Region: South East Asia
Hinduism flourished along side Buddhism from the 1st until the 14th Century. The majority of Cambodians today are Theravada Buddhist (also known as Hinayana). The conversion from Hinduism took place during the later years of the Angkor Period. When visiting temples, please ensure you are not dressed inappropriately (ie. no shorts or sleeveless shirts). This is especially the case with the Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh. Please show consideration if you wish to take photographs or enter Buddhist temples. Monks are not allowed to touch or be touched by women or even handed things directly by a woman. Shoes should also be taken off when entering any building that houses a Buddha image. When sitting in a temple your feet should not be pointed in the direction of the Buddha image. The best way to ensure you avoid offence is to be aware of the actions of the local people around you and follow their lead. There is also a small Muslim population in the country.
Khmer is a non-tonal language that originated from the ancient Brahmin language of southern India. It is quite a complex language; however, if you make an attempt combined with a big smile you'll find the rewards are a massive appreciation by the local people.
Area (sq. km):
181,040 square meters
GMT +7 hours
The cooler, dry period of the year is from November to March, and is regarded as the best time to visit Cambodia. From May to early October, the southwestern monsoon brings strong winds, high humidity and heavy rains. Please note that even in the wet season, it rarely rains in the morning and that, generally, the rain is sporadic rather than continuous.
The best time to travel is November to early March when it is the cool, dry season. From March onwards, it gets fairly hot before the rainy season that stretches from May to October. Please note that it is still possible to travel during the rainy season, as it generally only rains for a period of time during the day (usually in the afternoon) and this has the positive effect of cooling down an otherwise hot and oppressive climate.
Siem Reap Siem Reap International Airport is located 7 kilometres west of the town centre. If you are finding your own way into town, an official airport taxi should cost you approximately US$5. Phnom Penh Phnom Penh's Pochentong International Airport is located 7 kilometres west of the city centre. If you are finding your own way into the city centre, an official airport taxi will take you for approximately US$7 one way.
The international dialling code for Cambodia is +855 Telephone calls, especially international calls, made from hotels, often attract significant service charges, even when the number dialled is not available. Where possible, endeavour to make calls from local telephone offices, which are usually situated in or near the post offices. It is always advisable to confirm the rates you will be paying before you make your call. Should any extra assistance be required when you are on tour, please contact our local offices first. If you have a mobile phone it should be a relatively simple procedure to arrange ‘global roaming’ with your service provider; however, charges are generally very high so be sure to check this option thoroughly. You should also check with your service provider to see if your mobile phone is compatible with the networks used in Cambodia.
If you are bringing along any plug-in appliances you should take an international adapter with you. Round two-pin plugs are the most common types in the region. Voltage is 220V/50 cycles.
Khmer food is similar to Thai cuisine, however it is not as spicy. The staple diet is rice, but usually a meal also includes soup. Noodles are also common and the 'khao phoune' is a local favourite (fine noodles in a coconut-milk sauce). A lot of fresh-water fish is eaten and the salad is spiced with lemon grass, mint leaves and coriander, similar to the Lao and Thai style.
The range of road transport in Cambodia is extensive. Expect to be on the road with large busses, pick-up trucks, share taxis, jeeps and mini-buses. On our tours we use planes and mini-buses.
There are several stores set up by NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) that sell textile and craft items produced by local handicapped people and mines victims. It is a noble cause and some of the items are very good. Antique, jewellery, silver, silk and clothing are generally the best buys in Cambodia, although one should be aware of fakes when buying antiques. The local scarves (kramas) are also a popular buy. Bargaining for a good price is very much a part of the local way of life.
Visas can be organised on arrival, or in advance. If you wish to obtain you visa prior to departure please contact the embassy or consulate and allow approx 3 weeks for the visa to be processed.
A History of Cambodia-David Chandler Brother Number One (A Political Biography of Pol Pot)-David Chandler Sihanouk (Prince of Light, Prince of Darkness-Milton Osbourne A Dragon Apparent-Norman Lewis Angkor (An Introduction to the Temples)-Dawn Rooney Angkor: An Introduction-George Coedes River of Time-Jon Swain Angkor Heart of Asian Empire-Sharon AuRick Cambodia-Lonely Planet