7 Tips for Planning an Unforgettable Trip to Cambodia

Trip to Cambodia

Location Cambodia. Red pin on the map.

If you want an adventurous vacation of a lifetime, consider an unforgettable trip to Cambodia. These tips will help you plan your trip so everything goes well.

Are you planning a visit to Cambodia?

If so, you’re in for the experience of a lifetime. The culture, food, and people will provide plenty of unforgettable memories. But how should you dress when you visit? Are there rules you need to follow?

If you’re not sure if you even need a visa to visit Cambodia, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve created this guide to help you have a great trip.

So what are you waiting for? Keep reading for seven tips that will help you have a fantastic trip to Cambodia.

1. Plan a Local Living Experience

While a hotel may be your preference, don’t miss your chance to experience life the local way. It’s worth giving up some of the travel luxuries you’re used to, trust me!

A great way to do this is to book a stay in a floating village. It’s authentic and will provide a type of travel adventure you just can’t get in a hotel.

There are several floating villages to choose from during your stay in Cambodia. Visit Floating Village Tours’ blog to read more about the different locations on the Tonle Sap.

A stay in a floating village is very affordable, so you’ll get a great experience and save yourself some cash at the same time!

2. Get the Right Visa

You don’t have to worry about getting a visa before you arrive in Cambodia. And when you get there, it won’t cost you much.

If you plan to be in Cambodia for only 30 days or less, purchase a $30 tourist visa online or when you arrive. This visa is good for 30 days and can be extended for another 30 days. An extension will cost you $45 though.

If you’ll be staying for a longer period of time, go for an ordinary (E-class) visa. This visa is also good for 30 days, but it costs slightly more at $35. This type of visa can be extended any number of times but it can’t be obtained ahead of time.

If you do want to have your visa squared away before you arrive, you can get an e-visa. But if you wait, you can get your visa at the Phnom Penh or Siem Reap airports, or at major border crossings.

Note that you will need two passport-sized photos and a passport that doesn’t expire for six months after your visit.

3. Get Familiar with the Money

Purchases could feel tricky if you haven’t familiarized yourself with the Cambodian money system. So for the best experience possible, do some research before you go.

Two currencies are used in Cambodia; the US dollar and the Cambodian riel. No coins are used.

You’ll have access to ATMs. These will give you US dollars. You’ll likely use this currency the most often

It takes 4000 riels to make $1 in most areas, so you’ll only use riel for smaller purchases. Be prepared to use both currencies together and understand how to use each interchangeably.

4. Research Popular Dishes

If you’re going for a truly authentic experience, plan to eat as many ethnic dishes as possible. Do some research ahead of time to see what you might like to try.

There’s a wide variety of delicious foods in Cambodia, so don’t stick to what you know.

Chances are you’ll get to try lots of vegetables. Favorites of the country include cabbage, carrots, onions, and beans. You’ll likely find them cooked and served in many ways, too.

You can try some Cambodian recipes on your own to get a taste for the cuisine. But, they’ll taste even better when made in their home country.

5. Dress Appropriately

Prepare to dress appropriately by making sure you pack the right type of clothing.

November to April is Cambodia’s dry season. During these months you’ll be most comfortable in light-weight cotton clothing. Though it’s called the dry season, it will be humid, as well as hot.

The temperatures in December and January may have you wishing you had a light jacket or sweater, so come prepared.

If you’re visiting between May to October, be prepared for rain. Carry a poncho or umbrella, or purchase a poncho when you arrive.

Your planning should also depend on what activities you plan to do. If you’ll be hiking or spending a lot of time outdoors, you’ll need protection from the sun. And you’ll need to dress more formally if you plan to visit the Silver Pagoda (including long trousers or skirts and covered shoulders).

6. Learn the Rules of Etiquette

Read up on Cambodian etiquette before heading to the country. Doing so may save you from some very awkward situations.

Luckily, these rules aren’t hard to remember. It just takes some common sense and courtesy. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Never lose your temper.
  • Give compliments and show gratitude, but be genuine about it.
  • Be humble (this includes deflecting compliments).
  • Don’t touch anyone’s head, even your child‘s.
  • Remove your shoes when entering temples and homes.
  • The right hand is for eating and handling things, while the left is for toilet business.
  • Avoid bringing up things such as war, violence, and politics.

It may seem complicated, but if you take the time to learn the ropes before you go, you’ll be fine.

7. Play It Safe

Just like on any other trip, be smart with your belongings. Keep valuables with you, don’t leave them in your sleeping quarters.

When traveling, hold onto your bags. Some vehicles are open sided.

You don’t necessarily have to feel unsafe in Cambodia. Just be smart with your stuff and family members like you should be anywhere else.

Plan Ahead for a Great Trip to Cambodia

Cambodia is an incredible place to visit, but it can be even better if you plan a little in advance. Some simple research can really go a long way.

Get to know the customs and etiquette before you go if you want to have the best experience.

Each of these tips is meant to help you make your trip to Cambodia the best. Keep them in mind and don’t forget to have fun!

Are you a single woman traveler? If so, check out these travel safety tips.

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About Marina Kuperman Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 10+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

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