5 tips for travelling around Cambodia
If not for the many travel awards Siem Reap continually wins for having one of the world’s most must-visit attractions, Angkor Wat, Cambodia will win your heart through it’s happy, smiling people. A country that many people have on their bucket list, Cambodia will give you memories you’ll never forget. This being said, like with any trip in a culture different to your own, it’s important to be prepared before arriving. Here are 5 top Cambodia travelling tips as well as some key advice
First things first, an important factor you need to include with any trip is which currency to use whilst away. Cambodia is unusual in that due to the Cambodian economy being what it is, locals prefer getting paid in US dollars rather than their own currency (reil) due to getting more value from it. However; before you panic, local restaurants and shops will accept riels, but it’s easier and ultimately cheaper for you to just use American currency. Do bring lower value bills though, lots of $1, $5 and $10 bills will serve you well. American coinage is not used, so try to have even transactions or you’ll be stuck with a lot of nearly useless riels.
2. Getting Around
There are a variety of different types of transport able to you in Cambodia, being familiar with these and their customs may help reduce stress in the long run.
These two-wheeled carriages pulled behind a moto provide a breezy way to travel and are how the majority of people get around in Cambodia. They are a bit safer, but slightly more expensive than bike taxis or moto’s. One tip would be to make sure to negotiate the fare before you get-in. Usually expect $1 USD for a 5-minute trip and around $3 for across town.
Also known as “motodop”, bike taxis are widely available in major cities. Generally priced at $1 USD per trip.
There are no metered taxis in Cambodia, so hard negotiation is required before accepting a taxi ride to avoid a dispute afterwards.
3. What To Wear
Modest attire is a general rule in the country. Although many tourists wear shorts because of the hot and humid weather, Cambodians cover up as much skin as possible. Light weight clothing that protects you from the sun is recommended. If you are woman, make sure to cover your knees and shoulders. Men typically are modest as well, wearing collared shirts and long pants. You can relax these rules if you are in large tourist areas like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, but always dress conservatively if you are planning on visiting a temple, someone’s home or a local village to volunteer.
4. Visiting Temples
Temples are a must see while in Cambodia.
With the opportunity to explore the magnificent Angkor Wat. One of the Seven Wonders of the World will literally be right on your doorstep! And of course the temple featured in the movie Tomb Raider, Ta Prohm. Sunrise tours are also available very early in the morning (i.e. 4:30-5:30am) are usually ideal, before the heat of the day gets too much.
5. Enjoy The Nightlife!
Like many hot and humid countries, Cambodia comes to life at night. Plenty of lights, people and night markets appear. Even if you just take a tuk tuk ride around town, it’s an absolute must. If you need (or want!) to extend your visa beyond your initial 30 days like myself, you can get this done via a travel agent. Your hotel or accommodation will usually know an agency they trust, and it will be done within a week. Just be sure you have copies of all your passports before you hand them over, in case they happen to go missing. If you want to extend your visa, expect to pay $45 USD.
Surrounded by lakes, jungles, huge waterfalls, night markets and a bustling nightlife, Cambodia really has everything you need to make your summer the most memorable of your life.