U.S. citizens need a valid passport and visa to travel to Cambodia. Passports should be signed and valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of entry into Cambodia, and must have enough empty pages (at least 1 fully blank passport page) to allow for Cambodian entry and exit stamps to ensure your entry and exit. Tourist and business visas are valid for 1 month beginning with the date of entry into Cambodia. Travelers should be careful not to stay beyond the date permitted on their visas in order to avoid difficulties when departing the country.
Pre-Arrival: Electronic visa (e-Visa). Applicants need to log on to Cambodia on-line evisa processing, provide the requested information, make an online payment (US$30 + $6 processing fee per person). After the application is approved, you can download your e-Visa from the website.
Visa on Arrival: If traveling as a tourist, you may purchase a Cambodian visa (US $35 per person ) at the airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and at all major border crossings. Cambodian airports now collect fingerprints upon entry using an inkless, electronic process. You will need one passport-size (2 inches x 2 inches) photographs and a passport valid for a minimum of 6 months beyond the date of entry into Cambodia.
You may also apply in person at the Cambodian Embassy located at 4530 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011, tel. 202-997-7031
* In order to be admitted into Cambodia, tourists may need to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds for their stay and a return ticket.
For more updated and other information please visit the website of The Royal Embassy of Cambodia or the State Department website at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/cambodia.html
Please note: Each traveler is fully responsible for bringing and acquiring travel documents (e-tickets, hotel and travel vouchers, etc.) necessary for his or her itinerary. If you are not a citizen of the United States, your entry requirements may vary—please contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the country or countries to be visited and obtain the specific requirements for entry.
Please refer to the instructions given in your itinerary confirmation. If in the event that you are unable to locate our representative, please call the local contact number as specified on your voucher or confirmation itinerary for immediate assistance.
Capital: Phnom Penh
Population: 15.2 million
Location: South East Asia
Largest Cities: Phnom Penh, Battambang, Siem Reap
Religion: Buddhist, 96.4%
System of Government: Multiparty democracy; Constitutional monarchy
Cambodia operates on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), plus 7 hours.
At 9:00 am anywhere in Cambodia, it is:
*Note: Add one hour to local time during Daylight Savings Time.
A good source of health information for travelers is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.
You should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination. Please be advised that high-standard medical care is not available in the more remote areas of Cambodia. Please ensure that we are aware of any physical disability or frequent of ongoing medical requirements. Sightseeing may require, at minimum, the ability to walk at a moderate pace for a mile or two, and the balance and agility necessary to climb stairs, enter and exit buses and boats, and navigate uneven or cobble-stoned streets. Some sightseeing stops do not have elevators or wheelchair access. Bring medications in their original, clearly labeled containers. A signed and dated letter from your physician describing your medical conditions and medications, including generic names, is also a good idea. If carrying syringes or needles be sure to have a physician’s letter documenting their medical necessity. When on vacation, it is always wise to watch what you eat and drink, but please do not drink the tap water while traveling in Cambodia. Most hotels will provide complimentary bottled water and additional bottled water can be purchased throughout your trip.
Cambodia’s unit of currency is the Riel, available in the following denominations: Banknotes: 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 riel; Coins: 50, 100, 200, 500 riel. The US dollar remains king in Cambodia. Armed with enough cash, you won’t need to visit a bank at all because it is possible to change small amounts of dollars for riel at hotels, restaurants, and markets. There are now credit-card-compatible ATMs (Visa and MasterCard only) in most major cities including Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Battambang, and Kompong Cham. There are also ATMs at the Cham Yeam and Poipet borders if arriving from Thailand. Machines dispense US dollars. Top-end hotels, airline offices, and up-market boutiques and restaurants generally accept most major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, JCB, sometimes American Express), but they usually pass the charges straight on to the customer, meaning an extra 3% on the bill. The exchange rate is constantly fluctuating, but it can be found to be approximately 1 USD = 3,980 KHR. For the most updated exchange rate, please check http://www.xe.com.
Electrical service in Cambodia is supplied at 220 volts and 50 hertz. Bringing an adaptor is a good idea if you are planning on using electronics (i.e. cell phones, laptops, cameras, etc.) during your trip.
