Cambodia is a country in Southeast Asia, located to the east and northeast of Thailand. Once it was a mighty Khmer Empire but lost its power since the fall of Angkor in 1431. In the 19th century Cambodia was colonized by the French and got independence only in 1953. Later the country fell into civil war and suffered brutal reign of the Khmer Rouge. In 1993 Cambodia got back elected government and started to open itself to the world again.
Cambodia is attracting increasing numbers of visitors as they are rediscovering magnificent temples and picturesque beaches of the country. Tourist destinations are developing fast but traveling beyond the beaten path here is still not easy.
Places to visit in Cambodia
Phnom Penh — the capital of Cambodia, situated in the centre of the country at the confluence of three rivers, one of the being the mighty Mekong. Phnom Penh is charming and tranquil city with French colonial buildings and monumental architecture of Angkor. There are many interesting touristy sites in the capital, such as the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, National Museum, Wat Phnom and Choeng Ek Killing Fields.
Siem Reap - the gateway to Angkor Archaeological Park, home of the magnificent ruins of ancient Khmer civilization. Angkor Wat and other surrounding temples are part of this world heritage site, which is the largest religious complex in the world.
Sihanoukville — Cambodia's premier beach town on the southern coast. Sihanoukville offers white sand beaches and warm Gulf of Thailand waters as well as a very relaxed beach town atmosphere.
Battambang — the second largest city of Cambodia, popular between travellers for ancient temples, Buddhist shrines and the infamous bamboo railway found in the surrounding area.
Only citizens of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam can travel to Cambodia without visa. All visitors need a visa for traveling to Cambodia.
Visas can be obtained at Cambodian embassies or consulates. Tourist visas are valid for one stay of up to 30 days. Tourist visas can be extended. To apply for a visa, you will need a passport valid for at least 6 months, 1 or 2 photos and money to pay the fee. Paying in USD is always the best option as they offer really bad rates when paying in local currencies.
Visa on Arrival
Visa on Arrival is available at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap international airports as well as at all six border crossings when coming from Thailand. Visa on Arrival should cost 30 USD.
Nationals of most countries can apply for an e-Visa online. You will get visa as a PDF file by e-mail and will need to print two copies of it - for entry and exit. E-Visa costs 37 USD.
E-Visa is only valid for entry to Cambodia by air and at the main Thailand-Cambodia border crossing Aranyaprathet/Poipet, which is on the way from Bangkok to Siem Reap.
Getting to Cambodia
From Thailand you can get to Cambodia by plane or by land.
Flights to Cambodia
Cambodia has two international airports - at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
Direct flights connect Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH) with Bangkok. Low-cost carrier AirAsia operates from Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport (DMK) and Bangkok Airways offer flights from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK).
Direct flights connect Siem Reap - Angkor International Airport (REP) with Bangkok. Bangkok Airways had a monopoly on direct flights between Bangkok and Siem Reap for a long time, but now this route is also covered by Thai Smile and AirAsia, helping to lower flight prices significantly.
Traveling to Cambodia Overland
Cambodian Visa on Arrival is available at all six border crossings from Thailand to Cambodia:
- Aranyaprathet / Poipet border crossing - the busiest border crossing on the road from Bangkok to Siem Reap.
- Had Lek / Koh Kong border crossing – is used for traveling from the islands of Eastern Thailand to coastal Cambodia.
- Chong Sa-Ngam / Choam border crossing – close to the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Anlong Veng.
- Ban Pakard / Phsar Prum border crossing – connects Eastern Thailand to Battambang and Siem Reap.
- Ban Leam / Daun Lem border crossing - the closest crossing from Thailand to Battambang.
- Chong Jom / O'Smach border crossing – another crossing connecting Northeast Thailand with Northwest Cambodia, close to and well linked with Siem Reap.
Weather in Cambodia
Cambodia’s climate is tropical and the weather here is warm to hot all year long. The climate is dominated by the annual monsoon cycle with its alternating wet and dry seasons.
Wet season in Cambodia lasts from June to October, when the southwest monsoon rains are brought from the ocean to Cambodia. September is the wettest month in Cambodia.
Dry season in Cambodia lasts from November to May, when cool dry air is brought to the country. The hottest months in Cambodia are from March to May. The cooler part of dry season (November to February) is the peak tourist season in Cambodia.