Are you making plans your first Cambodian trip? That's great! You are in for a real pleasure! Cambodia is absolutely a stunning country being home to stunning scenery, lovely beaches, a nation with incredible history and some of the attractive citizens you cans ever you to meet anywhere. If you are a first timer, below are comprehensive information you need to know.
When to Visit
Cambodia is warm throughout the year with an average temperature hardly dropping below 68°F or 20°C, anywhere you go. Seasons are divided into raining season and dry season. The raining season is from May to October. A short-term downpour usually marks it in the afternoon, but this seldom affects travel plans as there is still several hours of bright sunlight. The wet season is locally known as the green season because the countryside comes to life. Travelling during the dry season? November to March is synonymous with hot, dry days.
The best time to visit Cambodia depends on the temperature, shower, and some tourists. Most travellers visit Cambodia from November to March. If you desire to dodge the multitudes and go when prices are lower but to me, the most fabulous time to visit Cambodia is from May to early October.
You'll need a visa to enter Cambodia. You can apply for one either before you leave your country or get it sorted out on your arrival. The cost of applying for a visa is $30 US per person for a tourist Visa and takes around 5-10 minutes to get sorted provided there is no one on the queue. If you plan to get it on arrival, make sure you have extra copies of your passport photograph with you as you'll need them for visa processing. Some countries in Asia do not require a visa before you are allowed to enter.
The official currency of Cambodia is the Riel, but you can also use US dollars for any payment. In most places across the country, prices are quoted in USD, though you will likely receive Riel as change during a purchase.
The official lingua fracas of Cambodia is Khmer, even though sometimes it's just referred to as Cambodian. It's spoken by over 90% of the country's population. In recent years, Cambodia has seen a rise in tourism which has led to an increase in the use of English.
While Cambodian food might not be as well-known as neighbouring Thailand, it's an exceptional cuisine full of vibrant flavours and spices and a must-try when you're in the country. If you're a person with shy taste buds, the food here might sound scary to you, but trust me, it is worth given a trial.
Below are few of the most popular and familiar delicacies that you can get in Cambodia;
Bai Sach Chrouk (Pork and Rice): This is one of the basic dishes, and should satisfy even the choosiest eaters out there. Sweet pork is grilled, often steeped first in coconut or garlic, and served over warm rice with a side of preserved cucumbers, radishes and broth. This is a typical breakfast in Cambodia, and you'll find it on most street stalls all over the country.
Fish Amok: While the idea of a “fish mousse” might sound disgusting, this curry dish proposes a warm and buttery melt-in-your-mouth taste that impeccably balances local herbs like lemongrass and ginger with just the right quantity of spice. This is one of the favourite Cambodian dishes.
Lap Khmer (Lime-Marinated Beef Salad): Similar to ceviche, Lap Khmer features thin slices of beef that are marinated in lime juice and spices. Occasionally the meat is lightly parched first. Packed with fresh chilies, this is not a dish for those with sensitive appetites!
Nom Banh Chok (Khmer Noodles): Though you might think of noodle soup as a perfect lunch or dinner meal, in Cambodia it's the most common breakfast. You can get it on the street stands or from vendors wandering the streets in the early mornings. Rice noodles are combined with a fresh green curry sauce and bettered with bean sprouts and other vegetables.
Khmer Red Curry: Khmer red curry is similar to the famed curries of Thailand, but this one has a little lesser spice. A creamy coconut milk base mixed with chunks of meat, pork, or chicken and a combination of local herbs and spices. You can eat it with rice, but in Cambodia, it's most often served with bread.
Activities to Perform
Watch Angkor Wat Shine
Watch the sunrise over the most popular attraction in Cambodia at Angkor Wat. View the first rays of sunlight hit the majestic monument, casting shadows and reflections across the water. Why not hop in a hot air balloon and marvel at the memorial from the skies above?
Cruise the Tonle Sap Lake
Being referred to as 'the great lake, Tonle is the biggest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. It's estimated that approximately 1.2 million people currently reside around the lake. Take a boat trip and cruise the waters to experience the lakeside life.
Kayak Through a Water Forest
Floating villages and forests are very common in Cambodia. It serves as the abode of colonies of water birds. Also, the flooded forests provide a different side to the country's wildlife and villages. Grab a paddle and take to the Cambodian waters!
Explore Cambodia's Cooking Delights
The country's trademark dish is Fish Amok, a seafood curry. There are new and diverse restaurants opening across the country constantly. But if you're brave enough, you can give some of the unique street foods a try. Does anyone want fried tarantula?
Tour Siem Reap
Popularly called Angkor Wat gateway, Siem Reap has French colonial architecture and a thriving arts scene, making it a popular destination. Rent a bike and pedal through the city's countryside along quiet and tranquil trails.
Where to Stay
From luxury hotels in the big metropolises to picturesque homestays and bucolic guesthouses in the villages, Cambodia has a place for everyone! Cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Riep will have a lot more preferences, but even in stress-free towns like Kampot, you'll find a diversity of choices. If you're traveling during national holidays or peak season, we highly recommend that you book your lodgings ahead of time.