1. Check if you need a visa. Cambodia was one of the easiest places for me to travel to in terms of visas because I didn’t need to organise one before I arrived (I’m from the UK). Make sure you check the requirements for your country of origin.
2. Get your vaccines and check a malaria map. Visit your doctor and find out what vaccines you need. I traveled through the land border from Thailand so I needed to take anti-malarial medication, but if you fly in and out you might not need to.
3. Be patient at land borders. I arrived in Cambodia via the land border from Thailand and this did require a little patience when queuing to get through. Although, overall I found the experience pretty stress-free and there are cafes nearby where you can get a drink while you’re waiting around.
4. Take US dollars. Dollars are accepted along with the local currency of Cambodian Riel. I paid for my visa in dollars. It’s useful to have some dollars in your backpack just in case.
5. Learn a few local phrases. Even if it’s just “arkoun” which means “thank you”. It means a lot to local people if you make the effort. (I’ve found several spellings for “arkoun” online and I have no idea which one is correct, so this one may be wrong!)
6. Get ready for bumpy rides. I remember the bus rides in Cambodia being pretty bumpy, although this is pretty common throughout South-East Asia. If you get travel sickness you might want to prepare for bus rides by taking travel sickness medicine.
7. You can travel cheaply. You really can travel for cheap in Cambodia. I found everywhere to be pretty cheap in South-East Asia, but it’s less expensive than Thailand which is much more touristy.
8. Keep your money in good condition. I was advised that notes with rips, or even just looking wrinkled, might not be accepted.
9. Take your time at temples. The Angkor Wat complex is HUGE and Cambodia can get very hot at certain times of the year. Don’t try to cover too much ground in one go as you might end up very grouchy. Make sure you take a sunhat, sun tan lotion and lots of water.
10. Get to temples early. As I mentioned above it can get very hot, so I’d recommend visiting Angkor Wat as early as possible. It’s much more pleasant to explore when it’s a cooler temperature, and it’s also beautiful to watch the sunrise.
11. Dress and behave respectfully at temples. Remember those women who were arrested, fined and kicked out of Cambodia for getting naked at Angkor Wat? Don’t do it.
12. Watch out for pickpockets. I was warned about this in particular at popular tourist beaches and when queuing at the border, where my friend had her phone taken out of her backpack.
13. Stick to bottled beer. I was advised that beer on tap could be watered down.
14. Give yourself time to enjoy the beaches. I didn’t think of Cambodia as a beach destination before I visited, but there are beautiful beaches which are much quieter than those in Thailand. There are also lots of idyllic islands off the coast to explore.
15. Watch out for jellyfish. I got stung by a jellyfish when I was swimming in the sea off one of the Cambodian islands. It wasn’t a big deal – I was left with a red mark on my leg and it stung for maybe an hour – but be aware.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Have you been to Cambodia? What tips would you give to others travelling here? If you’d like to share this post on Pinterest, feel free to use the picture below. xx