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Cambodia

Continent: Asia

Ideal Duration: 5 - 6 days

Best Time: November - January Read More

Currency: Cambodian Riel (KHR)

Budget: Moderate

"A Country Rich in Heritage & Natural Beauty"

Cambodia Tourism

Cambodia is a country steeped in history. In spite of years and years of struggle, the country has emerged today as a nation with an infectious spirit seen in its people and a tourism business that is flourishing. Home of the famous Angkor Wat and numerous other temples, this country is intoxicating in its beauty, to say the least. Apart from the historical and the cultural, Cambodia is also urbane, boasting of beautiful Phnom Penh, its capital, and tonnes of restaurants serving delicious cuisine. Cambodia is an amalgamation of the old and the new and a gentle reminder that the two can indeed co-exist and do it graciously.

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Best time to visit Cambodia

November - January is the best time to visit Cambodia

November to March is the best time to visit Cambodia; however, during this time, the streets of Cambodia remain crowded, and the hotel accommodations are expensive. Hence, if you wish to dodge the prices, you can book your tickets for Cambodia anytime from May to October. The country is generally warm, and there are two seasons per se, wet and dry. The average temperature ranges between 21 – 36 degrees. The wet season is from May to October, and hence, you can get some respite from the heat with a bit of downpour in the afternoons. This is locally termed as the green season because the countryside blooms to life! During the dry season, which is from November to March, the days are hot and dry.

Regions in Cambodia

Generally and most commonly, Cambodia is divided into Phnom Penh and its surroundings, Battambang and the North-western area, Siem Reap, Eastern Cambodia, Sihanoukville and the Southern area. Visit Banlung in the North if you love the great outdoors. Go South to explore the beautiful architecture of Kampot. Eastern Cambodia is rife with ecotourism opportunities, while the Northwest is known for Siem Reap, the largest city and the gateway to the famous Angkor Wat.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Delicious Food. Old world charm. Temples.

What's Not So Great?

Some dirty street corners. Not much nightlife. Bag snatching.

For Whom?

Architecture lovers. Explorers. Those who want a peaceful holiday and are not looking to party all night.

Read More on Cambodia

Currency of Cambodia

Cambodian Riel is the national currency. A 100 Riel note is the smallest denomination, and this goes up to 500 Riel, 1,000 Riel, 5,000 Riel, 10000 Riel and even 20,000 Riel. US Dollars are widely accepted in the country. However, if the note is even slightly torn or soiled, it will not be accepted by the people. It is safer and more convenient to carry hard cash, as the country functions on the same. Cards are accepted, but only in major cities.

Exchanging Money in Cambodia

Cambodia's accepted money exchange rate when you buy something using KHR or USD is USD 1.00 = KHR 4,000. You can exchange currency at foreign exchange desks and even at banks. ATMs are also available, making transactions even easier. The major banks here are National Bank of Cambodia, Canadia Bank, Cambodia Commercial Bank, Phnom Penh Commercial Bank, Vattanac Bank and Cambodian Public Bank.

Nightlife in Cambodia

While Cambodia does not have an amazing nightlife, it's not that bad. It has its fair share of clubs, pubs and bars. Always do your research on the kind of place you're visiting beforehand. Otherwise, you may be surprised to find what you see, especially if you are with your family. Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are the cities that have most of the good nightlife spots.

Shopping in Cambodia

There is an abundance of shopping options in Cambodia. From art pieces to textiles, you can find a lot in the boutiques and street stalls. Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have numerous large markets that you can shop from and even bargain at. However, in some cases, shopkeepers understand only the Khmer language. So, it is better if you can take someone along with you who can converse in Khmer and get you a good rate for your purchases.

Festivals of Cambodia

There are a lot of festivals in Cambodia, in keeping with their culture and tradition. Almost all of these festivals have a heavy Buddhist or Hindu influence. The major festivals celebrated in Cambodia are the Water Festival, Pchum Ben, the Royal Ploughing Ceremony, Khmer New Year's Day and the Angkor Festival.

History of Cambodia

Not much is known about the prehistoric period of the country. It is said that the lands were rich in minerals, which is why it became ideal for farmers. The Khmer empire thrived on agriculture. Cambodia was invaded many times - by the Chams, by the Thais and was then shuttled between Thailand and Vietnam. This tug of war led to the King seeking protection from the French, in the 1850s. The French rule saw a slight rise in the status of Cambodia, at least economically. After that, Cambodian history turned tragic. The Japanese invaded it, the Americans bombed it, and then, it was captured by Pol Pot of the Khmer Rouge. He was tyrannical, and this saw the worst period in Cambodia's history. When Pol Pot died in 1998, Cambodia was free and began to develop, eventually becoming what it is today.

Hygiene in Cambodia

Poor sanitation is a major problem in Cambodia. Waterborne diseases are common here, so make sure to use the toilets only in your hotel rooms. Though drinking water is available, it is advisable to buy or carry your drinking water. There are also a lot of insects here, so make sure you carry mosquito repellent sprays and the like.

Customs of Cambodia

Always remove your footwear before entering a temple or even before entering someone's home. It is considered disrespectful to point at a person while you talk to them. Maintaining eye contact with someone who is older than you is also deemed to be impolite and is against their beliefs. Tipping is not compulsory here and nor is there any fixed amount to it. Nothing will be said even if you do not choose to tip for services.

Tips for visiting Cambodia

Never carry your entire cash with you, as pickpockets could steal it. Beware of certain tuk-tuk drivers, as they will try to fleece you. Know the average rates well beforehand. If you do not mind cycling, rent one and cycle around the various cities to take in the beautiful sites. Visit any of the floating villages on Tonl Sap for an enriching experience.

Culture of Cambodia

Cambodia is, indeed, rich in terms of culture due to its long history. Family ties are strong and interreligious marriages have been happening since years. People have deep respect for their culture and traditions. Theravada Buddhism is religiously followed by 95% of the people. Apart from that, Islam, Christianity and other tribal sects make up the other religions followed in Cambodia. Khmer is the official language of the Cambodia. A rough estimate of 13 million people speakÊKhmer here. Other languages spoken here are English,ÊFrench, and Mandarin.

Food of Cambodia

Cambodian food is rich in distinctive flavours. Cambodian meals include three to four dishes, including soup. A lot of herbs, sauces or dips, leaves, edible flowers and pickled vegetables are used in their preparations. A significant chunk of the population thrives on rice. Khmer rice comes in a lot of different varieties, sticky rice being the most popular one.Kuyteav, or rice noodle soup is a must-have dish when you visit Cambodia, it being the country's signature dish. Cambodians also use fruits in lots of their preparations. They serve it as dessert, along with sticky rice. Fruits such as mangoes, bananas and durian are used in milkshakes. Green tea is also consumed on a large scale.

Stay options in Cambodia

There are numerous hotel options in Cambodia, depending on how much you are willing to shell out. However, the hotel rates are not very expensive. Budget hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs are also available.

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