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Cambodia

Why going to Cambodia?

 

 

Outstanding mixture of Asian exotica, Indochinese charm and Cambodian hospitality, the Kingdom of Cambodia is rich of historic, natural and ecological sites. It is primarily an agricultural country with diverse ethno linguistic minorities and hill tribes. Among the main sites are Siem Reap, Tonle Sap Lake, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.

Quick facts

Neighbouring countries: Bordered to the east by Vietnam, to the North by Laos and to the West and North-west by Thailand

Area: 181 035 km2

Population: 15.6 million inhabitants (2015, World Bank)

Religion: Buddhism (official religion, more than 90%), Islam (2.5%), Christianity

Currency: Riel and Dollar. $1= 4 095,000 KHR (August 2016)

Capital: Phnom Penh

National Day: Cambodia doesn’t have one national day like countries in Europe; however the Independence of Cambodia is celebrated on the 9th of November.

Visa & travel permissions

Having a visa is compulsory for any traveller who is entering Cambodia. The visa can be obtained directly upon arrival at both the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap international airports.

Caution: travellers with a passport from Afghanistan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Nigeria not allowed applying for a visa on arrival. Therefore, holders of these passports must apply for a Cambodian visa before arriving in the country.

Holders of these passports are also required to present the following travel documents:
– The booking confirmations of all the services booked in the host country (for example: hotel, flight tickets, guides, cars etc.).
– A certificate explaining that the traveller is in Cambodia for travel purposes and,
– A certificate that proves that the traveller is living in a country other than Cambodia (ID card of the country for example)

In any case, all travellers have to arrive prepared with an identity photo (4 x 6 cm) and check the validity of their passport. It must be valid for at least 6 months after their intended date of departure from Cambodia.

 

DIRECTLY FROM A CAMBODIAN EMBASSY ABROAD BEFORE DEPARTURE
The client must fill in the form provided by the embassy and pay the requested fee. The visa delivery time may vary according to the time of year. We urge you to plan for a minimum turnaround time of 7 working days.

E- VISA
Tourists can obtain a visa on the internet (E-Visa) via the website of the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs www.evisa.gov.kh.

Note: the E-Visa is only accepted at 5 entry points which are:
– Siem Reap Airport,
– Phnom Penh Airport,
– Poipet (Thai border),
– Cham Yeam – Koh Kong / Had Lek (Thai border)
– Bavet / MocBai (Vietnam border)

VISA UPON ARRIVAL
The visa can be obtained directly at the international airports of Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. (Apart from travellers coming from the certain countries listed above).
Documents to provide:
– 1 recent photo
– 1 visa request form given on the plane by the airline companies as well as available at the airport.

VISA AT LAND BORDER CUSTOMS
The client may obtain the visa directly on arrival in Cambodia at the following land borders:

– From Vietnam: PrekChak – Phnom Den – KaamSamnor (Mekong river) – Bavet – TrapeangPhlong – Trapeang Are – O’Yadav
– From Laos: TrapaingKreal – Dong Krolar
– From Thailand: Poipet – O’Smach– Cham Yeam – ChoamSanguam – Prum – Doung – PreahVihear

Documents to provide:
– 1 recent photo
– 1 visa form (available at the customs offices)

NB: Be aware, that it may take between 10 and 30 minutes and that a few US dollars (unofficial facilitation fee) can be asked for by the police on the spot. Obtaining a visa prior to coming to Cambodia is then the preferred option. Please be aware that some sites in China have been known to deliver false visas.

 

VISA WITH EASIA TRAVEL

Visa Express service (VIP):
– Clients do not have to pay the visa fee at the airport. The agency pays for clients.
– Our staff or the immigration police will help clients to fill in the form
– Clients have to prepare 2 photos (4X6 cm).
– If the client chooses this special service, no special documents are needed as only the information on the passport is required.
– Sometimes, the guide won’t be allowed to enter the visa area. In this case it is a person from the immigration that will take care of the clients. Our guide will give all the documents to the immigration, pay for the visa and wait for the clients in the reception hall. Once the process is finished, the immigration staff will accompany the clients to our guide in the reception hall.

