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Cambodia Travel Guide

It’s time to talk about Cambodia. If it's not already at the top of your must-visit list then you might have some rearranging to do. Embrace the heart-stealing scenery of this Southeast Asian nation as you roam through lively markets, majestic temples and charismatic towns that seem untouched by modern tourism developments. It’s time to delve a little bit deeper and get acquainted with Cambodia.  

The Highlights

  • Kep

    One thing you must do while in the coastal province of Kep: sample it’s famous crab caught daily from the shores and is best served stir-fried and seasoned with local Kampot pepper. With an entire market dedicated the crustacean, you can watch the fisherman wade through the waters daily in search if their haul. Visitors can also make a trip to the butterfly-filled Kep National Park. 

  • Battambang

    Filled with French colonial architecture and accompanied by many relaxed riverside cafes, it’s easy to see why travellers are attracted to Battambang. One of the most notable experiences you can enjoy in Battambang is to take a ride on the famous bamboo train where a wooden pole is used as both the brakes and accelerator while reaching surprising speeds of up to 50 kilometres an hour. 

  • Siem Reap

    There’s more to Siem Reap than just being the gateway to the Angkor Wat temple. You can spend your time walking around town or ride a bike. Or, you could explore the floating village of Chong Khneas on the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. Then, you can spend your evening at the lively Pub Street and before heading to the surrounding night markets. 

  • Kampot

    If Kep is known for its fresh crab and seafood, Kampot is equally as famous for its regionally produced pepper along with its world-class salt. Once you’ve sampled the local pepper and famous salt, nothing compares to relaxing by the mangrove-lined Kampot river with a fresh beverage in your hand to watch the sun dip below the horizon. While you’re there, you can also visit Bokor National Park.

  • Koh Rong Samloem

    If you’re looking peace and quiet with a dose of tranquillity, you must head to Koh Rong Samloem located just 45-minutes by ferry from mainland Sihanoukville. Picture-perfect, white sand beaches are the main drawcard for this tiny island and similar to Koh Phi Phi island in Thailand, there are no cars, no roads and no traffic – making it a true paradise for travellers. 

  • Phnom Penh

    Make like a local in the glimmering city of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The best way to see the city is to explore on two feet or to cruise through the streets in a cyclo and tick off the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda and Wat Prohm. Before the day is out, make sure to watch the sun go down along the riverbank before getting your fill of local treats at the popular night markets. 

The Basics

When to Visit

when to visit
  1. Peak Season

    November to February

    The high season in Cambodia, from November through February welcome visitors with the appeal of very hot weather (with average highs of 30°C in some parts) however, this is when Cambodia experiences a sharp influx of visitors – especially in Siem Reap and across the main tourist attractions. This is also the time when travellers from the Southern Hemisphere make the most of Christmas holidays or extended school holidays and university breaks, so many backpackers can be found during this time. For this reason, it is suggested that you book in advance as prices will rise, and both Chinese and Vietnamese New Year will fall during this time. 

  2. Low Season

    May to September

    Through the months of May to September, Cambodia is characterized by heavy rain (monsoon season) and a drop in temperature. This may have a small impact on the outdoor activities you wish to partake in, however, if you are travelling on a budget means this is a great time to travel as prices will be lower. The average temperature will still be warm (averaging 22°C in some parts), however, the sunlight will be overshadowed by huge rain clouds. Important festivals include the Royal Ploughing Ceremony and are held to mark the traditional beginning of the rice-growing season along with the Festival of the Dead celebrated in September.

Cambodia Tours

  • Visit Responsibly

    Travelling responsibly means respecting the communities, culture and environment of the places you visit. Keep these tips in mind when travelling to Cambodia:

    Go green. Be environmentally conscious on the road by taking short showers; turning off the lights in your hotel room when you leave; and resisting the urge to collect any plants, seashells, or other natural flora.

    Respect cultural differences. Before travelling, read about the local culture and customs – even just knowing the dress code and a few basic phrases in the local language will go a long way.

    Support local businesses. Enjoy a more authentic experience and directly support the local economy by travelling with a local guide, eating in local restaurants, buying from local artisans, and staying in locally-owned and operated accommodations.

    Wherever possible, avoid single-use plastics. Pack reusable items such as your own shopping bags, utensils, a water bottle, and a straw. These items are typically lightweight and compact, and will greatly reduce your consumption of plastics.

    Be conscious of overtourism. Opt to visit the lesser-known regions of Cambodia or travel outside the peak season – you'll likely even get a better deal and won't have all the crowds!

  • Sustainable Tourism in Cambodia

    Sustainable Cambodia
    Sustainable Cambodia is an organization dedicated to helping families of rural Cambodia achieve a sustainable and self-sufficient quality of life via the installation of wells, irrigation systems, quality education for the children, sustainable incomes, and healthy food. The local families learn about a variety of topics: alternative agriculture, the installation of wells, and how to manage community projects and build schools.

    Cambodia’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
    After endorsing the 17 global SDGs in 2015, the Royal Government of Cambodia adapted the goals to fit their national context and devised a fully localized framework called the Cambodian SDGs (CSDGs). They also added an eighteenth goal which requires the clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance.

    Sustainable Tourism Initiatives
    Siem Reap has a number of businesses dedicated to supporting the local community and conserving the environment. Not only do these businesses encourage sustainable tourism, but they also actively help the Cambodian people in need by creating better opportunities within the community. Made in Cambodia Market, Rehash Trash, and the Café Collective are just a few examples.

FAQs about Cambodia

  • Do you tip in Cambodia?

    There isn’t much of a tipping culture in Cambodia, but it is recommended to leave a tip of 10% in a restaurant to show gratitude for good service and this will of course, always be appreciated. 
  • What is the internet access like?

    Internet connection can range in quality, but you should have no problem with day-to-day tasks like emailing or surfing the web while in Cambodia. WiFi is available in many cafes, hostels and hotels for free, but outside urban areas, this is not as common.
  • Is the tap water safe to drink?

    Definitely not. Bottled water is available all over the country, even in the most remote parts. Just make sure the seal is still on and unbroken.
  • Can I use my credit cards?

    Yes, credit cards are widely accepted throughout Cambodia. Please check with your bank about any foreign transaction charges.
  • What are the public holidays?

    Some of the major public holidays in Cambodia include New Year’s Day on January 1, Victory Over Genocide on January 7, King’s Birthday on May 13-15, Constitution Day on September 24 and Independence Day on November 9 among others. 
  • Is it safe to travel in Cambodia solo as a female?

    Definitely! Cambodia is a welcoming and friendly place where solo female travellers should feel comfortable. As always, small precautions like keeping your bag close to you in the city will help to keep you out of trouble.