Cambodia is world famous for the incredible archaeological sites throughout the country, especially Angkor Wat, there are spectacular temples, amazing countryside, wonderful food, friendly locals and excellent beaches that are often missed by visitors.
We have also looked at the current travel situation throughout South East Asia in our article South East Asia Travel, What are the Options?
Angkor Wat – this UNESCO World Heritage site should be a part of everyone’s travel bucket list. Incredible sunrise and sunsets, magical ruins, incredible architecture, don’t miss the chance of visiting if you can.
Siem Reap – the gateway to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap has a wonderful diverse culture, excellent food, interesting markets and a fun nightlife.
Phnom Penh – the capital of Cambodia has temples that date back to the beginning of Buddhism, French colonialism influences, the Royal Palace, endless markets and Khmer Rouge memorials, all surrounded by stunning countryside.
Sihanoukville – the main seaside resort in Cambodia with stunning natural beauty and secluded, unspoilt beaches.
Wendy Wu Tours offer a wide range of Cambodia individual and group tours.
When to Visit
October to April is dry season in Cambodia with little rain throughout although humidity does tend to increase in March and April making in more uncomfortable at times. The hottest months of the year being March to June. May to October is wet season when landscapes can change entirely and many formally dry areas flood. Rainfall is short but heavy from May to July but becomes more consistently wet until September. Wet season can be a good time to visit Angkor Wat if you are not looking for uninterrupted sun as crowds will be lower and the surrounding moats will be full.
How to Get to Cambodia
There are no direct flights from the UK to Cambodia. The easiest way to get there is to fly to other South-East Asia or Middle-East hub airports and transfer from there.
It is also possible to travel by train to the Cambodia border near Siem Reap and travel by road the short distance the other side of the border.
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Language and Currency
The official language is Khmer (Cambodian) although many regional dialects are also in use. Cambodian French was common in Cambodia but its use has declined significantly although there are still pockets where it is spoken.
English is popular in some areas especially the big cities and some tourist areas but do not expect it to be as widely or well spoken as in other South-East Asian countries.
The Cambodian riel is the official currency in Cambodia however it is rarely used in hotels and other tourist areas apart from being given as small change.
The currency of choice is the US Dollar.
ATM’s are available in the bigger towns and cities but not all will accept foreign cards and credit cards are not widely accepted apart from in larger hotels and businesses.
Exchanging Scottish and Norther Irish notes may also present a problem so make sure you take English notes. You can exchange Sterling into Dollars in hotels as well as currency bureau in larger towns and banks.
Food and Drink
Traditionally rice and freshwater fish play a massive part in Cambodian food together with a range of other fresh ingredients and the popular dishes will reflect this. The food is milder than in Thailand and will often have tangy flavours. The most popular and well-known dish is Fish Amok which has a rich, creamy sauce complementing the fish. Another excellent dish to try is Lap Khmer which is a lime-marinated beef salad although this is one dish that tends to have a spicy kick to it.
Apart from Angkor beer, Cambodia is not really known for its high quality beers, outside of Phnom Penh, often relying on imported beers for nearby countries to satisfy tourists although Western beers are available in many places they are not cheap. Local spirits are usually made from sugar cane and rice and can be an acquired taste. I wouldn’t recommend local wine, if you can find it.
Apart from Angkor beer, Cambodia is not really known for its high quality beers, outside of Phnom Penh, often relying on imported beers from nearby countries to satisfy tourists.
Western beers are available in many places but they are not cheap.
Local spirits are usually made from sugar cane and rice and can be an acquired taste. I wouldn’t recommend local wine, even if you can find it.
Local fresh fruit juices can be excellent but be careful where you buy them from. Freshly made fruit smoothies are also common where you can pick what you would like included.
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