10 essential things to be aware of before visiting Cambodia
Updated: Nov 13, 2020
At the time of writing due to Covid-19 Cambodian Embassies are not issuing tourist visas at this time. The only applications being accepted are for diplomatic, official and “sponsored” business linked visas (see traveloffpath.com for further information if you qualify for one of these visas and are thinking of going). Under normal circumstances you can purchase a visa online or when you arrive at the airport. A one month visa is around US$ 50.00. Remember to take a passport size photo with you.
US Dollars are the most widely accepted currency in Cambodia along with their local currency which is Riel. However do make sure you carry nice new notes because they will not accept ripped or damaged notes.
Under no circumstances drink the tap water as you will end up with an upset stomach. Instead buy bottled water and use this water to brush your teeth. On that note also avoid ice cubes in drinks including smoothies.
Read our blog on how to enjoy Cambodian food safely.
Store any valuables such as your passport in the safe at your hotel and keep the rest of your valuables close to you (including mobile phones). Bag snatching is a big problem particularly in Phnom Penh. Out of sight is out of mind!
If you are planning on visiting a temple remember to dress appropriately with outfits which cover your shoulders as well as your knees. Also be respectful of monks which means not touching them or trying to have photos taken with them.
Some essential items to take to maintain hygiene and well being include tissues, hand sanitiser (as toilets might not have toilet paper and soap). Also remember to pack insect repellent as mosquitos are a problem.
Do support local businesses who take care of their own people as some restaurants offer training programs to disadvantaged young adults who otherwise would not have had a chance to better themselves.
There are organised crime groups in Cambodia which prey on tourists and they will try several ways to scam them out of money. Some of the scams will involve a young woman asking you to buy her a meal in a local cafe which she will take you to and then you will be charged a huge amount of money for a meal. Another scam is a woman carrying a baby asking you to buy some formula because her baby is hungry. She will take you to a local chemist or store where once again you will be overcharged.
Enjoy getting around town by Tuk Tuk which is the local form of transportation. Just remember to negotiate the price before starting your journey. Make the most of the sights and sounds you encounter along the way.