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Cambodia | The Ultimate Travel Guide

A land of ancient temples complexes, untouched countryside and breathtaking beauty.

Updated

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

The word "Cambodia" is practically synonymous with its most famous temple complex Angkor Wat.

It's the type of landmark that makes its way onto bucket-lists and top landmarks of the world lists time and time again. And yes, your trip to the nation is not complete without travelling through history and embarking on a journey through the ancient city.

Beyond it however, you'll find Cambodia has so much more to offer. From local delicacies set to make your mouth water to cruises down the famous Mekong River, Cambodia is a breathtaking country that feels world's away from your typical urban life.

Get off the beaten track now and rewind, discover, explore and be enlightened in this amazing country.

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Getting around in Cambodia

Cambodia has a wide variety of transport options, from private cars for hire in major cities to boats crossing lakes.

Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are the two destinations where you can fly into the country.

The Cambodian local transportation system is operated mainly by private companies and unorganised local vendors. There is a wide private bus network for travelling from one city to another while tuktuks (three-wheeled motorised vehicles) are an easy and affordable way to travel within cities and towns.

Towns are generally walkable however main attractions such as Angkor Wat and the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields are outside of cities and require you to drive, tour or hire a driver to get to. The Angkor Wat complex itself is not walkable if you wish to see it all, so again, it's best to book transport to get around. Similarly, the Killing Fields encompass numerous sites and require suitable transport to get from location to location.

Types of transport available in Cambodia

  • Bus: Public buses don't operate in Cambodian cities except for the recently started city bus service in Phnom Penh.
  • Tuktuk: Tuktuks are widely used and the most popular transport option in Cambodia. You can hire them for your private use for the whole day. They are an excellent means to hop from one attraction to another without burning a hole in your pocket.
  • Motodup: A cheaper alternative to tuktuks is a motodup, a small motorcycle taxi ideal for short journeys in cities and towns. As with tuktuks, don't forget to negotiate and agree to a fixed fare before taking the ride.
  • Train: Recently the Cambodian government started a passenger train service from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville. The trains are modern and can be a good alternative to buses, although they run much less frequently.
  • Boat: Just a few years ago boats were an important means of transport in Cambodia, but now, with the improvement and construction of several major roads, the almost 2,000 kilometres of navigable waterways are no longer the most efficient way to get around. However, if you are looking for more than just a fast transport option you might consider taking one of the many luxury cruises on the Mekong River.
  • Flights: For a fast and comfortable commute between the major cities of Cambodia, there is no better option than to fly. These are several domestic flights linking Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and Battambang.

Cambodia public transport

  • Paying for transport: There is no official travel card in Cambodia. Although debit and credit cards are accepted on some bus services and for car rentals, cash is the preferred payment method for most services. Both Cambodian riel and US dollars are accepted in Cambodia.
  • Getting to and from the airport: You can easily get taxis, tuktuks and motodups to and from the airport in major cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Public air-conditioned buses run from Phnom Penh airport to the city. They cost less than $1 and are the most inexpensive means of transfer.
  • Best apps for getting around: There is no official transport app for getting around Cambodia.

Taxis and rideshare

Taxis: In major cities you can hail a taxi on the street or book in advance by phone. In smaller towns, tuktuks are a workable alternative to taxis.

Rideshare: There is no Uber in Cambodia but you can use a similar on-demand service called PassApp. Along with taxis, you can also book tuktuks using this app.

Airport transfers in Cambodia

If you prefer a private vehicle for airport transfer, you can book a car in advance for Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports.

From Phnom Penh:

From Siem Reap:

Private arrival transfer from Siem Reap Airport
Private arrival transfer from Siem Reap Airport

Viator

Private departure transfer to Siem Reap Airport
Private departure transfer to Siem Reap Airport

Viator

Cambodia car rentals

If you want to explore by yourself, you can rent a car from hire services like Avis and DriveNow at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports.

Frequently asked questions about Cambodia

Is Cambodia cheap compared to Australia?

Compared with the average Aussie price of a beer, coffee, or mid-range three-course meal for two Cambodia is much cheaper.

In Australia we'd usually pay about $80 for a three-course meal for two people, whereas in Cambodia, you'd be looking at something like $19.64 for the equivalent.

Draught beer would usually be in the region of $7, whereas Cambodia's prices are closer to $1.27 (averaged out).

Even taxi transportation is at least half the price we pay at home.

Where is Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple?

Angkor Wat is Cambodia's temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world. It is situated approximately 5.5 kilometres from Siem Reap.

Does Cambodia have beaches?

Yes. Cambodia is home to some amazing beaches along the Gulf of Thailand, with one of the main coastal tourist areas being in and around Sihanoukville. It offers lazy beaches with beautiful white sands that span the coast for kilometres, and even beaches constructed entirely of shells.

Is Cambodia safe for tourists?

Cambodia is considered to be pretty safe for travellers now, despite it's past reputation. There are a few things you'll need to be aware of, however, if you're planning to get out and about whilst there.

  • Landmines. There are still unexploded landmines present in Cambodia, so stick to the marked roads and paths and do not deviate.
  • Violence and crime. Despite the number of guns present in Cambodia, armed theft is relatively rare. There have been incidents of bag snatching, but these are rare in comparison to the number of travellers that pass through Cambodia. Phnom Penh is where the most due diligence needs to be exerted. Violence against foreigners is extremely rare, but take care, especially when out alone at night. Guard your Smartphone.
  • Festival times. Major festivals such as Pchum Ben or Chaul Chnam Khmer, see an increase in the number of robberies, as Cambodians need money to buy gifts for family and some see theft as the quickest way to obtain the funds they need. Take steps to keep your personal possessions safe, and don't take valuables out with you unless essential.
  • Scams. Fake medication is readily available. To avoid this, only buy prescription drugs from reliable pharmacies or clinics. Beggars may ask you for milk powder with an infant in their arms. If you give in to the urge to help, the beggars usually want the most expensive milk formula available, before returning it to the shop to split the proceeds afterwards.

What should I wear in Cambodia?

The climate in Cambodia is hot. Cotton shorts or a skirt, vest tops and T-shirts are popular with tourists, but offer little UV protection.

If you're planning a visit to sacred sites, you will need to cover up.During your visit to any place of worship your legs and shoulders must be covered. Long, loose-fitting trousers paired with a long-sleeved cotton shirt would be a good option here.

A pashmina or sarong is another option that can be used for protection from the sun or as a respectful cover-up.

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