In addition to the famous ruins of the Angkor dynasty, Cambodia is home to a wealth of exceptional off the beaten path locations. A southern coastline flaunting stunning beaches, scenic cruises along the Mekong and voyages onto Asia’s largest freshwater lake, Tonle Sap, add several other dimensions to the Kampuchean experience. Visitors to Cambodia will experience a growing arts and craft scene and a nation proud of its Angkor Dynasty heritage.
Cambodia treats visitors to a wealth of ‘off the beaten path’ locations that unveil the ancient qualities of this rugged country. Emerging as one of Asia’s more compelling capitals, Phnom Penh has transformed itself to gracefully blend a riverfront location with remaining colonial structures and a deeply fascinating history. However Siem Reap remains the most visited destination and is home to picturesque streets full of boutique shops, busy markets and an immense range of eateries to suit all budgets, and of course, the stunning Angkor Wat complex. The coastline of Southern Cambodia is noted for its quiet, tranquil atmosphere and pristine beaches that are still largely undeveloped or overcrowded. In addition to the coastline’s unspoiled beaches and idyllic offshore islands, the area is also home to lush tropical forests and attractive towns such as Kep and Kampot.
The winter months (October-February), are the best time to travel to Cambodia as the air is cool and the skies clear. However, the dust at this time of year can be irritating and the crowds at the Angkor temples at their highest numbers. March to May sees hotter temperatures and dry skies, and the heat continues into June and through August when the monsoon season starts. The rains however do not usually cause a major problem for travelers as they tend to be short and hard afternoon showers.
MONEY : The official currency is the Cambodian Riel (pronounced ‘real’), although US Dollars are accepted everywhere. ATMs distributing US Dollars are found in the main cities and moneychangers throughout the country. As of Aug 12: 1USD = 4,000 Riel
VISAS : Visa on Arrival service is available for most nationalities on international flights arriving in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, as well as most land crossings with Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.
ELECTRICITY : Cambodia uses 220V, and a mixture of flat 2-pin, round 2-pin or 3-pin plugs. It is recommended to bring a universal plug adaptor. Power outages are quite common but most hotels have their own generator.
DIALING CODE : +855
TIME ZONE : GMT/UTC +7
GETTING THERE & AWAY : Cambodia celebrates a mix of Buddhist,Chinese and international holidays as well as national events.The main festival periods are Khmer New Year (mid-April),Pchum Ben and the Ploughing Ceremony (mid-September) and Boun Om Touk boat racing (Water festival) (early November).Many restaurants and businesses close during these periods,however tourist attractions are still open and there is very little disruption to travel plans.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS : Cambodia celebrates a mix of Buddhist,Chinese and international holidays as well as national events.The main festival periods are Khmer New Year (mid-April),Pchum Ben and the Ploughing Ceremony (mid-September) and Boun Om Touk boat racing (Water festival) (early November).Many restaurants and businesses close during these periods,however tourist attractions are still open and there is very little disruption to travel plans.
LANGUAGE : Cambodia’s national language is Khmer and unlike the other languages of the region is not a tonal language. As in other former French colonies the educated older generation often speaks very good French while the younger generation prefers English. Outside the major centers of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap most people speak only Khmer, but you will always find somebody who speaks English wherever you go.
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