Things You Need to Know Before Travelling to Cambodia

You’ve decided on quite the adventure! Cambodia is overflowing with an intensely interesting culture and history, drawing thousands of visitors to the Southeast Asian country every year. Before you begin temple hopping in Angkor, or chowing down on Cambodian fare in Siem Reap, there are some things you need to know before diving in. Below are the top tips for anyone heading into the Kingdom of Cambodia.

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Visas Are Required

Both your passport and a visa will be required to enter into Cambodia. You can either apply for a tourist visa before entering the country through an online portal, or upon arrival. Each travel visa is valid for 30 days with the option to extend for $30 USD. If you do plan on obtaining your visa on arrival, be sure to have a recent passport photo, as well as a few blank pages in your passport. The process is relatively painless but it’s always better to arrive prepared. When applying online, you’ll need to use a credit card for payment before submitting your application.

Greetings are Different

While you may be used to shaking hands or bisous when meeting someone, things are a little different when it comes to greetings in Cambodia. Greeting by sampeah is the usual way to greet each other throughout the country, done by placing both palms together in front of you. There are different heights you’ll hold your sampeah at depending on who you’re greeting. Place your hands at chest height for your friends and colleagues, mouth height for elders or people of importance, and nose height for parents, teachers and grandparents. If you have the honor of meeting the king or monks, keep your sampeah at eyebrow level while forehead level is reserved for prayer.

Buddhism is the Main Religion in Cambodia

It’s always good practice to respect the country you’re in by following their usual way of life. Travelling like a local often gives you the most enjoyable experience while abroad, and avoids any complications that can arise through a clash in cultures. Be sure to dress appropriately by covering up when wandering the streets of Cambodia, reserving your bikinis and crop tops for the beach. When going to temples, palaces, and religious monuments, it is important for shoulders to be covered, along with your knees. While you won’t cause a protest, it can be really disrespectable to disregard these known rules.

Expect Very Warm and Hot Temperatures

While it’s best to not sport a bikini to the market in Cambodia, you’ll still want to make sure you’re not suffocating from the heat. Cambodia has a tropical climate making for hot and humid days so be sure to pack light, breathable clothing to get through your days of exploring. It’s common for locals to wake up early to get a head start on their day before the heat and humidity slows everyone down, so if you happen to be going on day trips, try leaving before dawn to beat the heat. Always carry a bottle of water with you to avoid dehydration and for the very hot days, opt for an umbrella to protect your skin from the sun.

Give to Children the Right Way

It will be hard to ignore the bright faces of Cambodian children begging and selling in popular spots and outside of temples throughout the country. The Cambodian government realizes the issue and asks that tourists and visitors don’t contribute to the cycle of children skipping school in exchange for making money. By buying small trinkets and books from these children, the government believes they’ll keep opting to work over tourists on the streets instead of getting an education. If you do want to donate, give to schools and organizations that help get these children back into the classroom, and in a safer environment.

Learn to Haggle

The market culture in Cambodia can be seen in most major cities throughout the country. In Cambodia there’s a second price for everything. Many tourists aren’t use to haggling or bantering with store owners, so they fall into the trap of paying way more than they should for the items they purchase in Cambodian cities. Impress the locals by playing this shopping ‘game’ and be prepared to walk away if the price doesn’t suit you. Chances are, they’ll come up with a cheaper price.

English is Widely Spoken

While it won’t be too much of a problem finding someone who speaks English in Cambodia (especially in the bigger cities) it doesn’t hurt to brush up on some of the local language .You don’t need to be fluent in Cambodia’s official language of Khmer, but you’ll definitely be able to give your host or driver a happy surprise should you learn a few words. To say hello, try ‘sou sdey’ and ‘ah kun’ for thank-you.

Travel by Tuk-tuk

In many larger Cambodian cities, traffic is unavoidable. Taking a taxi or bus can lead to hours sitting in traffic, delaying your time for travel and exploration. Tuk-tuks (auto rickshaws with cabins that seat up to four atop a motorcycle or vespa) are a popular alternative for navigating the vibrant streets of the country. Be sure to have your destination mapped out so you can advise your driver on where to go to save on time and make the most out of your day.

APPLY FOR E-VISA

Disclaimer:

Cambodia e-Visa Travel Authorization Agency is a professional visa agency that provides assistance to eligible travelers visiting the Kingdom of Cambodia in obtaining their e-Visa Documents.

Cambodia e-Visa Travel Authorization Agency is not affiliated with the Cambodian government, or any other related Cambodian government agencies or departments. It is a commercial website that assists travelers in the processing of their electronic travel authorization documents for travel to Cambodia.