Travelling has always been an exciting activity for all, and Cambodia has managed to attract a large number of tourists over the last few years. The country has made huge developments in their tourism sector, and a large number of people across the globe are looking forward to giving it a visit. If you are also one of them, and if you are visiting there for the first time, then we have come up with a few tips for first time travelers to Cambodia. These tips can help you enjoy some quality time in the country without getting caught in any unnecessary complications.
- Be Open to learn New things and experiences: You must always remember that when you visit Cambodia, you are most likely going to witness things, cultures and practices that are unseen and unheard of in your country. So you have to be ready to burst your bubble and take on this new experience with open arms. For instance, joining your palms and bowing your head in front of a person is a way to greet them with respect. People elder in age should be treated with respect and should be spoken to politely. If you are from the western world, remember that public display of affection is something they don’t accept. They may even not approve you holding hands of your partner, let alone kissing and hugging in public. So, keep these things in mind and respect their culture while you are at their place.
- A little bit of the Local Language can go a Long way: Well, if you are able to pick up a few basic words or phrases in the native language of Cambodia, then it can prove to be highly advantageous for you as you will be able to communicate and make some sense out of people who do not speak your language. The knowledge of the local language makes it easier to communicate and also to ask for help in case of emergencies. The official language of Cambodia is Khmer, and it is spoken by 13 million people in the country.
- Currency: Riel is the official currency of Cambodia, available in minimum 100 and maximum 100000 notes. US dollars are widely accepted in major cities and towns of the country, as it is the second unofficial currency used in Cambodia. But know that a large number of facilities do not accept credit cards. Since it’s difficult to change riels into dollars, you should change your dollars into riels few at a time. Although you can exchange your travelers check at any Cambodia bank, you may end up paying 2 to 4% fee for conversion. So, use this option wisely.
Not sure if you are the requirements for obtaining Cambodial e-Visa? Check here for more information.
- Stay Safe: Although Cambodia is one of the safest countries in the world, you need to be safe on your side. Being drunk in a foreign land can be fun and adventure, but you need to remember that it can be a risky endeavor at times. Since you are new at the place and you have no real information about it, this makes you a bit more susceptible to being targeted by mischievous people and people with foul intentions. So, drink within limit, only to the extent that you remain cautious and you don’t lose your senses. Don’t look like a stranger, and use Google Map instructions to move around the country. Apart from that, be aware of pocketing, mugging, snatching etc. at tourist hotspots, though such activities are very rare in a safe country like Cambodia.
- Customs regulations: There are certain limits as to what you can bring to Cambodia and what you can take out. If you are more than 18 years of age, you can bring 200 cigarettes into the country, or an equivalent amount of tobacco. You may also bring in one bottle of liquor that should be open, and perfume sufficient only for personal use. You need to declare your currency when you arrive at Cambodia. Any antiques and Buddhist reliquaries cannot be taken out of the country, however you are allowed to take souvenirs, like Buddhist trinkets and statues.
- Immunizations: Although there are no particular immunizations that you need to take before traveling to Cambodia, it’s better if you immunize yourself against malaria, cholera, tetanus, tuberculosis, polio, typhoid, hepatitis A and hepatitis B. If you are planning to visit the Cambodia countryside, you will need to encounter a multitude of malarial mosquitors. So, don’t forget to bring in your mosquito repellants, and wear long trousers and long sleeve shirts after evening.
- Climatic conditions: On an average, tropical Cambodia has around 30°C all through the year, however mountaineous areas may be a little cooler than that. November to April months are dry, while May to October may be rainy months. During rainy season, you may not be able to travel through the whole country, as some of the areas may even be covered with floods. So, the best time to visit Cambodia would be from November to January, when the climate is cool but not wet. Wear light cotton clothes to beat the heat, and get some comfortable shoes to walk through their Angkor temples.
- Appropriate Dressing: Cambodia is a conservative country and its people do not like too much of skin-showing. Wearing modest clothes at temples and religious places is a must for both genders.
- Travel Insurance is a must: Don’t forget to have your travel insurance beforehand, so that you can stay safe in the country and manage to face it in case a mishap takes places. The travel insurance will take care of your expenses in case you need to extend your trip due to an accident or emergency.
See also: TRAVELING TO CAMBODIA WITH CHILDREN
All these points discussed above will make your travel and stay in Cambodia a pleasant and memorable one. You will be saved from any last-minute hassles, and you will reach the country with proper planning and preparation. However, people of Cambodia are friendly and hospitable, and would be happy to help you if needed in every possible way.