With its rich historical background and beautiful landscape, Cambodia has blossomed to be one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. Traveling to Cambodia, you will have a chance to visit splendid religious sites, go trekking to spectacular jungles, cruise along rustic Tonle Sap Lake, and discover the bustling cities Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The temples of Angkor are the notable attractions which make Cambodia the ‘Kingdom of Wonders’. Cambodia together with Vietnam and Laos are three Indochinese countries which are preferred by tourists who wish to discover colonial history,  one-of-a-kind nature and friendly locals.

1. Visa and Passport

It is required that your passport must be valid for 6 months from the date of entry to Cambodia and you must have at least one blank visa page.

Cambodia visa exemption: Most countries in Southeast Asia are eligible for 2-week to 30-day visa-free entry to this country.

  • Brunei, Thailand: 14 days
  • Philippines: 21 days
  • Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore: 30 days

Cambodia tourist visa can be purchased at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports and some borders. It costs $30 for adults and free for kids under 12 years old for a 30-day stay. You need to carry a passport sized photo. This tourist visa is for single entry only, and you can renew it for an additional 30 days at a fee of $45. It is recommended that the fees are paid in US Dollar cash.

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You can apply for e-visa as well. This option costs US $30 fee and $6 processing charge. It will take 3 days to process. Click here to apply.

2. Money

Riel (Cambodia)
Riel (Cambodia)

The official currency in Cambodia is Riel (KHR). However, US Dollar is widely accepted and you do not really need to carry local currency. You only need a small amount of riel to buy cheap things at local markets.

Credit/debit cards are accepted in hotels and restaurants. ATMs are available in many tourist destinations such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville. However, if you travel to some rural areas, have some cash in hand.

3. Power Sockets, Phones & Internet

Internet is accessible in hotels, restaurants and café. However, if you travel to rural areas, purchase a data package. There are seven cell providers in Cambodia: Metfone, qb, Beeline, Cellcard/Mobitel, Smart, Excell, and CooTel. Metfone is the largest provider and it wins a 50% market share in this country.

You can buy a SIM card from any of those providers. It only cost $0.5 to $2 for a local SIM. You can find a SIM store anywhere around Cambodia’s major cities. We advise you purchase a Metfone data package if you intend to travel to some lesser-known areas.

In Cambodia, people use 220V, 50 Hz and 2 or 3-pin electricity sockets. You can bring your own adaptor or your hotel will provide multi-socket power strips.

4. Getting around Cambodia

Tuk tuks in Phnom Penh
Tuk tuks in Phnom Penh
  • Taxis can be found in Phnom Penh, but not in the other part of this country. Renting a car in Cambodia will save you a lot of time to find transportation in this country.
  • Tuk tuks are widely used for a short distance. It usually costs $1 – $5, depending on the distance.
  • Taking a boat cruise is a common activity to do in Cambodia. Contact us for high-quality Mekong Delta Cruises from Phnom Penh or Siem Reap.
  • You can take a bus to anywhere in Cambodia at an affordable price. The most popular routes are Siem Reap to Phnom Penh ($6) and Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville ($5).

5. Healthcare & Safety

  • Cambodia is relatively safe to visit, but be careful of bag snatching when riding in tuk tuks in Phnom Penh. Keep your belongings close to you all the time and don’t flash your cash and jewelry.
  • Don’t go to some rural areas without a guide; there are some land mines left over from Khmer Rouge which are dangerous if you go insides alone.
  • Drink bottled water and always wash your hands with hand sanitizers before eating.

6. Weather in Cambodia

Traveling to Indochina, you will experience hot and humid weather in almost three countries. There are two main seasons in Cambodia: rainy season (May to October) and dry season (November to March). Cambodia experiences a high level of rainfall in rainy seasons, and it is very sultry at the beginning of rainy seasons (March to May) when the temperature can reach 38 degrees Celcius.

The best time to visit Cambodia is from November to March. However, it is still fine if you travel to this country from June to October, since the rains are usually in the afternoon and will not affect your visit.