Express Visa fees available (surcharge applies)

Special cases:
– Tourist visas are for single entry only and valid for a 30 day period (No multiple entry visas are available apart from the 6 month and 1 year visas)
– Tourist visas can be extended for one month only, through our services.
– Passport validity: for Cambodia, 6 months beyond returning to the country of origin
– Business visas can be extended for one month (single entry), 3 months (single entry) and 6 months (multiple entry visa) or one year (multiple entry visa).

NB:
The Visa lasts for 30 days. Each overstay day costs 10USD/day for the 30 first days and after 30 days of overstay the non-immigrant foreigner has to pay USD10/day and needs to leave Cambodia with 7days. The tourist must pay the overstay fees at the airport or land border when she/he leaves the country. (From the 1st of September 2016)
Non immigrant foreigner who uses a visa for a purpose not permitted under such granted visa will be fined USD100 and ordered to leave Cambodia within 7 days. (from the 1st of September 2016)

For children:
Children from 0 to 12 years old who travel with his own passport or with his parents’ passport shall pay a visa fee of USD30. (From the 1st of September 2016)

Best time to visit

Access & Transportation

AIRPORT
BAGGAGE REGULATIONS
Baggage allowance varies depending on which domestic or international airlines you use. For more information about baggage allowance and extra fees please refer to your airline company’s website or to the Cambodia airports company: http://www.cambodia-airports.aero/#anchor

AIRPORT TAXES
The domestic airport tax of $6 and the international airport tax of $25 are included in the air ticket price and do not need to be paid at the airport when checking in.

DOMESTIC AIRLINES
Domestic flights enable you to travel quickly from one city to another one, but lately it seems airlines just keep appearing as quickly as they disappear.

For the moment, the most established domestic airline of Cambodia is Cambodia Angkor Air (www.cambodiaangkorair.com) which essentially works as a branch of Vietnam Airlines. The company has flights from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap using Airbus ATRs. Flights between Sihanoukville and Siem Reap are operated once a week.

Checked Luggage is limited to 20kg per passenger on domestic flights and 7kg for hand baggage.

Dos or don'ts

CULTURAL DOs & DON’Ts
The Cambodian culture was founded over a long history and is an original synthesis of both Buddhism and Brahmanism. Nowadays, Cambodians are raised in accordance with these traditions which hold an important place in their daily life. As required by the teachings of Buddhism, hospitality is a very important quality to demonstrate in Cambodia. However as in any Asian country, it is important to respect the local cultures and manners, which are sometimes totally different than the ones with have in Europe. Here is a list of the principal DOs and DON’Ts to respect in Cambodia.
Wear appropriate clothes: Shirtless tourists in public places are poorly looked upon by locals and naturism on the beach is even worse. When visiting temples, you have to dress neatly with clothes covering your shoulders and your knees (for men and women), or you may not be allowed to enter the temple.
Manners are important. In public, you may have to call a person by his/her name preceded with “sir” or “madam”. Calling someone directly is rude.
It is unacceptable to criticize the royal family and the King. More than a politician, he is the symbol of the Khmer unity and traditions.
In Cambodia, a broke “white person” is an anachronism. Visitors to Cambodia who dress in a casual beach style in places other than the beach will appear as a homeless person and will cause the locals to lose all interest in them. Khmers want and expect westerners to be as they imagine wealthy people to be. Do not attempt to challenge or change this point of view and bear in mind that a clean and well-kept person is better respected than an unkempt backpacker and therefore will be more welcomed and better treated… it is not intolerance, but a tradition based on elementary good manners.
Never touch the head of a person (even the one of a child), this gesture is considered as an offense. However, Cambodians can walk together by holding each other’s little fingers.
Do not point at people. It’s considered rude and inappropriate.
In temples, you must bypass the Buddha in an anticlockwise direction. You mustn’t sit with your back to the Buddha and point you feet in its direction. A woman can never touch a monk; this would cause him to lose all his merit.
Always ask for permission before taking a picture of someone.