Cambodian cuisine, or Khmer cuisine, accentuates freshness, simplicity, seasonality, and regionalism. Rice and occasionally noodles, are staple foods for Cambodians. Rice is so widely consumed, that there are over a hundred words and phrases for rice in the Khmer language as well as hundreds of varieties of rice that are indigenous to Cambodia.
Unlike in Thailand or Lao, spicy hot food is not the mainstay; black pepper is preferred over chili peppers, though chilies are usually served on the side. Thai and Vietnamese influences can be noted in Khmer food, although Cambodians love strong sour tastes in their dishes. Prahok, a local fish paste, is common in Khmer cooking and may not please Western palates. Indian and Chinese restaurants have a healthy representation in Phnom Penh and the larger towns.
Khmer, or Cambodian, is the language of the Khmer people and the official language of Cambodia. It is the second most widely spoken Austro-Asiatic language, with speakers in the tens of millions. French, once the language of government in Indochina, is still spoken by many older Cambodians. French is also the language of instruction in some schools and universities that are funded by the government of France. Cambodian French, a remnant of the country’s colonial past, is a dialect found in Cambodia and is sometimes used in government, particularly in court. In recent decades, many younger Cambodians and those in the business-class have favored learning English. In the major cities and tourist centers, English is widely spoken and taught at a large number of schools because of the overwhelming number of tourists from English-speaking countries. Even in the most rural outposts, most young people speak at least some English, as it is often taught by monks at the local pagodas where many children are educated.
Cambodia is located just 10-13 degrees north of the equator, thus the weather tends to remain hot year round with minor variations. Cambodia witnesses three basic seasons: the cool season, the hot season, and the rainy season. The cool season occurs during the months of November to January where the temperature and humidity are lower. February through May is usually when the hot season occurs as temperatures are extreme and humidity is very high. June through October is usually when the rainy season occurs, but don’t worry about traveling to Cambodia during this time as the rain usually comes in short, sharp downpours.
This will be contingent on your own personal preference and the time of year you are traveling. Generally, we suggest that travelers pack lightly and to bring comfortable, casual clothes in natural, “breathable” fabrics because of the humidity. Choose versatile styles that can be layered. A lightweight (preferably non-plastic) raincoat or poncho is a good idea, as well as a sweater or lightweight jacket for early morning/evenings and air-conditioned buildings. A sturdy, comfortable pair of walking shoes is a must, as sandals may not be comfortable for some sightseeing activities. Some hotels have pools, so you may want to pack your swimming suit. Do not forget to bring sun block, sunglasses, insect repellent, pocket packs of tissues, a sunhat, an umbrella (for both the sun and rain), and any medications you may need. Most hotels offer reliable laundry and dry cleaning services.
Always wear what you are most comfortable traveling in, but a reasonable amount of modesty ought to be exercised. In most areas, comfortable, casual clothes such as short sleeved shirts, polo shorts, etc., are great for sightseeing. Remember that temperatures are likely to be hot and humid so wearing light, loose fitting fabrics is a good idea.
When visiting temples in Cambodia, bear in mind that they are places of worship, so one should dress politely in modest and conservative clothing as they would at any other religious place. Clothing such as short sleeved shirts, polo shirts, and bottoms or skirts that cover the knees are acceptable. You will need to cover one’s shoulders, and women will need to wear long sleeved tops to cover their arms. Often times, those that are not dressed properly will be turned away.
Hotels may impose a hefty charge on international calls. Check your hotel’s policy before placing any calls. To avoid hotel markups you can use a calling card from your local long-distance carrier. A number of United States cell phones manufactured today have the ability to operate overseas on the GSM (Global System for Mobile) standard. We recommend that you contact your cell phone service provider to determine if your phone operates on the GSM and what, if any, activation may be required. In Cambodia, reception on any cell phone can be unreliable and unpredictable. In some locations, transmission is not possible at all. If access to e-mail is of critical importance during your trip, please check availability in advanced. Most hotels have business centers or in room WI-FI service, surcharges may apply.
The nationwide emergency phone numbers are:
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Vietnam and Angkor Wat by Richard Sterling
Lonely Planet Cambodia (Country Travel Guide) by Nick Ray, Greg Bloom, and Daniel Robinson
Responsible Travel Guide Cambodia by Pujita Nanette Mayeda