7. Cultural Etiquette

Angkor Wat at sunrise
Angkor Wat at sunrise

Cambodia is well-known as a peaceful Buddhist country. Theravada Buddhism, which is practiced by 95 percent of the population, is the predominant religion of this country. These are some rules to keep in mind when you enter any religious site:

  • Dress conservatively; cover up your shoulders, elbows and legs.
  • Don’t wear sleeveless nor see-through tops. Remove your hats.
  • Leave your shoes at the entrance of pagodas. There will be a guideline where you can place your shoes in every religious site.
  • Show utmost respect when entering a temple; don’t touch the monks.
  • Don’t point at any Buddha.
  • Lower your voice and avoid any inappropriate conversation. Be careful if you can take any picture inside a pagoda.

8. Language

Khmer is the official language in Cambodia, but most people in hospitality industry can speak English. Prepare some translation apps on your smartphone when you travel to some rural areas.

9. Public holidays in Cambodia

There are many public holidays, both memorial and religious events, in Cambodia. Some holidays are calculated based on traditional Khmer lunar calendar, so the dates are subjected to change yearly. Khmer New Year is the biggest holiday in Cambodia which usually falls in the middle of April. It marks the end of the harvest season in this country, and people can get a short break from their hard work. Local people usually decorate the altars, visit some temples and play traditional games during Khmer New Year.

Top events in Cambodia:

  • International New Year’s Eve: 1st January
  • Victory Day over Genocide: 7th January
  • Meakh Bochea Day: February
  • Khmer New Year Days: at the middle of April, last 3 days
  • International Labor Day: 1st May
  • Visak Bochea Day: April or May
  • Royal Plowing Ceremony: May
  • King Norodom Sihamoni’s Birthday: 13-15th May
  • Queen Monineath’s Birthday: 18th June
  • Pchum Ben Days: September or October, last 3 days
  • Constitutional Day: 24th September
  • Commemoration Day of King’s Father: 15th October
  • Paris Peace Agreement Day: 23rd October
  • Coronation Day of King Sihamoni: 29thOctober
  • Water Festival: October or November, last 3 days
  • National Independence Day: 9th November

10. Itineraries and Where to go

Sokha Beach in Sihanoukville
Sokha Beach in Sihanoukville

UNESCO heritage sites in Cambodia are extremely large and they will take you at least 2 or 3 days to fully discover. However, if you just want to visit some highlights in a tour to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, 4 or 5 days are enough. For deeper exploration, 7 days will be required. Some famous tourist destinations in Cambodia are:

  • Phnom Penh: This city features many temples, historical sites and museums for tourists to discover its tragic yet splendid past. Two must-go attractions in Phnom Penh are the Royal Place and the Killing Field Choeung Ek.
  • Siem Reap: Whenever you think about Siem Reap, Angkor Wat will be the first thing that comes up on your mind. Angkor Wat is the highlight of every visit to Cambodia.
  • Sihanoukville: This city is praised for its palm-shaped white sand and clean beaches which are suitable for sunbathing, scuba diving, snorkeling, etc.
  • Kep: Kep is one of the newest provinces in Cambodia. Despite being the smallest province of this country, Kep has become one of the busiest holiday spots, especially during hot summers.

You can access Vietnam from Cambodia via Moc Bai border. If you wish to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia, you will need at least 13 days.

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Checklist before your trip

  • ID card, visa, passport and copies of those documents
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccination
  • Credit/debit card and some US dollars
  • Flight tickets/ Boarding pass
  • A high-quality pair of shoes
  • Bug repellent
  • Lightweight clothing
  • Medicines and first-aid kit
  • Adaptor – 220V, 50Hz; 2 pin plugs

Short Tours to Cambodia

Interesting Tours to Cambodia

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Chi Nguyen

My name is Linh Chi, a true beach lover. My passion is to explore off-the-beaten-track destinations in Vietnam and introduce our S-shaped country's culture and beautiful scenery to friends all around the world.


  1. I am very glad by reading this post about essential Cambodia travel guide for first-time visitors & this will be more informative for them who wants to explore new places in Cambodia. I must share my experience of Cambodia trip which was a wonderfully planned by my elder brother; he booked this trip by Siem Reap for my easy travel for which I got the best journey of my life.

    1. Dear Sir/Madam,

      Thank you for your comment. It is our pleasure to hear that you find our article helpful and you had a wonderful trip to Cambodia.

      Cambodia is such a dazzling country with pristine landscapes, gorgeous temples, and friendly people, so do not hesitate to revisit this country. If you want to customize a tour to more off-the-beaten-track destinations in Cambodia, please take a look at our tours and contact us: https://www.vietnamparadisetravel.com/cambodia-tours. Thank you very much!


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