ANGKOR VISITOR CODE OF CONDUCT, by APSARA National Authority
APSARA (Authority for the Protection of the Site and Management of the Region of Angkor) National Authority was created in 1995 to ensure the conservation and the sustainable development of Angkor Complex. The organization is thus in charge of research, protection, conservation as well as urban and touristic development of the Archaeological sites. Thus, to raise awareness among tourists on Angkor’s preservation and to harmonize tourists’ experiences with public safety and respect towards local community they created a code of conduct that need to be respected by each visitor.
Dress Code: Revealing clothes such as shorts and skirts above the knees and showing bare shoulders is prohibited in sacred places. Respectful dress should be strongly encouraged in Angkor
Monuments: Touching carvings, sitting on fragile structures, leaning on temple structures, moving or taking archaeological artifacts and graffiti are strictly prohibited. Backpack, umbrellas with sharp tips, tripods and high heels are discouraged from being brought it worn inside the temples.
Sacred Sites: As Angkor is a sacred site, loud conversation and noise and other inappropriate behaviour in Cambodian culture is considered to be offensive and may disturb other visitors. Please keep calm and respectful.
Restricted Areas: For your own safety and for the conservation of Angkor, please comply with all signs on the site and mindful of your steps at all times. Do not climb on loose stones.
Smoking and Littering: As a member of the World Health Organization, Angkor has been smoke free since 2012. Smoking cigarettes disturbs others and can start bush fires. To protect the environment please do not smoke and litter.
Candy and money to children: Buying items, giving candy or money to children encourages them not to attend school but beg. If you wish to help children, please consider donating to a recognized charity.
Monks: Monks are revered and respected. If you want to take pictures, please ask for permission first. Women should not touch nor stand or sit too close to monks.

CHILDSAFE’S TIPS FOR TRAVELERS
ChildSafe is a global child protection system established by and powered by Friends-International. In order to protect children and young people, they target travelers and professional tourism companies to train them and to ensure the protection of children in less-developed countries as Cambodia. As Easia Travel shares many values with ChildSafe and actively supports this initiative, we want to spread the guideline of 7 tips for travelers made by ChildSafe as part of their Campaign THINK!

1) Children are not tourist attractions – let’s not treat them like they are
Children living or studying in schools, orphanages or slums shouldn’t be exposed to tourist visits. Instead of visiting orphanages, find alternative that really help. Easia Travel offers a selection of options for travelers to learn more about the work of numerous different NGOs working for good causes.

2) Volunteering with children feels good but could be harmful – look for better ways to help them
Working as volunteer with children in institutions such as orphanages is a job for local experts, not for travelers who are just here for a short stay. Children deserve long-term experience and a win-win situation. So make sure that your volunteering is a great experience and has the best impact possible. It is better to not work directly with children and let local experts who speak Khmer doing it. Instead of that you can share with the local staff your professional experiences to then improve the condition of the children.

3) Children pay a price for your generosity – don’t give to begging children
Giving money to begging children will encourage them to continue begging rather than going to school. If you want to help poor children and support them, uses businesses with social impacts as the Marum Restaurant in Siem Reap or the Romdeng Restaurant in Phnom Penh which are training disadvantaged children to work in the hospitality industry.

4) Professionals know best – call them if a child needs help
Helping children directly can cause problems because you don’t know the local culture and laws. For instance, never take a child back to your hotel room – it’s dangerous for both you and the child. When you see a child who needs help, please contact local professionals: child protection hotlines, local organizations or police.

5) Sex with children is a crime – report child sex tourism
Sex tourism involving children is a devastating reality. It happens in hotels, bars etc. when you see such a situation, please don’t put yourself at risk and call a child protection hotline or the police so immediate action can be taken to protect the child and investigate the situation.

Money & budget

NATIONAL CURRENCY
The RIEL: bills of: 100.000, 50.000, 20.000, 10.000, 5000, 2000, 1000, 500, 200, 100.
However, the US Dollar is commonly used in throughout the whole country. If you have enough cash, you won’t have to go to any banks as you will be able to exchange small amounts of dollars into riels at hotels, restaurants and markets. We recommend you to always have the equivalent of 10 dollars in Riel in order to pay for moto-taxis, tuk-tuks or for small purchases in markets. If you buy a low priced item in dollars, they will give some change in riels. Local inhabitants from remote areas in the north or northeast of the country only accept riels or small bills of dollars.

