The Kingdom of Cambodia (for the various names of the country in Khmer, see naming section below) is a state in Southeast Asia with a population of more than 13 million people. A citizen of Cambodia is usually identified as Cambodian, although Khmer is also used. Most Cambodians are Theravada Buddhists of Khmer extraction, but the country also has a substantial number of Cham and small hill tribes.
The well-known cities in Cambodia are Phnom Penh, the capital city, and Siem Reap, 7km from the wonder of Angkor, are the two largest political, cultural and economic centers. In terms of population it an estimated at 12 million. The Khmer constitute 90% of the population. The remainder is composed of hill tribe groups, Cham, Vietnamese (1%), Chinese (4%), and Thais. The biggest population concentrates in Phnom Penh, with more than one million people.
Cambodia is roughly a half of Italy or Vietnam which 181,035 square km. And there are land borders connecting to other countries. On the north borders Laos, all the east to Vietnam, and shares a long part of north and northwest borders with the land of Thailand.
Major products of commodities are timber, rubber, shipping, rice milling, textiles and fishing. Which is being exported to major trading partners like Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, USA, Hong Kong, Taiwan.
The Kingdom of Cambodia is now safe to travel and tourism has once again become possible. Indeed, the country and Phnom Penh in particular is undergoing something of a renaissance. Often overshadowed by the traumatic events of its recent past, Cambodia as home of the Khmer culture remains one of the most important and exotic countries in South East Asia.
Cambodia, in almost all year, full of sunshine and winds and has a high average temperature. The climate is tropical and distinguishes three major seasons. The dry season from November to April, would be the most pleasant season for visitors, with temperatures are cooler (average temperatures 20 – 28C). The hot season lasts from March to June (average temperatures 28-35C). The rainy season (or monsoon) lasts from may to October with southwesterly winds ushering in the clouds that bring seventy five to eighty percent of the annual rainfall often in spectacular intense bursts for an hour at a time with fantastic lightening displays.
* 7 hrs ahead of GMT
* 3 hrs behind Australian Eastern Standard Time
* 5 hrs behind New Zealand
* 12 hrs ahead of Canada Eastern Time
* 15 hrs ahead of Canada Pacific Time
* 12 hrs ahead of US Eastern Time
* 15 hrs ahead of US Pacific Time
The official currency in Cambodia is the Riel which come in denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 50000 and 100000 notes. However, in the major towns and cities, US dollars can be freely spent though travelers are recommended to use smaller denomination notes, as change may be difficult. Most places will refuse old, tatty or damaged US bills. Due to the economic problems in the region, the currency is equivalent to 4000 per one US dollars (at the time of this writing). Popular local and international currencies can be exchanged openly and freely. Major credit cards are only accepted in a few places so traveler cheques or cash are recommended.
Traveler Cheques (TC) – You can exchange TC at any bank in Cambodia, but you have to pay about 2-4% extra for converting it into US$ bill.
As an advice, you should carry USD cash (with $20 and $100 notes) in addition to traveler cheques and credit card. Do not exchange all of your cash into the local currency at one time, but gradually. It is very difficult to exchange back to foreign currency.
Visa Requirements In Cambodia
To enter Cambodia you need to have a valid passport.
If you did not take a visa in your country, you can take it without problem at the arrival in these airports. There are 2 sheets to fill in which are given to you in the plane; it is necessary to put back your passport, 2 identity photos and 20 dollars in cash for the visa. It takes about 20 minutes at the arrival for the obtaining of the visa. Recently, visa on arrival are widely applied in the airports and land-ports of Cambodia. Visitors no longer need to get the visa stamp at the Cambodian Embassy before your visit. The Government Immigration upon arrival distributes for application form.
As for visa extensions, they can extend their visa at the Department of Immigration situated just opposite the Pochentong Airport. The visa may be extended for 30 days at the cost of USD 25. Some travelers have reported that the visa extension for another one month was no longer possible, since the middle of June 2000. If you expect to stay more than a month, better get a Business visa at one shot for USD 25 with three months validity.
Customs Regulations in Cambodia
The Royal Government of Cambodia has eliminated most non-tariff barriers and import licenses. All goods imported to or exported from Cambodia are subject, in principle, to import and export duties as set by the Custom Department and to a consumption tax.
Imported duties are collected regardless of the point of entry or exit on all goods crossing the border, except those specifically exempted from customs duties by law or proper authorities.
Exempted goods included:
Personal effects of individuals when being transferred to their normal resident;
Goods exempted from duties by international treaty;
Goods imported for a wedding or funeral
Goods related to international relations;
Certain donations to senior monks.
Presently, there are not export duties applied in Cambodia other than those levied on restricted export product, such as logs, sawn timber, precious metals and stones, seafood and antiquities.
Cambodian customs requires importers and exporters to provide a bill of lading, packing list and invoice for all shipments. Goods shipped through Vietnams via the Mekong must also have a transit license.
Temporary entry procedures have been established for a certain number of products.
Narcotics, explosives and poisonous chemicals and substances are prohibited according to the Cambodian customs service.
Antique items for example Buddha images and other old artifacts are prohibited to be taken out of Cambodia. If you have already traveled from neighboring countries, you are advised to declare you belongings to the customs to avoid any problems when leaving Cambodia.
There are direct flights to the capital of Phnom Penh from Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Vientiane. From Phnom Penh, one can take direct flights to Siemreap (Angkor), which are now operates on daily basis.
