Cambodia Travel Information

Photo Welcome to the Cambodia, the successor-state of the mighty Khmer Empire, which ruled much of what is now Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. Among the achievements of Khmer civilization are the magisterial temples of Angkor. There is no other historical site in South-East Asia that matches the grandeur of this ancient complex. Apart from the wonders of Angkor, Cambodia has a rich and proud culture, a charming French-era capital (albeit a little weathered) and impressive natural scene. The climate is governed by two monsoons: the cool, dry north-eastern monsoon from November to March and the humid south-western monsoon from May to October. Average annual temperatures vary from 21 to 35°C (70 to 95°F). Cambodia shares borders with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

The country is dominated by two topographical features: the Mekong River and the Tonlé Sap (Great Lake). There are three mountainous areas: the south-west (Elephant and Cardamom mountains), along the northern border with Thailand (Dangkrek Mountains) and the north-east corner (Eastern Highlands). An estimated 75% of the total land area surrounding Tonlé Sap is fertile lowland. Much of the country is forested with tropical vegetation dominating the south-west mountains and mangrove forest lining the coast. Crime and banditry are persistent problems in many areas of the country; some acts are carried out by ill-disciplined police or military personnel. Foreigners have been targeted, occasionally at gunpoint in broad daylight. The severe poverty in Cambodia has contributed to an increase in armed robberies and assaults. Military activity still occurs in Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey (north of Kratie) provinces and in the northern and eastern border areas of Ratanakiri and Mondol Kiri. Smuggling occurs across the border. Avoid traveling alone, especially after dark, and limit outdoor activity after dark in the capital city area and return home or to the hotel early in the evening. Carry photocopies of your passport, driver's license, or other important documents. Travelers should also be aware of the threat of kidnapping.

Driving at night in Cambodia is not advised. In both urban and rural areas, road maintenance is sporadic. Cattle straying onto roads, overloaded vehicles, and erratic driving skills make road traffic accidents potentially the greatest risk to visitors. Roads between major areas are adequate; however, those leading to more rural areas are poor. During the rainy season (between May and November) both urban and rural road conditions deteriorate considerably. Roadside assistance is nonexistent. The safety of road travel outside urban areas varies greatly. Even on heavily traveled roads there can be incidents of banditry, so all travel should be done in daylight between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Travel in areas between Snoul, Kratie and Stung Treng in the eastern provinces should be avoided. Cambodia customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Cambodia of items such as drugs, firearms, antiquities, or ivory. While drugs are easily accessible in Cambodia, the possession of even small amounts is unlawful.

The government continues to crack down on drug users and paedophiles. Those arrested and sentenced can expect to receive long sentences in a Cambodian prison where facilities are very poor.
Personal checks and credit cards are not widely accepted within Cambodia, although a number of banks in Phnom Penh accept Visa cards for cash advances. Banks and major hotels accept travelers' checks but usually charge a service fee. There are no ATM machines in Cambodia. The U.S. dollar and Cambodian riel are both widely used, although U.S. dollars are preferred, especially for larger transactions. There are three Western Union offices in Phnom Penh and one in Siem Reap Province to which funds can be wired.

Important: Travel to Cambodia may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Cambodia visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Kingdom of Cambodia
Capital city: Phnom Penh
Area: 181,035 sq km
Population: 14,952,665
Ethnic groups: Khmer 90%, Vietnamese 5%, Chinese 1%, other 4%
Languages: Khmer
Religions: Buddhist
Government: multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy
Chief of State: King Norodom SIHAMONI
Head of Government: Prime Minister HUN SEN
GDP: 33.82 billion
GDP per captia: 2,200
Annual growth rate: 7.1%
Inflation: 5.5%
Agriculture: rice, rubber, corn, vegetables, cashews, cassava
Major industries: tourism, garments, construction, rice milling, fishing, wood and wood products, rubber, cement, gem mining, textiles
Natural resources: oil and gas, timber, gemstones, iron ore, manganese, phosphates, hydropower potential
Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, between Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos
Trade Partners - exports: US 39.5%, Canada 8.2%, Germany 7.8%, UK 7.5%, Vietnam 6%, Japan 4.3%
Trade Partners - imports: Thailand 24.6%, Vietnam 20.6%, China 19.9%, Singapore 7.8%, Hong Kong 6%