Untitled Document
Sub Menu contents
Untitled Document

Indochine Tour - 14 Days

Angkor Temple Guide

Beach Guide - Cambodia

Hotel Quick Guide

Tour List

twitter logo

follow us on facebook image

Weather Phnom Penh
© meteogroup.co.uk


about cambodia header

map of cambodia

The Kingdom of Cambodia formerly known as Kampuchea is a country in Southeast Asia that borders Thailand to the west and northwest, Laos to the north and Vietnam to the east and southeast. In the south it faces the Gulf of Thailand. The geography of Cambodia is dominated by the Mekong River and the Tonlé Sap (the fresh water lake).

Like neighboring Thailand, Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy. Phnom Penh is the kingdom's capital and largest city, and is the principal center for economics, industry, commerce and culture. Siem Reap, a city located near the famed ruins of Angkor Wat and gateway to the Angkor region, is Cambodia's main destination for tourism. Battambang, the largest city in western Cambodia, is known for rice production and Sihanoukville, a coastal city, is the primary sea port.


Covering a land area of 181,035 square kilometers, Cambodia is divided into 21 provinces.
Much of Cambodia is flat with fertile lands, making it one of the main rice producers in the region.

The country has three small mountain ranges; the Dangrek Mountains, the Cardamons and the Damrei Mountains. The former two are near Thailand border in the southwest while the last one, which is also called the Elephant Mountains, is southeast of Phnom Penh.

pic of countryside Most of beautiful scenery in Cambodia includes vast green rice fields dotted with tilting palm trees and simple thatched roof houses of peasants.

Another significant feature of Cambodia’s geography is Tonle Sap Lake. This extraordinary lake stretches northwest from the ‘Chaktomuk’ confluence in Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. It is the largest fresh water lake in Southeast Asia, serving as a lifeline of millions of Cambodian populations. Its main water supply is the Mekhong River. During the wet season from June to September, the Mekhong River swells with a massive amount of waters to the point that it reserves the flow of the Tonle Sap River back upriver to the inner area of the Tonle Sap lake for about 120 kilometers. The lake is believed to expand as much as 12,000 square kilometers during this period. The water starts to shrink at the beginning of the dry season to the size of just 2,500 square kilometers. This phenomenon supports a rich and diverse eco-system.

There are more than 1000 varieties of water birds, 200 species of fish and other animals inhabiting in the lake. Numerous floating villages of stilted houses are also part of the life in this great lake.
The lake is about 15 kilometers south of Siem Reap. The ferries from Phnom Penh drop their passengers at the Chong Khneas village here. Boat tours to see the culture and wildlife of the lake are also possible.

Cambodia has a tropical climate that is warm and humid. In the monsoon season, abundant rain allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops and this year round tropical climate makes Cambodia ideal for the tourism industry. Visitors do need not fear natural disasters such as erupting volcanoes or earthquakes, and the country is not directly affected by tropical storms.

Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. However those planning to travel extensively by road should avoid the last two months of the rainy season when some countryside roads may be impassable.

The climate can generally be described as tropical. As the country is affected by monsoon, it is hot and humid with an overage temperature around 27.C (80.F) but in the dry season it is cool and very much like a European summer.

There are two distinct seasons: the Rainy Season and the Dry Season. However, the Dry Season is divided into two sub-seasons, cool and hot and these seasons are:

The cool and dry season (November – February)

It is considered the best time to visit Cambodia

The hot and dry season (March – May)

It is hot and humid during the day. It is warm at night.
The temperature is about 35 ‘C in one of the hottest days.

The hot and wet season (June – August)

This is the beginning of the rainy season.
You will see sunshine in most of the days but it gets wet unexpectedly on some days.

The cool and wet season (September – October)

This is the rainy season period.
During this time, the sky is usually clear in the morning while rain will come in the afternoon.

A passport with at least six-month validity is required. A visa is required for most nationalities. One-month visas are available upon arrival at the International Airports in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, through Cambodian Embassies and at most border crossings with Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.

Tourist Visa US$ 20 / Business Visa US$ 25

Diplomatic, Official, Courtesy, and Special visas are issued free of charge. One 4 x 6cm photo is required. Tourist visas can be extended for one month, but only one time. Business visas can be renewed indefinitely via a travel agency.

pic of currency

Cambodia’s official currency is the Riel (KHR). It comes in denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 50000 and 100000 notes. There are no coins. However, American dollars are mostly accepted in business establishments in major towns such as Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Some town like Battambang accepts Thai Baht. It is recommended that you carry smaller notes like 1’s, 5’s and 10’s because the shops and restaurants normally do not have change.

At the time of this writing, 1 USD is about 4150 Riel. If you wish, you can change US dollars to Riel at most of 3, 4 and 5 star hotels. Do not exchange a lot of cash at one time because it is difficult to change it back for foreign currency. It is advisable to use small Riel for small transactions such as motorcycle taxis, postcards and other small purchases.

Major credit cards such as Visa, Master and JCB are also accepted in many hotels in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Note that some restaurants and shops may charge 4 to 5% commission.

Canadia Bank and ANZ/Royal Bank have ATM machines in Sihanoukville, Battambang, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. The machine disperses US dollar notes. Some machines are open 24 hours while some are open from 9 am to 9 pm. They are also available at Siem Reap and Phnom Penh international airports. In Phnom Penh, you can ATM machines at Total and Caltex gas stations, the Independence Monument, Sorya shopping center and Canadia Banks on Angdong Street, Sihanouk Boulevard and Charles de Gaulle Boulevards. In Siem Reap, the machines are located at the Old Market. However, do not rely too much on the ATM machines. It is best to have cash with you.

Cambodian Commercial bank, which has branches in Battambang, Phnom Pen and Siem Reap can purchase Traveler’s Cheques and Bank note. Two percent commission fee or a minimum charge of one dollar is payable in US Dollar with the limit amount not over USD 2,000.00 (two thousand US Dollars) per day. Credit Cards applicable are Visa Card, Master Card and JCB as well as Siam Commercial Bank Silver and Gold Credit Card. The payment will be made in US Dollars. The bank and its currency exchange booths in front of the bank are open from 8 am to 3 pm from Monday to Friday – the currency exchange booths are also open on Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm.

Presently, no vaccination is required before entering Cambodia unless visitors arrive directly from Africa.However, it is recommended that you get proper vaccination if you are going to the remote provinces since malaria, typhoid, dengue, rabies and Japanese B encephalitis are still prevalent in many remote areas.

In addition visitors should be aware that mosquitoes are common in any tropical country, including Cambodia, especially at nighttimes. Therefore, it is advisable to bring with you insect repellent and anti-malarial drug such as Chloroquine and Mefloquine. Consult with you doctor before visiting Cambodia.

Health insurance that includes medical evacuation is recommended as medical services are limited and not up to international standard, particularly in rural areas. Tourists who fall seriously ill or injured are usually evacuated to Thailand or Singapore. Tap water in Cambodia is not suitable for drinking. Always ask for bottled water when you are in a restaurant and carry a bottle of water when traveling on the road.

Rice and Fish are the main staple of the typical Cambodian diet though many dishes are prepared with beef, pork or chicken. Sea food is abundant in coastal areas with shrimps and crab among the favorites. Local specialties include Amok (fish-cooked in coconut milk) and a variety of soups, and curries similar in taste though not in spiciness to Thailand.

Phnom Penh is truly cosmopolitan with Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Nepalese, Indian, Turkish, Mexican, French, Western and other restaurants dotted around the capital.

return to homepage next page