Airline Companies currently serving in Phnom Penh are Lao Aviation, Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airway, Vietnam Airline, The Southern China Airline, and Malaysian Airline. Cities with directs flights to Siem Reap are Bangkok, Phuket and Ho Chi Minh City. Airline Companies currently serving in Siem Reap are Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airway and Vietnam Airline.
If you prefer traveling by land, you can also get into Cambodia by land from Thailand, Vietnam and Lao.
Traveling from Thailand there are 2 international border gates for crossing the border between Thailand and Cambodia. The first one is Poi Pet (Cambodia) and Aranyaprathet (Thailand)
This border connecting Bangkok or North-East of Thailand to Phnom Penh via Northwest part of Cambodia including Angkor area. It opens from 8 am and closes at 6 pm, the visitors can get entry visa for Cambodia on arrival with cost of US$20. There are at least two trains leave here each day for Bangkok, one at 6:40 am and the other at 1 pm for Bangkok. The second one is Cham Yem (Cambodia) and Trad (Thailand)
This border connecting South-East of Thailand – Trad Province with Cham Yem in Koh Kong Province of Cambodia. Visitors have to get visa at Royal Cambodian Embassy in advance. From Koh Kong, visitors can continue their trip to Sihanoukville, the seaside paradise of Cambodia, by fast boat around 3 hours and then connect to Phnom Penh City by National road No.4 (good road) with 225km.
If you are coming from Vietnam there is an international border crossings between Cambodia and Vietnam have been set up at Bavet (Cambodia site) and Moc Bai (Vietnam site), connecting two major cities of two countries: Ho Chi Minh City-Vietnam with Phnom Penh City-Cambodia with the distance of around 230 km.
Cruise ship can be possible on the Mekong River from Vietnam to Phnom Penh capital city. By this route, visitors can enjoy the Mekong’s views and discovery the new area of Cambodia with combine together nature, culture and life stiles of the people. Visitors’ access by these ways are required to have an entry visa for Cambodia in advance
Pochentong International Airport – Phnom Penh
Angkor International Airport – Siem Reap
Battambang Airport – Battambang
Mondulkiri Airport – Mondulkiri
Ratanakiri Airport – Ratanakiria
Stung Treng Airport – Stung Treng
There are a number of International couriers servicing Cambodia:
To send anything by mail it’s best to use the main post office in Phnom Penh, as all mail from the provinces is consolidated here anyway. A stamp for a letter to Europe or Australia costs 2300r, and for a postcard 1800r. Letters to the US cost 2500r, postcards 2100r. International post is often delivered in around a week, but can take up to a month, depending on the destination. Post offices are open every day from 7am until at least 5pm, sometimes later. Poste restante is also available at the Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville post offices.
Domestic and international calls can be made from guesthouses, hotels, post offices and public phone booths. Phone cards are usually on sale at the shop nearest to the phone booth. Making a phone call in Cambodia, however, is expensive, about double the amount you’d pay in Bangkok, for example. International calls cost from $3 per minute in Phnom Penh, while calls from the provinces are generally more expensive. To phone abroad from Cambodia, dial 001 + IDD country code + area code minus first 0 + subscriber number. For international directory enquiries, call 1201.
The cost of Internet access in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap has been sent tumbling by an improved telephone system and an influx of Internet cafés. It’s now possible to surf for as little as $2 an hour and it’s also worth looking out for special promotions around these two towns.
The power supply is 220V in Phnom Penh but in other areas 110V is mostly used.
Phnom Penh (Khmer) is the largest, most populace and capital city of Cambodia. It is also the capital of the Phnom Penh municipality.
Once known as the Pearl of Asia in the 1920s, Phnom Penh, along with Siem Reap, is a significant global and domestic tourist destination for Cambodia. Phnom Penh is renowned for its traditional Khmer and French influenced architecture, along with its friendly people.
It is also the commercial, political and cultural hub of Cambodia and is home to 1 million of Cambodia’s population of 11.4 million.
Siem Reap is a province located in northwestern Cambodia, on the shores of the Tonle Sap Lake. The provincial capital is also called Siem Reap. The name literally means place of the defeat of Siam referring to the victory of the Khmer Empire over the army of the Thai kingdom of Ayutthaya in the 17th Century. Today it is most widely known for being the closest city to the ruins of the temples of Angkor. Siem Reap has colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter, and around the Old Market. In the town, there are Apsara dance performances, craft shops, silk farms, rice-paddy countryside, fishing villages and a bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap Lake.
Siem Reap today, being mostly a tourist destination, has a great deal of hotels and restaurants. Mostly smaller establishments are concentrated around the Old Market area, while more expensive hotels are located between Angkor International Airport and the town along National Road 6. There are a variety of mid-range hotels and restaurants along Sivatha, and budget to mid-range hotels in the Phsar Leu area.
Sihanoukville, also known as Kampong Som, or Kampong Saom, is a port city in southern Cambodia on the Gulf of Thailand. The city is the only deep-water port in Cambodia and its beaches are rapidly making it popular as a tourist destination. The city is named after King Norodom Sihanouk.
Sihanoukville has two entities, port and resort. This deep-water port in the Gulf of Thailand was developed with Soviet aid. Fishing is a major activity in Sihanoukville, with a cannery north of the main port. The national beer maker, Angkor Brewery, operates from Sihanoukville. There are plans to build an oil refinery, and international companies are exploring along the Gulf of Thailand for offshore oil and gas.