Best time to go: November – March
Best for: Religious Sites
Cambodia is a land of beautiful temples, wild jungle and unspoilt countryside. Delight in Cambodia`s Buddhist temples, such as Preah Vihear. Located in the Dangrek Mountains, the site is home to various festivals, especially during the Cambodian New Year. Or go for an elephant ride in Rattanakiri or Mondulkiri.
Watch a traditional Cambodian Apsara dance. Siem Reap is probably the best place to watch a dance display, although travellers can occasionally catch a spontaneous one in the villages.
Go dolphin-spotting near Kratie, where dolphin encounters are immensely rewarding. The best time to go is early morning or late afternoon.
Swim in volcanic Yak Lom Lake near Banlung town in Rattanakiri province. The water is clear and cool and the surrounding forest is ideal for a picnic.
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Capital: Phnom Penh (PNH)
Currency: Riel (KHR). USD is also accepted.
Language: Khmer. English is widely spoken.
Dialling code from SA: +855
Time Zone: UTC / GMT +7 (5 hours ahead of South Africa)
Side of the Road: Right
Plugs: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Two-pin plugs are in use. Power cuts are frequent
Drinking Water: All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated.
Health: Medical facilities are very limited – there are private medical facilities in the main cities, but they are expensive. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended and it should include emergency air evacuation coverage. Doctors will require cash payment regardless of whether you have health insurance. If you require any medication on your travels it is best to bring it with you, in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it.
Customs: Avoid touching someone on the top of the head as it is considered sacred. Gentlemen are required to wear long trousers and ladies should wear long trousers or long skirts when visiting the Royal Grounds. Shoes should be removed when visiting pagodas.
Local Offences / Laws: The penalties for the possession of drugs are harsh. Photography off airports, railway stations and military installations are forbidden.
Travel Tips / Warnings: Credit cards are accepted in hotels and restaurants in the main towns, but cash should be carried in small denominations. There are still undetonated mines – when travelling in rural areas never stray from main paths and use a local guide. Check the local political situation before travelling to the Cambodia / Thai border. Avoid taking pictures of people, especially monks.
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into Cambodia by travellers aged 18 and over without incurring customs duty:
• 400 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 400g of tobacco.
• 350ml of perfume.
• 2L of wine.
• Medicines for personal use.
Goods worth more than US$100 are subject to taxes. If the total value of your goods is over US$300, you must declare this on the customs form.
Prohibited Imports: The following are subject to licensing: arms and ammunition, pesticides and fertilisers, artificial sweeteners, cultural items above US$10,000, gold, silver and precious stones, pharmaceuticals and medical materials, vehicles, machinery for military purposes, and wood products (see www.customs.gov.kh for updates).
Prohibited Exports: Arms and ammunitions, fireworks and fire crackers, illicit drugs, live pigs and poultry meat, politically sensitive printed materials, right-hand drive vehicles, and used motorcycle tyres (check www.customs.gov.kh for updates). You must obtain a permit to export cultural artefacts or plants and animals.