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Thursday, 23 January 2014

About Cambodia

Kingdom of Cambodia
【Area】 181,035 km2.
【Population】 14.7 million (2008).

【People】 Khmers (90%)

【Language】Khmer

【Capital city】 Phnom Penh , (Population: 2 million)
【Time Zone】 GMT +7Hours
【International Dialing Code】 855

【Currency】Riel, US dollars  (01USD ~ 4000 Riel)

Cambodia, neighbouring Thailand, Laos and Vietnam in South East Asia, is a country fast becoming recognised for its beauty, historical sites and friendly people, leaving its tragic history far behind. Home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat, it also boasts the stunning scenery of Tonle Sap Lake and the Mekong Delta, beautiful deserted beaches in the south and remnants of its French colonial past in the capital, Phnom Penh.

Cambodia Holidays

(1)Independence Day:9 November. This national holiday was established to celebrate Cambodia's independence from France in 1953.

(2)King Sihamoni's Birthday: 3 days off (13-15 May). This national holiday was established to celebrate the birthday of HM King Norodom Sihamoni on May 14, 1953.
(3)Khmer New Year:14 – 16 April.  Khmer New Year is considered as the most important holidays to celebrate the New Year in Cambodia. This holiday is usually celebrated for 3 days.
(4)Water Festival – Bon Om Thook (Boat Racing Festival):moveable 13-15 November. Bon Om Thook celebrates the end of monsoon season. A holiday that mark the changing course of the Mekong river and Tonle Sap river.
(5)Former King’s Birthday, Norodom Sihanouk is on 31 October. 1 day off.

Passport and visa

A passport with at least six months validity from the date of entry into Cambodia is required.  We recommend you make a photocopy of your passport and keep it somewhere separate, or scan your passport and keep the scan in an accessible email account.

A visa is required for most nationalities and is available upon arrival at both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap international airports, and at the border crossing from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh. A tourist visa costs US$20 and is valid for 30 days. One passport-sized photograph is also required.

Food and drink

It is not advisable to drink tap water in Cambodia. Bottled water is cheap and widely available.

Khmer cuisine, considered one of the healthiest in the world, has much in common with the food of neighbouring Thailand, although it is generally not as spicy. It is also similar to Vietnamese food, due to its shared colonial French history. The most well-known Cambodian dish is amok. Amok is a coconut based curry traditionally cooked with fish, however it is not uncommon to have it with chicken.

Etiquette and cultural differences

Experiencing different cultures is one of the joys of travelling and it is important that these differences are respected. Cambodia has cultural norms and taboos which we encourage visitors to understand and abide by.

  • Try not to get angry.  Showing any frustrations or annoyances by shouting or becoming abusive is extremely impolite and it is unlikely to achieve a positive outcome. The Khmer’s don’t like to ‘lose face’.
  • Refrain from public displays of affection, they are considered offensive. It is extremely rare to see couples holding hands. However, it is quite common for friends of the same sex.
  • It is polite to remove your shoes before entering a house – look for shoes at the front door as a clue.
  • Cambodians greet each other with a slight bow and a prayer-like gesture, with the younger or lower-ranked person usually initiating the gesture. For foreigners and business, handshakes are acceptable.

Temple visit etiquette

Foreigners are always welcome in temples. However, it is important that a few simple rules of etiquette are followed:

  • Dress appropriately and act with the utmost respect when visiting Wats (pagodas) and other religious sites, including the temples of Angkor.
  • Do not wear shorts or tank tops and make sure your shoulders and knees are covered.
  • Remove your shoes and hat before going into a vihara (monastery).
  • If you sit down in front of the dais (the platform on which the Buddha’s are placed), sit with your feet to the side rather than in the lotus position.
  • Never point your finger or the soles of your feet towards a person or a figure of the Buddha.
  • A woman may accept something from a monk but should never touch a monk.
  • Show respectand turn off mobile phones, remove headphones, lower your voice and avoid in appropriate conversation.

Please note: The central tower of Angkor Wat is closed to visitors on Buddhist holidays.

Phones and Internet Service

  • Post in Cambodia is routed by air through Bangkok, making the service much more reliable than in the past.
  • Telephone connections to the rest of the world are widely available but can be expensive.
  • Internet access is available in most major tourist places such as hotels and restaurants.

Pre-departure checklist

  • Travel insurance
  • Passport with at least six months validity from date of entry
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Visa or a passport photo and US$20 for visa on arrival
  • Vaccinations
  • Foreign currency (US$) and/or ATM card
  • All relevant tickets
  • Reconfirmed flights
  • Lightweight clothing
  • Long-sleeved shirts and trousers (recommended for evenings)
  • Electrical adaptor: 220V, 50Hz; 2 pin plugs
  • A small bag/backpack for day and overnight trips
  • Appropriate shoes for trekking, cycling and walking
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Medication/first aid kit

Please note: Domestic airlines impose baggage weight restrictions of around 20kg maximum, so travel lightly where possible.

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