14 tips for a perfect trip first about Cambodia, second Siem Reap and Angkor Wat.
MONEY, DOLLAR, EURO, RIEL WHAT IS BEST?
Cambodia adopted the US Dollar, yet almost all currencies can be exchanged. The currency Riel cannot be exchanged outside of Cambodia. But don't worry, you will find plenty of Currency Exchange Services, some with the best exchange rates you'll find are in town. Recently, the Government has discouraged and limited the usage of Dollars, so changes below $10 are normally in Riel. Also, be sure you get a new note, not torn or tainted, as the bank will not accept them. To make life easier, ATMs give you the option to choose between the US Dollar or Riel when making a withdrawal. One Dollar is equivalent to 4000 Riel and this exchange rate has remained constant for the past decade!
This is a subjective question as it all comes down to your wants and needs. You can find some amazing villas to rent here, can be great for a large family or group of friends. However, Airbnb is not as popular in Cambodia as one would hope. The hotels offer much more affordable and diverse choices.
ELECTRICITY, DO I NEED A SPECIAL PLUG IN CAMBODIA?
Cambodia can be confusing, but you can find type A (America), C (Europe), and G (UK). Always be prepared for something you least expect to encounter and buy adapter travel plugs before arriving.
WHAT VISA IS NEEDED FOR CAMBODIA AND WHERE TO MAKE IT?
To visit Cambodia, you do need a visa. If your country hosts an Embassy, you can request one there. The second option is with e-visa ($35+$7) via an online platform https://www.evisa.gov.kh/ Most travellers can acquire a visa on arrival directly at the Airport, but it only comes with a single entry and 30 days validity.
IS CAMBODIA SAFE TO TRAVEL WITH KIDS?
Like other countries in Southeast Asia, kids are loved here. The kids enjoy exploring the temples of Angkor. Do make sure to adapt to their rhythm by taking breaks as it's quite a task to walk for hours! There are a few exciting activities you can do here such as zip lining, wakeboarding and swimming. Almost every hotel has a pool! Our tours are designed to fit your preferences as well as children with plenty of time to discover the region's ins and outs. As for travellers from abroad, we encourage you to have health insurance to cover potential issues that may arise during your visit. Public hospitals are not well rated here except for the amazing work of Doctor Beat Richner at Kantha Bopha, delivering a state of heart service for free to kids below 15 years old. They have 2 hospitals, one in Siem Reap and one in Phnom Penh.
WHAT TO WEAR IN CAMBODIA?
Lightweight clothes, preferably with long sleeves! It acts as protection from both the sun and the mosquitos. Open shoes are acceptable as temple visits don't require much hiking. Bring a hat or buy one in any local market for a cheap price. Pair it up with sunscreen and sunglasses, then you're ready to go!
HOW EXPENSIVE IS CAMBODIA?
Cambodia is a relatively cheap country to live in and visit, but electricity and food make a significant impact on your bill as it's all imported. Cambodia is said to be an excellent destination when it comes to value for money.
HEALTH, ANY SPECIAL VACCINATION OR MEDICAL CHECKUPS BEFORE COMING?
It is wise to seek advice from a doctor before flying, especially if you have a long trip ahead of you. Regarding Malaria, it's not active in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap but can be found in a few remote areas. People who face a lower risk are not advised to take any medication. A common disease to be taken seriously is dengue fever which can be contracted by mosquito bites. Long sleeves, trousers, and mosquito repellent help lower the chances.
2. Siem Reap
TRANSFERT FROM SIEM REAP AIRPORT TO HOTEL / SIEM REAP
Most of the hotels in Siem Reap can organize your transfer and this service is often included in the benefits. If, for any reason, you wish to pay for your ride, taxis are available in the airport. We strongly advise you to ask how much the ride will cost you before jumping in to avoid conflict once you've arrived. A fair price would be:
Tuk-Tuk 1/3 Pax $9 USD Airport to Hotel/town
Car 1/4 pax: $12 USD Airport To your hotel/town
Van 5/10 Pax: $15 USD
IS IT BEST TO STAY IN OR OUTSIDE OF TOWN? IS SIEM REAP BIG?
If you like the hustle and bustle, Siem Reap center is perfect. Pub Street has a loud and lively atmosphere, therefore we recommend anywhere but there. Within a 5-minute walking distance, however, you are safe. Siem Reap is a small town! A 10-minute drive away from the city will bring you to the middle of nowhere, surrounded by lush rice paddies and exotic scenery.
IS SIEM REAP FAR FROM ANGKOR?
Angkor Wat complex is located not far from Siem Reap with a travelling distance of 10 km. You can enjoy your visit either by car, tuk-tuk, motorbike or bicycle. We offer some amazing tour options with Vespa or Jeep, so you get a perfect balance of driving in style and reliving the historic times.
CAN I COMBINE SIEM REAP AND OTHER CITIES IN CAMBODIA, WHERE TO GO NEXT?
If you have time, you should visit the neighboring provinces. Battambang is close, with a relaxing vibe and colonial feel. Also, a very well-known nest for artists in Cambodia! If you are looking for a family-friendly or relaxed location, it is the perfect place to start. You should also try the bamboo train just outside the sleepy center, or catch the sunset and watch bats flying out in horde.
If you are on your way to Cambodia and arrive in Phnom Penh before heading to Siem Reap, it's worth spending 3 days in the capital learning how the capital is emerging from its past and reinventing itself. You will see new buildings, old colonial houses, but the city that hasn't changed much if you look behind the first coat. The Royal Palace, The Central Market, and S21 are only a few of the attractions to visit.
Sihanoukville has been pointed down in the last few years with much of its construction projects run by the Chinese. It's not ready just yet but some very high-end hotels are opening. It's also a path to remote islands with crystalline water and white sand.
Kampot on the coast holds similar architectural history as Battambang but without the artsy vibe. A river runs through the province that many expats and locals find a joy to swim in. It is also close to Kep, very famous for its crab market and known for producing some of the best black, red and white pepper in the world. It is also the pathway to Rabbit Island which only takes you 20 minutes to get there, and is a very remote island with all the required necessities for a Robinson Crusoe holiday.
ANGKOR COMPLEX PARK ENTRANCE FEES AND HOURS
1-day ticket – $37 USD
3-day ticket (valid for 1 week) – $62 USD
7-day ticket (valid for 1 month)- $72 USD
Children under 12 are free but must show their passports
Tickets issued after 5:00 pm are valid for the next day
Angkor Wat Temple and Srah Srang: 5:00am – 5:30pm (open for sunrise)
Phnom Bakheng and Pre Rup Temples: 5:00 am – 7:00 pm (open for sunrise and sunset)
All other temples: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
WHICH TEMPLES ARE WORTH A VISIT, HOW LONG TO STAY?
The top 3 must-visit temples include Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, and Bayon. Even if you are visiting for only a short time, it is doable in one day. It can be exhausting, but you can also achieve this with less work by booking our Vespa or Jeep tour. During this excursion with Adventures Cambodia, we will also bring you to the Terrace of the Elephants and Angkor Thom. Interested for more? Consider Bantey Srey, a specially designed temple with carvings that can be translated by the Citadel of Women. This temple is not close to transportation that can be found to return to the city, and so is Beng Mealea. It's one of the few temples you can see from the top with wooden platforms crossing the site. Once you've been there, you'll never forget the real feel to travelling.
If you combine Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, and Bayon, with Bantey Srey and Beng Mealea during your holiday, consider yourself one of the most privileged people in the world. Those 5 sites will show you more than just stones of different shapes and sizes. The roads to get there and the writings on the wall is a journey in itself.