Cambodia

Dominated by the waters of the mighty Mekong, Cambodia is a country whose breathtaking cultural heritage, staggering natural beauty and at times tragic past cannot fail to leave a lasting impression on visitors. The local people welcome visitors with open hearts and arms to this glorious and mythical land; from the expansive waters of Tonle Sap and the jungle temples of the Khmer Empire at Angkor to the haunting Killing Fields of the late 20th century, this is a land of unforgettable memories.

When to Visit

November to March is the best time to travel with little rain and less humidity. In November the waters of Tonle Sap Lake are high and perfect for boat trips; by April/May water levels may be so low as to prevent boat travel across the lake. While the monsoon season from May to October  can see heavy afternoon or evening rainfall, these usually last only an hour or two. The temples have far fewer visitors at this time and look  their best framed by the rainy season greenery.

Highlights

TEMPLES OF ANGKOR WAT Visually, architecturally and artistically breathtaking, Angkor Wat is one of the greatest religious monuments in the world. Cycling through the temples gives you a unique perspective and is a great way to gain an in-depth appreciation of the area.

THE SOUTH From the popular beaches of Sihanoukville to the relaxed, small town attractions of Kep and Kampot, the Cambodian coast is the perfect way to end your visit. Feast on local delicacies like mud crab, enjoy the warm waters, or sit back and soak up stunning sunset views in a part of Asia not yet touched by mass tourism.

PHNOM PENH Phnom Penh still maintains considerable charm. In addition to the tourist sites, a visit to the notorious “Killing Fields”, which chronicles the unfortunate years under the brutal rule of the Khmer Rouge, is worthwhile.

BATTAMBANG Get off the beaten track and discover the charming town of Battambang. It is an architectural treasure trove, boasting well-preserved French colonial architecture, delightful countryside and ancient temples.

BOAT JOURNEY ON TONLE SAP LAKE Floating fishing villages dot the semi-submerged forest that line the flood plain rim of the lake, offering an excellent place to see lakeside rural Cambodia. Experience the lifestyle of the locals with a boat ride to remote villages where few tourists venture.

KHMER CUISINE Cambodian cuisine plays a large part in the enjoyment of any visit to the country. It derives its flavours from locally grown herbs and spices and sweet, sour, salty and bitter are blended seamlessly.

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Useful Information

Visa's

Official travel advice regarding visas is available by calling 04 439 8000 or visiting their website www.safetravel.govt.nz

Customs

Greetings between Cambodians are dependent on the relationship/hierarchy/age between the people. The traditional greeting is a bow combined with a bringing of the hands together at chest level (similar to bringing hands together for prayer). If one intends to show greater respect the bow is lower and the hands brought higher. With foreigners Cambodians have adopted the western practice of shaking hands. Women may still use the traditional Cambodian greeting. The simple rule is to respond with the greeting you are given. In Cambodia people are addressed with the honorific title "Lok" for a man and "Lok Srey" for a woman followed with the first name or both the first and surname.

Health

The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor on 1300 658 844. Vaccination against Hepatitis A is recommended for travellers to Cambodia. Vaccination against Hepatitis B, Rabies (particularly if working with animals) and Typhoid (particularly when travelling to areas with poor sanitation and hygiene) should be considered, especially by frequent or long stay travellers. Care with food and beverage selection is recommended. There is a medium risk of Malaria in Cambodia and Dengue Fever also occurs, thus insect avoidance measures and anti malarial medication may be necessary depending on your itinerary. Japanese Encephalitis is present in Cambodia and vaccination should be considered by travellers spending more than four weeks in rural areas of the transmission zones. Regardless of destination, all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine "background" vaccinations, including a recent annual Influenza vaccination. Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance measures. Australians travelling to Cambodia should ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay. Medications that are legal in Australia may be illegal in other countries. For further information on insurance, taking medication overseas and other issues please visit  ww.smartraveller.gov.au/tips.

Electricity

Electrical plug type: European and Japanese (sometimes a combination of both) Voltage: 220-240 and 110-120 (Australia 240 volts) Modem plug type: American (same as Australia) Source: Korjo Travel Products. Please view the Korjo adapter guide at www.korjo.com.au for further information on this matter.

Communications

Country Code for Cambodia: +855 Visa Global Assistance: Call the US on (+1) 303 967 1090 Emergency Services: Fire: 118 Police: 117 Ambulance: 119 The emergency services may not have English speaking staff. To avoid delay it may be best to seek the assistance of a Khmer speaker to call the emergency services.

Shopping

Cambodia Working Hours Government offices:  7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, Business offices:  08:00 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, Shops:  8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 7 days a week, Banks:  8:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday, Markets:  6:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. 7 days a week.

Tipping

Tipping has become a more established practice in Cambodia in recent years, and helps the income of the Cambodian workers. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline USD 2-3 or its local currency equivalent  per person, per half day (more for a full day) can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of the service quality and the length of your trip. Porters may be given around 4000 riel.
Restaurants: We suggest adding around 4000 riel to your bill, depending on service; more for expensive establishments.

Getting around

For a country as hard-up on its luck as Cambodia, getting around is surprisingly straightforward. All the primary trunk routes are all-weather sealed roads, there is a reasonably developed bus network, a comprehensive "we can go anywhere if the price is right" taxi for hire system and, while some of the routes have faded away, it is still possible to get to some places by boat. Overall fares are very reasonable.

Language

Khmer (official) 95%, French, English.

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