The only foreign currency that is accepted in addition to the USD is the Thai Baht, mainly used in the west of the country. Prices are often written in baht in certain cities like Koh Kong, Poipet and Sisopon.
To simplify your travels, take some dollars with you before coming to Cambodia. You will also be able to exchange currencies such as Euros in banks and at the markets of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Most banks do not have an advantageous exchange rate for currencies other than the dollar, so it is better to exchange your currency at foreign exchange counters located near markets.

For your information: $1 = 4100 riels = 35 baht. (August 2016)
1 euro = 5000 (exchange rate euro/dollar). It is not advantageous to have too much money in riels.

Western Union, represented by the SBC and Acleda Bank, and Moneygram represented by the Canadian Bank, do fast money transfers, but this service is expensive.

We recommend you to have plenty of small bills ($1 and $5). Be careful with damaged bills, which most often will not be accepted or large bills of $50 and $100 which may not be easily exchanged.

 

CREDIT CARDS
Superior hotels, airlines, luxury boutiques, high-end restaurants or supermarkets are and more likely to accept the main credit cards such as: Visa, MasterCard, JCB, Cirrus and sometimes American Express). As in every Asian country, a fee will be charged on top of the purchase fee when using your card (around 3%).

 

ATMs
ATMs are available in most cities. You can even find ATMs at the Cham Yeam, Poipet and Bayet land borders when arriving from Thailand and Vietnam. All ATMs give out US Dollars and the maximum amount you can withdraw at once is 2 000 USD.

Like anywhere in the world, be careful when using ATMs at night. Just up from the Canadian Bank, the ANZ Royal Bank is the one that offers the best ATM network, with ATMs in gas-stations, hotels, restaurants and famous shops.

The Acleda Bank (the national bank) is the bank that has the most agencies in the country, including in provincial cities. This bank has also improved its ATM services, so they now accept international cards, which makes travelling in remote areas much easier.

 

TIPS
Even though tips are not part of the tradition in Cambodia, they are well appreciated.

1 USD tip can represent the equivalent salary of half a day’s work. Many luxury hotels charge 10% service tax, but the money is not always given to the staff. If you stay 2 or 3 nights in the same hotel, think about tipping the staff that cleans your room.

Drivers, guides and service staffs will always be happy to accept your tip. In a different way, if a local helps you in the street or find someone to help you, he would be looking for you to provide a small amount of money for their help. It is advisable have some small change in riel for these kinds of occasions.

In Temples, it is common to put some money in the donation boxes strategically located at the end of the visit, particularly if a monk is living in the place.

Health

Before going to Cambodia, consult a doctor and make sure that all your vaccinations are current and that you are vaccinated for Tetanus, Polio and Diphtheria. Other vaccines recommended include Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, Typhus and Tuberculosis, vaccinations against rabies and Japanese encephalitis are also advised. However, officially, there are no vaccinations required to enter Cambodia.
In case of emergency: you can find the vaccinations against rabies and Japanese encephalitis in the Pasteur Institute in Cambodia.

In some regions, you may come across venomous animals (snakes, spiders): if bitten, you should be able to readily find antivenins in Cambodia.

 

PREVENTION AGAINST INSECT-BORNE DISEASES
Dengue Fever: precautions must be taken in the whole country. This viral disease is transmitted by mosquitoes so we recommend travellers to protect themselves with the usual means of protection (long sleeves shirts, mosquito repellent for skin and clothes, electric diffusers). As coming down with Dengue fever is potentially serious, it is recommended to see a doctor in case of fever (the use of aspirin is not recommended). Other viral diseases can also be transmitted by mosquitoes.

Malaria: This parasitic disease, transmitted by mosquitoes requires individual protection measures (repellent, creams, mosquito nets etc) but also a preventative medical treatment has been adapted. Do not forget to wear long sleeves shirts and long trousers (if possible with some repellent on them) from sunset to sunrise and to use a repellent impregnated mosquito net when sleeping. Use a lot of efficient repellent (DEET 50%). It is recommended to use it on the whole body and to renew application every 4 hours.

In case of fever during or after your journey, you are urged to see a specialist.

Cholera:
It is recommended to check carefully the quality of the food and the cooking environment. We recommend avoiding eating any raw vegetables, shells or unpeeled and unwashed vegetables and fruits. Never drink tap water and wash your hands frequently.

