Cambodia lies entirely within the tropic. It borders Thailand to the North and west, Loas to the northeast and Vietnam to the east and southeast. It has 275 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Thailand. The most distinctive geographical feature is the Laucstrune plain, must of which is dedicated to wet rice production and hence is the most densely populated area. The plain is regularly flooded by the Tonle Sap (Great lake) which expands from 1000 to 9500 sq miles between the dry and wet seasons. Cambodia is distinctly flat and 75% of the country lies below 100m above sea level. The only exception is Cardamom Mountains which rise to 1813m near the centre of the country.
The time in Cambodia is GMT +7 hours.
The national language in Cambodia is Khmer and is one of the oldest languages in South East Asia. Many people in Siem Reap speak English, though you will find fewer English speakers out in the countryside. Many French words have entered the Khmer language because of Cambodia’s colonial history. We do recommend that you take a pocket phrase book. Try to learn some simple phrases and greetings before you go. Any attempt to speak in the local language is usually much appreciated.
Cambodia has a tropical climate, with a rainy season from June to September. The hottest months are just before this monsoon, April and May. December through to March is the “cool” season although it rarely gets cold. Daytime temperatures will be a little higher than in Laos and it is likely to feel more humid.
The unit of currency in Cambodia is the riel. For up to date exchange rates visit: www.xe.com.
We recommend that you carry your travel money in the form of US dollars cash as this is most easily exchanged. There is no need to purchase local currency prior to travel. We recommend that you do not bring 100 dollar bills as due to a large number of counterfeit notes in circulation these are sometimes not accepted for exchange.
A valid passport (with at least 6 months remaining validity) is required for entry into Cambodia. Visas for Cambodia are obtained on arrival.
You should attend your own doctor and dentist for a check-up. Your doctor will have access to the most up to date information on the required vaccinations for the country you are visiting. In general we recommend vaccinations against Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, and Hepatitis ‘A’. Malarial prophylactics are recommended. A very good online resource is the Scottish National Health Travellers website at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk
Additional Sources of Information
Cambodia. Lonely Planet.
Laos and Cambodia. Insight Guides.
Travels in Siam, Cambodia & Laos (Henry Mouhot)
Angkor. Odyssey Books.
Angkor; An Introduction to the Temples (D. Rooney)
A Guide to the Angkor Monuments (Maurice Glaize) – Downloadable for free at www.theangkorguide.com
Cambodia & Laos. Various scales. ITM
Double-sided, indexed map of the two countries, with Cambodia at 1:725,000, and Laos at 1:1,200,000 - Relief shading and peak heights, intermediate distances on main roads, and symbols show various places of tourist interest. Includes street plans of central Phnom Penh and Vientiane, and an Inset map of Angkor.
Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos Rough Guides 1:1,200,000 - The Rough Guide Map Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia combines clear modern mapping and bang-up-to-date research and is the essential companion to anyone travelling around these three fascinating Southeast Asian countries.
WebLonely Planet - www.lonelyplanet.com
Rough Guides - www.roughguides.com