Cambodia Travel Tips

Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy with His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Baromneat Norodom Sihamoni as its head of state. Population is around 10.7 million, of which 90 per cent is ethnic Khmer and largely Theravada Buddhist. Khmer is the official language.


Cambodia is suitable to visit most of the year round because it lies in a tropical zone. The best time to visit Angkor is during the cooler months between November and March. From late May or June to late October or early November rains can be expected. Seldom, however, is a compete day ruined by constant rain. It makes going around the Angkor temples somewhat difficult because of muddy paths and slippery stones, but the sandstone monuments are truly beautiful after a rain storm. For those not used to heat and humidity, it should be remembered that Cambodia is in the tropics and even during the cooler month it will still feel very hot.


Cambodia Standard Time is seven hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. It is in the same time zone as Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.


Lightweight, loose-fitting, cotton clothing is recommended and long-sleeved items should be included for protection from mosquitoes and the sun. It is not appropriate to wear very short shorts, nor for men to take off their shirts. Sturdy shoes with good support are recommended for visiting the temples. Hats are also essential against the sun.


The unit of currency in Cambodia is the riel, but the US dollar is widely used throughout the country; small change, however, is usually given in riel. It is forbidden to take riels in or out of the country. Gold is also circulated in the markets. In an effort to wean people away from the use of American currency, a new range of notes and coins were introduced in March 1995. New notes in denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 100,000 were added to the existing notes of nominations of 500, 200, 100 and 50.

There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency you can bring in to Cambodia, but any amount over US$10,000 must be declared. The most readily converted currencies are the: US dollar, Thai baht, French franc, Japanese yen, British pound, and the German mark. The value fluctuates, but as of Jan 2001, the rate was: 4000 riels = US$1.

Payment for domestic air tickets and many hotels and restaurants must be paid for in cash, however the larger hotels now accept major credit cards. Most banks will give a cash advance with a credit card. Travelers cheques are not widely accepted, but they can be exchanged in most banks for a 2% service charge.

Source: Angkor An Introduction to the Temples, Dawn Rooney; Twin Age Limited, Hong Kong, 2004 Added some new information