Cambodia is a fascinating country rich in religion, customs and culture. Let's take a look at eleven of the most useful things to know before starting the Cambodia travel:
The rainy season in Cambodia isn't too bad. Many travellers to SE Asia avoid the rainy season because they believe it has a severe impact on travel and sightseeing. In fact, there is a major difference between the worst of the wet weather, the monsoon season and the rainy season. Rainy season is mostly short periods of sharp showers that are quite predictable. While it may rain everyday, this is likely to take place in the afternoons and last for a period of 20-30 minutes. However, this can vary from day to day, but it is not long, heavy downpours that last for the entire day that many fear.
Avoid the tap water
Instead of drinking the tap water which is advised against it is best to buy bottled water from the mini marts or supermarkets. Also, if travelling around for the day it is more practical to buy a single big bottle which is better than needing to keep buying smaller bottles every hour, and also it is the more environmentally friendly option.
You will need a visa
In the process of planning the Cambodia tour packages it is essential to organise the appropriate visa to enter the country. A visa is either organised before arriving in Cambodia or when you arrive. The cost is in the region of $30 per person for a standard tourist visa and can be arranged at the airport in about 10-15 minutes if the queue is empty. If planning to get the visa on arrival it is important to have a passport sized photo ready because this is needed to issue the documents. Also, there are certain countries in ASEAN that are exempt from needing a visa, so it is worth check your specific requirements.
Use multiple currencies
Even though the Riel is Cambodia's official currency, there are plenty of benefits to travel with US dollars as well. Many of the ATM's give the option to choose Riel or US. The US dollars are widely accepted for anything costing $1 or more and it is easier to understand when converting things.
Rise early in the day
Due to the relentless humidity and heat in Cambodia, the day is likely to start very early with many locals rising at dusk. When it comes to organising the travel itinerary, it is best to avoid sightseeing during the hot midday heat. The best time to visit is early in the morning to explore the temples, stroll the streets, or visit the markets. Also, this early rising can mean bedtime is earlier with plenty of local restaurants shutting their doors by about 9:00PM.
Cambodia is dominated by Buddhism with the local people gentle and modest, so it is important to dress appropriately and remember where you are. It can be insulting to walk through the capital with no shirt for men or midriff tops or a deep-plunging neckline for women. It is useful to know that scarves aren't enough. So, pack few temple-appropriate outfits if planning a day trip to religious buildings like the Grand Palace or Angkor Wat while on the Indochina tours. It is practical to wear clothing that covers the knees and shoulders. Also, women should avoid sitting too close or touch the monks, and it is respectful to ask a monk before taking a photo.
The cost is negotiable for most things with a price tag so it benefits to practice the haggling skills before travelling to SE Asia. There is often the risk of paying an inflated price simply for the fact of being a tourist. So, a little haggling can help to lower the price to the standard amount.
Learn the language
The local Cambodian language is Khmer and can be practical to learn a few of the basic phrases to help make the all-round travel experience that much more enjoyable. A few of the basic phrases include - Hello: Sou sdey - Good bye: Li hi - How are you?: Soksaby? - Sorry: Sohm tou - Thank you: Ah kun.
However, English is widely spoken in Cambodia, so there shouldn't be too much difficultly communicating with the locals when ordering food or trying to get around town.
Get around in a tuk-tuk
The most enjoyable and easiest way to get around the local towns and cities is sitting in the rear of a tuk-tuk. But when travelling by tuk-tuk, make sure to agree on a price before starting the journey or else the price at the other end will be seriously inflated. They are easy to use, fun and safe and there are plenty of locals offering to give a lift. A typical price for a 5 minute journey is in the region of $1 with the price increasing from there. Also, the price of the local transport can vary with the region with prices in Siem Reap less experience than those in Phnom Penh. A useful tip is to travel with the hotel's business card to make it easier to know where to go on the way home.
Temple pass for Siem Reap
Unlike other temples in the country, if you are visiting Siem Reap to explore Angkor Wat and the other ancient temples, it is necessary to buy a pass (called an Angkor Pass). It is easily bought at the processing centre located near the park and costs $37 for 1-day, $62 for 3-days, or $72 for 7-days. The pass must be carried while in the Angkor Archaeological Park at all times.
Similar to other popular tourist destinations, bag snatching can be a problem in large cities like Phnom Penh. Try to avoid travelling around on the Cambodia tours with a lot of valuables in your bag. It is best to leave valuable jewellery, passport, money, etc. in the hotel safe. A backpack can be worn at the front of the body to minimize the risk of things being taken.