Cambodia Travel Tips

Cambodia Travel Tips

1. Telephone

Cambodia uses the GSM mobile system and Mobitel is the largest operator, although competition is stiff. Pre-paid SIM cards are widely available (from US$1), but require a passport to buy. A guesthouse owner or tuk-tuk driver may just buy one for you.

2. Internet

Internet cafes are cheap (US$0.50-US$1/hour) and common, even small towns will have at least one offering broadband. In Kampot, Kratie, and Sihanoukville rates are around US$1/hour. WiFi is increasingly popular, with signals available in some unlikely places: not just in coffee shops but also in fast food restaurants, bars, and even gas stations. Domestic broadband prices range from $29.95 to $89.00. Always remember vat is added to all prices, and even the locals pay the vat.

3. Post

Once a disaster, a trip to the post office in Cambodia no longer means a final goodbye to your consignment. Intercontinental postcards should arrive in 2 weeks; within Asia, 1 week. Rates are cheap. Spend some pennies to say hello to your friends on your Cambodia tours!

4. Currency

The currency of Cambodia is called Riel, but for the past few years, the country's economy has largely relied on the US Dollar, which is now used as an everyday currency alongside the national currency. Dollars are everywhere accepted, for small and large purchases. Travelers' cheques from American Express or Thomas Cook can be cashed in at banks. Generally speaking, Riels are used for small expenses (cigarettes, newspapers, moto-taxi rides, fruit or drinks bought on a market stand, for example), whereas Dollars are used for paying restaurant bills, in hotels, and for transport, meaning that the cost of visiting is not as low here as you might expect.

5. Electricity

Electricity in Cambodia is 220V, 50 Hz. Power sockets are generally of the round, two-pin variety. Adapters can be bought at markets and supermarkets. Power cuts are frequent in the provinces.

6. Time

Cambodia is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or Universal Time Coordinated (UTC). When it is midday in Cambodia, it is 1 am in New York, 5 am in London, 6 am in Amsterdam, and 3 pm in Sydney.

7. Getting around the city

If you want to get around the city, the best way is to take a tuk-tuk. It is the cheapest and most fun vehicle. You can find them along the street almost everywhere. It often costs a couple of dollars for a short ride. There are also some air-conditioned cars available, it is around $25 per day for trips around the Angkor area. Before heading off on the tuk-tuk, it is better to make sure the final fare is with the driver in case of any confusion at the end of the ride.

8. The Cost of Living

The cost of living in Cambodia is really low. There are so many nice restaurants in Siem Reap that serve Mexican, and Indian food and they're not particularly expensive, around five dollars. If you want to cook by yourself, there are markets for meat and vegetable, very cheap, and Lucky supermarkets for imported western food like cheese and olives. Moreover, Alcohol is very cheap in Cambodia, most of the restaurants on pub street serve draft beer for 50 cents. Actually, there's almost a non-profit service to tempt you in and sell some food you might want to order. Cigarettes are also very cheap in Cambodia. Transport is only by tuk-tuk, should cost a dollar or two to go anywhere in Cambodia.

9. Suitable clothing

People should wear the most comfortable clothes to prepare for outdoor activities. It's better the garments made from "wicking" or cotton material. For the color, white or clear color is a good idea. Taking a spare T-shirt at hand is also a good idea in case your cloth is wet to the skin in hot Cambodian weather.

10. Safety

Cambodia is now at peace and is safe again for tourists to visit. In Phnom Penh watch out for pickpockets, also by begging children. Do not venture out of the city after 10 pm. Keep all your valuables at the hotel safe. Upcountry stays on the roads and paths. There are still many landmines buried in the countryside. 

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