Rabies:
Rabies can be transmitted by cats, dogs, pigs and monkeys. Any bite, even small, or just licking on a wound must be carefully considered as potentially life-threatening and should be followed up with a rabies vaccination as soon as possible. In this case, we recommend travellers to go to the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh where they will be able to be vaccinated with a quality vaccine.

Avian flu:
Cambodia is one the countries that has been touched by the epizootic avian flu. This disease is viral and is transmitted by poultry. The virus is transmitted by in-air particles and by direct contact, particularly with secretions and faecal matters of the infected animals or with other infected matters (food, water, clothes etc). Confined spaces increase the risk of contamination.

In the endemic period, it may be recommended to wear a mask (medical mask).

 

Recommendations in Cambodia:

• Avoid raw meat and fish
• Prefer boiled or cooked vegetables instead of raw vegetables, except if you are sure that it was washed with purified water or peeled.
• Drink a lot of water to keep your body hydrated, and avoid strong physical exercise before you get used to the heat.
• Use insect repellent several times a day if you are in a humid region of Cambodia, and at night time in the whole country. Wear long sleeved/legged clothes to avoid mosquito bites, mostly at night time also.
• Do not drink tap water and request bottled water. Otherwise drink well-boiled water.

Emergency contacts

EMERGENCY NUMBERS 24H/24
English Speaking: +855 (0) 11 984 699
French Speaking: +855 (0) 11 984 700

CONTACT ADDRESS
Siem Reap Office
Charming City, No. 32-34, Trorpeangses Village
Sangkat Koukchork, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Phnom Penh Office
Room 410, #60 Monivong Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

EMERGENCY SERVICES IN CAMBODIA
Your home embassy may be able to assist with advice during emergencies or serious problems. You might want to register if possible before you arrive so that the embassy staff will know where to reach you in case of emergency at home. If calling a Cambodian emergency number you may have to ask the aid of a Khmer speaker because there might not be an English-speaking operator on the line:

Ambulance: 119
Fire department: 118
Police: 117 or 118

Calmette Hospital (Phnom Penh):
3, boulevard Monivong SC Phnom Penh
Tel : 855 (0) 23 42 69 48

Pasteur Institute in Cambodia:
No. 5, Boulevard Monivong, 12201 Phnom Penh
Tel: 855 (0) 23 42 60 09

Royal Angkor Hospital, (Siem Reap)

Phum Kasekam, Khum Sra Ngea, National Route 6 (Airport Road), Krong Siem Reap 17000,

Tel. 063 761 888

Ambulance of the provincial hospital in Siem Reap: 855 (0) 63 76 11 19

What to prepare?

PRE-DEPARTURE TASKS

– Make sure your passport is valid with at least 6 months before the expiry date
– Consider medical, baggage and trip cancellation insurance.
– Check with your doctor re vaccinations and medicines needed.

 

CLOTHES

– Light clothes (the weather can be hot and humid)
– Long t-shirts and trousers to protect yourself against mosquitoes (mostly during the evening, and in remote areas like the jungle etc.)
– Hat and sunglasses
– Clothes with covered shoulders and knees for sacred buildings and temples
– Good shoes for trekking and for walks around temples

 

PHARMACY

– Insect repellent
– Antiseptic wipes for hand washing and emergency toilet paper.
– Personal First Aid Kit (bring in small amounts and in small containers)
– Aspirin/ibuprofen, etc. (paracetamol is recommended – aspirin can be dangerous in case of dengue fever).
– Cold-symptom relief tablets, antihistamine, cough drops.
– Adequate quantity of sweat-resistant sun screen with at least an SPF 15 rating or higher, and lip balm with sunscreen.
– Antibiotics.
– Prescription medicines in their original bottles. Acidophilus enzyme (available in capsules in health-food stores). This often helps your digestive system get in shape for “new” flora.
– Immodium, Lomotil, or similar anti-diarrhea medicine. Pepto-Bismol tablets and/or liquid (in leak-proof bottle).
– Medical prescription if you travel with prescription drugs.

 

OTHERS

– ID pictures for visa
– At least $30 in cash for the visa fee
– Passport and important documents’ photocopies in case of loss

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