Cambodia Guide

Cambodia Guide

• Population: 15.2 million
• Capital: Phnom Penh
• Religion: Theravada Buddhism

The Kingdom of Cambodia is a land that continues to surprise and delight its visitors. Home of the Angkor Temples (the magnificent legacy of the Khmer empire that ruled over much of Southeast Asia 1,000 years ago) there is much to discover in this country.

By day, learn about the history of the capital city Phnom Penh; by night, dine on traditional Cambodian feasts and experience Cambodian nightlife. Visit the islands that dot the Cambodian coast and the quaint little provincial towns that make up the beautiful countryside. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Wat, travel the Mekong River by boat and relax on pristine beaches.

Learn about the tragic history of the Killing Fields, the Tuol Sleng Museum and other reminders of the Khmer Rouge regime. You will be amazed by the optimistic attitude of Cambodians, who have found the courage to continue smiling despite three dark decades of civil war. See for yourself what it means to live up to the saying “What doesn’t break us makes us stronger”.


Popular Sites

• Siem Reap – a cluster of villages with a French colonial center; the gateway to the Temples of Angkor

• Phnom Penh – the capital city of Cambodia, situated at the confluence of three rivers and offers an interesting mix of colonial buildings, temples, markets and broad avenues

• Tonle Sap Lake – one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes, home to floating villages, forests, and natural splendor

• Sihanoukville – a jewel of white sands, blue sea and fresh seafood, situated in the south of Cambodia

• Kampot, Kep and Bokor National Park – less known but worth a visit on longer itineraries or when crossing into Vietnam at Ha Tien


Popular Foods

Amok: As the most well-known Cambodia food, Amok is a staple curry dish made from fish (or can be replaced with chicken), which is cooked in banana leaves with coconut milk and Khmer curry paste. In both local cook shop and upscale restaurants, you can find this dish easily.

Nom Banh Chok: It’s the loved Khmer noodles that most westerners miss it so much when they return home. The rice noodles are topped with green fish gravy and green bean, banana flowers and other vegetables. The locals usually have it as breakfast, which costs less than a dollar in Phnom Penh every day in street stands.

Bai Sach Chrouk: The dish can be seen all over the country, serving as a favored snack made from grilled pork or beef infused with lemongrass and coconut milk or garlic, a portion of rice and a bowl of chicken broth will come along. 

Cha Houy Teuk: Here comes the dessert time. Cha Houy Teuk is the best Cambodian dessert popular with young people. It’s a sweet jelly dessert made from sticky rice or sago marinated in coconut milk and topped with heaps of taro, red beans and other edible garnishes. 

Fried Crab: If you’re visiting a seaside town in Cambodia, don’t miss the specialty, fried crab, which is prepared with green Kampot pepper and garlic chives. Restaurants in Phnom Penh also have live crabs transferred so you can have a feast here as well. 



The official language in Cambodia is Khmer. Currently, English is often spoken by young people in restaurants, hotels and tourist sites.


Weather & Climate

Cambodia, which is warm all year round, has a tropical climate and two distinct seasons: the rainy season and the dry season.

The rainy season usually lasts from May to October with the most precipitation in the months of September and October.

The temperature ranges from 32 to 35°C. Visitors are not recommend to visit Cambodia in this period of time (especially from mid-July to September) because of the unpleasant atmosphere.

The dry season usually runs from November to the end of April, during which it is rarely rainy and scorching hot, especially in December and January. The maximum temperature recorded is 35°C. Hence, it is believed that the peak time for tourism in Cambodia is the dry season.



The national currency of Cambodia is called RIEL. The letters written before the figure of an amount is “KHR”. The US Dollar is accepted by everyone and everywhere and also referred to be the main currency used in Cambodia.

Cambodian Riels are used only as small change at a rate of around 4000 Riels/1USD.

ATMs are available in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap and in some other major towns. Even if the exchange rate in ATMs is better than in banks and foreign exchange service, the bank levies its commission (1 to 2% per withdrawal) in addition to that of your bank, so do not withdraw small amounts.

Not all ATMs and banks accept foreign debit and credit cards. Check with your bank before you travel. Credit cards aren’t widely accepted but hotels and businesses in larger cities.

As in all Asian countries, an additional commission (around 3%) is levied. So keep the use of credit cards for special occasions. 

Exchange rate:

1 USD = 4,000 Riel (KHR)

1 EURO = 4,700 Riel (KHR)


Getting Around

• Plane: There are daily connections between Phnom Penh-Siem Reap and Sihanoukville-Siem Reap, provided by Cambodia Angkor Air.

• Train: There is a railway line connecting Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh, via Kampot and Takeo.

• Bus: This is a cheaper but rarely punctual means of transportation and not always on. There are many buses that connect daily the capital – Phnom Penh – and the big cities of the country.

• Motorcycle taxis: The least expensive means of transport in Cambodia. You need to negotiate the price before you ride it and wear a safety helmet.

• Tuk-Tuk: These are carts attached to scooters or motorcycles, much more comfortable, which can carry up to 4 people. It is used to avoid the sun and enjoy the breeze while admiring the local life.