The tour offers a combination of urban culture and ancient culture which itself is an exciting contrast. You will also be able to enjoy two different cuisines in a matter of few days. This classic Cambodia tour includes a few more destinations like Petit circuit, Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Tonle Sap Cruise, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi an, Ho Chi Minh, Cu Chi Tunnels, Cai Be floating market, Can Tho and Phu Quoc.
Siem Reap - Phnom Penh Cruise Tour
The Cambodia tour is a 3 days trip that includes 2 nights. Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia, and it proudly stands overlooking the riverbanks. Cruise tours are highly popular in the country, as many travelers exclusively prefer the mode of travel. The routes covered by the cruises are full of cities of historical value, rural communities, floating markets and pagodas, which excite the tourists.
The destinations included in the Cambodia travel package are Siem Reap, Kompong Luong, Kompong Chhnang, and Phnom Penh. You get the opportunity to visit the largest floating villages on the lake, the Kampong Luong on the Tonle Sap Lake. The village is also very famous for handcrafted pottery.
Visa and Passport Requirements
Tourist’s visa for travelers issued by Embassy will have a month's validity, which means you can enter Cambodia anytime during the period. To add to the convenience, E-visa is also available which enables you to apply for the visa online. You just have to fill the application form online and make the payment. You will have the visa by Email, and you can keep a copy of the print out when you start Cambodia tour. The cost of a tourist visa is US$ 30 per person.
Indochinavalue will help you with the visa proceedings, as most of the Cambodia travel packages are inclusive of visa services. You just have to provide necessary information and the travel organizer will do everything on your behalf. They will get your passport stamped once you arrive at the country and keep the departure form ready.
In the event, if you lost the departure form, you must immediately contact the immigration officials to make necessary arrangements. Overstaying in the country even after the expiry of the visa validity will incur a fine on you as per the immigration rules. Your passport must also have a validity of 6 months starting from the date you reach Cambodia.
Weather and climate
Cambodia has a humid tropical climate in general since it is in the tropical zone of Southeast Asia. It is warm to hot through the year and monsoon is the dominating season in the country. Monsoon is not a tourist season hence it is better not to plan your trip during monsoon. Nevertheless, it is a fact that Cambodia is the most beautiful and photogenic during this time is undeniable.
Nov-Feb is the best time for travelers to visit the country, as it is the best climate during this time. March-May is when the summer season starts, and it is hot and dry through these months June-Aug is the time when the country is hot and wet and during Sep-Nov, it is cool and wet. Mosquito-borne diseases are common in the country so it is recommended to take necessary protect against diseases like Typhoid and Malaria during the Cambodia tour. Regarding clothing, it is better to include more casual and lightweight clothes in your backpack.
Tips for saving money- Although you do not need any!
It is one of the least expensive countries in the world. Hence, your travel expenses will be very less comparing to any other country travel plans. So in real, you do not need to follow any money saving tips because once you are in Cambodia, you are going to save money. Everything starting from accommodation, travel, and food comes with a cheap price tag. If possible, keep a check on your drinks because that is going to add up at the end.
Cambodian Riel is the official currency of Cambodia, but USD is in common use in most of the places. You can also find moneychanger clusters, which might give you a better exchange rate when compared to banks. However, whenever you choose any other local mode other than banks, you can seek the advice of your Cambodia travel guide to verify the authenticity of the institution. There are many banks and ATMs located in different places so that you will not face any difficulties in withdrawing or transferring money.
Cambodia involves many surprises, and it can be unpredictable, but that makes it an adventure trip. A lot of miscommunications and related things are going to happen in a country where English is a second language. However, with the help of a Cambodia travel guide, you are going to have a wonderful trip altogether with less chaos and confusions.
The warmth and the hospitality of people will surprise you, as Cambodians are one of the most welcoming and friendly communities in the world. Although it is a country, thriving for infrastructural developments, the archeological wonders, and cultural intricacies will be a bemusing experience and will remain as an everlasting memory throughout your life. Contact your favorite tourism operator, Indochina Value for all your Cambodia travel packages requirements, who can offer you the best tailor made tour packages, to make your Cambodia trip a pleasant experience.
A Cambodia tour package will be perfect if it is combined with Vietnam - The country blessed with diverse beauty and rice culture. Please click Vietnam - Cambodia tour to get an idea.